FLYING HIGH


Our editor-in-chief Peter Lynch settled into the copious leather seats of Singapore Airlines First Class for a flight to remember.

Jo is keen to press me on the menu. When would I like dinner? And why not have both lobster and caviar to start?

Dessert? Have the chocolate delice and the walnut dacquoise with praline mousse. After all, Matt Moran recommends both.


If this is how the other half lives, I can see why they wear that self-satisfied smirk. It really is another world.


I had wafted past the usual queues at customs and, after a brief pause for duck pancakes and a glass of Veuve at the first-class lounge (the laksa is a speciality I also heartily recommend), I walk through a totally empty gate to my pod at the pointy end of my Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Sydney to Singapore.


My seat has all the hallmarks of being something special. Seat 1A has to be almost on top of the pilot, right? And indeed, it is the first seat in first class. Truly the pointy end – if there is such a thing in today’s modern aviation.


Cabin steward Ronnie is first on the scene with a very important question: Krug or Dom?


Like Jo, he has a simple solution on any sign of hesitation. “Try both,” he smiles. I opt for Dom. Taking both champagnes on offer seems, well, a little gauche.


And while I don’t mind trying two starters – especially when its caviar and lobster – two desserts seems just too indulgent.


I opt for marinated lobster with mint peas and lemon powder to start. I am beginning to feel like the Sultan of Brunei. There are 8 first-class seats on my flight and I am the only first-class passenger. No wonder Jo and Ronnie are keen for me to try everything.

SIA also operates the 777-300ER, which has just four first-class seats. The airline is putting some serious marketing behind its first-class offering, believing that well-heeled passengers have had enough of budget airlines. Cruise passengers are prime targets – a fair percentage who travel to Europe upgrade. And that makes them fair game for First or even Suite Class.


Sadly, we are aboard a Boeing 777-300. No suites and no upper deck. But I do get a seat 10 inches (25cm) wider than business class and with a pitch twice that of economy. The important question: is it worth it?


SIA’s First Class from Sydney to Singapore starts from S$4345; Business Class from S$2655; Premium Economy from S$1500; and Economy Class from S$575.

I opt for an early dinner as the thought of a flat bed and sleep is looking better than movies such as Hail, Caesar! and Eddie the Eagle (OK, I did take this flight a while ago).


But I must say it’s wonderful to be looking at a screen almost the size of my Samsung at home while Jo fusses over my magazines and tosses my lobster, ordered online through the superbly efficient Book the Cook program, which offers 13 pre-ordered dishes.


Matt Moran is one of SIA’s panel of chefs. His lobster starter is sensational: the slices served with pea and lemon are perfect.


I’ve already been given socks, slippers and warm nuts. My goodie bag is all Lalique – Lalique candle, scented soap, lip balm and body lotion.


That flat bed is looking inviting and we have another five hours to go.

Jo makes up the bed on another seat and offers pyjamas. My Bose noise-cancelling headphones are looking tempting. And this is where the value lies, so to speak.

Flat beds are not new. But they do make a big difference. I sleep soundly, only woken by Jo for coffee and a light snack before we land.


Normally, melatonin and a stiff Scotch sends me off to sleep with the noise-cancelling headphones strapped to my ears, a mask over my eyes and a blanket over my head. It cuts out the noise of those merry youngsters found on almost every flight these days. But this time, bliss – I just slept. And slept.


As flights go, this was a smooth operation with lots of luxe. But then, I’ve been flying SIA for three decades, and it is almost always a smooth, efficient experience.


Of course, the service in First Class was way more attentive, the food was good, the champagne lovely, the seat spacious and the entertainment system worked well.


But SIA’s First Class is up against its own excellent service in all parts of the plane. Business Class is a terrific experience – particularly the Upper Deck of an A380, my all-time favourite place in the air.


Many airlines such as Emirates – and, on some routes, Singapore too – are considering scrapping first class for more business and premium-economy seating.


If money is no object, then sleeping on a fully flat bed in complimentary pyjamas after a dinner of Matt Moran lobster is certainly special. And having Jo and Ronnie attend to my every whim was nice. But you know what they say: if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it.

For the return to Sydney, I returned to my habitual location – aisle seat in economy. My lobster was replaced with braised chicken and Chinese herbs and fish fillet with Thai yellow sauce. As usual, it was fine. SIA is one of the few airlines I trust with a fish dish, and they invariably get it just right.


Admittedly, the entertainment screen in economy had shrunk to the size of an Apple watch, and legroom was a tight 32 inches (81cm).


But the price difference is more than $3,500. Never has the time-honoured phrase been more apposite: You pay your money and take your choice.

The verdict

Of course, if you can afford it, Jo and Ronnie are worth the extra just for the personal service they dispense. In fact, if I could have afforded it, I would have taken them with me. This was possibly one of the most relaxing flights I’ve ever had – and I arrived refreshed.


