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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Singapore Airlines L.A. To Tokyo Review

Above, the Singapore Airlines A380. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Back in 2004, the first G-TOUR to Japan flew to Japan aboard Singapore Airlines Boeing 747s. Prior to that trip, my only experience in overseas flights was on a United Airlines Boeing 747 in 2001.

At the time, I enjoyed the service and food offered by United. It was my favorite U.S. airline back then. However, United is way down on my list since my February 2014 trip to Japan. I found the service, scheduling and food to be not up to snuff.

Up to that time, my favorite air carrier for overseas travel was Singapore Airlines due to the service and food in 2004.

Since 2004, I have also flown several times with Korean Airlines. I found their food and service to be very good to excellent.

On this month's trip to Japan, I flew with Singapore Airlines (SQ11 and SQ12) aboard one of their new Airbus A380 jets. I will have to say that in comparing this trip with Singapore with the one in 2004, I am a bit disappointed.

Above, a view of the Economy class cabin. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The legroom in the Economy (where most common folk fly) Class seating was cramped. Perhaps it was due to age, but my knees became painful since there was no room to stretch out. Also, we were only served two meals on the flights: dinner and breakfast. In 2004, they also served lunch and generous snacks. I found the service by the flight attendants to be rather aloof, with passengers being passed up (including me) when they served coffee refills. One had to put in more effort to get their attention to get a coffee refill or anything else. They seemed more attentive back in 2004.

After we landed at Narita International Airport, I overheard a passenger complaining about the service to the head flight attendant. Unfortunately, I found myself agreeing with his complaints. He also found the flight attendants to be aloof and expected better from Singapore Airlines.

Above, another view of the Economy class section. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

As for the A380, I had hoped to see the upper deck level, but I saw no doorways to get there to take a peek. There must be some ways to getting upstairs from the lower level. It is my guess that the way to getting there were through flight crew-only areas.

As for the look of the lower level, the A380 is a nice-looking plane and the ride was generally very smooth. I was impressed with the size of the overhead storage compartments for carry-on baggage. They were big!

At present, based upon this trip and comparing it to the flights aboard Korean Airlines, I would have to give Korean Airlines the edge on the food served. Singapore's food did taste better than United's. But it didn't even compare to the food served by Singapore in 2004. The service by the flight attendants were better in 2004.

As for the legroom issue, most airlines today are squeezing in more seats in Economy by reducing the amount of legroom. This is causing problems when people recline their seats, further reducing room for people sitting directly behind. Arguments have been reported to have broken out over this. The cramped space will also cause more problems, especially for older passengers. It has been my practice to get up once an hour or so to walk around. People can get blood clots in their legs when sitting for extended periods.

I would fly with Singapore Airlines again, but not with the enthusiasm I had before this trip. I will probably try All Nippon Airways or Japan Airlines on the next trip.

My grade: B+.

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