Singapore Airlines A350 Business Class Review (FCO to SIN) [2021]

Singapore Airlines is known for the best cabin crew in the world and I will not disagree. Yet, people are still somewhat polarized when it comes to Singapore business class. Can the rest of the Singapore business class experience live up to the prestige that Singapore Airlines has?

In this review, I will go into details about my experience flying Singapore Airlines business class on the A350, covering things like the seat, food, bed, and the service. Then I will go over why I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly Singapore Airlines business class.

Trip briefing

Flight routes

This particular segment of my journey back to South East Asia was one of the reasons why I went to Europe. The other reason was to fly Garuda Indonesia Jakarta (CGK) London (LHR) route.

  • Jakarta (CGK) -> London (LHR): Garuda Indonesia 777-300 Business Class
  • London (LHR) -> Athens (ATH): Aegean Airlines A321 Euro Business Class
  • Athens (ATH) -> Rome (FCO): Aegean Airlines A320 Economy Class
  • Rome (FCO) -> Singapore (SIN): Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class
  • Singapore (SIN) -> Jakarta (CGK): Garuda Indonesia 737-800 Exit Row Economy Class

This FCO-SIN flight was a fun daytime flight, but not a great flight if you care about food or reclined seat. Not saying it was bad, as I enjoyed the flight and I was in bed-mode the whole time, but I will describe more about the food and seat below.

Hotel stays

  • Andronis Athens (3 nights on cash)
  • Le Méridien Visconti Rome (3 nights on cash)

As I went to Europe during the winter, the cash rates were very reasonable.

Le Méridien Visconti Rome one bedroom suite

Flight details

Here are the details for the flight:

  • Route: Rome (FCO) -> Singapore (SIN)
  • Flight No.: SQ 365
  • Aircraft: A350-900
  • Registration: 9V-SMH
  • Class: Business Class (J)
  • Seat: 21K
  • Date: March 5, 2019
  • Scheduled Departure Time: 10:55 am | Actual Departure Time: 11:08 am (+13 minutes)
  • Scheduled Arrival Time: 5:45 am | Actual Arrival Time: 5:55 am (+10 minute)
  • Actual flight Time: 11 hours,  47 minutes 
Image via flightradar24

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Booking Singapore Airlines Business Class (SQ J)

I booked this flight using Singapore Krisflyer miles, which is actually the only way to book premium cabin seats with Singapore Airlines.

As this flight was booked during KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes it was only 38,000 miles and 41.70 Euros ($46.30 USD).

The normal mileage cost would have been 92,000 miles. That means, during this redemption sale I got 41% of the regular business saver redemption price. For an 11-hour business class flight, I was happy with this redemption, especially as it costed the same as an economy saver flight using KrisFlyer miles.

Fun fact: Singapore doesn’t charge close-in booking fees. You can book however close you want to the departure date as long as there is availability. I had no problem booking 13 days in advance.

I transferred American Express Membership Rewards Points to Krisflyer, which took about 24 hours to transfer, and once they were in my account I went ahead with redeeming my miles. You can also transfer other currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points.

Warning: When transferring points (Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and ThankYou Points) to KrisFlyer, it can take up to 48 working hours to complete the transfer. Weekends aren’t working hours, so you need to take into account the weekend delay.

As I mentioned above, one of the reasons I went to Europe was because of this flight. I wasn’t planning on visiting Italy so shortly after my last visit, but seeing how I never have flown Singapore business class before (I have only flown Singapore A380 suites and 777 first class) I thought it could be a good chance to try out a new product and get some Italian food.

One amazing course out of the many courses I had at Aqualunae Bistrot for my chef course meal.


Check-in at FCO is usually crowded as there is limited space throughout the whole departure hall at terminal 3. Once I found Singapore’s check-in counters, I was greeted with a pretty empty queue area. There was no one in the business class line making it a breeze through the check-in procedures. 

To be honest, I forgot to take photos of the check-in counters as I was surprised how empty it was compared to my last visit to FCO.

FCO terminal and lounge experience

This was not the first time I found myself at FCO. FCO is a decent airport; it even has a Star Alliance business class lounge for Schengen departures, but as I am not flying intra-Schengen I was stuck with a lounge provided by Singapore Airlines called Passenger Lounge.

Passenger Lounge offered no views as it was in the basement, offered hot food items that were cold, and the lounge also was freezing. Let’s just say I ended up leaving the lounge after getting some water and a bagel to roam around the terminal as I was stuck in E-Gates.

What are E-Gates? FCO satellite E-Gates are a satellite terminal accessible by train, Singapore Airlines uses E-Gates at FCO airport. Once you’re at the satellite terminal you cannot go back to the normal terminal. If you wanted to go back to the main terminal, you will have to go through security again. 

So, my suggestion is to wait to go to E-Gates and go stay at the main terminal until a few minutes before boarding. The main terminal at least has a decent Plaza Premium Lounge.

Singapore business class cabin

Singapore Airlines A350-900 business class cabin has 42 seats configured in 1-2-1 configuration. There are 3 lavatories, one in the forward cabin and then two more in the middle of the two business class cabins. Business class seats are spread across two cabins, the most forward cabin is the larger cabin with more seats making it feel more crowded. Then there is another cabin filled with business class seats forward of premium economy, which feels more intimate.

Singapore Airlines business class seat map via SeatGuru

I was seated in the mini business class cabin in front of premium economy, which was great as there were only 4 seats occupied in this cabin, all of which were occupied bulkhead seats.

Singapore bulkhead seats are actually much better than non-bulkhead seats. So, if you can grab a bulkhead seat on a Singapore business class flight, you will have a better and wider seat with much more legroom plus no restrictive footwell.

What is unique about Singapore business class is that each seat is exactly the same besides bulkhead seats. So, each window seat is a window seat, while the middle aisle seats are always the same length from each other.

Overall, the cabin is pretty standard with no fancy lounges or bars on-board like Virgin Atlantic 787. In the middle galley, you can find some snacks, but nothing to write home about.

Singapore A350 business class seat

I knew all the bulkhead seats were taken on this A350 flight, that’s what I get for booking last minute. However, in the lie-flat position, this seat isn’t too bad if you’re sleeping on your side.

Design, comfort, and privacy

These seats are wide and it’s amazing. When you’re in the upright position, the width is great and feels like you can easily seat 1 and a half people in this seat.

