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Wednesday 28 November 2018

Flying Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 (CGK-SIN)

Welcome to my Trip Report on my first experience on SQ's Airbus A350

*Aircraft photos are credited to the respective photographers from Airliners.net 

Photo: Rainer Baxten 

Photo of me taken in the Business Class 


Flying SQ's Airbus A350 was one of my goals, glad to be able to do it even on a short haul flight like this. 

This airline has 3 different configured A350-900. Regional, International and Ultra long haul. Currently, the international and Ultra long haul A350s are in service. How do you tell the difference from the appearance of the aircraft? Only way is to look at the registration. 

For Regional configured A350-900, registration is 9V-SHA and onwards. 
For International configured A350-900, registration is 9V-SMA and onwards. 
For Ultra long haul configured A350-900, registration is 9V-SGA and onwards. (7 aircraft in total for this type.)

This is the international configured A350 (Credit to Seatguru) 

42J, 24 PE and 187 Y  (J- Business, PE - Premium Economy, Y - Economy)

This is the Ultra long haul configured A350-900

(J- 67, PE - 94)

 For the regional configured A350. (From Singapore Airlines' website)

(J-40 , Y-263)

According to a reliable source, 9V-SHB will be the first A350-900 Regional to enter the airline's fleet either on the first week or second week of December 2018.

Reservation of seat 

The seating configuration of the Y class on the A350 is the same as the Boeing 787-10, 3-3-3 configuration. It's more comfortable than the 787 as the width of the fuselage is wider. For this flight, I picked the right side of the aircraft, 55K (Not shown above). 

About my trip 

I stayed near the central part of Jakarta, at the Mercure Hotel not very far from Plaza Indonesia. That part of the city was modern and I was able to walk to and fro without worrying. The city in my opinion has improved since the last time I went there. Sorry for the lack of photos, I spent most of the time walking around, searching for good food and at the same time catching up on the movies at both Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall and Plaza Indonesia. It was a nice getaway. 

As my SQ flight took place around 9 plus in the morning, I decided to leave early to avoid the traffic jam if there is. Fortunately for me, traffic was smooth and I got to the airport pretty early. 

While on the way to the airport, I did a check on which aircraft would I be flying on. 9V-SMS - one of the newest A350 at that time appeared on the flight to CGK on Flightradar24. That's great! SMS as most of you know is referred to the text message on your mobile phone. 

This is 9V-SMS, one of Singapore Airlines' newest Airbus A350 at this time. 

Photo: DN280

This aircraft undergo testing before the livery was painted. 

Photo: Rurl 

At the Jakarta Terminal 2 airport, nothing much has changed since the last time I was there. The terminal definitely needs an upgrade, that's for sure. The latest news I heard is the airline would be moving to the newer terminal, terminal 3 in early 2019. 

At the air side, heading towards my gate 

My boarding pass 

Flight route: CGK-SIN

Miles: 546

Airline: Singapore Airlines:
Flight: SQ957
Route: CGK-SIN
Aircraft: Airbus A350-900
Registration: 9V-SMS
Engines: 2 X Roll Royce Trent XWB
Delivered on November 2017
Configuration: C42 W24 Y187
Seat: 55K
Gate: E1
Departure time: 1115
Boarding: 1100
Push back: 1113
Take off: 1126
Arrival: 1352 (Early) 
Schedule arrival: 1400
Load factor for Y class: 90% 
Duration: 1 hour 20 mins 
Runway departure: 07L
Arrival runway: 02L

Time to board the aircraft

Economy Class 

One obvious difference between this and the Boeing 787-10 Economy cabin is the IFE control (Game console look alike) attached to the seat just below the PTV which the 787-10 doesn't have. 

This extra feature I guess is catered for long haul flights. 

Warm and cosy cabin - I like the colours of the seats. 

Unlike the 787 Dreamliner, the A350 uses the conventional window shade

Seat legroom space is reasonable, this comes from a 6 foot 4 person (me).

I find the seats to be comfortable and legroom space adequate. I had a seat partner but space was not an issue. The cabin noise was ok, in fact I enjoy the A350 as much as the 787. One thing I prefer the 787 over the 350 is the cabin interior, still prefer the Boeing Sky Interior over this.

