Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class Surabaya to Singapore (Airbus A330-300)

In this review, we will take a Singapore Airlines flight in business class from Surabaya to Singapore on the Airbus A330-300.

Singapore Airlines

Having spent some time at the lacklustre Concordia Premier Lounge, I went to the gate early. I was immensely looking forward to the upcoming two flights as it would be my first ever ones on Singapore Airlines.

The first flight from Surabaya to Singapore would see my flying Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A330-300 featuring their old regional business class product, followed by the airline’s brand new regional business class product on the Boeing 787 from Singapore to Manila.

Aviation enthusiasts will probably know the feeling when you step aboard a new airline for the first time and I was surely full of excitement as well when I watched the Singapore Airlines Airbus A330 arrive at our gate.

The two flights were a great deal too as the total costs were only 21,000 miles from my Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus account, plus just 16.42 euro in taxes.

Although the Miles+Bonus frequent flyer programme has slightly devaluated since I took this flight (2018), such intra-Asian flight redemptions are still considered to be somewhat of a sweet spot and are well-worth seeking out if you have a stack of Aegean miles.

singapore airlines airbus a330 surabaya airport
My Singapore Airlines Airbus A330 arriving at Surabaya Airport. ©Paliparan
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The Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300 parked at the gate. ©Paliparan

Boarding

Priority boarding was neatly organised at Surabaya Airport as there were three clearly marked queues: One for business class passengers, one for Star Alliance gold members, and one for everyone else in economy class.

It was a great feeling being the first to walk on board of this relatively old but beautiful airplane. I was given a warm welcome by the crew on board and escorted to my seat.

When the male flight attendant serving my aisle saw that I was snapping a lot of pictures of the cabin, he kindly inquired whether I wanted him to take a picture of me.

I politely declined for the moment and just explained that I just wanted to take a few pictures of the plane this being my first time flying Singapore Airlines, something which he fortunately completely understood being an avgeek himself.

surabaya airport boarding
The separate boarding queues at Surabaya Airport. ©Paliparan

Surabaya (SUB) to Singapore (SIN) on Singapore Airlines
Flight SQ931 – Airbus A330-300 – Business class, seat 12A
Departure: 10.10am
– Arrival: 1.30pm
Flight time: 2h20m – Distance: 854 miles
Costs: 21,000 Aegean miles + 16.42 EUR in taxes for SUB-SIN-MNL

surabaya singapore
It takes just over two hours to fly between Surabaya and Singapore. ©Great Circle Mapper

Singapore Airlines A330 seat

The cabin of the Singapore Airlines Airbus A330 does feel a bit old and dated and the business class seats are certainly not ground-breaking. Fortunately, Singapore Airlines only flies these planes on short and mid-haul routes, on which the hard product is certainly acceptable.

Business class seats on Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A330 are in a 2-2-2 configuration, so not every seat has direct aisle access. Fortunately, the loads on this flight were fairly light in business and the seat next to me remained empty.

The seats themselves are angled-flat, have plenty of legroom, and are certainly comfortable for a daytime flight. Besides, coming from Europe where the regional business class product often consists of standard economy seats with the middle seat left empty, this felt quite luxurious.

The seat controls are easy to use and within seconds you have your seat, headrest or footrest adjusted to your preferred angle.

Even though I found the seats perfectly comfortable to lounge when they are straight up or slightly reclined, the same isn’t completely true when you turn them in sleeping position.

If you happen to fly overnight on this Airbus A330 on one of Singapore Airlines’ longer regional flights, such as those to India, you may struggle to sleep due to the significant angle.

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The business class cabin on the Singapore Airlines Airbus A330. ©Paliparan
airbus a330 singapore airlines business class
Seats are in a 2-2-2 configuration in business class on the Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300. ©Paliparan
seat controls
You can find the seat controls in the armrest. ©Paliparan
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The seat in a half-reclined position. ©Paliparan
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This is as flat as the angled seat can get. ©Paliparan

Amenities

Already waiting at my seat were a big pillow, a blanket and headphones. Singapore Airlines does not hand out amenity kits on these flights, but rather has all basic amenities available in the communal spaces or in the lavatories.

Of course, if you require something you can also ask one of the flight attendants, which will gladly hand out the product you might need.

Shortly after I got seated, one of the crew members came by and asked what I wanted as pre-departure drink. Naturally, I opted for a glass of champagne.

