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Singapore Airlines B737-800 NG Business Class Review SIN to Phuket (HKT)

I connected at Singapore Changi Airport from Osaka on my way to Phuket. The flight from Osaka was an overnight flight so I arrived very early in the morning. I had a few hours until my Phuket flight which I spent in the SilverKris Lounge located in Terminal 2 near the E gates. It has been several years since I last flew through SIN and must say, I was slightly disappointed with my Lounge visit. The Lounge is quite dated, and they took the Business Center away (I understand it is 2024 and most people use laptops, but I like the option of using provided computer and prefer not having to take my laptop out of my backpack). My disappointment may also have been due to expecting too much and assuming Singapore would have updated their Lounges (which they have in Terminal 3) since my last visit. Despite this, the Breakfast Buffet was very good with lots of options, and I was able to take a shower which helps after a night flight. There is also a First Class side of the Lounge which I am sure is nicer.

I arrived at the gate 40 minutes before boarding. Luckily, I walked by the gate on my way to the Lounge and saw that you needed to clear security at each gate. Security was surprisingly easy, and boarding was orderly with Business Class and Star Alliance Gold/KrisFlyer Elite's boarding first. We were welcomed with a nice greeting from the Flight Attendants. With the exception of the Lounge all the crew were friendly and welcoming. This Boeing 737-800 NG was from the Silk Air fleet. The interior and the cabin layout are the same as when Silk Air flew this route (which I have flown on once or twice) before they merged with SQ. Singapore markets these as Regional Business Class seats. The cabin has three rows in a 2x2 configuration. The bulkhead seat is row 11 and the two seats behind are 12 & 14. Seats are grey leather with adjustable headrests. Seat Pitch is 38 inches and a comfortable 22" wide. Very similar to a domestic US First Class seat. The one difference is these seats have a leg rest. They do not raise that much (but do extend down), and the seat recline isn't all that generous either (slightly interferes with seat behind) but for these short routes it is more than comfortable.

Singapore only flies about seven B737-800 NG's. All coming from Silk Air and all around 10 years old. They also fly several more slightly newer B737max8's. These are also marketed as Regional Business Class seats but are more in line with their international (long-haul) product. They also have three rows but configured 2x2 in row's 11 & 14 and 1x1 in row 12. The seats are lie flat and with seatback TV screens. The Max8 also has larger overheads than the NG. The B737-800 NG's overheads can easily fit a standard Rollerboard, but on its back, whereas the Max can fit on its side, thus allowing for more carry-on space. With only seven planes they do not fly the NG to many locations. As far as I can tell they just fly the NG to Phuket, Kathmandu, Penang & KUL, Malaysia. They actually fly both the NG and Max8 to and from Kuala Lumpur. While the seat comfort is different in these two aircraft the service should be the same.

As you entered the cabin there was a nice pillow and blanket on your seat as well as a bottle of water and a menu in the seat-back pocket. The seat-back pocket in the bulkhead wasn't much smaller than rows 12 & 14. I sat in seat 11A and the bulkhead leg room was good. Slightly better than the other two rows. If the seat was occupied next to me (which it wasn't - cabin only half full) it would be possible to exit the window seat without having to disturb my seat mate (other two rows person in aisle would have to get up to let window seat exit). There is a large tray between the seats on the center armrest with a smaller drink tray sliding out sideways from inside this tray. On the bottom front of the center tray and armrest is a power port with both USB plug and power plug. There is a channel and volume controls on top of the tray, but these are not in use, nor were the overhead monitors other than coming down for the safety demonstration (and maybe for moving map). There are also four seat adjustment controls; Seat recline, lumbar, legrest & footrest extend. Honestly, more pomp than circumstance. I couldn't feel the difference with the lumbar and again the footrest and recline is nominal (but still appreciated).

There were two flight attendants servicing the Business Class cabin. We were offered a pre-departure drink of choice. I ordered a glass (in an actual glass) of Orange Juice which was very good. Shortly thereafter a nice large hot towel was distributed. Also, before take-off one of the flight attendants introduced herself, welcomed me aboard, went over the flight time (1hr 30min), confirmed my Book the Cook order and asked what beverage I wanted served with my meal.

