Singapore Airlines Restaurant A380 @Changi
For two weekends, Singapore Airlines converted two of their Airbus A380-800s for the Restaurant A380 @Changi experience serving up signature international Singapore Airlines dishes alongside award-winning service. While originally news leaked (accurately or otherwise) about having flights to nowhere, to which I was all ready to make my booking, alas, that idea was dropped after an internal review that looked into factors such as environmental implications and financial viability. Nevertheless, eating plane food on a grounded plane is still an experience I’m ready to sign up for, so like at least 900 people, I camped online earlier than necessary to ensure that I get a seat on the Restaurant A380 @Changi.
I opted for the Business Class experience since I don’t think I can bring myself to pay for a Business Class in cash any time soon, and S$321 for the Restaurant A380 @Changi Business Class experience on the ground is pretty reasonable, considering that the flights to nowhere would have cost at estimated S$288 anyway. Plus, it would be my first time on board Singapore Airlines’ Business Class, and on board the upper deck of an Airbus A380, which who knows when it would fly with passengers again.
There are 3 classes of Restaurant A380 @Changi experiences here on RailTravel Station.
- Click here for the Restaurant A380 @Changi Business Class experience.
- Click here for the Restaurant A380 @Changi Premium Economy Class experience.
- Click here for the Restaurant A380 @Changi Economy Class experience.
There are also fringe activities for Restaurant A380 @Changi diners.
- Click here for the Restaurant A380 @Changi Airbus A380 aircraft tour.
- Click here for the Transit Area Shopping Tour Changi Airport Experience Event for Restaurant A380 @Changi diners.
- Click here for the free shopping vouchers and Canopy Bridge admission from Jewel Changi Airport for Restaurant A380 @Changi diners (Redeem by 15 November 2020).
Restaurant A380 @Changi Check-In
Like all Singapore Airlines flights today, check-in for the Restaurant A380 @Changi was at Row 1. Although, this did give me a bit of a Lion Group experience instead.
Queuing up in the Business Class line which is pretty popular unsurprisingly.
Passport details are checked at a sorting counter, before being assigned to a check-in counter. Seating is pre-assigned, and the invitation cards are already assigned according to class and/or row at the various counters.
The check-in screen for Restaurant A380 @Changi Business Class passengers.
In typical Singaporean fashion, there are safe distancing crosses at least 1 meter apart for queuing.
The Restaurant A380 @Changi Suites counter was also at Row 1. Unfortunately, Suites passengers do not get to use the First Class Check-in Reception during this period.
Queuing up to check-in for my grounded flight.
Once done, the path leads directly to the SIA First Class Departure immigration area. No backtracking is allowed, thanks to safe distancing.
My invitation card for the Restaurant A380 @Changi. I’m seated on board 9V-SKN parked at Gate B4, in Seat 15A, a single window seat.
My passport is tagged with a strip with my seat number. This is handed over to ground staff over at immigration.
My wrist is also tagged with a wristband. The blue wristband that I have refers to Gate B4. Yellow wristbands are for Gate B2.
My seat number is also written on it.
I suppose this wristband acts as the airport pass, as no physical airport passes are issued but checks are made when entering and leaving the Transit Area.
Restaurant A380 @Changi “Immigration”
Heading for security screening and placebo immigration.
Bags are checked manually before entering the SIA First Class Departure area, and your identity is checked with your passport inside immigration, where passports are collected throughout your stay in the Transit Area.
Once in through First Class immigration, ground staff are on hand throughout the path from First Class immigration to the Gate-Hold Room for Gates B1-B4.
No stopping to shop is allowed – that will be for those with Changi Airport Transit Area Shopping Tour Airport Experience Event bookings only, after the lunch.
I’m glad to see human beings in the Transit Area again, after only seeing the very empty floor from the Public Area above for the past 7 months.
Outside Gates B1-B4, separate queues are formed for each wristband colour ie. aircraft.
Heading to the blue queue.
Just like everywhere in Singapore, scan the SafeEntry QR code for the Restaurant A380 @Changi. Your attendance is also checked at the counter before heading through security.
Despite not even pushing back from the gate, existing liquids, aerosols and gels restrictions apply when entering the gate-hold room, which I’m not sure why it’s necessary. Even domestic flights within Malaysia are not subject to such restrictions (and families have takeaway snack and drink parties on board AirAsia).
Restaurant A380 @Changi Pre-Dining Restaurant Tour
As part of the Restaurant A380 @Changi dining experience, there is an optional Pre-Dining “Restaurant” Tour included before my non-flying flight. And by restaurant, Singapore Airlines is referring to the Airbus A380-800.
Don’t worry, there’s a link in that article to bring you back to this one.
Restaurant A380 @Changi Gate-Hold Room Activities
After security, the first two counters are for redeeming a stick-on tattoo with a Singapore Airlines logo, and a souvenir redemption counter for those in traditional heritage wear.
