It was with some reluctance that I agreed to fly Singapore Airlines economy class, but it was not a mistake: the flight turned out to be one of the best economy class experiences in all my years of flying.
I outlined here what a great deal a walk-up ticket on Singapore Airlines is for travel from New York to Frankfurt. Due to a lack of award space availability and a need to be in Frankfurt the following day, John and I booked a “walk-up” ticket on Singapore’s daily Fifth Freedom flight from JFK to FRA.
We wisely left the Park Hyatt at 4:15pm, four hours before flight takeoff. The hotel offers complimentary black sedan service in the near vicinity of the hotel and so we were driven to Penn Station to catch a LIRR train to JFK/Jamaica. Even that was a mistake…traffic was so bad we should have just walked to the E train subway from the hotel and taken that.
Upon arrival at JFK, we checked-in in the business class line due to my Star Alliance Gold status. Many of the seats were blocked, including all bulkheads, and the agent said they would remain blocked until a gate agent released them just prior to boarding. Hoping to secure bulkheads, we accepted the only two seats available…in the last row of the aircraft.
Horrific Security at JFK
As I previously detailed, we ran into a horrific security line at JFK. It took 80 minutes in the priority security line (which I used because John did not have PreCheck yet [but does now]). Even the Pre-Check line was horrible.
After finally making it past the security checkpoint, we only had a short time before boarding began. We checked out the SWISS Business Class lounge, which was so crowded I did not bother taking any pictures. You can read an old review of the lounge here.
At the gate, I asked an agent if any bulkhead seating was available and John and I were given our own bulkhead section of four in the rear economy class cabin. Boarding had already began.
New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Thursday, December 07
Seat: 54G (Economy Class)
Onboard, a lovely Singapore girl warmly welcomed us, inspected our boarding passes, and directed us to our seat in the rear of the aircraft. Singapore has two A380 configurations. On our aircraft, first class and economy class seating were on the lower deck, while upstairs was all business class. The alternate configuration features a small economy class cabin in the rear of the upper deck.
Singapore Airlines A380 Economy Class Seating
Because it took some time to change our seats, most passengers had already boarded. Thus, you will not find unadulterated cabin shots in this review, but here is what our seat looked like–
The seat was well paced and with a 32″ seat pitch, legroom is generous.
Also note the all-watching 1984-esque camera is not just in first and business class, but also economy class:
Singapore Airlines A380 Economy Class Bedding
What impressed me more than the above-average economy class seat, was the bedding. Both the pillow and blanket are literally better than what some airlines offer in business class.
Look at the size of this pillow:
That’s very impressive.
Singapore Airlines A380 Economy Class Amenity Kit
Prior to takeoff, FAs offered amenity kits to every economy class passenger. These featured socks, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. While very simple, the added touch was quite appreciated.
Singapore Airlines A380 Economy Class KrisWorld IFE + Wi-Fi
Singapore’s KrisWorld entertainment system offers an exceptional selection of hundreds of movies, TV shows, games, and musical selections. I was impressed at the depth of the selection and choice of moves available from all regions of the world. Relatively decent disposable headsets were present in each seat-back.
That said, I spent most of the flight working and did not actually watch anything. I also did not use the Wi-Fi, because prices are outrageous…see here.
Singapore Airlines A380 Economy Class Lavatory
The lavatory I used was not exactly spacious, but FAs routinely cleaned it…something that greatly distinguishes airlines like Singapore from their U.S. counterparts. It is nice to walk into a clean lavatory toward the end of the flight.
Singapore Airlines A380 Economy Class Dining
While the food itself was just okay, I loved the civility of the dining experience onboard. Menus were distributed prior to takeoff:
Hot towels were also offered twice in-flight. And note these were not just warmed paper towels, but towels far better than American and Delta offer in business class.
The economy class menu even features a selection of complimentary cocktails. Being Singapore Airlines, I could not resits a Singapore Sling.
The meal came with real silverware and a real drinking glass…
My selection, cajun chicken in oregano tomato sauce was excellent. Truly delicious. I cannot say the same for the bread or coleslaw with processed ham on time.
Then Häagen-Dazs ice cream for dessert with coffee/tea service.
Prior to landing, a light meal was offered. I was hoping for an egg dish of some kind, but it was just a cold ham and cheese sandwich (the other choice was a smoked salmon sandwich). It was not worth eating, but I enjoyed the fruit and a cup of green tea.
Singapore Airlines A380 Economy Class Service
Perhaps the best part of the flight was the tremendously gracious service onboard. John can be demanding and seemed to forget that he was not flying first class. He frequently rang the FA call button and each time FAs promptly responded.
An extra blanket? No problem. Bottle of water? Of course. Second ice cream? My pleasure. Tea before dinner? Certainly sir.
And while they may have cursed him out in the galley, it certainly did not show. In fact, this sort of service was given to every passenger. And I appreciated it.
We landed in Frankfurt over an hour early…flight time ended up being only about six hours. It was a great flight and even John walked away saying, “You know, this was a very good flight. I’m very impressed by Singapore Airlines.” If the man who generally only flies first class bestowed that accolade, you know you must be doing something right.
As Singapore continues to lose money on its longhaul flying, I hope that it will not address the issue by cutting back economy class service. What Singapore offers is truly an industry-leading economy class experience.