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  • Writer's pictureCornelius Kwok

Flight Review: SQ710 – Traveling In A Post-Pandemic World

Updated: Sep 19, 2023


Singapore Airlines A350, 9V-SMD (Photo by Cornelius Kwok)

 

Airline | Singapore Airlines

Flight | SQ710

Route | Singapore Changi Airport - Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

Gate | B1

Aircraft | Airbus A350-900

Registration | 9V-SMD

Class of Travel | Premium Economy

Seat Number | 32A

 

After a 3 year hiatus, I finally had the opportunity to travel overseas once again. Before this, my most recent flight was in December 2019, just before the pandemic. Well, I'm glad to be able to fly again, and I'll be departing for Bangkok today. Not only am I excited because it has been a long time since I have traveled, but it is also my first time flying on Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350-900 in Premium Economy.


Premium Economy on a short-haul flight

On a short-haul flight, Premium Economy? Yes! Singapore Airlines sells Premium Economy seats on certain regional routes, but you don’t get to enjoy the Premium Economy perks like priority check-in and baggage handling. These seats, in fact, are sold as Economy Class seats and are available on a first come, first serve basis.



I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to fly in Singapore Airlines’ Premium Economy seats for only $50 extra. For some, it may be too expensive or not worth it to pay the extra money for these seats, but you can try to get one of these Premium Economy seats when online check-in opens 48 hours before your flight’s departure, when seat selection will be free for all passengers. In my case, paying the extra $50 was a wise choice as the free upgrades were fully booked out even before online check-in opens.



My Flight Today… Singapore Airlines Flight 710

Taking me to Bangkok is a 6-year-old Airbus A350-900, 9V-SMD. With 42 Business Class, 24 Premium Economy, and 187 Economy Class seats, the aircraft is configured in Singapore Airlines’ three-class long haul configuration.

The flight was supposed to leave Changi Airport at 12:50 in the afternoon and arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at 14:20 in the afternoon. We pushed back on time and taxied from our departure stand B1 to the recently connected Runway 20L. The taxi duration from our departure gate to Runway 3 took approximately 30 minutes, but we still arrived in Bangkok on time despite the long taxi time in Singapore.


The flight was nearly full, with only 17 Economy seats remaining and a sold out Business Class. We cruised at FL400 with a total flight time to Bangkok in around 2 hours. It was a relatively smooth flight, and we were served lunch shortly after takeoff.


The Premium Economy Cabin & Seats

The Premium Economy cabin has 24 seats arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration. Singapore Airlines Premium Economy seats have a 38-inch pitch and more legroom as compared to Economy class which has only a 32-inch pitch between each row. Each Premium Economy seat reclines up to 8 inches and has an extendable leg rest.



Apart from the overhead bins, each seat also comes with additional storage beneath the armrest in front of you and water bottle holders directly beneath your armrests. Each seat has an individual reading light that can be adjusted and also a universal power outlet underneath the centre armrest. The tray table is stowed away in the centre armrest, which also house additional USB charging ports. An additional USB charging ports can also be found next to your personal inflight entertainment monitor.


Unfortunately for me, the USB charger located behind the arm rest was broken, so I had to charge my phone using the socket located below the Center armrest. Otherwise, the rest of the seat performed admirably and met expectations.


In-Flight Entertainment System

Each seat has a 13.3 inch HD-enabled touchscreen mint or, which is a significant improvement over the 11 inch monitor in Economy class. KrisWorld has a wide selection of the most recent movies, such as “Top Gun Maverick”, but despite having the latest blockbuster movies, I spent the entire flight looking out the window and watching the mini map as our aircraft inched across the map.


Meal Service

I was served a simple lunch shortly after takeoff. We are unable to select the “Book the Cook” service because the seats were sold as Economy fares. Instead, we were served the Economy menu where we were given the option of “Chicken a la King” with mashed potatoes and roasted pumpkin, or “Braised Beef with Egg Noodles”. All meals was served with ice cream as dessert.


I chose the Braised Beef with Egg Noodles. It was served in a small paperware box with bamboo utensils that is part of Singapore Airlines' move towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way to fly. To be very honest, I was dissatisfied with the meal service. Given that this is a two-hour flight to Bangkok, the portion size is adequate. However, the food was bland and the noodles were dry and it definitely could have been better. Another aspect of the food I disliked was the way it was presented. I expected more after paying so much to fly on a full-service carrier. Food served in a small cardboard box with bamboo utensils just does not exhume the impression it’s from a full service carrier.



Overall IMPRESSION

Overall it was a great flight though there were a few areas where it could have been improved. It was only an “OK” flight, and certain things could definitely change. Despite the broken USB charger, I believe the upgrade to Premium Economy seats is well worth it. It has more legroom and wider seats, making it more comfortable, particularly on long-haul flights. Would I consider upgrading to Premium Economy on a short-haul flight again? Certainly, but only on longer routes. Perhaps not to Kuala Lumpur but to Bangkok or further afield.


Inflight Service | 7/10

Inflight Entertainment | 9/10

Meal Service | 6/10

Seat | 9/10

Aircraft Cleanliness | 10/10

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