With no intention to stick a Keris logo on my face, I headed only to pick up a gift from Singapore Airlines since I was dressed in Batik.
I got a free foldable umbrella for wearing Batik for my flight.
Ah, a crowded gate-hold room. don’t you just miss waiting here for 20 minutes or so and refilling your empty water bottle from the water coolers?
Over at Gate B1, there is a photo opportunity with cabin crew on both sides of the backdrop. Unfortunately, the safe distancing point where you stand is right in front of the Restaurant A380 @Changi logo, and thus cannot be seen when taking a photo of yourself.
There is also a line for caricature sketching where an artist draws you as a cabin crew. Not surprisingly, there was quite a line for this, and I unfortunately had to give it a miss.
Over at Gate B3, there is a Batik rose making activity where you can roll up some Batik to form a rose.
Or if you’re feeling lazy like almost everyone in the gate-hold room, myself included, you can also just redeem a stalk of Batik rose from the basket.
There is also a heritage showcase where cabin crew come out in heritage and current uniforms for a photo opportunity.
You can take photos of the crew, but not with the crew.
There’s some crew back over at Gate B3 for your with-crew photos if you want.
At around 12pm, the crew for the Restaurant A380 @Changi board the aircraft in an unintentional parade with the entire gate-hold room applauding them.
The crew of 9V-SKN heading through Gate B4. See you later!
My food being loaded up.
Boarding the Restaurant A380 @Changi
About 30 minutes delayed from schedule, boarding was called in the usual fashion of classes and rows. And just like the old normal, there are people attempting to board when it’s not their turn yet.
Love the aerobridge smell of aircon and jet fuel.
9V-SKN will be flying me from Singapore to Singapore today. Minus the flying.
The social-distanced queue to head on to the aerobridge to the upper deck.
Begin warmly welcomed on board to Business Class.
Singapore Airlines’ New A380 Business Class
Heading into the cabin. Unfortunately, my seat was quite upfront, so it was only a short walk. I would have loved to be in the last row for this experience.
There were also Christmassy instrumental music during boarding. I was thinking that SQ might have mixed up the tracks, but then I realised – it’s the end of October already, and Christmas is in 2 months.
Where did the middle chunk of 2020 from March till now go to?
My Business Class Seat 15A for the next 3 hours.
My first view of the seat when first sitting down, and oh boy, have I been missing out.
Look at that amount of space that I get. The legroom on board SQ’s Business Class is more generous than even some airport lounges.
Slippers, socks, headset, and the safety card is provided in the slot beside the cubby under the window.
You’re my best view.
Too bad there’s no pushback on this flight.
There’s some mood lighting of the tri-pointy motifs which are featured around the seat.
A bottle of mineral water was provided at my seat, along with a Care Kit.
The Singapore Airlines Care Kit consists of a face mask, hand sanitizer, and a disinfectant surface wipe.
Seat controls are on a side touch panel.
There is a fold-out vanity mirror, one for a normal view and the other for a close-up.
With the rather wide seat, convertible to a flatbed, the armrests are folded out from the side.
The seatbelt sign is switched off throughout the flight.
The view of the aircraft from my seat.
With the amount of space each passenger gets, there is no need to block out rows of seats for social distancing since everyone is social distanced already whether they like it or not. (Of course they do – it’s Business Class.)
With so much under-seat storage space, there is not much need for overhead lockers here. Some of those in the middle are for operational use only.
After everyone has been seated, a stewardess comes around to confirm meal orders from everyone.
For safety, seat belts must not be worn on this flight.
The view of the cubby to put your feet in when lying flat.
There are 2 reading lights. One here behind your head…
… and the usual one above your head.
I tried to sign in with my KrisFlyer account into the KrisWorld system, but unfortunately, the function was not available, probably with no internet on the ground.
Hello, KrisWorld. You do look really different with a gigantic screen.
The flight path for my Singapore – Singapore flight was shown to being Singapore – Hong Kong instead.
Well I really wouldn’t mind heading there right now to go chase some trains.
The first suggested video on the KrisWorld system, unsurprisingly, is about hygiene curing this COVID era.
In place of a safety video, a very short clip with the crew wishing everyone a warm welcome on board was shown instead.
However, there is a safety demonstration, reminding passengers not to put on seat belts, to stay low and look out for the aisle lights should smoke be present, and to point out emergency exit locations.
My clean and sanitized headset in the side pocket.
The rather legit noise-cancelling headphones for Singapore Airlines Business Class passengers.
Restaurant A380 @Changi Business Class Dining Experience
Here’s the Restaurant A380 @Changi Business Class menu to go through first. A .pdf menu is sent along with the KrisShop order confirmation. And sticking with the latest service changes, the paper menu is no longer provided on board.
As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t bring myself to pay S$321 for Nasi Lemak, so I went for the International Selection of Book the Cook Favourite Grilled Beef Fillet with Black Pepper Sauce.
