When it comes to travel, it’s the destinations we rave about. We prattle on about stays in posh hotels, about Michelin-starred meals, about breathtaking views of famous sights. Seldom do we talk about the journey itself, unless it’s to complain about a wailing child or an inedible in-flight meal. Then again, when you’re flying Singapore Airlines Business Class there’s a lot to rave about.
Singapore Airlines changes that. I recently hopped aboard a 777-300ER en route to SIHH in Geneva. Normally the highlight of the experience would be attending an ultra-exclusive watch show, but on this rarest of occasions, getting there was half the fun.
There’s a reason these guys are frequently lauded as one of the world’s best airlines. Known for their attentive staff, stylish design and superior luxury, Singapore Airlines have long been a personal favourite for Business Class trips to Europe. I was looking forward to being wowed by the revamped Business Class, and I was not disappointed.
Pre-Flight Perks With Singapore Airlines Business Class
Before I had even boarded the flight, Singapore Airlines was pulling out stops. The updated mobile app allowed me to check my KrisFlyer miles and choose my seat (always in the front of the plane which, with only 12 seats, is more private). I was also able to download my boarding pass to Apple Passbook.
Add to that priority check-in and an express lane through customs, and you have singularly smooth sailing through the airport. So smooth, in fact, that I had time to lend a nice British girl my pen to fill out her boarding card. Worth every penny and I hadn’t even left the ground.
With the travel formalities completed, I made my way to the SilverKris Lounge. I always look forward to resting and doing a little work before a flight, and Singapore Airlines makes both exceptionally easy. The SilverKris lounge offers great Asian-inspired food, plus plenty of Peroni to wash it down with. I also made full use of the showers at Changi and Heathrow after hustling between meetings. I began every flight feeling refuelled and refreshed.
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The legendary service of a Singapore Airlines Business Class flight begins the second you hit your seat. I was greeted by the entire Business crew, who were full of smiles and assurances that I was in safe hands. I promptly told them to call me Luc, not Mr. Wiesman – Mr. Wiesman is my father – and they kindly obliged.
The rejuvenated Business Class on the 777-300ER is sleeker and more modern, but stays true to the winning Singapore Airlines formula. A handful of world-renowned design firms were tapped to develop the new look, which stylishly blends sophistication with functionality.
A stand-out feature of the new Business Class is the upgraded seats. Not only are they capable of an increased recline at 132 degrees, they also feature an improved ergonomic cushion and, when converted, become the widest full-flat bed in the sky. The upgraded entertainment system is nothing to sneeze at, either.
And then there’s the food. Singapore Airlines’ food and beverage selection is always on point, but these days they’re taking it to another level. With ‘Book the Cook’ you can pre-order your main course so you always have your preferred in-flight meal. It’s serious A-list service even without a celebrity name.
A Passenger’s Paradise
With the phenomenal level of attention they put into every detail, it’s hard for Singapore Airlines Business Class not to be one of the world’s best. I rest easy knowing I have 24 hours of being looked after by their amazing staff, and with the amount of travelling I do, that’s the greatest amenity of all. Singapore Airlines have made ‘A Great Way to Fly’ even better, and remain one of our first choices for flights to Asia and Europe.
What About ‘Book The Cook’?
We’re all familiar with the glamour of modern air travel. There’s the mad dash to arrive at the airport on time, the interminable security lines, the struggle to find an outlet to charge your smartphone. At the gate, there’s only seating for about 20 of the 200 passengers waiting to board. Once on the plane, you’re faced with a seat approximately the size of your baby nephew’s high chair and a neighbour whose last shower may have been in 1972.
And then there’s the food. Airline meals are a common topic for travellers, but rarely are they talked about to compliment the cuisine. After a recent trip with Singapore Airlines, I am one of the privileged few who can rave about in-flight food.