However, legroom is sad.

I am someone that never reclines the seat as I prefer it upright or in the lie-flat position, but this amount of legroom is annoying for me in the upright position. Plus, if you recline your seat, your legroom goes away as your seat moves forward reducing your legroom.

It feels like you are almost on top of the IFE and yes you can use the ottoman and footwell in the corner of the seat for more legroom.

Plus, on top of all of this, the footwell is to the side off in the corner making you sit at this kinda weird angle. (This is where bulkhead seats on Singapore Airlines shine. If I booked a bulkhead seat, it would have been a huge footwell, but with only 8 business class bulkhead seats on this plane none were available.)

Singapore Airlines footwell

The rest of the seat was pleasantly thought out. From the armrests to the width of the main seat making it feel very roomy for my upper body. Plus, counter space for the seat isn’t bad. 

The privacy is alright. It helped as I was seated behind the occupied bulkhead seats which were the only occupied seats in my cabin. These are the most private seats in the world and still no comparison to seats with a door or Apex Suites true window seat.

I especially enjoyed the little features throughout the seat.

Seat features (controls, storage, extras)

Singapore does think about what the passenger might want and need, plus a little extra. Storage for this seat might seem minimal until you realize the cubbies and compartments are situated in a convenient way with enough room.

First off we have the storage underneath the ottoman and footwell. I could store my briefcase underneath.

The cubby next to the IFE screen which offers more than enough room for even a DSLR with a small lens. I wasted the space with my iPhone SE, wallet, passport, and headphones. (Note, the mirror has a cover that slides down.)

Located near the armest there are a few other storage options, one of which has the universal outlet and two USB ports.

Next to the aisle are your seat controls and 3 different reading lights.

There is even a coat hook.

Here is a video I shot during the flight showing all the seat features along with the legroom problem I wrote about above.


Singapore business class not-so-amenity kit

Singapore Airlines doesn’t provide an amenity kit in business class. They instead give you the bare minimum at your seat like socks, eyeshades, and slippers, a huge departure from other airlines like EVA

You can find toothbrush and toothpaste along with a few other goodies stocked in the lavatories.

Singapore business class headphones and IFE

The IFE that Singapore provides on the aircraft is one of my favorites after Emirates ICE.

Singapore has a wonderful leave and resume feature, where you can continue the show or movie you were watching on your next flight if you didn’t finish it. I also like their in-flight map, one of my favorite channels on any airline.

You control the IFE by using the remote using the buttons or touchscreen as the IFE screen isn’t a touchscreen.

Movie and TV selection are really good, but I only cared about the in-flight map and content that I already had downloaded on my phone.

The provided headphones I didn’t use.

Singapore business class wifi

Wifi offered onboard my Singapore Airlines flight was priced without any data limits.

The wifi package I selected could last up to 24 hours and it only costed me $21.95. Speeds were alright, I could stream YouTube videos most of the time without a problem, but during certain times of the flight it would cut out, which is normal for long-haul flights.

Singapore business class boarding and take-off experience

When I boarded and got to my seat, I was offered a pre-departure drink. I ended up having champagne and guava juice. Plus a hot towel. 

With about a 10 minute delay, we were off to the skies for our 11-hour journey.

Southern mountains of Italy with snow caps

Singapore business class dining

Oh Singapore…

I love to eat when I travel, both on the ground and in the air I might indulge myself a little too much. Yes, I admit I have a problem and have cut back, but food is life.

To my disappointment, I had one of the worst meals offered by any airline on this flight. The taste was just terrible, even the dessert was terrible. No, I didn’t get sick or anything like that, just the taste and quality of the food served was bad.

What is the worst meal I had on a flight? Back in 2015, I flew Delta from Detroit (DTW) to Shanghai (PVG) on their 747 in economy comfort (now called Comfort+). I had non-meat pasta for the meal after take-off and I got sick. Yes, it’s economy, yes I got sick, and yes Singapore comes in second place to the worst meal I had on a plane (yet it’s a maybe distant second).

Yes, this is the first time flying Singapore business class, as I have only flown their suites and first class on routes with book the cook. Those meals offered in first class were alright, nothing special, but not JAL or ANA first class catering quality and taste. I expected this flight to offer just alright food as there was no book the cook service. Sadly, I was wrong…

Anyways, without further ado, here is my review of Singapore business class dining experience.

After take-off

Within minutes of reaching 10,000 feet in the sky, I was greeted by one of the attentive flight attendants asking for my drink order. I asked for champagne (Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve) and with my champagne was napkin and wet wipe.

Then another flight attendant came by asking if I wanted satay. I, of course, said yes as I love satay!

I was presented with lamb and chicken satay with cucumber and onions. The satay was cold, very chewy, and so hard to bite into both lamb and chicken that I thought I had a problem with eating. At least the peanut sauce was good.

After my attempt to finishing the hard as a rock yet chewy satay, the table was set. Business class catering without a tray is always amazing as it allows customizability with your meal that feels like a first class dining experience.

Yet, next up was definitely the worst dish out of all that was served on this flight.

Balik smoked salmon with balsamic vinegar pearls was by far the worst dish. The salmon was super chewy, a rubber-like texture. The potato cake was a cold ball of no taste that was chewy. And on top of all of that, the balsamic was nonexistent. Even without the salmon, which tasted terrible and was disgusting, how can rocket salad be so bad?

I enjoy eating salmon and have had it on many airlines, but this wasn’t salmon and after two bites of eating the salad I couldn’t keep on going.

After the appetizer, I was presented with a selection of bread and of course, I selected garlic bread. It was garlic bread and definitely the highlight of the meal. 🙂

At this point, I was worried about my main dish, which was the Thai style prawns with choo-chee curry sauce.

It tasted like uncooked curry powder that was left out with rice for a few days. The vegetables and the prawns were actually surprisingly not chewy. However, I couldn’t get rid of the boxed curry powder taste. (Yes, it felt like they mistakenly poured too much curry powder into the dish and didn’t bother to fix it.)

After all that food, which I didn’t actually finish, a cart came around with a selection of dessert and cheeses.

I selected the sbrisolona, an Italian almond cake, and a cheese plate.

