With Singapore Airlines' new Boeing 787-10 set to take a number of regional routes under its wing, travellers will soon be scoping out their pick of the best business class seats.
And they're impressive seats, with an all-new regional business class design providing direct aisle access for every passenger, some handy at-seat space and a lie-flat bed.
(The same seats will also be fitted to a fleet of regional Airbus A350-900 jets which Singapore Airlines will begin flying in the second half of 2018.)
SQ's Boeing 787-10 has 36 business class seats from rows 11 through 20 – but savvy travellers will want to know which of those are the best to choose, and which they should avoid.
Singapore Airlines Boeing 787-10 business class: best seats
The staggered seat layout in Singapore Airlines' new regional business class makes it a bit trickier to snare a seat location that's ideally suited to your preferences, but also rewards flyers who plan ahead.
11A and 11K: located behind the bulkhead in the first row of the business class cabin, these seats also make provision for a bassinet – but instead of the kidlet-cradle being mounted on the bulkhead wall, it's tucked away into a spacious corner nook.
And if not booked by passengers with an infant in tow, this seat is superb for the business traveller because they can use the space during the flight (but not during taxi, take-off and landing) to keep a laptop bag or cabin bag handy if they need access to its contents during the flight, such as for working.
For that reason we consider this a 'corner office above the clouds', and it's our choice for the business traveller on Singapore Airlines' Boeing 787-10 or Airbus A350-900.
Of course, the perennial downside of being in the front rows is that there's a bit of extra traffic to the lavs and noise from the galley – which will be less bothersome on a short regional flight around Asia but more so on flights to Australia, especially overnight legs. (The same applies to the rear-most seats in row 20.)
If you like the view: the staggered seat layout means that only 8 of what would normally be considered 'window seats' are positioned directly next to the window.
The others are adjacent to the aisle, with a bench between the passenger and the window.
If you'd rather be sitting right next to the window so you can take in the view, you'll want to shoot for seats 12A, 12K, 15A, 15K, 17A, 17K, 19A or 19K.
Note however that even in these true window seats, the extended shell of the seat chosen by Singapore Airlines somewhat obstructs the view.
For solo travellers: Any of the A or K seats should be your first choice. If they're all gone by the time you check in, shoot for a middle seat situated at the aisle rather than together in side-by-side pairs: the ones you want are 12D, 12F, 15D, 15F, 17D, 17F, 19D and 19F.
For colleagues, companions and couples: Every alternate row of Singapore Airlines' new Boeing 787-10 regional business class cabin sees passengers in the middle sitting next to one another.
There's a privacy screen if you happen to be flying solo...
... but if you're with a colleague or partner, these paired seats are best for chit-chat and sharing the travel experience – to the extent of being able to sleep side by side when the seat converts to a bed, if that's your thing.
Those couple-minded seats are 11D & 11F, 14D & 14F, 16D and 16F, 18D and 18F, and 20D and 20F.
Best seats for sleeping: Retracting the armrests on either side of the seat gains you an additional six inches of seat width (going up from 20" to 26") which is very welcome for sleeping.
Want a bit more room? Grab a seat that's next to the window (as listed above: 12A, 12K, 15A, 15K, 17A, 17K, 19A or 19K).
That's because there is an extra few inches between the seat's shell and the cabin wall into which you can splay out your elbow.
The aisle-side seats – and this applies to those in the middle pairs, too – see you risk having a wayward elbow whacked by passengers, crew or galley carts trundling down the aisle.
Extra room for larger feet: when Singapore Airlines' new regional business class seat swings down into a full-flat bed, your feet tuck into a cubby hole which we're pleased to report is rather spacious.
However, if you have large feet (we're talking size 12s and up), the first row of seats sport an ever larger footwell because this is carved into the bulkhead rather than the bench of the seat in front of you.
So: owners of plus-sized plods will want to make 11A, 11D, 11F or 11K their first choice.
For passengers of size: Packing a few too many kilos around your middle? Grab a seat which is at the aisle and has its console bench sitting either between you and the window...
... or, in a pair of middle seats, you and the passenger next to you.
The reason we're calling this is out is because there's not much room between that bench and the seat in front, so seats with the bench between you and the aisle will pose an uncomfortable squeeze each time you want to visit the loo or the galley.
