Travel-Dealz founder Johannes traveled to Bali in June in Singapore Airlines‘ business class. First, he flew from Dusseldorf to Singapore in an Airbus A350-900. Singapore Airlines partially uses a Boeing 787-10 with the newest business class for flights within Asia, as was the case for this flight between Singapore & Bali.
For transparency: We booked the flights using KrisFlyer Miles, that were previously transferred from Membership Rewards and were earned using our American Express Platinum Card. The taxes & fees were also paid out of our own pocket. Singapore Airlines did not financially assist us, nor did we mention to anyone that we were going to write a review about the flight. If you book a Singapore Airlines flight via one of our links, we will get a commission. That’s all.
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We had the pleasure of flying on the 787-10 on the inbound flight from Bali to Singapore, a three-hour flight:
As our hotel was located roughly 90 minutes (or 60 km) from the airport and the traffic is unpredictable, we arrived at the airport with a good time-buffer of 2.5 hours before departure.
The check-in was smooth. We checked in our two pieces of luggage and got our boarding passes to Singapore, as well as an invitation to the lounge.
We were invited into the Premier Lounge, which is located behind the passport- and security checks, at the end of the long duty-free shop on the upper level.
The lounge can equally be accessed with a Priority Pass and is also used by many of the international airlines for their business class passengers. Therefore, the lounge was quite full, but we were nevertheless able to quickly find a seat.
The food & beverage offer is good. There were some war meals on a buffet, including diverse noodle- and rice meals, spring rolls, … and one could also order some meals that would be freshly prepared. The quality was undoubtedly good. Alcoholic beverages could be ordered at the bar.
This is definitely one of the better Priority Pass lounges, but it was sadly quite cramped, full, and had no view of the apron.
The boarding was also smooth and strictly made according to the boarding groups. Luckily there weren’t many business class passengers present when boarding began, so Johannes could make many pretty photos of the cabin.
The Boeing 787-10 has 36 business class seats, aligned in a 1 – 2 – 1 formation. By the way, the 787-10 only has a business and economy class. There’s no first or premium economy class.
All seats face forward but are always shifted. If you’re sitting directly at the window, you’ll have a lot of privacy, but if you’re directly at the aisle, you’ll be clearly visible. We don’t recommend selecting seats that are directly next to the aisle, be it in the middle of the cabin or at the window. If you have the window seat that has you sitting directly at the aisle, you can barely look out of the window.
Passengers traveling alone should, therefore, select one of the outer seats in rows 12, 15, 17, or 19, right next to the window. Couples will travel best in the inner seats in rows 11, 14, 16, 18, and 20 in the middle. Even for those traveling alone, the middle seats offer an extendable divider through which you will have quite a lot of privacy.
Thanks to the big windows of the 787, the cabin has a very nice sense of space to it. Nevertheless, unlike the long-haul A350, there are overhead bins in the middle here, which sadly limits that sense of space a bit. The subtle colors of the seats and cabin are nicely coordinated but interestingly differ clearly from the A350 cabin.
The seats in the 787 are clearly narrower than those in the A350. They should, however, be fully sufficient for most passengers. The seat (or bed) are can also be enlarged by lowering the armrests.
The seatbelt is a three-point belt, like those that are found in cars. Sadly, it can’t be turned into a common airplane seat belt and has to be used as a three-point belt. At least this seat belt doesn’t have one of those uncomfortable airbags.
The seat-position and other functions can be controlled by an installed touch screen. It can also be used to inform the cabin crew that one doesn’t wish to be disturbed. The touch screen, however, lacks tactile feedback and one has to keep it pressed the entire time until one has reached the desired seat position. It is also not optimal, that the footrest can’t be controlled separately from the rest of the seat.
On the side of the seat, there is a compartment with a sliding door, where you can stow your headphones and charge your electronic devices. There’s further storage space under the footrest, that can also be used during take-off and landing. In total, however, there’s less storage space than in the A350.
The table is located under the screen and can be let down. It is therefore quite difficult to leave the seat if the table is in use.
If the seat is transformed into a bed, you’ll have a lot of room for your feet, even if fully stretched. The A350, however, seems to offer a tiny bit more space. It could get tight for people higher than 1.85 m. The transition between the seat parts is also a bit uncomfortable, especially if lying on the side. Due to the flight time of only 3 hours, however, there was no need to sleep anyways.
Due to the shape of the seat, you’ll have quite a lot of privacy, but it does feel quite cramped and narrow.
During boarding, passengers were handed a welcome-drink. One could either select champagne or orange juice.
As Book the Cook is only available on flights from Singapore and a few select other airports, which Bali is not a part of, we had to eat the normal food. There was a choice of three main meals:
- Pan Fried Chicken Supreme in Saffron Jus with roasted potatoes and fine ratatouille
- Pecel Ikan: Indonesian fried fish fillet in spicy tomato source with vegetables and streamed rice
- Braised Beef in Oyster Sauce and seasonal vegetables with egg noodles
We chose chicken and fried fish. The fish was really delicious and even the tomato sauce and beans were great. The chicken, however, was dry and the roasted potatoes sadly weren’t particularly crispy.
The appetizer was a salad with green asparagus, as well as shrimps and the dessert was a chocolate orange cake.
The food sadly doesn’t offer the same standard as the long-haul menu. The presentation of the food could also have been much nicer.
The same thing goes for the service. It all seemed a bit rushed and understaffed – on the outbound and inbound flight alike. We had to wait quite a long time after take-off to get our first drink, as the service was mainly focused on handing out the food, and they had to hand out the drinks at the same time. This will probably be better on flights of more than three hours, but on both flights, the crew seemed somewhat overstrained.
It nevertheless has to be said, that the entire crew constantly had a smile on their face and was always eager to fulfill each wish.
The entertainment system is identical to that of the A350. In the 787, however, you can also use the screen as a touch screen, which was not possible in the A350. Controlling the screen with the control remote (with a very wide screen), is also possible, as usual.
The selection of movies and tv shows is good and thanks to the moving map, you always have a good overview of your current location.
Just like on the long-haul flights, there is no amenity kit. Socks and slippers were also not offered on this three-hour flight.
Singapore Airlines offers WIFI-internet at their usual prices. Starting August 1st, 2019 business class passengers get 100MB of free internet. On this flight, it was still only 30MB, which quickly ran out.
- Check-in & Boarding
- Comfort & Cabin
- Entertainment System
If you compare this to a typical European business class for a three-hour flight (empty seat next to you and better food), Singapore Airlines’ regional business class is on a completely different level! This business class would even beat many European airlines on a long-haul route.
Nevertheless, some criticisms do remain, especially concerning the food and service. I would have liked to get a drink after take-off, and the preparation and presentation of the food could be improved.
Bonus: Airbus A330 Business Class
On the outbound flight, we had a stark contrast to the 787-10, flying on an Airbus A330-300, although this business class would also beat the typical European business class by far. The 16 Airbus A330s will, however, no longer be used from March 2020 onwards and be replaced by Boeing 787-10s and Airbus A350-900s, which will have the business class that was reviewed above.
Compared to the A350 or 787, you feel like you’ve traveled back in time on the Airbus A330-300. The cabin has 30 angled business class seats in a 2 – 2 – 2 formation, in an old-looking beige color.
Bonus: Book the Cook
On the outbound flight from Singapore to Bali, we tried the Book the Cook feature. When flying in premium economy, business, and naturally first class, you can select your meal up to 24 hours before your flight, even if not from all airports. Dusseldorf and Bali, for example, do not offer this feature.
We ordered the dumplings beforehand. They were delicious, but the presentation was not good at all: