Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3, Singapore – Malé


There are many ways to get to the Maldives. Typically, from our home in North America, the typical routes are through the Middle East on Turkish, Emirates or Etihad. Thanks to some available award availability, we were lucky to get some award space on Singapore Airlines departing from Singapore Changi International Airport on their Airbus 330-3 business class product. While it wasn’t the most up to date business class offering, it was great to be able to take a spin through Singapore on the way to the Maldives.

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.

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Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3, Singapore Changi – Malé Ibrahim Nasir International Airport 

“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”

After years of traveling to Singapore, I had always looked on the flight information display screens after landing at Singapore Changi International Airport and had always noticed the departure listing of the Singapore Airlines SQ452 flight from Singapore to Male popping out at me from the middle of the screen. In the nineties, I had no idea of where Male was but it sure sounded exotic. Sometime in early 2000, when I later learned it was the Maldives, it made the destination seem even more appealing and before I knew it, I was yearning to visit. That dream was to become a reality today with the opportunity to fly SQ452 from Singapore to the Maldives. The flight never used to be available on Star Alliance miles. Now, thanks to a proliferation of carriers flying there from both the Middle East, Asia and others, Singapore Airlines no longer has a strong hold on capacity to and from the island, that they may have had in times past.

Singapore Airlines Male Flight Information Sign

Leaving the enclave of the Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Changi Terminal 2 lounge, at about T-45, we headed to Gate F54. As most are probably aware, Singapore Changi Airport completes security immediately prior to the entering the holding lounge. On arrival, they were already boarding the aircraft in another example of Singaporean efficiency. As we were in line at the security screening check point, we were cut off by some excited Chinese mothers rushing to catch up with members of their party, shrieking Cantonese or some other similar language across the reception as they cut in front of us without a thought and wiggled their way in front of us into the security screening line. Travelling in Asia, is at the very least entertaining.

Singapore Airlines Gate F 52 holding gate
Singapore Airlines
Business Class
SIN – MLE (Singapore Changi Airport – Ibrahim Nasir International Airport )
SQ 452 – Business Class (I) 
8:45 PM – 10:10 PM
April 8, 2015
Booked: Airbus 330
Flown: Airbus 330-300

On Board Singapore Airlines Business Class:

We boarded the aircraft using double door jet bridge. Again, we were identified by name on arrival to the aircraft and personally escorted to our seats. 

On board, we settled into the now familiar, 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 Business Class A330-3 Seats
Singapore Airlines A330-3 Business Class Seats
Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3 Cabin in 2-2-2 Configuration
Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3 Space
Singapore Airlines A330-3 Business Class Cabin
View of the Bulkhead Seats

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 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. Today’s flight offered slippers in an unusually shaped bag. 

Singapore Airlines Slippers Bag
Slippers: with a slightly low rent throwaway bag

Pre Departure Beverage Services:

We were offered another pre departure beverage of champagne, iced tea, water or orange juice. We opted for the champagne once again. We were again thirsty and received a refill while still on the ground. 

Pre Departure Beverage: Charles Heinseick Champagne

We had a view out the window of the Singapore Airlines Changi Airport Ground Operations, with many SQ planes parked nearby.


The Meal: “Book the Cook” – A Personalized Full Dinner

We were underway quickly with a take off on runway 02. It wasn’t long before the cocktail offering came around. I broke with tradition and went with the gin martini on offer on the cocktail menu.

Singapore Airlines Classic Gin Martini

We both used the Singapore Airlines “Book the Cook” feature. Instead of over the top Lobster Thermador, I went with a seared nut crushed veal fillet, designed by Singapore Airlines International Culinary Panel Chef Carlo Cracco. Wow – that’s a long title! I have personally found that Lobster doesn’t really travel well into an aircraft so I went with the western choice.

Singapore Airlines Regular Business Class Menu
Singapore Airlines Business Class Menu SIN-MLE

The wines were the exactly the same set as from our previously flown Singapore Airlines Business Class Ho Chi Minh – Singapore flight. They are re-produced here as follows.

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

The supper service started with the traditional lovely satay; a staple of the Singapore Airlines Business Class menu.

Satay with Onion, cucumber and Spicy Peanut Sauce

I enjoyed the appetizer Prawn Salad Caesar salad, with parmesan cheese and crouton. I paired this with the white Spy Valley Sauvingon Blanc white wine.

Prawn Caesar salad with Romaine, Parmesan Cheese, and Crouton
Super Tasty
Seared nut crushed veal fillet, with roasted asparagus

After dinner, I switched to red wine for dessert (not an actual pairing). I wasn’t able to resist the strawberry ice cream. 

Strawberry Ice Cream with sauce (and red wine)

After the dinner service was completed, I spent some time with the Singapore Airlines in flight entertainment system KrisWorld. I spent the time watching Liam Neeson rocking it out in Taken 3. Meanwhile, MrsWT73 entertained me with images of a delicatessen in India (under the “Next Destination”) 

Maldives Landing Card

I napped for a little bit after a long day. I had an onboard cappuccino but it was no match for my fatigue by this point.

Singapore Airlines Cappuccino Service and a Chocolate

As in the past, we arrived promptly and straight into Male, Maldives without any holding pattern. 


Arriving to Malé Ibrahim Nasir International Airport:

As in the past, we arrived promptly and straight into Male, Maldives without any holding pattern. Being that the Maldives is in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t a lot of connecting traffic.

Flight Path into Malé

We arrived to non gate position. We were among the very first off seated in 12A and 12C by the front door. It was always cool to see aircraft scattered around the apron on ground here.

Malaysian Airlines & Bangkok Airways Narrowbodies on the Ground at MLE
Singapore Airlines A-330-3 on the ramp at Malé

We entered the arrival’s hall, which is now looking a bit dated. We were among the last planes to arrive tonight.

MLE Nasir Ibrahim Arrivals Hall: Baggage Claim
Male Arrivals / Departures Information Screen

Our experience on Singapore Airlines Business Class A330-3:

The dream of flying Singapore Airlines to the Maldives was made a reality today. It was a super comfortable way to get to the Maldives. As always, Singapore offered terrific service and a professional attitude. It was a very comfortable way to get here. Like in our last flight. the other aspects of the service were professional and attentive. Singapore Airlines sure sets the standard leagues ahead of many of the North American carriers when it comes to service and making a flight pleasant and enjoyable.

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

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