The sbrisolona was cold and rock hard. It seems like a theme with most of their food to be hard to eat. The cheese, on the other hand, was cheese and I enjoyed eating it — I just wish I had more garlic bread to get rid of the powdered curry taste stuck in my mouth. (Yes, I drank a few glasses of water, but there was still pure powder in my mouth.)

Before touch down

Starting off the meal before landing was a selection of fruit. The fruit was sour.

After the fruit, I skipped the appetizer and went for the main course. I also got a selection of bread that came with the main course. I ended up grabbing two pieces of bread filled with fruit, which tasted great and not sour like the selection of cut fruit.

For the main, I got the fried rice vermicelli with chicken in XO sauce. This dish, without any surprise, wasn’t good. The noodles were very hard. It had a good flavor, but as the texture goes, it’s hard to eat. At least the mushrooms were fine.

I finished the meal with a good cup of cappuccino.

The before landing meal was fine. I would say it’s better than the meal after take-off but surprised how this meal also was plagued by weird flavors that were too sour and chewy hard food.

I didn’t enjoy any of these dishes on the flight. While the dishes were edible, I still cannot get over the fact that the salmon salad was so bad, chewy, and rubbery. Plus, the curry dish was so overpowering (I honestly wonder if a mistake happened during the cooking process and they accidentally poured the whole box of curry powder into this batch. Yes, I am repeating this because it baffles me how they could mess up curry like this).

Either way, most of the food errors presented on this flight were not at the fault of the crew, but at the catering company. Whoever caters their flights from FCO really needs to try again with these dishes.

And yes, I did comment about the quality and taste of the dishes to the crew when they asked how was my meal. They were very apologetic and I made sure they knew it wasn’t their fault, but this doesn’t give them and me much faith in their catering after this dining experience.


The food menu for my flight reads as followed:

Singapore does a good job with their selection of beverages. I like their choice of champagne and wine.

The beverage menu reads as followed:

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Singapore business class service

Singapore Airlines has some of the best cabin crew members in the world. In 2019 they won the best cabin crew in the world by Skytrax awards and I do agree that they have some of the best flight attendants in the world. Service is typically very warm, mostly attentive, and friendly while being professional. 

The cabin crew on my flight was wonderful, we ended up having an amazing conversation during the flight and they gave me a birthday present, even though my birthday was later that week. Along with the gifts, they gave me a personalized card. During the flight, they also made sure I always had a full glass and had enough to eat. They were always enthusiastic.

I would fly again with that cabin crew in a heartbeat. 🙂

Singapore business class lavatory

The lavatory was clean and remained clean the whole flight. 

You can find amenities like toothbrush and toothpaste along with other goodies like perfumes the whole flight.

Singapore business class bedding

Singapore Airlines business class beds are quite interesting. First of all, the beds have to be flipped manually by a flight attendant as the seat doesn’t reline into the lie-flat bed mode position. 

While you are in bed mode, you have to then ask the flight attendant to flip up the seat if you don’t want it in bed mode. For me, I don’t mind it as I always keep my seat in the lie-flat position, but to others that want to transition frequently you might find yourself somewhat annoyed by it.

Anyways, I found the bed alright. It was firm, which I like, but the footwell being off to the side made me have to lie at an angle. Plus, it’s not a long bed, even for me as I am 5’10”. I found it better to lie on my side for the bed.

The bedding itself was good and they gave me two pillows which make a huge difference.

Landing at SIN

We landed at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) about 10 minutes late. I said my farewells to the crew and thanked them so much for the small gifts.

Once I disembarked, I made my way to the transfer counter to check-in for my Garuda Indonesia flight to Jakarta (CGK). Once it came time for boarding I got this beautiful picture of a Singapore A350 from the ground before I boarded the elite ground bus to my Garuda aircraft.

Final word

Did I have a good flight? Yes.

Did I leave the flight hungry and unhappy about my meals? Yes.

Would I fly Singapore Airlines again and skip the meals or hope for book the cook? Yes

I wouldn’t fly Singapore Airlines for the food, but I would for the crew. (I’d eat in the lounge before). If you can get past the awkward seat as I did and fly during the day time where sleep isn’t needed, you will enjoy the flight along with the crew. If you can score a bulkhead seat, that is even better!

However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly Singapore Airlines business class again for the food and the seat. I would much prefer flying another business class product between South East Asia and Europe.

This article was originally published by Steve Smith.

Thai Airways A350 Business Class (Royal Silk) Review (BKK to FRA) [2021]

Thai Airways A350 business class (aka Royal Silk) is a solid business class product. It shines in certain areas like dining but it also has a few shortcomings (though some of those can be avoided with the right planning). Keep reading this article to find out everything you need to know about the Thai Airways A350 business class based on my flight from BKK to FRA.

The trip routing

This particular segment to Frankfurt was part of a mini round the world trip which included the following routes: IAH->TPE->BKK (layover)->FRA->IAH.

  • IAH->TPE: EVA 777-300 J
  • TPE->BKK: Thai 777-200 J
  • BKK->FRA: Thai A350-900 J
  • FRA->IAH: Lufthansa A380-800 F
  • ORD->IAH: United 737-900 F (changed)
Round the world trip routing. Image via

After securing flights to Taipei and from Frankfurt to the US, I still needed to find a way to get across those 5,823 miles from Frankfurt to Taipei. Since I had a nice stash of United miles I turned to the Star Alliance. I thought about flying business with Swiss but I read iffy things about the comfort of the seat. I also considered flying first class on Air China since the suite looks comfortable but that would mean flying Air China. 

Partners like EVA and Singapore were out since I already flew them, and I didn’t want to fly Lufthansa business class due to its layout (2-2-2).  

Ultimately, I decided to fly Thai Airways from TPE to Frankfurt with a connection in BKK based on how good the A350 hard product and soft product appeared and not to mention the low fees. I’d also just been fascinated by Thai Airways since the last time I visited Bangkok and saw their ads everywhere. I would’ve loved to book Thai first class but I didn’t see any openings so just decided to stick with business. 

I didn’t follow Thai award availability for a long time but based on my searches it seemed pretty good.

