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  • Writer's pictureNew Zealand Herald

Flight Check

Guy Needham flies aboard Singapore Airlines SQ378 from Singapore to Barcelona, via Milan

The Plane: A 2 year old, still shiny, Airbus A350-900. The average age of this plane in Singapore Airlines’ fleet is 1.6 years.

Pre-flight: Seat select was available on 3 months before the flight; Online check-in was available 48 hours before departure.

My seat: 44G, a Forward Zone economy aisle seat (I hate climbing over people) that cost an extra $38. Being a new plane, my seat came with one of those super-duper adjustable headrests.

Time: Our 14hour 15min, 11,030 kilometre flight, took off bang on time at 11:30pm. Unfortunately it landed 15min late in Barcelona amidst 5 other international flights, causing a one hour line just to get to Passport Control.

​Fellow Passengers: A mix of Singaporean holiday-makers, well-dressed tanned Spanish couples and Italian families returning home.

How full: Chocka to Milan, where one third of the passengers disembarked.

Service: Exemplary and discrete. There when you needed them and always bringing water and juice.

Sleep Mode: As this was an overnight flight most passengers faded off early. The cabin itself was turned nearly pitch-black which was perfect to bring on much-needed shut-eye.

Amenities: A kit of toothpaste, toothbrush, socks, comb, eyeshades and earplugs.

Food and Drink: Exceptional. I had fish fillet with dill lemon sauce, potato salad with smoked turkey, tomato and onion egg frittata with chicken sausage and potatoes, and the ubiquitous bread rolls, fresh fruit and ice-cream. The wines were generous pours.

Connectivity: There was no expected inflight Wi-Fi due to a technical problem, so it was a forced digital detox. Not a bad thing.

Entertainment: My fat fingers navigated the wide touch-screen monitor with ease. The Krisworld entertainment system has on-demand movies, TV programmes, music and games, and the flight was long enough for me to binge on the mini-series Chernobyl. Travel tip: take noise-cancelling headphones if you can – they block out everything!

Toilets: Small but accessible, with no waiting lines.

Price: $860, booked 6 months in advance.Luggage:A massive 50kg ‘cause I’m fortunate enough to be a Star Alliance Gold member. Standard Economy is 30kg. Cabin baggage is the usual 7kg but you can also take onboard a laptop bag / handbag within certain dimensions.

Transit Experience: In Milan, the passengers continuing to Barcelona stayed on the plane as it was serviced and Customs came on board to check boarding passes and hand luggage.

The Bottom Line: As long as you’re prepared for sitting on the tarmac in Italy for an hour with no entertainment, food or drink, you’ll find the flight smooth, the service impeccable and the forward seats very comfortable.

Original publication: New Zealand Herald

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