Whenever I get to travel in Business Class for work, I always count my blessings. That’s because I appreciate a seat that converts into a flat bed, especially if it is a long haul flight that is more than eight hours.
When I was invited in March this year to embark on a journey to Düsseldorf onboard Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A350-900XWB aircraft in business class, I was excited. And I was also going to stay at the Capella Breidenbacher Hof which is part of the Capella brand of hotels from Singapore. And I was looking forward to trying the Altbiers that Düsseldorf is famous for.
The last time I flew on Singapore Airlines in business class was in 2017 when I was upgraded from Premium Economy to Business Class because it was full in Economy and Premium Economy. I was headed to Berlin for Zeiss Future of Optics Convention on a flight via Frankfurt. Singapore Airlines operated its Airbus A380 with the older business class seats between Singapore and Frankfurt.
Armed with my Canon 5D MK IV, my Sigma 12 -24mm & 35mm art lens and Aputure Amaron F7-LED light, I was determined to document my inflight experience on the A350. When I retrieved the photos from my memory card, they were mostly food and drink photos. You now know what matters to me when I fly, and of course a good night’s rest.
Your Private Space
The seats in Business Class may not be as private as the suites in first class which is not available in this A350 aircraft. It is still a big enough personal space with some privacy. Must as well enjoy your personal space if you are going to be flying for 13 hours. I was seated in seat 21K with a window view.
There are 42 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration in Business Class on the A350-900XWB aircraft serving the Singapore-Düsseldorf route. Singapore Airlines launched flights on this route in July 2016 and flies four times weekly.
For takeoff and landing, you have to keep your larger belongings in the overhead compartment for most of the business class seats on this A350. That’s unless you are taking the bulkhead seats such as row 11A (read about that below for my flight back to Singapore) or seats which do not have any other seats in front of them. These type of seats also have more leg room and also mean your legs do not have to be cornered when you lie flat.
Whilst many airlines provide amenity kits or pyjamas in Business Class, Singapore Airlines has stopped this practice a long time ago. For its 70th anniversary in 2017, it gave away amenity kits featuring products by The Laundress in Business and First Class. But that has since been discontinued as well.
Very comfortable disposable slippers and eye shades are left on your seats when you board. And if you need to brush your teeth, dental kits are provided in the restrooms where shaving kits, sanitary napkins, mouth wash, hand lotion and perfume are also provided. Don’t forget to bring you other toiletries if you need and keep them under 100ml to clear airport security. Moisturiser and a lip balm is a must to counter the dry conditions in the aircraft.
I brought my own pyjamas to change into since this was going to be a long flight.
After making myself comfortable, I took out my own Sony WH-1000XM3 noise-cancelling headphones and checked out the KrisWorld inflight entertainment programmes on a very large monitor that is so many times larger than what I am usually used to in Economy class. Singapore Airlines provides headphones in Business Class as well. I just prefer to use my own.
There is an impressive selection of movies including blockbusters from Hollywood, Singapore productions, as well as other internationally produced movies. Catch up on TV programmes with box sets. I ended up watching SpiderMan Into The Spider-Verse, The Girl in The Spider’s Web and Vice (based on the life of Dick Cheney) killing 363 minutes onboard.
Or just tune into the music of various genres while you read a book. I like to tune into relaxing Jazz or Classical music and apply some of my Aesop’s Ginger Flight pulse-point therapy (a roll-on with oils of ginger root, lavender and geranium) for a calm journey.
Dining Onboard To Düsseldorf
Singapore Airline’s Book The Cook programme is available before you fly if you are travelling in Suites, First and Business Class. You can book from a list of Western and Asian main course dishes up to 24 hours before your flight.
The Classic Lobster Thermidor is a very popular choice from the Book the Cook mains. I have seen it multiple times on social media. The lobster tail is sautéed in butter, flambéed in brandy, topped with cheese and served with creamy mushroom sauce, garlic and spicy mustard and buttered asparagus.
There are also exclusive meal creations from renowned chefs from the airline’s International Culinary Panel. The panel includes names like Alfred Portale, Carlo Cracco, Georges Blanc, Matthew Moran, Sanjeev Kapoor, Suzanne Goin, Yoshihiro Murata and Zhu Jun. On average, the International These Culinary Panel chefs design about 50 new in-flight meals for the airline every year.
And in May this year, Premium Economy Class passengers can also pre-order main courses from its in-flight menu from anywhere in the Airline’s global network. This ensures that the airline does not run out of your choice when you are onboard. Just make sure you do this at least 24 hours before your flight departs. This service was previously only available for Suites, First and Business Class passengers.
SQ338 departs Singapore at 11.30 pm and arrives in Düsseldorf at 6.30 am. After takeoff, supper is served and you are offered breakfast just before landing.
I was served a smoked trout with orange wedges and fine mesclun leaves, red radish and a citrus vinaigrette as an appetiser. A selection of bread was offered and I obliged by taking a piece of warm garlic bread. Who can resist garlic bread?
I wanted something light for supper before going to bed. So I booked the cook and ordered a Seared Black Cod Fillet ‘à la Niçoise’ designed by the 52-year-old Los Angeles restauranter and Chef Suzanne Goin. Suzanne Goin runs Lucques, A.O.C and Tavern in Los Angeles and is on the SIA International Culinary Panel.
Earlier in the day, a similar Seared Black Cod fillet dish was on the meal presentation display at the SIA World Gourmet Forum held in one of the meeting rooms at Grand Hyatt Singapore. It looked slightly different from what was served on board. But nevertheless, the one served onboard still tasted marvellous.
The cod fillet was served with haricot vert, olives, kalamata olives, cherry tomato and anchovy butter. I didn’t want to stuff myself so I only polished off the fish, long beans and tomatoes. No space for the potatoes.
