Scott Towers, of Fat Freddys Drop flies SQ286 Auckland to Singapore.
Class: Premium Economy — which sounds fancier than it is. Singapore Airlines clearly pour all their energy into the Business and First Class cabins and there are actually only 30 seats in this section. It’s really Economy (same food and entertainment options) with some seat space, but I’ll gladly take it.
My seat: 32D, an aisle seat, which I hassle our travel agent to book for me as I like to stretch where possible and am a pretty light sleeper.
Price: Purchased during a Air New Zealand/Star Alliance online sale for a sharp price.
Flight time: 10hr 50min. We had a nice smooth run up with only a few bumps as we hit the ocean after crossing Australia.
Fellow passengers: Hey! Isn’t that the band Fat Freddy’s Drop over there! Awesome… oh, no, wait… I get to spend the next six weeks in extremely close proximity to those guys on a tour bus.
How full: Barely half of the Premium Economy seats are taken, and ahead of me I can see the same is true for Business Class. This is a good result as we all spread out as soon as we’re in the air and stagger ourselves around the available seating so no-one has to have a seat thrust back into their laps when everyone starts to nod off.
Entertainment: Good quaility screens and controls, but the usual selection of bombastic blockbusters and things featuring the “skills” of Jason Stratham and Vin Diesel. A couple of good documentaries though and nice to finally see Kiwi sensation Thomasina MackEnzie’s Leave No Trace.
The service: Attentive and friendly without being overly so.
Food and drink: Singapore itself offers such an amazing culinary experience it’s a shame that doesn’t translate to the national carrier — the selection on both fronts is pretty average to be frank.
The toilets: Small, but clean.
Luggage: Generous in the extreme; my ticket comes with two checked bags at 23kg each.
Plus an extra bag as a Koru Gold flyer. 60kg! Look out credit card!
The airport experience: Auckland Airport conducts a random evecuation drill just as I sit down in the Koru Lounge — so now I’m on edge. Thankfully, a large bed in the Crowne Plaza at Changi Airport awaits. Along with the Cantonese delights of Paradise Dynasty for dinner, also in Terminal 3.
The bottom line: I will fly again, in fact tomorrow I do it all again as I fly on to London. If you can grab the seats for a decent price then its’s probably worth the exta spend to upgrade a section. Still, I think Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy experience is a cut above.
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