With three daily flights from Brisbane to Singapore including morning, mid-afternoon and late evening departures, Singapore Airlines provides business travellers with the most robust schedule of any airline serving the route.
Aboard SQ's Airbus A330s, business class passengers can stretch out in angled-flat beds while sipping vintage Champagne and watching a good movie or using the sturdy tray table and handy power outlets to remain productive throughout the journey.
Singapore Airlines runs a dedicated SilverKris lounge at Brisbane Airport for business class guests and eligible frequent flyers, which you'll find immediately to your right as you commence the winding trek through duty-free. Inside there's a range of both hot and cold food options perfectly tailored to dinner and dessert prior to this evening flight.
The WiFi comes free if not a little slow – averaging 3.54mbps down and 0.33mbps up during our tests – and although there were enough seats for every guest, the lounge felt overly crowded closer to departure once most passengers had checked-in.
Read our full review: SilverKris lounge Brisbane Airport
Unlike Singapore Airlines' flagship Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 business class seats which boast fully-flat beds and direct aisle access for every passenger, the A330's seats come in a six-across, 2-2-2 layout... ... and are angled flat with an eight-degree incline when in bed mode, rather than fully-flat, stretching to roughly 188cm in length when the footrest is fully extended: That's relatively on-par with Emirates' Boeing 777 business class seats and Qantas' older Skybed 1s which both ply the same route, although it's a significant step behind the new Qantas Business Suite which sometimes appears between Brisbane and Singapore and will eventually be offered on every Qantas Airbus A330 flight.
Nonetheless, there's still ample room to stretch out, particularly at the bulkhead in row 11... ... and if you'd rather work or sleep than converse with your seatmate, a privacy divider can be deployed: Adjacent is a twistable reading light and further below a cocktail space... ... a recess for your laptop or tablet with convenient access to AC and USB power... ... more nooks at the front to keep your water bottle or smartphone at hand... ... a handset for operating the inflight entertainment system, handy pre-set seat controls with a choice of fully upright, dining, 'resting but watching TV' and sleep modes... ... additional keys to get the bed into that perfect spot, and a remote control for the inflight entertainment system.
For solo travellers, we'd suggest choosing the 'D' and 'F' seats as these form the centre group with an aisle on either side, which means you naturally enjoy direct aisle access with nobody climbing over you, unlike the other pairs where you'll only enjoy one benefit or the other.
The journey begins with a drink before take-off and a second round once in the air, with 2007 Taittinger Brut Millésimé on the menu... ... along with five wines, nine cocktails, six mocktails, 11 spirits, three liqueurs, six different coffee blends, espresso options including cappuccinos and mochas, 14 teas, beer, water, juice, soft drinks, Milo and plain milk.
If that's not enough to satisfy on an eight-hour overnight flight, we daresay you're hard to please.
Speaking of overnight, with a departure time of 11:35pm and a 5:35am arrival into Singapore, passengers can choose to have either supper after take-off or breakfast prior to landing, or indeed both if it takes their fancy.
As did almost every passenger on the flight, we ate in the lounge beforehand and slept through until breakfast, starting with a small fresh fruit plate... ... and progressing to French toast with berries, orange-flavoured mascarpone cream and maple syrup on the side... ... and a choice of breads and pastry items including tasty warmed croissants with jam.
The fruit was fresh, the bread nice and soft and the accompaniments flavourful, and with heartier options available for hungrier travellers such as a full American breakfast with eggs, sausages, beans, tomatoes and mushrooms, we couldn't fault the inflight food.
Our only criticism is that SQ's widely-regarded 'Book the Cook' service – allowing travellers to choose from roughly 10 dishes when departing Sydney and Melbourne – isn't offered on flights from Brisbane, although is offered on the journey home from Singapore.
Entertainment & Service
The KrisWorld inflight entertainment system provides over 1,000 individual options spanning movies, TV shows, audio tracks and games, served up via a 15.4-inch screen and noise-cancelling headphones... ... and operated via a remote control with its own screen, which also conveniently alternates between displaying the local destination time and the time remaining on your flight: handy to have at hand without interrupting your viewing. While most KrisWorld menus are easy to navigate, the 'all movies' listings were less so – with exactly 307 titles, the only way to wade through and reach the bottom of that list is to press the 'down' button quite literally 307 times, which is as unintuitive as it is silly: Made it through but decided on something further up? You'd best get clicking, then, as there's no 'previous page' button either...
Service from the crew, however, was top-notch, with passengers on today's flight greeted in the aisle as they entered the business class cabin before being shown to their seats and offered drinks, reading materials and to have their jackets hung up.
On both the Brisbane-Singapore and Singapore-Brisbane legs, requests of the crew such as for drinks or to "please not wake me for breakfast if I'm sleeping" needed only be asked once and were always remembered, with call bells answered within a matter of seconds.
Before take-off, slippers, socks and an eyeshade were also provided with other goodies such as toothbrushes, combs and moisturisers available in the lavatories, although at odds with almost every other international airline, true amenity kits aren't available in business class.
While the on-board service, meals and, for the most part, the inflight entertainment content combine to create an overall positive experience on board, we simply can't overlook what is a last-generation angled-flat seat on an overnight flight where sleep is paramount.
That's particularly so when alliance partner Virgin Australia has been replacing a variation of the same seats aboard its Airbus A330 fleet with new fully-flat beds on domestic flights to Perth, let alone a longer route like Brisbane-Singapore.
We can only hope that eventual upgrades to Singapore Airlines' A330 fleet come sooner, rather than later, to bring the seat in line with SQ's great food and service.
Chris Chamberlin travelled to Singapore as a guest of Singapore Airlines
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