I paired my mains with a glass of 2017 Giant Steps Chardonnay from Yarra Valley, Australia.
There were three main course options on board. One was the Braised Beef Short Rib with cornbread pudding, sauteed spinach and smoked tomato butter, another creation of Suzanne Goin. There was also the popular Bak Chor Mee in pork broth, garnished with sliced and minced pork, pork ball, braised mushroom, fried pork lard and dried sole served with sliced red chilli. And if you prefer something healthier, there is a ‘Deliciously Wholesome’ option – the Pearl Couscous and Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Salad with Grilled Prawns and Pinenuts.
The Chendol with Coconut Ice Cream was really good. If only I had space for another bowl!
New Seasonal Menus from September 2019
Singapore Airlines is looking to introduce new seasonal menus in Suites, First Class and Business Class. The food will be prepared in a lighter cuisine style from September 2019 onwards.
At the Singapore Airlines World Gourmet Forum 2019 held in the morning of the same day I flew off to Düsseldorf, Singapore Airlines announced that it was taking in-flight wellness to new levels.
Customers are increasingly mindful about their diet and the type of ingredients that go into their meals, and using fresh produce that’s in season as well as a lighter cuisine style is becoming more important in helping health-conscious customers feel more refreshed after their flights.Mr Mak Swee Wah, SIA’s Executive Vice President Commercial
Mr Mak shared that the International Culinary Panel chefs are on board the wellness movement with their own creations to enable travellers to eat just as healthily in the air as on the ground. Seasonal menus will feature fresh in-season ingredients that offer bold flavours and textures. A lighter cuisine style such as replacing cream and butter with olive oil as a base for soups will be adopted. Lighter sauces and alternative starches such as farro, millet, bulgar and freekeh will be used.
Breakfast Prior to Landing in Düsseldorf
I had a good rest and slept comfortably under the soft comforter. The noise cancelling function on my Sony headphones was so effective, I felt as if I was sleeping on my bed at home.
When I woke up, it was time for breakfast. I had a plate of fruits, cereal with milk and the Bak Chor Mee Soup which I preordered. Was going to my last flavour of Singapore until I flew back home eight days later.
I arrived in Duüsseldorf well rested and ready to explore the city for the rest of the day.
Flying From Düsseldorf to Singapore
SQ337 departs Düsseldorf at 11 in the morning. The time in Düsseldorf is six hours behind Singapore. I picked seat 11A, the first row in the A350-900 XWB aircraft. It was a much quieter seat located behind the cockpit and galley which was equipped with one bathroom. Food preparation and service does not happen at the front galley which means it does not get noisy throughout the flight. And you also get more legroom in this row compared to the other seats in business class.
The flight back was excellent. I was served by flight attendant Cherlyn Ng who was always smiling and obliging. We spoke about the joys of travelling and also exchanged tips of luxury hotels and destinations around the world. I was fortunate to be served by Cherlyn who helped made me right at home the moment I stepped into the aircraft.
After sipping on a glass of Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve just before take off, the first dish to be served after that was Singapore Airlines’s famous Chicken and Beef Satay served. A generous serving of peanut sauce that was too wet and cucumber and onions came along with it.
Lunch’s main course was a bowl of Seafood and Rice Noodle Soup. Rice vermicelli (bee hoon) was served with prawns, fish, scallop and vegetables in a chicken broth. There was also red cut chilli. I always prefer an Asian soup dish whenever I am flying.
I picked the 2017 Weingut Huls Riesling from Mosel, Germany to pair with my lunch. This Riesling is full of apple blossom and lemon flower scent, flavours of pears and nectarines with a hint of vineyard slate.
Other mains options included a Slow Cooked Fillet of Veal, Pan Seared Lamb with Thyme Jus and a Kai Pad Med Mamung – a Thai style stir-fried chicken with cashew nut, tamarind sauce, vegetables and steamed rice.
I had to order the Chocolate Mousse Tear Drop because it looked so beautiful. It tasted as good as it looked.
Then the cheese trolley was pushed out from the galley and I had to try all the three cheeses.
The Ziegenkäse Asche is a mild goat cheese with ashes. Ashes are used to extract moisture from the cheese and can also be used to preserve the cheese. The cheese is soft and sticks to the board. that is why you see the plastic separating the cheese from the cheese board.
The other two cheeses included a Bavaria Blu and a Weinkāse. The Bavaria Blu is a blue mould cheese that is produced with the highest quality pasteurised cow’s milk from the Bavarian Alps. This soft German cheese is rich and creamy. The Weinkäse is a cheese made with local Lagrein wine and added herbs and garlic and pepper. It is from the northern Alto-Adige region of Italy near the Austrian border.
You know lunch service is complete when you are offered pralines from Johan Lafer. You spoil me silly, Singapore Airlines.
I watched a couple more animation movies to ensure that I only sleep when it is around midnight in Singapore. This way I could adjust back to Singapore’s time zone. We were going to land in Singapore at 6.15 am. That meant that I would have a whole day ahead of me after landing.
Prior to landing, breakfast was served. Didn’t want to overeat. I had a cuppa coffee, orange juice and fresh fruits and Egg Noodles with Stir-Fried Pork in Yuxiang Sauce.
The whole flight experience with Singapore Airlines has been comfortable and the inflight service was impeccable. With exemplary service from crew members like Cherlyn Ng means that you get a great unforgettable experience. I have been fortunate to have met other cabin crew in Economy Class who are friendly and helpful. There were also small thoughtful touches onboard that only meant that Singapore Airlines have thought through its execution. One such example is the headphones socket. There are two sockets, one on each side of the seat so that the headphone wires do not get in your way.
This flight experience was sponsored by Singapore Airlines, but opinions expressed here are solely that of the author.