While the other passengers boarded, the crew also distributed newspapers and refreshment towels as I made myself more comfortable in my seat.

singapore airlines airbus a330 business class
On each seat, you could find a pillow, blanket and headphones. ©Paliparan
champagne singapore airlines
Some champagne as pre-departure beverage. © Airport
refreshment towel
Refreshment towels were handed out as well. ©Paliparan
straits times
Let’s see what is in the Straits Times, Singapore’s most important English-language daily newspaper. ©Paliparan
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Oh, a crash landing at the airport I’m about to fly to today! ©Paliparan

Menu

The menu for today’s flight was already put in the seat pocket when I boarded. I was very happy to see a lunch menu despite the 10am morning departure.

Unfortunately, way too many airlines still serve breakfast on flights departing at 10 or 11am, which is weird as most people will already be awake for at least 4 hours at this point when you facture in the time spent going to the airport, checking in etc.

With a light lunch menu, Singapore Airlines has by far the best conceivable option for a relatively short flight at this hour.

Although a neat printed lunch menu was available there was no drinks list, which I found a bit odd. That said, the fantastic flight attendants on this flight were eager to discuss all options.

You could certainly notice how well-trained Singapore Airlines crew members are, as they all had some general F&B knowledge and were able to give a proper overview of all the available wines.

lunch menu
The lunch menu for today’s flight to Singapore. ©Paliparan

Departure

Pushback from the gate was on time and while taxiing to the runway there were some good views over the airport and the planes of some exotic Indonesian airlines.

We had to wait a short while for a Lion Air aeroplane to land before we were allowed to line up for take-off.

Views upon take-off were excellent, with the city of Surabaya and the surrounding wetlands clearly visible from the sky.

lion air surabaya
A Lion Air Boeing 737 at Surabaya Airport. ©Paliparan
scoot garuda surabaya
Scoot and Garuda planes at Surabaya Airport. ©Paliparan
lion air landing surabaya
Waiting for a Lion Air Boeing 737 to land before it’s out time to line up on the runway for departure. ©Paliparan
surabaya airport take-off
Take-off view from Surabaya Airport. ©Paliparan
surabaya airport take-off airbus a330
Surabaya Airport take-off view. ©Paliparan
surabaya departure
Surabaya departure view. ©Paliparan
surabaya sky view
The city of Surabaya as seen from above. ©Paliparan
surabaya sky view
Surabaya as seen from above. ©Paliparan

Meal service

Meal orders were already taken when we were still on the ground, which meant that service kicked in immediately when we reached cruising altitude, with a proper tablecloth being put on my tray table.

I opted for the salmon, which was served with a sea food salad. As I’m not really a fan of shrimps, I just picked out the tasty pieces of octopus from the salad.

The flight attendant serving my aisle also came by with a bread basket, from which I selected a few pieces of freshly baked, warm garlic bread.

Overall the food on Singapore Airlines was certainly good, with the salmon being moist and tender. Only the strawberry cake was a bit uninspiring.

To drink, I had a crisp Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. It was eminently drinkable and went well with the salmon, so I might have even had two glasses of it.

The meal service was super efficient and completed within an hour after departure when we were not even halfway to Singapore. Talk about effectiveness!

The meal was concluded with tea and coffee service, which I decided to skip.

salmon singapore airlines business class
Salmon for lunch in business class on Singapore Airlines. ©Paliparan
garlic bread singapore airlines
The garlic bread was delicious. ©Paliparan
sauvignon blanc new zealand singapore airlines business class
The Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand went down well. ©Paliparan
koen singapore airlines
I was certainly enjoying my first flight on Singapore Airlines. ©Paliparan

In-flight entertainment

Each business class seat on the Airbus A330 has a large screen which is connected to Singapore Airlines’ excellent KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system.

The system contains hundreds of films, series, music albums and much more, although on this short flight I just ended up watching the route map and the views from the window.

Although the resolution of the screen isn’t the best due to the age of most of these Airbus A330s, it still makes for an above-average entertainment system, especially when seen in the context of this just being a short-haul flight.

At each seat you can find a power socket and USB charging port. Unfortunately, the Singapore Airlines Airbus A330 is not equipped with WiFi internet.

route map
The in-flight entertainment screen showing the route map. ©Paliparan

Service

After the lunch, I had a great chat with the flight attendant about aviation in general and Singapore Airlines specifically. The guy clearly loved his job and was super enthusiastic to share his stories about his life and the company.

Of all airline crews, I think that Singapore Airlines has the best service as I find their flight attendants both warm and welcoming and at the same time amazingly professional.

They are not only flawless when it comes to all aspects of in-flight service, but it’s really also the small touches in personal communication. For example, when I interacted with the flight attendant in my aisle, he would kneel down to be on the same eye-level as you in the seat.