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Flight details 

Here are the details for the flight: 

  • Route: Bangkok (BKK) -> Frankfurt (FRA)
  • Flight No.: TG 922
  • Aircraft: A350-900
  • Class: Business Class (I)
  • Seat: 15G
  • Date: June 14, 2019
  • Departure Time: 12:28 pm
  • Arrival Time: 7:11 pm
  • Flight Time: 11 hours,  43 minutes 
Image via

Booking Thai business class with points 

I booked Thai business class with 75,000 United miles — a pretty competitive rate from Asia to Europe. Fees were only $17.50 but I had to pay $50 in United close-in fees which don’t show below. This flight went for $2,294 USD so that’s about 3 cents per mile which isn’t bad, though that’s a pretty reasonably priced business class ticket in my opinion. 

Connecting at BKK

After flying in on a pretty underwhelming 777-200 (review to come later), I had to connect through BKK. I deplaned into a shuttle bus (yay, crowded bus) and then had to make my way through BKK to the international transfer counter.  

Deplaning the 777-200.

I wasn’t 100% sure where I was headed once in the airport since the signs weren’t super clear to me and didn’t say anything about international transfers until I got very close to where I needed to be (which was the “East Transfer Counter.”)

After making my way through a few long walkways and going through transfer security, I made it to the Royal Silk Lounge. The entire transfer process at BKK took about 25 minutes.

Thai Royal Silk Lounge

I first arrived at the Thai Royal Orchid Spa — which me being me — had mistaken for the lounge. They told me I could get in in ten minutes and I wondered what kind of second-rate business class lounge would make me wait ten minutes to get in until it clicked…..

Once i realized what they were talking about I didn’t think ten minutes was a bad wait time but I had just gotten a pretty good massage the night before at the W Taipei. I didn’t want to over do it (if that’s even possible with massages) and I was a bit pressed for time, so I opted to go without the massage.

Thai Royal Orchid Spa.

Right across the corridor was the entrance to the lounge. 

Thai Royal Silk Lounge entrance.

The Thai Royal Silk Lounge is big and long with glass windows that open up to the terminal. It’s very understated and a little boring by today’s standards but it is spacious, calm, and quiet.  

Thai Royal Silk Lounge.

The lounge was not packed at all and so seating was easy to find. 

Thai Royal Silk Lounge.
Thai Royal Silk Lounge Lounge.

I wandered around a little bit before settling down. I first came across the computer cubbies which were pretty scuffed up and looked a little depressing. 

Thai Royal Silk Lounge computer area.

I also saw a kids play room. 

Thai Royal Silk Lounge play room.

And at the back of the lounge was the bar with only one lone patron. 

Thai Royal Silk Lounge bar.

In the middle of the lounge is the main food area where you can find different types of hot food items. Here I found several different types of sandwiches along with a table dedicated to hot food items, such as: fish in red curry sauce, stir-fried Chinese noodles, sautéed vegetables, jasmine steamed rice, and even a margarita pizza.  

I was trying to save my appetite for the flight (and to just not be a fat arse) so I only went for a couple of sandwiches to hold me over. They weren’t bad at all. 

Overall, it’s a decent-looking lounge that seemed to offer a pretty nice line-up of hot food items along with plenty of snack foods like the sandwiches I had and some sweets as well. But I recall visiting the Cathay Pacific business class lounge last time at BKK and feeling like it had more to offer in terms of dining (can you say noodle bar?) and coziness (though it was much smaller as a satellite lounge). 

Cathay Pacific Noddle Bar (mmmm….)

After spending only a few minutes in the lounge, I started to make the trek over to the boarding gate: C5. That’s about when I stumbled upon another Royal Silk Lounge, which was much closer to my gate. So I learned my lesson to not simply jump on the first lounge I see but to do a little scouting, although that lounge appeared smaller from the outside. 

So I continued on towards my gate at C5, which was pretty scenic as you can tell. 

And then finally I came up to the entrance to the gate and there she was! (The A350 — not the girl in the photo below.)


The boarding took place in a contained area for C5 down from the main terminal corridor. There were no signs for economy, business, etc. — just an area sectioned off that allowed passengers with disabilities to continue through. Eventually, an agent simply unroped the area and they made the call for business class passengers in what was a fairly orderly boarding process. 

I was the first to board and followed the jet bridge through to the exclusive business class boarding entrance. 

Thai Airways A350 business class cabin

The Thai Airways A350 business class cabin is made up of 32 flat bed seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration. The seat layouts alternate in each row. Some rows have true window seats directly adjacent to the windows while other rows have “window” seats closer to the aisles. The middle seats also have “honeymoon” seats which are the rows with seats close together while other rows have seats better for folks who want more privacy. 

Thai Airways A350 seat map. Image via

When I first entered the cabin, I was very impressed with the aesthetics. It’s a beautiful cabin, and I immediately fell in love with look of the purple accents and brown faux wood panels. It felt very peaceful and the orchids placed on the counters were an elegant touch.   

Thai Airways A350 business class cabin.

I really liked the floral wall art found at the back of the cabin as well. 

Thai Airways A350 business class cabin.

Although I loved the look and feel of the business class cabin, the aisles did feel narrow and the cabin slightly cramped (though it helped that the overhead bins sit so high in the middle to open things up). 

Thai Airways A350 business class seat 

Design, comfort, and privacy

I was assigned seat 15G but that’s not the seat I would have picked. I really wanted a “true” window seat which would have much more privacy but I was willing to “settle” for this seat which just required a little more work for the window views. 

I’ve learned that’s one of the drawbacks to last-minute booking: limited seat selection. 

Thai Airways A350 business class seat.

Notice how the seat below has much more privacy since it’s closer to the windows. I was truly envious of the people in these seats. 

Thai Airways A350 business class window seat.

The seat looked beautiful up close but I did immediately notice how narrow it looked. SeatGuru has it listed at 20″ wide compared to the 26″ wide seat I’d just flown with EVA — that’s a pretty dramatic difference. The armrests are also very thin as you can tell in the photo below. Still, despite those drawbacks, I didn’t find the seat uncomfortable. 

A fairly narrow seat.

The next thing I wanted to check out was the footwell. It looked pretty deep and not as narrow as some business class seats out there so I was holding out hope that I would be able to get comfortable during the flight. 

One thing that I did notice was the large hinge for the tray table that was pretty much just begging my knee to hit it. 

But I was pretty comfortable with my feet stretched out into the foot well. Once my feet (size 12) were in the footwell, it felt a little cramped but not in an extremely uncomfortable way.  

