Wobbling to the gates after a very fulfilling breakfast at the Silver Kris Lounge, we made it just in time for boarding, Singapore Airlines flight SQ 632 to Tokyo. It was such a treat to see the brand new A350 waiting for us, gleaming in the morning sun. Everyone around me must have thought I was a psycho at the amount of photographs I took of this beauty as I was strutting down the aerobridge with a permanent smile plastered on my face.
Upon entering the aircraft, everyone was greeted by the lovely crew and we were escorted to our respective seats. Nothing like a plane full of smiles and good morning greetings to start our day, I’m getting such good vibes from the crew. I managed to snag an awesome spot for myself, seat 11A. Plonked right down into my gorgeously wrapped leather seat right after taking a few steps into the plane. Ahhh, the scent of leather wafting in the air, smells just like a brand new car. Right after we sat down, the crew came to take our drink orders. One orange juice for me please!
After snapping hundreds of shots like the cabin was some kind of tourist attraction, I tried to get settled in. The seats and cabin environment felt a little familiar to my previous flight with Singapore Airlines, on board the Boeing 777-300ER that I flew from Auckland, I also managed to snag a bulkhead seat for that flight at 11K. The A350 just felt a little tinier compared to the B77W, no big deal. Singapore Airlines has 2 cabins in business class on the A350-900 aircraft, the front one where I was located in, and a smaller one located in the back. I almost selected the more ‘private’ cabin at the back with lesser seats, but the bulkhead seats has bassinets, didn’t want to risk having a baby crying next to me, so front cabin it was.
At the seat a pair of socks and slippers were provided, and as usual, more amenities such as dental kits, combs, and razors would be available in the lavatory. Noise cancelling headphones were located in one of the storage areas, and the headphone jacks were located just right next to the reading lamp when you’re sitting upright, and another one located much lower when you’ve converted the seat to bed mode. Underneath the little reading lamp is where you’d find your power outlet and USB ports.
We taxied right on time for scheduled departure and the captain soon turned on the seat belt signs and off we went. One of the reasons to love departing or landing into Singapore is the amount of A380’s you get to see, (apart from Dubai) and also various other airlines littered in this massive airport. I never get bored seeing the massive double-decker quad engined beauty. Click here to read about my flight in Suites Class from Singapore to Auckland.
Once we were in the skies, the crew came around and started taking orders for brunch. Way before even the flight took place, I have always wanted to try out the famous Hanakoireki bento meal. I’ve heard really good things about it from various other blogs and I was glad it was offered on this flight to Japan. I did read online that it was offered for all flights to and from Japan, but I suppose that change from time to time. Your best bet would be to log in to your Singapore Airlines account, and search for the inflight menu under your booking . The full in flight menu was listed about 3 weeks prior to my flight, so I skipped the Book The Cook option and decided on this Japanese meal.
As the crew started meal preparations, I decided to walk around the cabin to get a few pictures and check out the lavatory. The friendly Singapore Airlines crew could not have been more accommodating and curious when they saw me taking pictures of the cabin like the crazy person that I am, and came by to ask me if I was excited being on the A350. Was it that obvious? So I stood there engaging in small talk with the lovely crew as they started telling me random features of the aircraft. I could listen to them all day.
After about 40 minutes later, the crew started coming around to serve our meals. For the Hanakoireki bento, the first 4 out of the 11 dishes were served in a beautiful lacquered flower shaped bento box. It was so pretty I hesitated to even take a bite out of it, till I was done photographing it from every angle imaginable. It tasted even better than it looked, and it looked gorgeous.
- Sakizuke : Glazed miso eggplant, deep fried baby yam skewer and fish cake
- Mukouzuke : Spanish mackerel in black vinegar, ponzu jelly marinated chrysanthemum shaped watermelon radish
- Kuchitori : Simmered Ayu fish, rolled dried persimmon with yuzu candied chestnut
- Men : Buckwheat noodles with soba sauce. Nameko mushrooms, chrysanthemum flower petals, spring onion, wasabi & seaweed
After inhaling that delectable bento set, my expectations were set really high for the 2nd part of the meal. After requesting for some garlic bread, green tea, and coke zero, the crew delivered the second portion of the meal, and it looked fantabulous. The presentation, the aroma it was emitting, the colours, everything was just on point. I stared at the meal while shoving a slice of garlic bread in my mouth and mumbled ‘itadakimasu’. Time to dig in the remaining 6 dishes of the Hanakoireki bento meal.
- Yakimono : Baked chicken thigh with spring onion and ginger crust pickled lotus root
- Takiawase : Grilled conger eel, simmered eggplant, taro, snow pea and yuzu
- Aemono : Prawn, scallop, elingi mushroom and ginko nut in egg yolk and vinegar sauce
- Gohan : Mushroom flavoured rice with mitsuba leaf
- Kounomono : Assorted pickles
- Tome-Wan : Miso soup
Those little bites from 10 courses are quite deceiving, it left me so full even though the amount was just spoonfuls for each portion. Not regretting it one bit, but the last 11th dish has yet to be served, the dessert course. Which was the least impressive one of the lot, but that’s just me probably feeling stuffed to the brim. Not going to lie, I also cleaned the entire plate when it came.
- Mizumono : caramelised castella cake brulee with fruits
I was probably the last person to finish my meal due to the obscene amount of photos I was taking, but the crew finally came around the clear the table and I asked for a cappuccino to end the 11 course meal. The crew cheekily suggested I get some cookies to go along with my coffee, but I told her it’s not possible to put anymore food in me.
It was finally time to get really comfortable and take a nap for a couple of hours before we arrive in Japan. Some good old 2 broke girls lulled me to sleep after 2-3 episodes went on by. The only issue I had with the bed mode, was that it was still a little hard. Some padding would do this flat bed some justice, but it was not as hard as the flat bed mode on these same seats on board the Boeing 777-300ER. I just wrapped myself into a sushi roll with the fluffy blankets, making my own padding and it was all good. Probably slept for a solid 2-3 hours.
With about 40 minutes prior to landing, the captain came on the PA system and requested the crew to prepare the cabin for arrival. Groggily I woke up to the spectacular views of Japan outside the window. There’s just something about arriving in to Japan, the magical things you get to look forward to such as amazing customer service, how safe and clean the entire country is, everything running like clockwork to the second, and 24 hour Don Quijote stores for that random 4am shopping urge.
Right before we touched down in Haneda International Airport the weather dramatically changed and the sunset was bathing everything in a golden hue, which reminds me how abrupt the weather can be in Japan. Taking in the golden sunset from the skies, no better welcome to Japan with this view.
What a spectacular flight in the A350 to Tokyo. I have nothing but praises for this this aircraft, a great impression for my first time on it. It’s now my second favourite airplane after the A380. It was so quiet as compared the Boeing 787, and that was already pretty silent for me when I flew on it. The humidity levels were slightly higher, so my skin didn’t feel as dried out as compared to other aircrafts, and those curved wings? *swoons*. At the end of the day, what makes a pleasant flight would be the crew on board. Once again Singapore Airlines crew were stellar, an excellent team of people on board to match the superior hard product offered. Till the next time Singapore Airlines, for now hello Japan! Konichiwa!