Tomonsit in first

SQ21 - A few observations from the longest flight in the world

I am just south of Bangkok on SQ21, with a little more than an hour to go enroute to Singapore. This is my second time flying the long flight to/from Newark, and perhaps my tenth time in a business or first cabin on Singapore.

Recall that this flight, the longest scheduled flight in the world, has been operated in an all-business 100 seat configuration for several years. (It was previously J and Y+.) The flight was essentially full tonight (I only cleared a wait list for it earlier this week), though thankfully the seat next to me went out empty. Not unlike being in the back of the upper deck on a 380 in business, with such a large premium cabin, the passenger experience seems to suffer.

The onboard service was only ok. Nothing was wrong, per se, but it was in no way friendly or warm. The "stewardesses," as their name tags say, we're polite, but didn't in any way warm beyond a mechanical level of service. This was the case for the two who were in touch with my area as well as the FA maning the galley mid-flight; perhaps all of the other FAs were more embracing.

With the exception of the croissants at breakfast, the food was very good. I had congee for dinner, and eggs for breakfast. Both were appropriately sized (not excessively sized like on AA, or undersized, as was the case on my AF flight in February) and very tasty.

Interestingly, though meal service continues, the FAs are not allowed to serve coffee or other hot drinks while the fasten seatbelt sign is on. We had a few bumps during breakfast, so coffee (good, pleasantly strong) was served. An after breakfast drink. I'm sure that policy was put in place due to one or more incidents. I'm surprised such a policy hasn't been implemented in the US as we love in-air rules.

I had some fruit and a bag of chips about half way through the flight as well. For the first time in ages, I kept this a dry flight, and passed on all alcohol, even the pre-departure champagne (and stayed dry in the lounge too!). No particular reason - I have to turn up at meetings a few hours after arrival (though that is not unusual for me) - but it seemed like a good idea at the outset. I feel remarkably good right now as we approach Singapore - perhaps this no booze policy is really a good idea? (Or, maybe, it is a policy I will restrict to flights of 18 hours or longer, only. ;) )

Each seat back has an extensive array of ports and plugs. There is a semi-universal power port (us, uk, continental and several other connector types all worked) as well as two powered USB ports, RCA jacks and some sort of other iPod connection port (though not a format that I was familiar with). This was handy, and I have my iPad and both blackberries finishing their charges right now! The iPad didn't take the charge off of the USB outlet, it required the traditional power outlet. The blackberries worked both ways.

The seating areas are quite lavish, and leather (or something quite leather-like) was used extensively - not just on the seating surface.

Were I a little shorter, the seat would have been perfect for sleeping. Being so wide, it is unique in the sky. For those under 6 foot 2 (I miss this by 2 inches), you would find these seats ideal - allowing for laying flat, or on your side, bent or straight. My favorite business seats remain QF's and KE's 380 seats - which are lie-flat, and where your feet are not boxed in to small areas.

Someone "left their mark" on one of the washrooms. It hasn't been cleaned up for some time. Being close to landing, there is a queue for the other washrooms. Five hot towels later, and I'm about ready to land. Thankfully, we're crossing into Malaysia now, so it is time to pack up. I'll get this posted later today with a few pictures to supplement it when I return home.

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