Flying on Singapore Airlines A350 in the extra legroom seat

With my first A350 flight not too long ago, I did not expect myself to fly onboard another A350 so soon again. Long story short, this trip arises from the need to get to Shanghai for some work. And since it was end of the year and my Dad has some miles leftover on his Krisflyer account, I decided to redeem a flight in Economy from Jakarta to Shanghai via Singapore. Usually I am a proponent for redeeming miles in higher cabin classes as I find it makes more sense in terms of value. Though the schedule and with Singapore Airlines on a regional flight, I thought the Economy class was the best fit. And thus my flight out to Shanghai will be on an A350 and a 777-300ER, while the return flight will be on the A380, terminating at Singapore.

Seatback monitor
Seatback onboard Singapore Airlines’ A350

Since I have flown with SQ from Jakarta, I knew there would not be any queue. As such I arrived slightly more than an hour before the flight was scheduled. After all I was not expecting at lounge access. The speedy check-in and lack of travellers on this particular day meant I was airside trying to kill time. That was when I used my credit cards to gain complimentary lounge access at the Emerald Sky Lounge.

Lounge interior
Inside Emerald Sky Lounge at Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta airport
Space inside the lounge
Seating space inside the lounge
Emerald Sky Lounge
Emerald Sky Lounge interior

There was some food in the lounge but the quality of the dishes were much to be desired. I had taken one of the ‘Nasi Bakar’, or grilled rice wrapped in banana leaf. This snack is usually rich in fillings and taste but the one in the lounge was filled mainly with rice that I just nibbled on the fillings. Other than that, I was just satisfied to have a space to wait for my flight and get some beverages.

Minute fillings
Minute fillings for the grilled rice

Because it turns out we would be delayed in boarding due to late arrival of aircraft. That meant that as I proceed to the security which is just before the gates, I still had time to snap some photos of the aircraft and the distinctive windows indicate it is going to be an A350.

Singapore Airlines A350
Nose cone of Singapore Airlines A350

SQ957 Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta CGK – Singapore Changi SIN
STD-STA: 1115-1400
Actual: 1159-1412
Airbus A350-900 9V-SMC
Gate D1 Seat 48K

Boarding seems to be a bit rushed this time around due to the delay. Not only could Economy class board at the same time rather than by segments, but it was also called nearly immediately after premium and elites were called. As a premium airline, there was a tray with a wide selection of newspapers before boarding the plane and something that I hope Singapore Airlines keep.

Economy Class cabin on the A350
Economy Class cabin on the A350

The boarding pass was checked again by the plane door and the crew welcomed passengers by their surname. Very nice welcome indeed for an Economy class. Stepping inside, the ambience of the aircraft was soothing which is something I always enjoy when flying with them. For this flight, I had paid a bit more fees to be seated in the special aisle seat row. Seat 48A and the corresponding 48K have no other seat in front of it and is located beside the window. That meant it is probably the only Economy class seat to get both ‘aisle’ access and window view. That would be great for a long haul journey!

View from Seat 48K
View from Seat 48K

As I got settled down, I noticed the Christmas decor inside the cabin along with relaxing festive music to suit the season. These little touches makes it a joy indeed since many of Singapore Airlines’ customers are expected to fly with them during the holiday season.

Christmas decor on the A350
Christmas decor on the A350

For some reason, the row I was seated was quite empty and I had the whole row of 3 seats to myself which marked a great start to the flight. Once all the passengers were on board, the Captain came online to mention congestion in Singapore as a reason for the late arrival and promised to do all he can to bring us up to speed on the return journey. The crew also came around to offer hot towels as the standard in all Economy class flights onboard Singapore Airlines.

Hot towel service
Hot towel service

While taxiing to the runway, I noted one drawback of this special legroom seat – the entertainment screen was stowed underneath the seat and could not be used straight away. On my past flight on a standard Economy class seat, I was able to watch a movie with the supplied headset while waiting on the ground.

View of the A350 wing
View of the A350 wing

Take-off was quite quick even though delays are common due to Jakarta’s outdated airport infrastructure. A clear weather meant it was a beautiful view over Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands group) and that kept me occupied for the first 10 minutes after take-off.

Over Pulau Seribu
Over Pulau Seribu

Once we started cruising, I switched to the inflight entertainment and it was great to enjoy KrisWorld as I find they have the most complete variety of entertainment options and has a easy to navigate menu interface.

Krisworld Entertainment
Krisworld entertainment home page

Soon, it was time for lunch and the options were fish with potatoes or lamb with rice. I picked the former and had a relatively filling lunch even though it consisted of a small main portion with a side dessert of a chocolate mousse cake. There was a canister of drinking water and orange juice while coffee, tea and other soft drinks were offered during the meal service. Passengers could also pick from some wines or the legendary Singapore Sling cocktail. As far as Economy class service goes, it is difficult to match Singapore Airlines’ for sheer variety and quality.

Fish with potatoes
Fish with potatoes

Service by the crew were very cordial throughout the flight and the light loads certainly helped to make the rest of the journey peaceful. I was able to relax in peace and continue with my movie before we started our descent. There was a bit of a roundabout as we made our way towards Changi Airport by passing through the western end of Batam Island in Indonesia.

Flying past Batam
Flying past Batam

Our landing gave me a good view of the nearby golf courses at the south of Changi Airport, and it was a fitting end to another good flight with Singapore Airlines. As usual, the captain announced our arrival into the city state and welcomed back its residents while thanking the rest of us for flying with Singapore Airlines.

Golf course view on descent
Golf course view on descent

While we did regain some lost time, the flight still landed a bit later than usual though with a layover of more than 2 hours I was not in any hurry since Changi Airport is a great place for a transit or layover. Landing in this great airport with such a great airline is what makes the pleasure in flying, even in Economy class!

Christmas decor
Cabin view with seat 48K in the focus

The light loads and the amazing seat with both an aisle and window certainly added to my enjoyment in this flight. While I redeemed miles for this flight, it makes the whole journey even more worth it in my view. All in all, it was another plus for flying with Singapore Airlines and the new A350 could just make short haul flights more special due to the novelty factor. In the end a new plane beats flying an old 777 right?

SQ Airbus A350
Airbus A350 at Changi
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