Seats to avoid: let's face it, all of the business class seats in Singapore Airlines' Boeing 787-10 are pretty good. But two of them lucked out when it comes to the cabin layout: 16A and 16K have no window.
The seats are adjacent to the aisle, so you're not missing much of a view anyway, but some people are almost allergic to a window seats sans window so for them, this is the seat to skip.
Air New Zealand's Airpoints frequent flyers will enjoy have access to Qantas Clubs around Australia under the newly-forged alliance between the two airlines.
As of October 28, 2018, Airpoints Elite and Gold members booked on a codeshare flight with Qantas will find the doors swing open for them at the two dozen Qantas Club lounges in Australia's capital cities and regional centres. They'll also be permitted to bring in one guest.
But it won't be as easy as flashing your shiny Airpoints card, as the following conditions apply:
- you have to be travelling on a domestic Qantas flight
- it has to be booked under the Air New Zealand codeshare (those flight numbers will be in the NZ7xxx range)
- and this must be booked as part of a trans-Tasman booking
This arrangement replaces Airpoints access to Virgin Australia lounges following the dramatic bust-up between the two former allies.
However, there appears to be no Qantas Club lounge access for Koru Club members, nor can AirNZ frequent flyers cool their heels in the more upmarket Qantas Business lounges.
The Qantas / Air New Zealand alliance covers selected flights on the domestic network of each airline, however trans-Tasman and other international flights are excluded from the arrangement.
Cathay Pacific will roll out its new 'business class dining concept' this month, with the meal service taking a step closer to a first class experience.
Meals will be individually plated and delivered to passengers by hand rather than by trolley, as the airline adopts more personalised and upmarket approach.
Cathay also expects this will result in a "quieter and calmer cabin environment", especially on late night flights.
Passengers will have a choice between three appetisers and "up to six main course choices" on flights over ten hours in the initial launch of the service to the likes of Chicago (on July 30), London/Gatwick (in August) followed by Frankfurt, Manchester and Washington DC (September); Amsterdam, Paris and Johannesburg (October), Madrid, Brussels and Barcelona (November) and London/Heathrow (December).
And, being very much on trend, light and healthy 'wellbeing options' feature in every main course.
On flights from Hong Kong the menu will be changed every month, with a quarterly menu refresh for flights to Hong Kong.
Fights from Hong Kong (but not, for now, the return leg) will also see a new range of Hong Kong Favourites inspired by local dishes, such as
- Hong Kong char siu pork with egg noodles, seasoned soy sauce, spring onion and ginger (shown below)
- Wok fried seafood in lobster soup with ginger, spring onion, crispy and steamed rice
- Beef brisket with flat rice noodle soup
- Mango with pomelo and sago
But before all that eatings starts, business class passengers will notice the new-look menus.
Printed as eight pages on quality paper, they not only detail the meals and drinks available on that flight but include foodie-friendly articles such as 'Anatomy of a Laksa' and feature a local chef revealing their favourite eateries both in Hong Kong and around thr world.
There will also be a breakfast menu card which passengers will complete before hitting the hay, so that they can wake to what the airline described as a "hotel room-service" experience.
However, these are set menus rather than allowing travellers to pick-and-mix from a wide selection of items.
In addition to what's described as 'traditional' Chinese and Western breakfasts, there's also a lighter Continental breakfast plus a minimalist Express breakfast of a piece of pastry and a drink, which can be served 60 minutes before landing for passengers who wish to maximise their sleep.
Refreshments will be revamped as a selection of 'most loved dishes' available throughout the flight as a snack between meals on services to North America and Europe, including the airline's signature burger and popular soup noodles. These will also appear on the main meal menu.
Next year will see Cathay's 'new business class dining concept' extend to medium-distance routes, with plans to include Sydney and Auckland in February 2019 and Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Adelaide and Perth in May 2019.
Very few watches can claim true originality, and the Cartier Santos is among those few.
The Santos made its debut way back in 1904 as a personal timepiece for aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, making it both the first pilot’s watch and one of the earliest known men’s wristwatches.
