Flying the Singapore Airlines Way on the Airbus A380

Growing up, I heard a lot about Singapore Airlines. My globetrotting grandmother who served as quite the travel inspiration in my life absolutely raved about them, swearing up and down that they were hands down the best airline in the world. So when I was searching for United award flights to Istanbul and an option appeared that involved flying a Singapore A380 (the fully double-decker plane) from New York JFK to Frankfurt, I jumped at the opportunity!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a total airline geek so I was just as excited about my flight as I was about anywhere I’d go on my trip! And walking up to that Singapore Airlines check-in counter at JFK was a titillating experience. But I was nervous. This being a mileage award booked through United, I was unable to select a seat in advance.

Singapore Check-in at JFK

As the agent printed my boarding pass, she noted that it was a very full flight. I gulped. But as I glanced down at the boarding pass and then down at the seat map on the counter. 54K. Wait, a window seat? Score! AND a bulkhead seat?! I was ecstatic. So what if it was on the lower deck??

Spotting the plane on the tarmac was a trilling experience. The A380 is simply enormous. And rather odd looking as it tapers sharply in the front for the cockpit.

Singapore Airlines A380

Boarding was an incredibly well managed process, as the large clump of people passed through multiple lines. And at the door, you were greeted with a big smile. In fact there wasn’t a moment where the flight attendants didn’t have a big smile on their faces. This was an impression that leaves you feeling that they’ll do everything to make you happy. Can you imagine asking a flight attendant for a US carrier for some odd request and still get a smile back?

Economy Menu

Prior to departure, there was a hot towel service. And printed menus were handed out….a lovely touch! And the legroom that came with my bulkhead seat… Oh the legroom!

Bulkhead Seat!

We started down the runway at a slow speed, as the giant beast I was now sitting in began to move. It was hard to believe something quite this large could actually fly! Slowly but steadily we picked up speed, hurtling down the runway for what felt like an eternity. I felt my grandmother’s Buddha that I wear around my neck, knowing that she was taking a ride on this plane with me, with this airline that she so loved.

KrisWorld

Finally the wheels tipped up and were off, climbing higher and higher into the night sky. Before too long, Singapore’s signature AVOD entertainment system (called KrisWorld) came to life, giving you enough to keep you occupied for days, weeks even! Flight attendants passed out amenity kits consisting of socks (to wear around the plane presumably) a toothbrush and toothpaste. And soon after came the drinks and snacks (2 sizable bags of peanuts).

Singapore Airlines Economy Amenity Kit

Beer? Wines? Juices? Sodas? Water? How about a Singapore Slings (yes I had a delicious Singapore Sling flying Economy…)? It was all free flowing on that joyous ride and delivered with a smile and good spirit! Throughout the night, drink runs were continuous, a far cry from my last trans-Atlantic flight with Aerosvit where we were largely ignore and treated as an inconvenience!

Singapore Sling on Singapore Airlines

As for the food, don’t get me wrong, it was pretty good, but it couldn’t hold a candle to the delicacies served aboard my Asiana flight from New York to Seoul in 2010. For dinner I went with pot roast in a red wine sauce with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. It came with a cous cous and ham salad, a warm roll (my grandmother always used to say that you could usually judge a good restaurant because the bread would be warm) and a delicious tiramisu dessert.

Singapore Airlines Economy Dinner

Breakfast was far less interesting. Croissant, blueberry muffin and yogurt and a glass of orange juice. Oh and there was real silverware and glassware.

Breakfast on SQ25

You know what really impressed me? The lavatories. No this wasn’t some fancy A380 thing. It was stocked with nice little amenities like combs, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash…even Eau de Toilette! Was I really flying in Economy here??

Singapore A380 Lavatory

So what about that great big aircraft? Honestly it wasn’t all that impressive. Yes, it’s huge. And its engines are quieter. And you can choose the water temperature in the lavatory sink very precisely. And the pressurization of the plane doesn’t affect you as much. (Ok I guess these things are big deals.)

Staircase on A380

But my complaint lies with the reading lights. Petty, I know, but these super bright LED’s are great for you, but not for the folks around you. In fact it can be extremely distracting when you’re trying to sleep…

As for Singapore, yes, it was amazing. I think I’m spoiled on flights for life now (my Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul paled in comparison to Singapore). And their food still was good, just not the best I’ve ever had on an airline. I would GLADLY fly Singapore again…and again…and again!

This was truly a fantastic start to my trip!

Sound Off!

What do you think? Have you flown Singapore before? What about an A380?