The problem came when the crew was pushing out the drink cart. The crew would be literally centimeters from my legs. 

Also, there’s only a very modest privacy shield on the seat so the seats don’t feel very private. 

I really believe that if I had a true window seat that the entire experience would have felt much different, so if you value privacy I highly recommend that you avoid the type fo seat I had — it just feels too exposed. 

Seat features (controls, storage)

The seat controls are easy to access and to use and will be right next to your armrest. I really liked how easy it was to turn on the reading lamp and then the additional lighting they had for the seat. I also thought that the lighting looked great when it was turned on. 

There’s not a lot of easily accessible storage compartments. You have some storage space under the ottoman but that’s not accessible when the seat is in lie-flat mode, so you’re really just left with the deep pocket seen below, which can hold things like your amenity kit, passport, and other things.  

The storage under the ottoman offers a decent amount of space but items tends to roll out of there due to the uneven surface. I’d recommend just throwing all of your bedding and other materials in the overhead bin.  

Once you take off, you should have enough space to pull out a bag or backpack and plop it down next to the window for easy access. 

I liked how easy and straightforward it was to bring down and store the tray table. 

However, the tray table did feel just a little small to me (compared to others like EVA). 

 On the outside of the tray table is a hook for hanging your garments.

The power outlet (110V, 60Hz) is found on the front of seat and the headphone jack is just above that. It’s not too difficult to access them and wires never really got in the way so I was okay with their position. 

There are two USB ports just under the TV screen. These are super easy to access but they could give you a little bit of trouble if you have a short USB cable.  

Thai Airways business class amenity kit & headphones

The Thai A350 business class amenity kit is very basic. 

Thai Airways business class amenity kit.

Although I liked the Mandarina Duck bag, there’s not anything special about the amenity kit. Inside, you’ll find the following

  • Lotion
  • Dental kit
  • Mouth wash
  • Lip Balm
  • Comb
Thai Airways business class amenity kit.
Thai Airways business class amenity kit

The toothbrush and toothpaste are very cheap and my toothpaste “malfunctioned” and wouldn’t open so I asked the crew if they had a different kit they could give me. They brought me out a much higher quality dental kit and I thought that was interesting. As far as the lotion, it was refreshing but not on par with luxury-brand lotions. 

No pajamas or slippers were issued so I simply jumped into the ones I had from EVA. It felt a little disrespectful, but they are all Star Alliance so whatever. 

The headphones were from AKG and were noise-cancelling. These were mediocre quality and required you to slip on the covers to the speakers, which of course came off every chance they got (even though I had secured them). So overall, the business class amenities from Thai were average.

Thai A350 business class IFE

The TV monitors on the A350 were large (16″ I believe), crisp, and responsive. You could control them via touch screen or with the remote control. 

I would rate the in-flight entertainment as solid based on the movie selection. I don’t watch TV,  play games on flights, etc., so I judge IFE based solely on the movie selection. I ask myself, “Is there enough flight time to watch all of the movies I really want to see.” If the answer is no, then that’s a solid IFE experience. In this case, they had several movies I wanted to see (Creed II, Game Night, Aquaman, Captain Marvel, and several others). 

One form of IFE I love is viewing the flight maps. On this flight though this wasn’t an option because the satellite was out. That was a major blow because I usually check that every 90 minutes or so and love getting the photos. Oh well. 

Thai A350 business class wifi

The Thai A350 offered wifi but I’ve been getting screwed when purchasing wifi on long-haul flights. The wifi speed has been unbearable (assuming I can even get it to connect). Since they were already having satellite issues, I didn’t feel like bothering with it. Plus, the couple of hours I allocated for work could be done offline anyway so it wasn’t a big deal. 

Thai A350 business class drink menu 

I’m still on my alcohol hiatus (still debating if a glass of champagne really falls under this) so I didn’t partake but here’s a look at what was offered on the menu. 

I went with my usual: sparkling water. 

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Thai A350 business class dining 

The Thai Royal Silk business class dining experience was a memorable one and probably the highlight of the flight for me. I really didn’t know what to expect so I went in very open minded. 

We started off with Iberico ham stuffed coriander cream cheese and mozzarella pearl along with a Thai spicy prawn salad with lemongrass and mint. They also brought out the bread and I took a piece. The appetizer was fresh with a nice little kick that was balanced by the cream cheese — not a bad way to get things started. 

The appetizer: Iberico ham stuffed coriander cream cheese and mozzarella pearl along with a Thai spicy prawn salad with lemongrass and mint.

Then the main dish came out, which had the following: 

  • Deep-fried snapper fish with Swet and Sour Chilli Sauce
  • Prawn and pork belly soup with mixed Thai herbs
  • Deep-fried marinated pork
  • Stir-fried cabbage with fish sauce
  • Steamed duo jasmine rice 
Main course on the Thai A350.

The snapper was phenomenal.  The flavors popped in my mouth and the fish had the perfect amount of kick to it. It also helped that they served up a good-sized portion. I have forgotten about a lot of business class dishes (and even first class meals) but this will not be one of those.   

Deep-fried snapper fish with Swet and Sour Chilli Sauce.

I was in love with the blue jasmine rice. Even though there was no discernible difference in taste and I only ate a small portion, there’s just something cool about eating blue food.  

Steamed duo jasmine rice.

The soup broth was very flavorful with a nice sharp twang that the shrimp soaked up. I didn’t try the pork belly, though. 

Prawn and pork belly soup with mixed Thai herbs.

I tried a small piece of the fried pork but just wasn’t feeling it. I think I’ve gotten to the point that if it’s not bacon or pepperoni, I’m really not that interested in pork.  

Deep-fried marinated pork.

Next came the “boutique” cheese platter which had a good variety of tasty cheeses. 

And then dessert rolled out: a lemon meringue tart. This little dessert packed a punch and I wasn’t able to finish it but it was good. Not too heavy and just tart enough. 

And then they wrapped things up with one final sweet snack.

After getting some sleep (more on that below) and then waking up, they brought out the second meal. The appetizers were marinated salmon with coffee, cream cheese and pistachio, crepe roll baba ganoush, and a fresh pineapple morsel topped with sauteed minced pawn, pork, and peanuts. These starters were much more of a shock to the taste buds and I’m not sure they were the best choice for right after waking. 

