Flight Review: Singapore Airlines Business A350 IAH – MAN

We flew this flight (SQ51) in June 2017. It was one of the first legs of our trip around the world. This flight was in Singapore Airlines’ Business Class on an Airbus A350.

Choosing Seats

After booking our flight, I did some research on the seating arragnments and found that the first row of seats have a full ottoman versus a little cubby “foothole” for your feet. The seats I wanted to select were 19D and 19F. I wasn’t able to select these seats online because they were blocked out so I had to call Singapore Airlines to request these seats. They were able to process this seat request without any issues.

Check In Process

Checking into our flight was easy and we even got TSA Precheck since Singapore Airlines recently joined the precheck program. Unfortunately, the TSA security line at the IAH international terminal didn’t have a precheck lane. With that being said, the agent was helpful and gave us a map to the United Club lounge since Singapore Airlines does not have a lounge at IAH. United is one of Singapore’s partners so business class passengers have access to their lounge. We opted to go to the American Express Centurion Lounge at IAH instead.

Boarding and Initial Thoughts

We had a boarding time of 18:40 and so we left the lounge around 18:25 figuring we had a little bit of time. When we arrived at the gate, we found that they had already boarded half the plane. Since we were seated in business class, we were able to use a priority line.

As we entered the plane, we were greeted by two flight attendants. They showed us to our seats and let us get settled in. They served us some champagne and warm nuts as we waited for the rest of the plane to board.

The business class cabins were about 85% full from what I could tell. Because the flight was so full, I wanted to be considerate of the people around me so I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures. On a somewhat related note, I am always surprised how other travel bloggers are able to take so many pictures especially the images without any other passengers in them. Anyway, hopefully the pictures I did take will give you an ideal of the overall flight experience.

The Seat

The seating arrangement on Singapore’s A350 is a 1-2-1. There was no first class on this flight so we were at the front of the plane. We opted to sit in the middle since there was two of us, but obviously window seats are more ideal if you’re traveling alone. The plane had three different classes: business, premium economy, and economy. Since there was no first class on this plane/route, the first two sections of the plane were both business class seats.

The seat itself was very wide and comfortable. There were several stowage compartments around the seat to store anything you might need during the flight (i.e. headphones, book, phone, etc). For the middle seats, there was a nice divider that could slide out for additional privacy in case you were seated next to a stranger. There was a reading light on one side of the seat and then a set of three LEDs on the other side of the seat.

While in the seated position, you were able to reach the ottoman with your feet. I found this to be particularly nice when the plane was taking off/landing since you could keep put your feet up even with the seat in the full upright position.  You could also easily fit a backpack/purse under the ottoman.

The seat had multiple control buttons on the right armrest. These included: seat controls, flight attendant call buttons, light controls, and a do not disturb button.

The one interesting thing about the seat was instead of reclining into a bed, the seat back folded down to make a flat bed. Think of it kind of like a Murphy bed. This wasn’t a huge deal to me, but I found that the back side of the seat wasn’t quite as comfortable. Therefore, I found the bed to be a little hard and the padding wasn’t quite enough. If you are seated in any rows other than the first rows of each business cabin, you’ll have to lay in bed diagonally since there is not a full ottoman.

In-Flight Entertainment

In business class, they provide a pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones for you to use during the flight. I found these to be so comfortable that I plan on buying my own pair the next time I see a deal. There were plenty of movies, TV shows, and games to chose from on the in-flight entertainment system. I ended up watching the movie, Logan.

Since you can’t really reach the screen from your seat, they provide you with a nice remote, which has its own touch screen. The default setting for the touch screen is to show general flight information (i.e. distance travel, time remaining, flight number). You can also use the touch screen to navigate the entertainment system.

In-Flight Meal: Dinner

As I mentioned before, we were served a welcome drink and some warm nuts. The flight attendants also provided the menu and suggested we look over it as they would be taking orders before take-off. I chose the seared lamp loin and my wife chose the spice rubbed beef fillet.

Shortly after we reaching our cruising altitude, they began dinner service. The first course was a greek salad with topped with tuna and balsamic dressing. I love seared tuna so I found this dish to be delicious.

The second course was our main course. The seared lamb loin and beef fillet were both flavorful and delicious. They also served a variety of bread rolls with the main course.

For dessert, we were provided with the option of macadamia ice cream or opera cake. My wife and I both opted for the macadamia ice cream.

Lastly, they brought around a cheese plate along with some crackers and grapes. I was so full from lounge food and the rest of the meal that I only ate about half of the cheese and grapes.

The whole meal service was really well done. The cabin crew cleared plates in a timely manner and each course was served whenever you were ready for it. I didn’t feel at all rushed during the meal and I was never really waiting either.

In-Flight Experience

Shortly after dinner service was completed, they dimmed the cabin lights for those that wanted to sleep. Before people headed to bed the crew passed out 1 liter water bottles, which were great to have throughout the flight. Definitely something my wife appreciated as she doesn’t like having to ring her call attendant button to have her water refilled.

I stayed up for about 20 mins or so to finish the movie I was watching. Then I asked a flight attendant for assistance in making the bed. She pulled down the seat back and hidden back there was a pillow for sleeping and the blanket. The blanket they provided was rather thin. I definitely wanted a heavier blanket as I tried to fall asleep.

There was no amenity kit provided on this flight and I didn’t have a sleep mask with me. I’m pretty sure a sleeping mask would probably have helped me sleep more soundly. However, as this was my first long haul business class flight I didn’t really know any different.

The cabin service was wonderful. All of the flight attendants were friendly and helpful. They were quick to clear plates and respond when you pressed your flight attendant call buttons. I even asked one of the flight attendants to take a picture of my wife and I and she was more than happy to do so.

In-Flight Meal: Breakfast

About 2 hours before landing, they started breakfast service. The first course consisted of fresh fruit as well as some bread and breakfast pastries. There were a few different options for the second course (i.e. cornflakes and yogurt), which I skipped over since I wasn’t all that hungry.

For the third/main course, I selected the cheese and spinach frittata with chicken sausage, baked beans, and mushrooms. The frittata was alright, but nothing to write home about. Overall, the breakfast was enjoyable, but nothing compared to the dinner.

Overall Thoughts

In these flight reviews, I’ll typically rate the hard and the soft product. The hard product is primarily anything that is attached to the plane itself. Examples of the hard product would be: the seat, in-flight entertainment system, on-board amenities. Whereas the soft product would include things that might be different from flight to flight. Examples of the soft product would be: food, service, amenity kits.

My rating (1-10, 1 being awful and 10 being awesome) of this flight would be as follows:

  • Hard Product: 7.5
  • Soft Product: 6.5

Hard Product: As I said before, the seat itself was very comfortable and wide. It offered a good amount of privacy as needed. The bed was alright, which is why I docked it down a bit. The in-flight entertainment functioned well and had plenty of options. As far as onboard amenities goes, there wasn’t anything super fancy like a shower or bar so I brought my rating down a little bit.

Soft Product: I really wanted to rate this higher, but had to lower my rating slightly due to the lacking ground service in Houston. Given that Houston isn’t necessarily a hub of Singapore Airlines, the lack of service is understandable. The cabin service and food were both excellent. There were no amenity kits provided on this flight and I felt like the bedding was sub-par.

To learn more about how we booked this flight and only paid ~$130 per person in taxes/fees, check out this post: Booking SQ Business Seats. Overall, I would give this flight an 7 out of 10. It was a great flight and I primarily care about the hard product.