Classy comforts above the clouds in new Dreamliner service

To snooze or not to snooze? This is the question that needed to be addressed when settling in to business class on Singapore Airlines’ inaugural Dreamliner 787-10 flight from Perth to Singapore last Monday.

Anyone who has spent the bulk of their flying time in economy, especially on budget carriers with rigid seats, can usually only dream of reclining, let alone having the opportunity to lie fully flat.

But with less than five hours of flying time, having a kip on the 76-inch (193cm) bed would have meant missing one of the five courses (plus fruit, bread and pralines) of dinner, or the end of a movie on the new 18-inch full-HD touchscreen entertainment system.

As a frequent flyer to Singapore since childhood — always in economy — this was a tantalising taste of how the other half lives.

There is plenty of room to store a handbag, backpack and the like in the alcove below where you rest your feet when the bed is in full recline mode. 

A business panel/alcove to the side of the headrest with a sliding cover has two USB charging ports, a power point and ample room to stash your phone and small items. 

The overhead lockers are enormous and hard to reach for the height-challenged.

Seats come with a pillow and snuggly rug, with cabin crew handing out sleeping mask, socks and hotel-style slippers.

There are three adjustable reading lights on one side of the headrest and two lights above. The high, private, padded walls of the seat mean you’re comfortable even if you nod off sideways before reclining. The arm rests are also height adjustable.

The retractable meal tray is twice the size of the average economy tray, giving plenty of room to work, eat or both.

One of the first things regular travellers will notice is a pleasing lack of vents gushing cold air from above. 

Having recently completed a domestic economy leg on the Qantas 787-9, which becomes the nonstop London flight, there’s much to praise about the Dreamliner’s extra humidity and better filtration, designed to combat jet lag and fatigue.

Singapore Airlines is the world’s first airline to operate the 787-10, the biggest Boeing Dreamliner in terms of length and passenger capacity but with the shortest range. 

It seats 337 passengers; 36 in business with a 1-2-1 configuration giving every passenger direct aisle access and 301 in economy in a 3-3-3 configuration.

 Economy seats have an ergonomically designed contour backrest and six-way adjustable headrest with folding wings for more neck support.

Perth is the first Australian city to be served by the new aircraft and the second Singapore Airlines destination after Osaka. The 787-10 will add an extra 38,000 seats to the Perth-Singapore route on a return basis. 

Singapore Airlines operates four flights a day from Perth to Singapore. The 787-10 flies daily from Perth to Singapore at 1.10am, and from Singapore to Perth at 6.45pm. 

Singapore Airlines Regional Vice President Philip Goh, who was in Perth ahead of the landmark flight, said all flights may eventually be on the 787-10.

“Hopefully — we ordered 49 of this plane,” he said. “It is going to take a while to absorb all the capacity but we are quite comfortable Perth will grow into it.”

So, did I nap? Here’s where I sheepishly admit I worked out how to use 30Mb of free wifi to message my family from way above the clouds, but it took me more than two hours to finally ask a member of the cabin crew how to work the seat. 

Not that it was difficult; the illuminated panel with all the seat controls above the KrisFlyer controller was a dark strip I somehow didn’t notice. You can bet I hit recline much faster on the return leg.

Fact File

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Sue Yeap travelled to Singapore as a guest of Singapore Airlines.


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