Airline: Singapore Airlines | Aircraft: 777-300ER | Class: Business | Flight: SQ828 (SIN-PVG)
I always try to travel during my birthday weekend and this year, I have decided to spend it in Shanghai (having spent my last one in Beijing). Since my flight out of Singapore was scheduled to depart at 7:30AM (which probably meant that I will have to get up at 4:30AM to prepare), I decided to stay at the Aerotel Singapore the night before - this is just something I do so there is no need to rush in the morning. I must have been here at least three or four times now and honestly, getting six hours of solid sleep and a shower in the morning for approximately S$120 is really not a bad price at all.
After leaving the transit hotel in Terminal 1 (there are also transit hotels in Terminals 2 and 3 but I have not tried them personally), I made my way down to the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3. I was quickly shown into the lounge after my boarding pass has been scanned and I settled for some comfort food (read: nasi lemak) as well as a glass of Champagne. The crowd did not really get in until perhaps 6:30AM but that was almost time for me to leave anyway.
Business Class passengers were able to board the aircraft immediately after First Class passengers have boarded - let's be honest, a cabin size of just four open suites doesn't take very long at all. For all the aviation geeks out there, the aircraft in operation that morning was the Singapore Airlines 9V-SWP and I took my seat in the mini-cabin in the pointy end of the plane. The Business Class cabin consists of a mini-cabin (12 seats) as well as a larger cabin (36 seats) behind. It is definitely worth noting that the mini-cabin on-board Singapore Airlines' 777-300ER does not have bassinet seats so if you are hedging your bets, this is probably the best place to be. Even though Seat 14K is located fairly close to the galley, I did not mind it since it was a daytime flight and I was not planning on sleeping anyway.
At the time of writing, all but one 777-300ER plane that Singapore Airlines has been retrofitted with the 2013 J product - this is also utilised on some of the A350-900s (read my previous review about that here!). I really like these seats as they come with 55" and 28" of seat pitch and seat width respectively. In comparison, Economy Class seats have only 32" of seat pitch and 19" of seat width. Now you may argue that a Business Class seat is not necessary for a 'short' flight but hey this flight is only 35,000 KrisFlyer Miles so treat yourself!
Slippers, sleeping eye mask and socks (even though I have misplaced them shortly after getting on) were provided for the 4-hour flight and that is always appreciated. You would be surprised to know that airlines such as Qantas and Emirates do not provide slippers in Business Class (as such, I always end up bringing my own when I travel in them). A cabin crew also went around the Business Class cabin to offer passengers a choice of beverage (no Champagne on the ground though) as well as some reading materials.
The seat itself comes with plenty of storage space on the the side as well as in front of you. There is also a universal power outlet, a USB charging port, a HDMI port as well as an unidentifiable port that is apparently for an iPod but I certainly do not recognise it personally. Directional LED reading lights are also available for your reading pleasure. In-flight connectivity (read: WiFi) is provided during the flight and Business Class passengers are all able to enjoy complimentary access (30MB per flight sector) regardless of where you credit your mileage to. Certain airlines like Emirates offer unlimited WiFi access to Business Class and First Class passengers but only if you credit your flight(s) to the Skywards program (when you are much better off crediting to the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program instead).
There is a small compartment in front of your seat for you to store personal belongings like your mobile phone, passport and your wallet (it will not fit a tablet unfortunately). If you prefer not to stow your bags in the overhead compartments, there is some stowage space on the floor in front of your seat.
Noise-cancelling headphones are provided in Business Class - they may not be branded but they are actually quite comfortable.
This may come as a shock to everyone but I actually ordered a cup of coffee (instead of my usual - Champagne) after take-off. My choice of beverage was also served with a dish of mixed nuts (which were warm - something that I thought they only did for First Class passengers). I eventually switched over to Champagne and I have mentioned this on countless trip reports now but if you are still clueless, the Champagne served in Singapore Airlines' Business Class is the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve.
If you have been following me on Instagram, you may have seen a photo that I have posted a couple of weeks back - the amazing crew on-board my flight actually took the initiative to prepare a birthday surprise for me. Some of you may know that Singapore Airlines do not typically cater for birthday cakes on morning flights and from what I have heard (correct me if I am wrong), passengers will usually have to request for them (on lunch and dinner meal services) in advance if desired (honestly, who asks for a birthday cake?!). Just as I was midway through a movie, some of the crew members actually popped over to my seat with a slice of cake (one that they bought specially before the flight), a handwritten note, a teddy bear and some carefully-placed paper hearts. Honestly, I was in a bit of a shock when that happened as I really do not do well with surprises but I truly appreciate that kind gesture.
I ended up having a fairly long chat with some of the stewardesses in the galley since there was a relatively light load in Business Class. Shortly after I returned to my seat and probably about three Champagnes later, meal service started. Some sliced fruits were served and I was offered a choice of yoghurt and cereal as well - I politely declined them (having just eaten a slice of cake) since I did not want to overeat on this flight.
One of the cabin crew then came around with a bread basket and I asked for a croissant - as you would imagine, garlic bread is not offered on breakfast flights so if you are flying Business Class for the first time and you would like to try the garlic bread that everyone talks about, you should probably aim for a later flight. Croissants on Singapore Airlines have always been a bit of a miss for me - there is just no way to reheat pastries and restore them to its buttery and flaky state.
Having looked at the in-flight menu before the flight, I decided to Book the Cook (BTC) and go with the Bak Chor Mee Soup which I have not tried before. If you are apprehensive about ordering it, jump right in because it is delicious! Apparently there is also a dry version which is offered during other flight times but I certainly did not regret ordering this - it was nicely-plated (as far as bak chor mee goes) but most importantly, it was full of yummy ingredients. For all my foreign friends who do not know what it is, it essentially translates into minced meat noodles and it is commonly served with minced pork, meatballs, mushrooms and pork lard. This is definitely one of my favourite BTC meals to date.
The flight was scheduled to depart at 7:30AM but the actual time of departure was 7:47AM - despite the late departure, the plane actually landed in Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 12:11PM which is 34 minutes ahead of schedule. The actual duration of the flight only took 4 hours and 24 minutes and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself on this flight sector - the crew went above and beyond what is expected and they stayed on top of refills. The food is good as always on Singapore Airlines and the 2013 J is a great product for daytime flights.