Photo from my seat 

More photos of the Economy Class Seat

Neatly presented Entertainment system on every seat in Economy Class 

Glad to have the cup holder, instead of having to open the tray to hold the drink. 

The socket is located just below each seat, I believe there are 2 in each row (No photo for it)

Looks like one of those portable game consoles in the current market

The seat belt sign display - prefer this over the Dreamliner

This airline has a brilliant IFE system - no complaints about it

Premium Economy 

The configuration is 2-3-2, more space for both the shoulder and legroom

Legroom space does look tight to be honest 

The massive screen on the back of each seat 

The dreaded middle seat! Not so bad with only a passenger on each side

Is this class worth the extra $$? I leave it to you to decide. 

Overall I think its a decent product, the 2-3-2 configuration reminds me of the Boeing 767. Pretty comfortable and spacious especially for long haul flights. Would I give it a try? Why not? But only if the price is right. 

Business Class (International)

1-2-1 configuration

Strange to see the screen smaller than the ones in Premium Economy Class

There are reviews on this product with other trip reporters, you can check them out. I personally like this one, by Sam Chui. 

The business class product looks great with this mood lighting, plus a SQ girl in this photo, making the shot more meaningful. 

I think the product serves well for the long haul flights. Probably one of the best in the market. I can't give a review until I try it out myself. 

In-flight meal 

I can't remember what was the other option but I enjoyed this meal. I am quite fortunate that my meals so far for this year have been quite decent.

My flight experience 

Departure was very much on time, the cabin crew welcome us on board. The atmosphere in the A350 with SQ is different from my flight experience with Vietnam Airlines. You can check out one of my trip reports on Vietnam Airlines A350 over here. I find Singapore Airlines' product better than VN's. 

Once we lift off, we headed towards North in a quick one hour flight timing. Service was slightly better than my previous flight. Meal service was served - it was done fast but at least this time I didn't have to rush finishing my food. Nice to have a hot meal on this short sector. 

This time round I checked out the in-flight wifi. I am impressed that you are able to keep track of your flight on your device. Watch the movie and keep track of your flight at the same. Well done! 

I didn't pay for the wifi as I find the price quite steep for my liking. But overall I find the service on SQ's long hauler more than adequate and give the competitors, a good run of their money. 

In-flight Wifi 

Complimentary Wi-Fi is available for Premium passengers (Excluding Premium Economy)

Window shot photos (From Take off to Landing)

Goodbye Jakarta, hope to see you again in the near future!

I love the blended winglets on the A350, make the aircraft look more stylish

Landing on runway 02C and Airbus A350-1000 of Cathay Pacific in sight

Videos of the take off and landing 

Take off 


My ratings: 

Web check-in experience: 7/10
Jakata Airport: 6/10
Check-in experience: 7/10
In-flight service: 7/10
Cabin interior: 8/10 
Cleanliness: 10/10
Aircraft condition: 10/10
Punctuality: 10/10
In-flight meal: 7/10
Seat comfort: 8/10
Overall rating: 81/100


The airline has gotten themselves a good product on their long haul aircraft, the Airbus A350. Lots of us complain today due to the Y class becoming "cattle" class especially for configuration that allows more passengers to fill up the aircraft. While to a certain extend I agree, it isn't so bad for the case of flying on SQ's Airbus A350. I find this aircraft better suit (For Y Class) for long haul than the 787 Dreamliner and yes this comes from a Boeing 787 fan. Why do I say that? The extra width does matter when comparing both aircraft with the same configuration 3-3-3 in Y class. For premium classes, it is another story. 

I am glad to have done SQ's Boeing 777-300 (Non-ER) and now left with the 9V-SV* series to fly. This SV* series fly long haul for the airline, but its not a priority for me. I had flown on the airline's 777 before on the same aircraft, 9V-SRH. This aircraft has left the fleet for quite sometime already.

So the million dollar question - which aircraft do I prefer flying on? The Airbus A350 or Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. 

Tough choice, but my answer is simple. For Y class, A350. For Premium classes, I chose the 787. 

Thanks for reading! 

For my SIN-CGK sector (Boeing 777-300), click here

Charles Ryan

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