Singapore is consistently voted the world’s best airline. So good is their ‘Top Gun’ service many people won’t fly with anyone else. I was curious to experience this for myself, since everyone raves about them. This is my completey biased and subjective account of my long haul flight from Paris to New Zealand (NB: this artice was written under the influence of jetlag).
Upon entering the departure lounge in Charles de Gaulle the first thing I noticed is that instead of having one door for passengers to embark onto the plane, they had three. Celebrities and business class passengers didn’t have to mingle with the plebs, except in the confines of the departure lounge. Boarding was reasonably efficient, apart from a small delay of about 15 minutes.
Inside the plane it was definitely more plush than some airlines I could mention. It felt spacious, the seats were generous and there seemed to be more leg room than normal. Not that this is usually a problem for me being 5 foot 2. An added bonus was two extra seats beside me so I could put the armrest up and stretch out if I wanted.
This comparative luxury consoled me for the extra hour we waited for the plane to actually leave the ground. A slight ‘problem’ meant extra fuel needed to be added. We weren’t told what the problem was in any detail but this is standard procedure for most airlines, never give out too much information! Safety did seem to be uppermost in the airlines mind however, and I liked the fact there was a video to watch rather than a bored stewardess standing in the aisle wearing a life-jacket pretending to blow a whistle.
The wide video screen consoles were fancier than I expected, and the choice of movies was so good I ended up watching about four or five. The food selection was also great, with generous portions and my choice was always available (there’s nothing worse than desiring lamb stew only to be told it’s all gone).
Service-wise I was impressed with the professionalism of the stewardesses. Since our flight was late quite a few passengers were getting antsy about missing connecting flights. These fears were dealt with efficiently and compassionately, and passengers were reassured they would be getting to where they needed to go.
The first 12 hours passed relatively quickly for me, which was good as I’m usually fidgeting and getting impatient near the ‘five hours to go’ mark. My only complaint would be the temperature of the cabin, it was freezing! To the point of needing my coat on as well as a blanket.
After a layover in Changi Airport in the Ambassador Transit Hotel, where I got around 6 hours sleep, it was back onto another Singapore plane for 9 hours. This is the leg I hate the most, you’re tired, fed up with airline food, sick of watching movies and other passengers are starting to irritate you. Yet, I was reasonably comfortable and able to endure it serenely. The temperature of the cabin for this leg was perfect.
Overall the combination of friendly service, comfy seat, good food and entertainment system made this the best long haul flight I’ve experienced. Would I fly Singapore Airlines again? Yes, without hesitation. Plus my luggage also turned up in Auckland, which gives them extra bonus points.