The second round of appetizers.

And then they brought out yet another winner — the baked salmon trout with horseradish yogurt sauce. I took off the skin and this salmon and sauce was great and tasted high quality. I avoided the potatoes but thoroughly enjoyed the buttered snow peas.  

The baked salmon trout with horseradish yogurt sauce.

And then another dessert in a cup was brought out — a dulcey chocolate panna cotta with apricot jelly, raspberry sauce. This one was very sweet and rich and a great way to cap off the memorable dining experience. 

Overall, this was a killer business class dining experience. To have two main courses I really enjoyed is not common and I appreciated the variety and depth of the flavors. I would have to rank Thai business class dining up there with some of the best J cabins based on this flight.  

Thai A350 business class menu.
Thai A350 business class menu.
Thai A350 business class menu.

Thai A350 business class service

Overall the service was great, but it could be more polished. The crew was very warm and spoke good English and though I don’t judge crews based on English speaking abilities (for non-US routes), it was helpful. My only issue was a slight lack of attentiveness.

The crew piled up things on my counter like glasses, water bottles, coasters, trays, towels, etc. and then would just forget about them. This is especially annoying for someone like me who is trying to constantly get clean photographs. I feel like most other airlines have done better at keeping the seats rubbish free. 

But overall I would say the staff was great — just need to work on being a little more attentive. 

Thai A350 business class lavatory 

The Thai A350 business class lavatory was clean but pretty basic.

Thai A350 business class lavatory.

The orchids were a nice touch. 

Thai A350 business class lavatory.

There were a couple of fragrance bottles in there but no facial misters or anything like that (I’m kind of addicted to those right now). They had cups in there but I don’t think I’d ever risk using water directly from the plane’s lavatory to rinse unless times were truly desperate. Also, don’t mind me looking like a hobo in the photo below. 

Thai A350 business class lavatory.

Overall, it was a pretty standard lavatory that did feel a little cramped when I changed in there. In fact, it was so cramped that when changing I dropped my phone on the floor next to the toilet, which was just tragic.

Thai A350 business class bedding 

After my meal, I decided to make my bed and pulled out the bedding. A couple of crew members walked past me as I made the bed and didn’t offer to help, which didn’t bother me (okay, maybe it did a little). But the lack of help was in contrast to the help I’ve experienced flying business on other Asian airlines like Singapore — they seem eager to go the extra mile.  

Thai A350 business class bedding.

The bedding pad was thicker than the one I recently had with EVA air which gave me hope that this would be a comfortable sleeping experience. 

Thai A350 business class bedding.

But when I pulled out the blanket, I realized that it was much thinner than the EVA blanket. I then got settled into the bed and immediately felt cramped by the narrow seat and the footwell that all of a sudden felt much tighter. The bed is 73.5 inches or about five inches shorter than EVA. Despite the short length, once I tired out a couple of different positions and I got on my side, I was able to find a comfy position. 

I ended up sleeping several hours on the plane, probably around five or so. I now think that I’m turning a corner sleeping on planes due to the fact that I can now comfortably fall asleep on my side. I was always a 1000% stomach sleeper but a neck issue forced me to learn how to sleep on my side and I think the silver lining to that is I can now get more comfortable on planes.

That combined with the fact I don’t drink on planes has allowed me to land feeling refreshed even after 15+ hour flights. The atmosphere on the A350 might have helped with the refreshed feeling, too.

So if you struggle to sleep on planes and you’re a stomach sleeper, I’d recommend trying to get used to sleeping on your side — it makes business class way more tolerable. 

Thai A350 business class bedding.

Landing at FRA

Before I knew it, we were approaching Frankfurt and getting ready for landing. It was nice getting a good view of the Frankfurt skyline from the plane. 

Once we touched down I made my way through immigration which was a very interesting experience as someone in the front of my line was having major issues not responding to questions and causing a big scene. I ended up having to switch lines after waiting several minutes and luckily got through there amid that fiasco. Once through, I was off to pick up my bags and headed outside. 

I looked at the prices for the limousine pick-up at the airport and saw that they were outrageous for the Hilton Frankfurt. So I looked at taxi prices which were about €45 and I priced out Uber which was only about €22. So I went with Uber.

If you choose to get picked by Uber at FRA, you’ll need to head up the departures level and that’s were you’ll get scooped up (you will be able to select a specific entrance like “entrance five” which will be clearly numbered so it’s a very easy Uber pick up process. 

Final word 

Overall, here’s what I felt about Thai Royal Silk business class on the A350 based on my flight: 


  • Fantastic dining
  • Solid IFE
  • Great service 


  • Exposed seat
  • Narrow and slightly short seat
  • Basic amenities

Qatar Airways A350 Business Class Review (DOH to MLE)

Qatar Airways has a great business class product on its A350. I recently flew on it from Doha to the Maldives and it was a great flight though a bit on the shorter side. Here’s a review of the Qatar Airways A350 business class.

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Finding availability

Our entire Qatar itinerary was CDG->DOH->MLE. Availability from CDG to DOH was actually pretty good in first class and so it wasn’t that difficult to find award seats to Doha. However, I could only find economy award seats from DOH to MLE so I originally just settled for those.

Tickets cancelled without notice

Booking these seats almost became a disaster on multiple occasions.

I used 62,500 AA miles per person to book the flight and paid $153 in fees for each person, which is one of the top uses for AA miles.

I had to call in to the Australian AA center to book but they did not process my payment in the local currency (Australian dollars). This led to my tickets being stuck in limbo and eventually cancelled. To make matters worse, I wasn’t even notified about the cancellation!

Luckily, I caught that it happened a few days later. And I actually got even luckier, business class seats had opened up so I was able to change my booking from economy to business class to the Maldives without having to pay any change fees.

But the drama wasn’t over there.

Trouble in the Maldives

Several Middle Eastern countries cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017 and the Maldives joined in on that. These countries were banning flights from Qatar so I was really nervous that my booking would be cancelled.

I was very close to routing through Colombo, Sri Lanka but luckily flights continued between Qatar and the Maldives and I could breathe once again… or at least I could until the Maldives declared a state of emergency a couple of weeks before our trip (it actually wasn’t bad at all).