On both the Singapore Airlines business class flights which I would fly today, I found every single flight attendant enormously service-orientated and eager to serve, perfectly knowing when a passenger wanted to be left alone, might be in for another drink, or perhaps might want to make a small chat.

You could also clearly see how hard-working they were, as empty plates were cleaned up quickly, refills proactively offered, and the lavatories kept spotlessly clean.

lavatory toilet airbus a330
The business class lavatories were kept spotlessly clean by the crew. ©Paliparan

Landing

After dinner, I just watched the route map on my screen and the views from the window while sipping a gin tonic or two.

Time went by fast and soon we were already on final descent towards Singapore Changi Airport, where we landed safely and on time.

I thanked the crew for the great flight and after a short walk I arrived at an empty passport control, where I was stamped into Singapore.

gin tonic plane flight map
For the remainder of the flight, I just had a G&T or two and watched the flight map and the views from the window. ©Paliparan
blue sea sky
Blue sea and skies as seen from the window. ©Paliparan
singapore descent
Starting our descent towards Singapore Airport. ©Paliparan
view descent singapore airport
Views on final descent towards Singapore Airport. ©Paliparan
changi airport
Singapore Changi Airport. ©Paliparan
singapore changi airport baggage hall
The baggage reclaim area of Singapore Changi Airport. ©Paliparan

Conclusion

Even though Singapore Airlines’ regional business class product on the Airbus A330 is fairly old and showing its age, it is still a great way to fly.

If you have a short or mid-haul daytime flight, these business class seats are still perfectly comfortable. Only when you happen to fly these Airbus A330s on an overnight flight will you really see the drawbacks of these angled flat seats.

Where Singapore Airlines shines most is its impeccable business class service. Singapore Airlines is known for its service-orientated crews which are pro-active and amazingly professional. The food and drinks on board were all good quality too.

I certainly enjoyed my flight from Surabaya to Singapore, although it would pale to what would be in store for next flight on Singapore Airlines’ new regional business class product on the Boeing 787 to Manila!

Trip report index

This article is part of the ‘Journey to Java‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:

1. Review: Wizz Air Bucharest to Rome Ciampino (Airbus A321)
2. Half a Day in Rome: A Walk Around the Eternal City
3. Review: Casa Alitalia Lounge ‘Piazza di Spagna’ Rome Fiumicino Airport
4. Review: Saudia Business Class Rome to Riyadh (Airbus A320)
5. Review: Saudia Alfursan Business Lounge Riyadh Airport
6. Review: Saudia Business Class Riyadh to Jakarta (Boeing 777-300)
7. Review: The Hermitage, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia
8. A Day in Jakarta: Exploring Indonesia’s Bustling Capital City
9. Review: Garuda Indonesia Domestic Business Lounge Jakarta Airport
10. Review: Garuda Indonesia Business Class Jakarta to Yogyakarta (Boeing 737-800)
11. Review: The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta – Mgallery By Sofitel
12. A Magical Sunrise Visit to Borobudur Temple
13. A Visit to the Great Hindu Temple Complex of Prambanan
14. Review: Yogyakarta to Surabaya (Indonesia) by Train
15. Review: Majapahit Hotel, Surabaya, Indonesia
16. A Day in Surabaya: Exploring Indonesia’s Second Biggest City
17. Review: Concordia Premier Lounge Surabaya Airport
18: Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class (Airbus A330-300) Surabaya to Singapore (current chapter)
19. A Short Singapore Stopover: Into the City or Stay at the Airport?
20. Review: SilverKris Lounge Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2
21. Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class Singapore to Manila (Boeing 787-10)
22. Review: PAGSS Business Lounge Manila Airport Terminal 1
23. Review: China Airlines Economy Class Manila to Taipei (Airbus A330-300)
24. Review: China Airlines Business Lounge Taipei Airport Terminal 1
25. Review: China Airlines Economy Class Taipei to Rome (Airbus A350)
26. Review: TAROM Economy Class Rome to Bucharest (Boeing 737-700)

Koen

Koen works as a freelance journalist covering south-eastern Europe and is the founding father and editor-in-chief of Paliparan. As a contributor to some major Fleet Street newspapers and some lesser known publications in the Balkans, he travels thousands of miles each year for work as well as on his personal holidays. Whether it is horse riding in Kyrgyzstan’s Tian Shan mountains, exploring the backstreets of Bogotá, or sipping a glass of moschofilero in a Greek beachside taverna, Koen loves to immerse himself into the local culture, explore new places and eat and drink himself around the world.

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