For more visit singaporeair.com

FLYING HIGH


Our editor-in-chief Peter Lynch settled into the copious leather seats of Singapore Airlines First Class for a flight to remember.

Jo is keen to press me on the menu. When would I like dinner? And why not have both lobster and caviar to start?

Dessert? Have the chocolate delice and the walnut dacquoise with praline mousse. After all, Matt Moran recommends both.


If this is how the other half lives, I can see why they wear that self-satisfied smirk. It really is another world.


I had wafted past the usual queues at customs and, after a brief pause for duck pancakes and a glass of Veuve at the first-class lounge (the laksa is a speciality I also heartily recommend), I walk through a totally empty gate to my pod at the pointy end of my Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Sydney to Singapore.


My seat has all the hallmarks of being something special. Seat 1A has to be almost on top of the pilot, right? And indeed, it is the first seat in first class. Truly the pointy end – if there is such a thing in today’s modern aviation.


Cabin steward Ronnie is first on the scene with a very important question: Krug or Dom?


Like Jo, he has a simple solution on any sign of hesitation. “Try both,” he smiles. I opt for Dom. Taking both champagnes on offer seems, well, a little gauche.


And while I don’t mind trying two starters – especially when its caviar and lobster – two desserts seems just too indulgent.


I opt for marinated lobster with mint peas and lemon powder to start. I am beginning to feel like the Sultan of Brunei. There are 8 first-class seats on my flight and I am the only first-class passenger. No wonder Jo and Ronnie are keen for me to try everything.

SIA also operates the 777-300ER, which has just four first-class seats. The airline is putting some serious marketing behind its first-class offering, believing that well-heeled passengers have had enough of budget airlines. Cruise passengers are prime targets – a fair percentage who travel to Europe upgrade. And that makes them fair game for First or even Suite Class.


Sadly, we are aboard a Boeing 777-300. No suites and no upper deck.

But I do get a seat 10 inches (25cm) wider than business class and with a pitch twice that of economy. The important question: is it worth it?


SIA’s First Class from Sydney to Singapore starts from S$4345; Business Class from S$2655; Premium Economy from S$1500; and Economy Class from S$575.

I opt for an early dinner as the thought of a flat bed and sleep is looking better than movies such as Hail, Caesar! and Eddie the Eagle (OK, I did take this flight a while ago).


But I must say it’s wonderful to be looking at a screen almost the size of my Samsung at home while Jo fusses over my magazines and tosses my lobster, ordered online through the superbly efficient Book the Cook program, which offers 13 pre-ordered dishes.


Matt Moran is one of SIA’s panel of chefs. His lobster starter is sensational: the slices served with pea and lemon are perfect.


I’ve already been given socks, slippers and warm nuts. My goodie bag is all Lalique – Lalique candle, scented soap, lip balm and body lotion.


That flat bed is looking inviting and we have another five hours to go. Jo makes up the bed on another seat and offers pyjamas. My Bose noise-cancelling headphones are looking tempting. And this is where the value lies, so to speak.

Flat beds are not new. But they do make a big difference. I sleep soundly, only woken by Jo for coffee and a light snack before we land.


Normally, melatonin and a stiff Scotch sends me off to sleep with the noise-cancelling headphones strapped to my ears, a mask over my eyes and a blanket over my head. It cuts out the noise of those merry youngsters found on almost every flight these days. But this time, bliss – I just slept. And slept.


As flights go, this was a smooth operation with lots of luxe. But then, I’ve been flying SIA for three decades, and it is almost always a smooth, efficient experience.


Of course, the service in First Class was way more attentive, the food was good, the champagne lovely, the seat spacious and the entertainment system worked well.


But SIA’s First Class is up against its own excellent service in all parts of the plane. Business Class is a terrific experience – particularly the Upper Deck of an A380, my all-time favourite place in the air.


Many airlines such as Emirates – and, on some routes, Singapore too – are considering scrapping first class for more business and premium-economy seating.


If money is no object, then sleeping on a fully flat bed in complimentary pyjamas after a dinner of Matt Moran lobster is certainly special. And having Jo and Ronnie attend to my every whim was nice. But you know what they say: if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it.

For the return to Sydney, I returned to my habitual location – aisle seat in economy. My lobster was replaced with braised chicken and Chinese herbs and fish fillet with Thai yellow sauce. As usual, it was fine. SIA is one of the few airlines I trust with a fish dish, and they invariably get it just right.


Admittedly, the entertainment screen in economy had shrunk to the size of an Apple watch, and legroom was a tight 32 inches (81cm).


But the price difference is more than $3,500. Never has the time-honoured phrase been more apposite: You pay your money and take your choice.

The verdict

Of course, if you can afford it, Jo and Ronnie are worth the extra just for the personal service they dispense. In fact, if I could have afforded it, I would have taken them with me. This was possibly one of the most relaxing flights I’ve ever had – and I arrived refreshed.


For more visit singaporeair.com