SQ11 from LAX to NRT October 4, 2014
I think it's incredibly sweet that my husband Alan decided to take me to the Land of the Rising Sun for my golden birthday. He knows too well that #Japan has been on my destination bucket list. For this trip, I wanted to ensure his comfort during the long haul flight. Just think about it: If he finds it to be a pleasant experience, he'd be willing to do more long distance traveling with me and to various places in the world. For the win!
So I researched on the best international airline. Everything I read pointed to Singapore Airlines. In fact, it has consistently received awards through the years. Learn more about their accolades here.
I've flown on other big carriers on long haul flights to Asia, Europe, and Canada but never on Singapore Airlines. I've always been intrigued by this reputable airline.
What really convinced me to choose this airline is what I found on SeatGuru: that Singapore Airlines' Economy Class seats are roomier with a seat width of 19 inches. Seat width is the distance between the armrests of a single seat. For most airlines, it's anywhere between 17 and 18 only. (For perspective, Southwest Airlines' seat width is 17). With a little more room, my husband's long legs and big frame will be better off during the 11-1/2 hour plane ride to Tokyo.
It was exciting to board the Airbus A380-800. Dubbed the "superjumbo," it's the world's largest passenger aircraft AND the most fuel-efficient. It's about 239 feet long with wingspan of about 262 ft. While you could fit the entire length of this plane in a FIFA football field, the wings would stretch outside the boundaries. (The FIFA football pitch is 344 ft long by 223 ft wide.)
How fast does it go? Cruising speed is 0.85 Mach, close to the speed of sound. I read this in SilverKris Inflight Magazine Oct.14 issue: In aerodynamics, speed is measured by the Mach number. Mach 1 is the speed of sound which is 761.5 miles per hour at sea level. Pretty amazing! Find out more here.
I was pleased to find our seat assignments, each prepped with a pillow and a Givenchy fleece blanket. I loved the ergonomically designed seats. As you recline, the seats slightly push forward. Though this plane's seat pitch (distance between two seats) is just like in most planes, this recline feature allows more personal space for passengers. Alan and I each brought a travel pillow but they weren't necessary. The headrests were adjustable and comfortable. The concave backrests had side bolsters and provided back support.
You can tell that this airline carefully evaluated everything a passenger does and needs while on flight. The individual utility panel was very cool. For instance, there's a cup holder on the left hand side that allows you to keep your drink without having to pull down the entire table tray. Underneath the tiltable screen is a personal reading light. It provides some needed illumination without the brightness that could annoy the person sitting next to you. More about the Economy Class on board experience here.
I must admit, I was worried that I would get bored and antsy during the very long flight. But the award-winning entertainment system kept me preoccupied. There were so many options to choose from including on-demand movies, TV programs, music, and games. I had control over when to watch my movie selection, to pause it when I needed to use the restroom, or to rewind to a certain section I missed because I dozed off.
The staff was very attentive, professional, and sincere. They do all possible to make you comfortable. Our knowledgable flight attendant was Raymond Wang. I wish I had taken his picture. He was awesome!
I've also read that Singapore Airlines is not only well known for their service, but also for their meals. For dinner on this flight, it was a choice between the Western cuisine and traditional Japanese selection. I picked the Japanese menu and of course, I shared it with the hubs. My meal tray was a beautiful bento. A small container held the zensai, assorted Japanese appetizers such as edamame and potato salad. On a separate container were the cold buckwheat noodles (soba) laid out like thin figure eights.
I'm familiar with Japanese cuisine but wasn't quite sure how to properly eat the noodles. I had to ask the flight steward, "Raymond, how do you eat this?" He explained that the small packet of seaweed flakes was to be emptied and sprinkled over the soba noodles. He said that the green onions and wasabi should be added to the cup of broth used for dipping the cold noodles. I followed all the directions and enjoyed my meal. It was really good!
My main course was the salt broiled salmon (so tasty!) with seasonal veggies and Japanese sticky rice. There was some tofu-like elements in my dish. One tasted like scrambled egg and the other like beef. Veggies included some green beans, carrots, mushrooms, and lotus. I poured some of the broth over the rice and salmon. It was delicious!
I also tried my hubby's red wine beef stew with mashed potatoes. It's almost hard to believe that this was airline food. Everything was good. The flight steward further explained that the food is brought in cold. Thirty minutes before meal service, the food is heated up so that they are served hot. Just the way I like it!
I asked Alan if he liked my Japanese meal. He said he did, but didn't care for the edamame. "Really?" I asked while looking for the empty pod on his tray. "Did you eat the whole thing? You're supposed to just eat the beans, not the whole pod."
"Oh," he looked at me while I shook my head.
I offered him a bite of my rice cracker wrapped in seaweed but he didn't want any. And I gobbled up my Haagen Dazs chocolate ice cream. How did they know this is my favorite dessert? I'm really loving SQ right now!
Before I knew it, we were descending. As we were about to disembark, I requested to take a peek at the much talked about "Suites." Exclusive to Singapore Airlines, these are very upscale seats offering "personal space with adjustable blinds and sliding doors for maximum privacy." They're even more luxurious than First Class.
I'm not going to be a controversial blogger who fictitiously claims to have flown in one of these suites. But I will say that I did see one and was able to take a picture inside one.
On our way to the jetbridge, Alan proclaimed, "These guys are great!" Ha! Mission accomplished. Thanks, Singapore Airlines. You truly are a great way to fly!