En route to SIHH in Geneva, I elected to try the Singapore Airlines Book The Cook service. With Book The Cook, Singapore Airlines passengers can pre-order their favourite entrees 24 hours before their scheduled flight departure. Selections are made from a dizzying array of dishes that wouldn’t look out of place on a Michelin-starred menu. The quality is outstanding and SA’s famously excellent service is on full display.
At long last, the era of “chicken or beef?” is over.
High Flying Dining
Singapore Airlines have a long-standing (and well-deserved) reputation as one of the best in the industry. Since I was already out to experience the revamped Business Class, upgrading my dining options seemed like a logical step.
Book The Cook is offered for all meals except the Continental Breakfast and Refreshment. To take the service for a spin, log into your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account at least 24 hours before your flight. Click on “Select Meals” and choose “Book the Cook” in the Meal Category dropdown. From there, you can choose your in-flight eats from the Meal dropdown and it will replace the main course from the in-flight menu.
All flights out of Singapore Changi airport are eligible for Book The Cook, along with flights from Amsterdam, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney, and more. The menu covers a wide variety of local and international cuisine, but exact options vary depending on your departure city. Milan’s Western menu features several Italian dishes, for example, while Singapore’s offers an extensive selection of native delicacies.
The Mid-Air Menu
Just how extensive are we talking? I was blown away by how much was on offer. Flights from Singapore have the most options, but even flights originating elsewhere have an impressive number of meals to choose from.
Departing Sydney, the Business Class Singapore Airlines Book The Cook menu includes:
- Grilled beef in green peppercorn sauce with seasonal vegetables and gratin potatoes
- Roast chicken breast in wild mushroom cream and gratin chat potatoes
- Seafood Thermidor with buttered asparagus, slow-roasted vine-ripened tomato, and saffron rice
- Tasmanian salmon in wild-lime butter sauce with steamed green beans and pasta
- Barramundi in black bean sauce with baby bok choy and jasmine rice
- Cantonese roast duck with plum sauce and steamed rice
- Indian lamb shank curry with vegetables and pilaff rice
- Singapore Chicken Rice
- Toasted multigrain country bread with herb cottage cheese, grilled vegetables and fresh berries low fat yoghurt (Breakfast only)
When you’re flying out of Singapore, that list expands to a staggering 46 dishes from Western, Japanese, Chinese, Malay, Thai, Indian, and of course, home-grown Singaporean menus. The Singapore specialities include Nonya Nasi Padang, Prawn and Chicken Laksa, and Nonya Assam Fish, but the must-have meal for in-the-know travellers is the supremely decadent Lobster Thermidor. Even on terra firma it’s an impressive dish, but in the air it might as well be a miracle.
As for me, I opted for the Indian Lamb Shank Curry and Pilaff Rice from Sydney to Singapore, then the US Rib Eye Steak from Singapore to London. On the way home I sampled the Beef Short Rib and tucked into the Seared Salmon for my final meal.
4 Reasons To Book The Cook
But enough about me. Why should you give Singapore Airlines Book The Cook a try? Well, for starters…
- Your first choice will never run out. What’s more disappointing that having your heart set on a meal, only to find out that the passenger in front of you scored the last one? With Book The Cook, you’re guaranteed to get your first choice every time.
- A mind-numbing array of options. Frequent business travellers could be faced with the same in-air meals on repeat. Unless you were the kid who only ate cheese sandwiches for lunch every day, that’s no way to live. Book The Cook offers a far larger menu than what’s available in the air so you’ll never get food fatigue.
- It’s accessible to almost everyone. As elite as Book The Cook sounds, it’s not limited to First Class passengers. The celebrated service is available to anyone travelling in First Class, Business Class, or Premium Economy.
- It’s one less thing to worry about. Flying is stressful enough without having to worry that your meal will have all the texture and flavour of a clay brick. Coming from Singapore Airlines, you know you can expect the best and it will be delivered with exceptional service.
Luc flew to SIHH 2016 in Geneva as a guest of Singapore Airlines.