Aircraft swap

One last twist occurred before our trip as the aircraft between Doha and Male was swapped from an A330 to an A350. I much preferred the A350 1-2-1 layout in business class to the A330’s 2-2-2 so this was a welcomed change.

Circuitous routing due to airspace restrictions.

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The journey

This flight was part of our mega round the world trip and was toward the middle of trip.

We started this particular segment of our trip in Paris after staying two nights at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, which was an interesting experience for me. It’s not a horrible hotel but considering this is a flagship Hyatt property, my experience there left a bit to be desired in the service department….

The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme.

After that we made our way to the Qatar first/business lounge at CDG, which was very nice. It had some beautiful decor and some pretty solid dining options to choose from. I also thought the outdoor terrace was really cool (I didn’t get to experience it because of the weather).

Qatar business class lounge at CDG.

We then flew out first class on the Qatar A380 from Paris to Doha on what was a great first class flight. The first class cabin is very open but yet still felt very private and the dining and service was on point. I was also a really, really big fan of the on-board bar/lounge pictured below.

Qatar first class bar on the A380.

After touching down in Doha, we were luckily allowed to experience the amazing Al Safwa First Class Lounge after initially getting a little bit of resistance due to the timing of our flight. That lounge is one of the most stunning first class lounges that I’ve visited.

Al Safwa First Class Lounge.

It’s a huge lounge that resembles a museum in many respects and has some impressive water features.

Al Safwa First Class Lounge.

I really liked the mini hotel rooms that it has where you can get some sleep, shower, and even watch some TV just like you would at an ordinary hotel.

Al Safwa First Class Lounge.

The food and service were also great in the lounge in as well.

Al Safwa First Class Lounge.

After spending the night at the lounge we were refreshed and ready to make our way from Doha down to the warm Maldives.


We were among the first passengers to board and took our seats on 1A and 2A.

The Qatar A350 business class cabin

The cabin on the A350 looked very fresh and new.

Qatar A350 business class cabin.

The Qatar A350 business cabin is divided up with eight rows in one cabin and then a mini-cabin with three rows. There’s a small mini-bar area in-between the cabins but since this was a shorter flight they didn’t set up the bar area to my disappointment.

It was still a nice area to wander to during the flight and get some stretching done, and I noticed a few other passengers congregated there during the flight.

The mini bar/rest area.

The seats, which are B/E Aerospace Super Diamonds, are 22 inches wide according to SeatGuru, which is two inches wider than the business class seats on the Cathay Pacific A350. I thought the seats were very comfortable and I could definitely see myself riding in these on a long-haul flight.

Qatar A350 business class window seat.

The Qatar business class seats are very similar to the Cathay Pacific business class seats on the A350, although Cathay Pacific seats have a the privacy shield, which makes the flying experience feel much more private.

Cathay Pacific A350 business class.

The first thing I immediately noticed was that the bulkhead seat, 1A, has much more legroom than seat 2A. Since this was a shorter flight that didn’t matter that much, but it’s something that I would definitely want to consider if I were on a long-haul flight.

The bulkhead seat, 1A.
A normal seat, 2A.

There’s a fair amount of privacy for the middle seats as they are spaced pretty far apart.

Qatar A350 business class middle seats.

You can also raise a middle partition for additional privacy, which you can see below.

Qatar A350 business class middle seats.
Qatar A350 business class middle seats.

The business class seats come with a nice amount of counter space with two tiers to work with.

Qatar A350 business class seat counter space.

The top counter space is pretty wide and comes with a water bottle in a holder as well as a lamp.

Qatar A350 business class seat counter space.

The in-flight entertainment controller is built into the side of the counter and I found it to be very responsive.

Qatar A350 business class in-flight controller.

There’s also a panel for the seat controls with many different types of configurations to choose from. The arm rests can be raised or lowered to your liking.

Qatar A350 business class seat controls.

There’s a nice storage compartment on the side of the seat, next to where you can find the power outlet.

Qatar A350 business class storage compartment.

The amenity kits came in these bags with cool designs. Inside, they had an eye mask, lip balm, and socks, which wasn’t bad for a short-haul flight.

Qatar A350 business class amenity kit.
Qatar A350 business class amenity kit.

The headphones were not quite Bose but not bad at all.

Qatar A350 business class headphones.

Overall, it’s a pretty impressive business class seat. Yes, it could be a tad more private and perhaps even a little bit more leg room (more on that below) but these seats are reportedly wider than those on other products like the Cathay Pacific A350.

Qatar A350 business class seat.

After checking out the seat we were ready to take off down to the Maldives. We caught a fantastic view of the Doha skyline as we departed that made a lasting impression on me.

View of the Doha skyline.

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Qatar business class dining

I started off with the signature Qatar drink which is the lemon-mint beverage. This drink is a must on any Qatar flight in my opinion as I could drink on that stuff all day.

For an appetizer, I just kept it simple and went with fresh fruit which was very fresh and juicy.

Next came out some bread and croissants.

For the main dish, I went with the Arabian breakfast. I’d already had a pretty hearty American breakfast very early in the morning at the lounge so I wasn’t that hungry. However, I still managed to scarf some of this stuff down and it was all very refreshing.

After that I tried out a refreshing smoothie-type drink which was pretty good though I didn’t have the tatse buds to finish it off.

This was a shorter flight so I didn’t get the full Qatar business class dining which I’ve heard a lot of great things about. However, I can tell that Qatar knows what they are doing based on the quality of the food.

I’d also point out that the service on this flight was top-notch.

The level of attention on the flight felt pretty close to a first class experience to be honest. When the cabin manager found out we were going to be cutting it really close to connecting with our puddle jumper flight, they took extra time to explain to me how immigration should work and what I should do about answering some important questions on my immigration card.

The bedding

Due to the short length of the trip, I wasn’t able to try out the bed properly. However, I did put the seat all the way down and tested it out. I liked that the arm rest and the padding on top of the side storage compartment made the lying experience feel a little more spacious.

Qatar A350 lie-flat seat.
Qatar A350 lie-flat seat.

However, when compared to the business class seat on the Cathay Pacific A350, I think I prefer the Cathay Pacific A350 since it has a wider area for your legs that you can see in the photo below.

Maldives views

Flying into the Maldives is a lot of fun because the views are simply stunning. While we were flying as a couple and tempted to take the middle seats, we decided it’d be better to go for the window seats on this flight. And I’m 100% happy that we made that decision.

