Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3, Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat – Singapore


In order to depart Vietnam, we were fortunate enough to find some reward availability on Singapore Airlines Business Class. Singapore Airlines award availability is tough to come by and I’ve generally found the greatest success is on regional flights of less than four hours within Asia. Singapore Airlines typically uses their Airbus 330-3 product for these flights. As a result, this review showcases our experience on our short flight between Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore.

This post is one chapter on our third Round the World trip via South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, the Maldives and India. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport (World of Hyatt) loyalty programs. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow us here or on social media through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more travel tips and hacks on how to “Upgrade Your Travels”.

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Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3, Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat – Singapore Changi

“Singapore Airlines Business Class positions itself as a premium regional carrier in South East Asia offering excellent service and quality food and beverage, with the occasional low rent touch”

At T-45, we left the SQ Lounge offering of The Fin Bar and we headed down to Gate 20. It was already busy and we opted to line up at the gate. I would have waited off to the side, but I figured there would be the usual crush for the gate and indeed, there wasn’t any way of getting to priority boarding when it was called. Singapore Air announced Business Class, PPS and Star Gold boarding was announced with “World Wrestling Federation” style sign being paraded around the boarding area. 

Singapore Airlines
Business Class
SGN – SIN (Tan Son Nhat International Airport – Singapore Changi Airport)
SQ 185 – Business Class (I) 
7:45 PM – 10:40 PM 
April 7, 2015
Booked: Airbus 330
Flown: Airbus 330-300

On Board Singapore Airlines Business Class:

Our flight today featured double bridge jet way boarding with a left turn for business class. On board, we settled in with the somewhat dated, but functional A330 seating. The configuration in business class is 2-2-2, which is great for travelling with a partner, but not so great if you want privacy and personal space if travelling by yourself.

Singapore Airlines kept to it’s promise about keeping the cabin intimate and exclusive with a very light load of 11/30 today. Singapore Airlines doesn’t typically upgrade into it’s business class cabins and prefers to keep the business class cabin quiet and peaceful, wherever possible.

Singapore Airlines Business Class Angle Flat A330-3 Seat
Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3 Cabin in 2-2-2 Configuration
Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3 Space
Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3 Cabin
Singapore Airlines A330-3 Business Class Cabin

The seat itself is an angle flat variety. As always, angle flats are very comfortable for relaxing, but not so comfortable for sleeping since you tend to slide down the seat. Fortunately, these Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-3 tend to make up mostly short to medium haul regional flying in the Singapore Airlines network, so your likelihood of getting stuck on one of these for an overnight flight is pretty minimal. The seat controls are contained hidden in the arm rest, and include an individual reading light and call buttons.

Seat Controls with Lumbar Support

The seat itself offered an individual entertainment monitor, along with a storage compartments and magazine racks.

The In Flight Entertainment System:

Individual Seat Monitors

The in flight entertainment was adjusted through a wired remote control. In terms of design, I tend to find my hips easily bump these buttons in flight, causing a channel or display change when the controls are stored next to your hip. It’s one thing for short flights when you’re not likely to get fidgety, but on longer flights, I tend to shift around a bit, making the design of arm rests in the walls of chairs to be a little problematic for me.

A Wired Remote for the Entertainment Controls

I played around with the Advanced Video on Demand (AVOD) system. Singapore Airlines calls their in flight entertainment system KrisWorld. There was a substantial amount of movies available on offer. Singapore Airlines was among the first to offer Advanced Video on Demand and they have stayed current with a massive inventory of movies and other entertainment.

A detailed flight map
Kris World: Amply stocked with a selection of movies

Flight Amenities Provided: A Blanket and a Pillow, with no Amenity Kit

On arrival waiting on the seat for us were a blanket and pillow. As with other Singapore Airlines Business Class flights, no amenity kit was offered. Supplies of toothbrushes and soaps are available in the Business Class washroom. While it is an different way to go than other airlines, I can’t say I missed an amenity kit on a short two hour flight like this one.  

Pre Departure Beverage Services:

A pre departure beverage was offered of water, orange juice or Charles Heinseick Champagne. We both opted for the champagne, which was properly chilled. The champagne was topped up with the bottle, at the seat prior to take off. Singapore Airlines, delivering on their high quality standards, called us by surname at each and every contact for the duration of the flight. 

Pre Departure Charles Heinseick Champagne

While we were enjoying our pre-flight beverage, I happened to notice that there was a Russian transport jet sitting next to us on the apron. The Vietnamese English newspaper reported that the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvidev was in town on SE Asian commerce tour. It seems his logistics team might have brought his supplies or a car? 

Russian Transport Planes on the Apron at SGN

The Meal: A Full Dinner

While we were waiting to depart, Dinner Menus were distributed. There was an ample selection of food and wine. As a side note, I find the font on the menus on Singapore Airlines to be attractive and appealing. 

SQ Business Class Dinner Menu
SQ Dinner Menu SGN – SIN

The wines were of reasonable quality and attractively presented with images of the labels. The images are small touches, but nice for memories’ sake and ease of recognition.. 

SQ Wine List: Champagne and White Wine
SQ Wine List, Red Wines and Port

Dinner service started with a cocktail and some nuts. The nuts were wrapped in plastic (as opposed to being served on a dish), which was a bit of a low rent touch for an airlines that markets itself as a premium carrier.

Champagne and Almonds

I wasn’t too hungry after the meal at FIN, but I took one for the team and went with the full meal. The first course was a Vietnamese papaya and lotus salad with prawn. 

Vietnamese Lotus Salad with Papaya and Prawn

For the main course, I went with the Baked Barramundi Fillet, with spinach, carrots and polenta with espelette pepper sauce.

Baked Barramundi Fillet, with spinach, carrots and polenta with espelette pepper sauce.

This was paired (by myself and not on a recommendation by any expert celebrity chef) with the Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc. It was a reasonably good pairing and an enjoyable dinner.

After dinner service, we were almost at our destination of Singapore. We were issued a landing card along with usual in flight announcement about warnings related to drug trafficking. 

On Approach to Singapore Changi

Arriving to Singapore Changi International Airport:

We approached this interesting part of the world. We promptly landed at Singapore Changi with the usual Singapore welcome announcement: 

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Singapore. And for Singaporeans and residents, welcome home.”

The announcement is always a nice way to arrive to Singapore. We arrived to Changi Terminal Number 3. The newest terminal at Singapore Changi Terminal Three is an impressive facility that has the right amount of open space, functionality and inspiring spaces in order to allow for a peaceful experience.

Arriving to Singapore Changi Terminal Three

There was no line at Singapore Arrival immigration tonight. As in my past experience at Changi, our bags were on the baggage claim belt before we were able to get to them. This always happens whenever I pass through here and I wish it would happen at more places. I don’t know how they do it. 

Changi International Airport Terminal Three Baggage Claim
Changi International Airport: Green Walls add Personality to the Island City

Our experience on Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3:

Singapore Airlines was a great way to get around South East Asia. It’s one of the few carriers where I’ve been called by name at almost each and every single service contact. In addition the personal service, other aspects of the service were professional and attentive. Add to this some great food and beverage and above average catering, a wide body equipment type on every Singapore Airlines route, and you have a winning combination. There was the occasional low rent touch; no amenity kits were provided and the almonds were delivered in sealed bags instead of a dish. It was fairly easy to get over these things and they weren’t critical failures.

It was a very positive experience overall and I’d look forward to my next flight with them shortly.

If you’ve flown Singapore Airlines Business Class regional, what was your experience like?

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