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20 Responses to Flying the Singapore Airlines Way on the Airbus A380

  1. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls May 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    This sounds like such a great flight! It’s amazing what the little details can do to make you feel like a human being when you fly. We can’t wait to fly Singapore Airlines one day…about to fly Air India and probably not going to be that impressed, but we’lll see.

    • Aaron May 28, 2012 at 1:27 am #

      Isn’t it? And hey you never know. Air India might be great in comparison, much like for me, Lufthansa kind of sucked in comparison to Singapore…

  2. Caanan @ No Vacation Required May 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    We flew Singapore from SFO to Singapore a few years ago. Best. Flight. Ever.

    • Aaron May 28, 2012 at 1:28 am #

      Hehe do they still do a non-stop flight there? Or do you have to transit through a different Asian city? They have a non-stop EWR-SIN, but it’s all business class.

  3. Leigh May 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm #

    My husband and I flew Singapore Airlines – business class on points from Korea to Vancouver. Wonderful! Wish I could have service like that every time I flew.

    • Aaron May 28, 2012 at 1:29 am #

      I know… they set the bar so very, very high… And business class with them? I can’t even imagine!

  4. Jeff Titelius May 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Wow…what an adventure and I can’t believe you got all of that in economy! It’s like business class, perhaps even better than some of the flights I have had airlines who shall remain nameless. I definitely plan to seek out Singapore Airlines on my next journey to Europe! Thx for this incredible article.

    • Aaron May 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

      And just imagine. They run all non-stop all-business class flights from Newark to Singapore (18 hours)! Even the upper deck of the A380 is almost entirely business class! If that’s their economy service I can’t even fathom what their business class is like! Someday…someday…

  5. Megan May 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Oooh, fancy! I had a similar reaction on my first JAL flight. Instead of peanuts, they gave us assorted rice crackers. I was in snack heaven.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I flew TACA last year and not only did their planes look a little threadbare, but they forgot my vegan meal and nonchalantly offered me extra peanuts instead.

    Now the full suites…I hope I get the chance to give that a try someday!

  6. Kristen May 31, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Oh, my! Everything looked fantastic. You had me at the toothbrush. Oh, and the legroom. And real silverware. I haven’t flown Singapore, but I might have to now! The best flight I’ve been on was
    To Zagreb via Lufthansa… And that’s not saying much 😛

    • Aaron May 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      Haha well the legroom doesn’t apply to everyone…I was just REALLY lucky! And I bet Lufthansa outside of Europe is probably better than what I experienced…

  7. chris June 1, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Trust me, the comfort on the all-business flight (SIN-EWR and SIN-LAX) is exquisite – only 98 pax in an Airbus 345!! The business class on the 380 is wonderful. The seats are a tad hard but the flat bed is aweszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzome!!! the 15 inch or so IFE offers so many movies and tv shows that you are never bored on the LHR-SIN (3-4x/yr). Recently tried their Suites – too bad i cannot attach pics here but you can find them if you scroll thru the pics on SQ’s FB-page. Can’t wait for my next flight late July/early August!

    • Aaron June 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      I believe it! My goal is to fly their business class…some day! Though their Economy class has already spoiled me for life… Lucky you! I’m terribly jealous!

      • chris June 2, 2012 at 2:16 am #

        I dare say SQ economy equals AA/UA/DL/US business in many ways but the SQ service is above and beyond in every shape and form.

        • Aaron June 7, 2012 at 4:20 am #

          That’s quite a statement! I’ve never flown business with anyone so I can’t make a comparison, but it’s not hard to imagine that they would be better than any US carrier… And yes the service was absolutely top notch!

  8. Frantecamar September 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    Since Iberia does not flight from JFK to barcelona I must, make a Conection on Madrid. Iberia service is horrible, so I prefer connect to Barcelona in Frankfurt and flight Singapore which is a big pleasure and then connect to Air Berlin or Lufthansa both great!

    • Aaron September 26, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      Haha I’m all about avoiding those crappy airlines. And as I write this, I’m about to board a Lufthansa flight from Hong Kong to NYC (via Frankfurt). Don’t worry, I’ll be writing about the experience…it’s in First Class (yaaay mileage redemption)!

  9. Dr Brett Davies July 23, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    Singapore Airlines flies over was zones. Expensive for what you get.

    • Aaron July 23, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

      Virtually every single airline flies over some war zone somewhere in the world every single day. Look at flight maps now post-MH17. Airlines are avoiding Ukraine and are instead flying right over Iraq…Check it out here: http://t.co/qFQhy17KdL

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