Watching these beautiful turquoise atolls, reefs, and islands pop up left and right as you approach Male is mesmerizing. I’d honestly never seen anything quite like it before.

View of the Maldives approaching Male.
View of the Maldives approaching Male.

You can spot several of the resorts from the sky but I wasn’t able to recognize any of them from up in the air. I will say that there were many more resorts than I had imagined before heading to the Maldives.

Random Maldives resort.
View of the Maldives approaching Male.
View of the Maldives approaching Male.

We caught a great view of the city of Male, too, which was one of the most densely populated cities I’ve seen.

The city of Male.

After landing we were able to get through immigrations and customs very quickly and we were escorted to the Hilton Conrad Lounge where we awaited to be taken to our retreat water villa at the Conrad (which was a fantastic stay).

Conrad Maldives retreat water villa.

Final word

Qatar has a very solid business class product on the A350. It’s comfortable, open, and a great way to spend time in the sky. It does have some cons compared to other similar products, but I would be very happy to fly this business class product in the future (though I’d be very interested in the Q-Suites).

Singapore Airlines to fly A350 from Houston to Manchester

I was pretty excited to hear about the new Singapore Airlines route from Houston to Manchester when it was announced some months ago. But now I’m really excited to hear about the route being serviced by a brand new A350-900XWB! Per Routes Online, this new service is replacing the 777-300ER and its inaugural flight is set to take off January 17th, 2016.

The route

Like the SIN-FRA-JFK route with the A380, the total flight path is also three segments total: Singapore – Manchester – Houston. The flights have the following flight numbers:

  • SQ52  SIN to MAN
  • SQ52  MAN to IAH
  • SQ51 IAH to MAN
  • SQ51 MAN to SIN

Manchester, UK. Photo by Zuzanna Neziri.

Business class on the A350

I’m excited about this because I recently flew business class (which is the highest class on this aircraft) on a brand new Singapore A350 from SIN to JNB, and I absolutely loved it. It’s one of the top business class cabins and arguably on par with several of the first class products on some airlines. So now Houstonians and others have an additional solid product for getting to Europe, and it’s on one of the best airlines on the planet. 

Singapore Business Class
Singapore Business Class on the A350.

What I really loved about the A350 was the freshly designed business class seats and even preferred those over the business class seats on the A380. To me, the business class on the A380 appear much more dated and definitely not at stylish as the newer business class.

Singapore Business Class A380
Singapore Business Class A380

Although I found the business class seats on the A350 to be much more sleek, I believe they may be just a tad bit more narrow. But if you know how oversized these seats are to begin with, the difference is negligible. Also, I recommend sitting in one of the bulkhead rows for maximum leg room.

Singapore Business Class

Definitely my favorite business class experience thus far. 

Singapore Business Class

While the hard product is a little different on these aircrafts, I found the soft product (dining, drinks, bedding, etc.) to be superb all around. If it’s your first time on Singapore Airlines, don’t forget to try out the Singapore Slinger! 

Singapore Business Class A380
Business class lunch on Singapore Airlines.

You can take a virtual tour of the aircraft here.

Redemption rates

When you book online, you’re offered a 15% discount on Singapore Airlines flights. This makes the miles required for this amazing product a true bargain. Below are the mileage requirements for round trips from Houston to Manchester with the discounts factored in:

  • Economy: 34,000
  • Business Class: 97,750

When you consider that Singapore Airlines Krisflyer is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase, American Express, Citi, and SPG, you see how easy it is to accumulate enough points to take advantage of these flights. With just one card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’d have enough miles to take a round trip to Europe in Singapore business class. 

Booking with partners?

Singapore Airlines is one of those oddball airlines that limits partner booking abilities. Not only will you struggle to find their seats on many other websites, but Singapore Airlines limits premium seats to partners when it comes to certain aircrafts. While a route serviced by an A350 should be an aircraft where premium award seats can be made available, it’s likely that availability for business class seats will be scarce so I wouldn’t rely on booking these seats with partners like United.

Paying cash

  • Economy: $630 (Economy super saver)
  • Business Class: $3,842
    • One-way from IAH:$2,390
    • One-way from MAN: $3,040


The major problem with Singapore Airlines is that sometimes you have to deal with hefty fees and this is one route where the fees can really cut into your savings. 

Here are the total fees for economy:

Those fees are almost half the entire fees for the ticket! Factoring in the fees, this redemption of 34,000 miles comes out to just under 1 cent per point (.95 cent). Thus, I probably would just save my points rather than using them for an economy ticket for this route.  

Here are the total fees for business class:

This redemption is much more valuable as your value comes out to about 3.4 cents per point. It’s worth noting that the total fees are higher for the return flight from the UK. If you’re just booking a one way to get to Europe from Houston, then fees aren’t very bad at all (only $128 as seen below). And that redemption is even more valuable coming out at 4.6 cents per point. 

Again, considering the product level with Singapore Airlines business class, the fees aren’t horrible but they are still high enough that you’d want to consider your other options for getting across the pond. 

The alternatives

If you don’t care too much about the airline you’re flying on and just want to get to Europe and want to avoid fees, you should definitely consider other options for a cheaper solution. For example, while Aeroplan requires more miles for a roundtrip business class fare at 110,000 miles you can use Aeroplan miles to book a round trip with a partner airline like SAS or United and avoid high fees. If you can snag an all United itinerary with ANA miles, business class will only run you 88,000 miles total and fees should be more than reasonable. For more alternatives, check out my article on getting to Paris with miles and points

Aside from the fees, the other issue is that Singapore Airlines will require you to book an additional partner booking if you wanted to connect from Manchester to another city in Europe like Paris or wherever. Roundtrip award flights within Europe start as 50,000 Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles, so that’s a lot of additional mileage required. And while budget flights from various cities in Europe are easy to come by, it does add some extra cost and hassle to your travels to jump on them. For this reason, the excitement for this route is curtailed just a bit. 

Final word

It’s great to see such a superb product now available for getting to Europe from Houston. I think what while the economy award redemptions aren’t the most valuable, the business class awards still offer great value despite the fees on a round trip award. If you really just want to experience Singapore’s great business class product, I think this is a great opportunity to do so, especially if you were just looking for a one way award to Europe or were already planning a trip to the UK.