As we've previously detailed, the Santos was borne from a request by Brazilian flyer Santos-Dumont, who told his friend Louis Cartier – then a Parisian watchmaker – of the challenge of timing flights using the then-conventional pocket watch, as pilots needed to keep both hands on the aircraft controls.
In response, Cartier designed a large square-faced watch and fitted it to a strap so it could be worn on the wrist – quite a revolutionary concept at the time.
The first commercial Cartier Santos watches went on sale to the public in 1911 with solid gold cases and ultra-thin mechanical movements designed by French clockmaker Edmond Jaeger.
(In order to produce this movement for Cartier, Jaeger worked with Swiss movement manufacturer Jacques-David LeCoultre, a partnership that would lead to the birth of storied brand Jaeger-LeCoultre.)
The enduring design of the Cartier Santos was reimagined in the late 1970s as a luxury steel sports watch, later adding two-tone steel and gold and the now-iconic screwed bezel with exposed gold screws along the bracelet for a modern, industrial aesthetic.
For 2018, Cartier has once again re-invented the Santos.
The distinctive screw-set bezel now tapers at both ends towards the bracelet to create an organic, integrated look.
The satin-brushed case features a wide mirror-polished bevel along its length, extending all the way to the gracefully curved crown guards at 3 o’clock. A square watch the Santos may be, but there’s hardly a sharp edge or straight line to be found.
The case has been slimmed dramatically from previous incarnations of the Santos, allowing this watch to disappear easily under a shirt cuff when needed.
The bracelet is fitted with a new 'QuickSwitch' system allowing for easy swapping with the included tan calfskin strap or Cartier’s alternative crocodile straps, providing some style versatility.
Adding or removing bracelet links has also been made easier with a new 'SmartLink' design which allows the wearer to expand the bracelet during a hot summer’s day without requiring a tool.
While the bezel, case and bracelet have all been modernised, the dial remains classic Cartier. With Roman numerals, a railroad minute-track and heat-blued hands, it’s hard to imagine a more traditional look.
The 2018 Cartier Santos can serve dress-watch and sports-watch duties equally well, and boasts a history that few timepieces can match.
• In-house mechanical movement with automatic winding
• Seven-sided crown set with a faceted synthetic spinel
• Silvered opaline dial, blued-steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal
• Water-resistant to 10 bar (approximately 100 metres)
• Medium version case width: 35.1 mm, thickness: 8.83 mm
• Large version case width: 39.8 mm, thickness: 9.08 mm
• Pricing from A$8,750 for the Cartier Santos Medium in steel, to A$52,500 for the Cartier Santos Large in solid pink gold with matching pink gold bracelet. For stockists, visit www.au.cartier.com.
Finnair will launch inflight Internet on its European flights this week, with travellers able to enjoy the high-speed satellite service free of charge during a two-month trial period running through to the end of September.
The Oneworld airline has already outfitted six of its single-aisle Airbus jets with technology provided through partner Viasat, which also provided the backbone for Qantas' Australia-wide WiFi system.
By the end of northern summer some 20 aircraft will be upgraded, with Finnair's entire single-aisle Airbus fleet slated for WiFi by mid-2019.
The system will be available on a gate-to-gate basis, so passengers won't even need to wait for their jet to reach level flight – which will maximise time online for many of Finnair's relatively short European hops.
However, parts of some European routes will present black spots to the satellite network, including above the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea, while some restrictions also apply over Latvia, Lithuania, parts of Belarus and Russia.
Over the two-month testing period Finnair intends to "gather information on system functionality and feedback on the overall customer experience."
"In entering the passenger testing phase, we’ll be gaining the critical insights needed to further optimise our service to ensure Finnair customers get a unique experience built around their needs, interests and usage behaviours," explains Viasat vice-president Don Buchman.
The airline has yet to reveal what pricing it will charge for its sky-high WiFi once the trial period ends, although frequent flyers will no doubt hope that some sort of monthly pass is available as an alternative to paying on a per-flight basis.
Finnair already offers WiFi on its long-range 'intercontinental' jets, with the first hour free for business class and Finnair Plus Gold members, then €3 (A$4.70) for three hours or €20 (A$31) for the entire flight. Finnair Plus Platinum frequent flyers are provided with free Internet access for the whole flight.