The meal service started about 25 minutes after take-off. I was able to pre-order off the menu (same options that were available onboard) or through Singapore's 'Book the Cook' program. In both cases, you just need to order more than 24 hours before your flight. 'Book the Cook' is available in First, Business and now even Premium Economy (which the B787's do not have) and is available on most if not all flights out of SIN. Flying to Changi is a different story. It is available in Business from most major airports to Singapore (LAX, LHR, HKG, BKK, SYD, NRT etc. maybe 30 or so in total). But, I do not think it is available on flights from HKT to SIN (unless they load meals to HKT for return flight back to SIN). Since my flight from Osaka arrived a little after 4am I figured I would eat breakfast in the lounge and be ready for Lunch after take-off. So, I ordered the Chicken Rice off the 'Book the Cook' menu. I had ordered this once before from SIN to MLE and was slightly disappointed, but this time it was extremely good (and nice and hot - unlike my meal from KIX). I was very happy with my decision. I typically would have ordered a traditional breakfast dish like the Scrambled Eggs with Sausage. The other options that were available from the onboard menu was Dim Sum and a dish called Seafood Hor Fun (Singapore style Fried Noodles w/Seafood). The entire meal was served on a single tray with Yogurt and Fruit (my guess is if you ordered Chicken Rice at Lunch or Dinner time there would be different accompaniments'), a side dish/salad as well as Fresh Chili and Soya Sauce. The Yogurt was from Australia and was also very good. The Fruit was not as good, and I am not sure what the salad was as I did not try it. After several minutes a breadbasket was brought to each passenger with a variety of Breakfast Pastries. A tempting selection, but I selected Cinnamon Rolls (two:)) After the meal was cleared the Flight Attendant came out with Coffee or Tea (in my case Hot Chocolate) and a nice packet of Almonds/Cashews. All this on a 1.5 hour flight. Very Impressive!! :) From my memory this meal service was much more like Singapore's meal service than Silk Air's was (I remember it was a nice meal for flight time, but not this complete). I cannot comment on Champagne or Wine as I do not drink, nor was my wife with me, but I have included a photo of the Champagne and Wine Menu.

This plane (and I assume all their 738NG's) did not have Wi-Fi. In this day and age Wi-Fi has become somewhat of an expectation (it is available on their other aircraft) but on this short flight I was perfectly fine without. Actually, I was too busy eating even if they had it ;) However, the plane is equipped with some connection because they did offer own-device Inflight Entertainment (IFE). The content was similar to what is on the seat back KrisWorld IFE, just not as much content. Still, a wide selection of movies (censored) and television programing. The tray tables were good size and quite sturdy but there is not a device holder on it nor is the tray big enough to be able to watch anything on my tablet while eating. So, I only had time to watch a sit-com before landing. There was no need to download the Singapore Airlines app to watch any of the programming.

The overhead lights and air-vents are the same as any relatively new Boeing 737. There is one Lavatory in the front for Business Class passengers. It had the same Lotion, Fragrance and Facial Mist (from Penhaligon) as the flight from Osaka. Unlike the Osaka flight, there were cloth towels in the Lav as well as paper towels.

As I was writing this and taking photos of the menu, I noticed that the first page of the menu has inflight amenities items that are available on request. There was not an amenity kit on this flight (nor did I expect one) but I guess if you needed slippers, socks, eyeshades, ear plugs, etc. they were available with the asking. The hot towel before take-off was the only hot towel offered (none after breakfast or before landing). Lastly, the announcements were in English and Thai.

As I said Singapore only has a handful of the B737-800 NG's so they are not on many routes, but it has different seating then all their other aircraft, so I am sure people (as I was) are interested how this aircraft differs. Again, the service is still Singapore Airlines and that is what made this a great flight, Singapore just does things better than other airlines. Besides the obvious like 'Book the Cook'/Catering and friendly flight attendants rather the less obvious things like actual glass at pre-departure drink (and premium orange juice) and luxury toiletries/cloth towels in the Lavatory. Phuket is one of my favorite places to visit so hopefully I will have the good fortune to be flying on this route sooner than later.

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