About 45 minutes since boarding, the starter of SIA Signature Satay was served, along with a glass of Singapore Sling. Good to note that the Singapore Sling was served to all passengers, rather than being a request-only option.
But then again, maybe it’s the standard in Business Class, I’m not sure. Sorry, I’m an Economy passenger.
Contrary to popular memes, the SIA Signature Satay thankfully did not look like sai on a stick. (But don’t order the Impossible satay if you don’t want to see it.)
The SIA Signature Chicken Satay was juicy and tender, with a thick peanut sauce coating the meat. I think this might have been one of the best satays I’ve eaten in my life. This isn’t sai at all, it’s SIA.
(A Business Class trip on Malaysia Airlines might be in order after COVID-19 to confirm the goodness of satay quality.)
The Singapore Sling was just very slightly more alcoholic than I remembered it to be. Maybe it’s a generous Business Class mix, or drinking it out of a glass rather than a plastic cup made the difference.
More alcohol was on the way including 2 types of red wines, 2 types of white wines, and Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut Champagne.
Needless to say, judging from me not bothering to find out what the wines were, I opted for the bubbly.
My table was laid out before the start of the main meal service.
And here comes the appetizer course of Flaked Smoked Salmon, garlic bread, and a roll from the bakery.
The garlic bread smelt great to wake me and my tastebuds up for lunch. The soft corn roll was also delicious with the butter – a contrary to hard plain rolls that so many other airlines prefer to use.
A glass of water and Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut Champagne on the top right corner of the table.
The cold dishes were served with a cover on, probably for this COVID season.
The Flaked Smoked Salmon was served with seaweed mayonnaise, mesclun lettuce, and a cherry tomato.
The Flaked Smoked Salmon was quite dry to me, but the seaweed mayonnaise was the star, so I’m not sure if that was the intention. The seaweed mayonnaise was very rich and flavourful, blending well with both the salmon and salad to balance out the healthiness of it.
Please Singapore Airlines and/or SATS Food, do you sell the seaweed mayonnaise separately to bring home?
Next up, the main course of Book the Cook Favourite Grilled Beef Fillet with Black Pepper Sauce. I’ve been looking forward to this the moment the Restaurant A380 @Changi landing page went live.
The nicely-presented Grilled Beef Fillet, served with baby carrot, snap peas, cauliflower, and truffled mash potato.
However, my heart sank when I first cut it. I’m a medium rare person, but I kind of expected that the meal wouldn’t cater to doneness. I just didn’t expect it to be well done, and this is a bit too well done + excellent + bravo for me.
Astons might have done a nicer pink steak, and not this Air-stons. I’m sorry Singapore Airlines.
Thankfully, there was some black pepper sauce to go along with the fillet, and the highlight was definitely the truffled mashed potato. The consistency of it reminded a bit of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon’s at Resorts World Sentosa when it was still around last time.
To go with the dry steak, I opted for a little bit of red wine (I asked for half), and the stewardess recommended a 2015 Château Magnan La Gaffelière Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Bordeaux to go along. Her recommendation was on point, and somewhat improved the steak’s taste.
I managed to finish everything on my plate, so maybe a well done steak wasn’t that bad after all I guess.
Once the mains were done, the dessert, cheese, and fruit were served. And I’m very thankful I didn’t opt for Peranakan if not I’ll end up with wafer potong ice cream.
The uncovered plates for this final course.
A nice finish to the meal, a Cheese Platter of brie, cheddar, and blue cheese were provided, along with crackers, grapes, and a mix of fig paste, dried fruit, and nut. Basically everything that I liked.
A bowl of fresh fruits is nice for a palate cleanser after a filling meal.
And a very nice dessert of Baked Cheesecake with Sable Crust is very nice to finish off the meal. The mangoes on top made for a very refreshing dessert, balancing out the sweetness with the cheesecake below.
I guess it’s true when they say that dessert is always the most memorable part of the meal, and I’m quite happy with the overall dining experience.
A cabin crew came by personally to thank me for supporting Singapore Airlines and to hand me this goodie bag.
Here’s what’s inside.
Inside the goodie bag, there is a 6-piece Travel Organiser Set, Penhaligon’s for Singapore Airlines Business Class Amenity Kit, a pack of playing cards, and a pen
for you to fill out your immigration form.
Inside the brand-new Penhaligon’s for Singapore Airlines Business Class Amenity Kit.
Included in the Business Class Amenity Kit is a Penhaligon’s Quercus Facial Mist, Penhaligon’s Luna Perfume Oil, Penhaligon’s Quercus Lip Balm, and Penhaligon’s Quercus Hand Lotion.
The 6-piece Travel Organiser Set consists of 3 packing cubes in various sizes, and 3 packing pouches in various sizes. Thanks Singapore Airlines, this is useful to fit in my CabinZero for my next budget flight.
And of course, the slippers, socks, and Care Kit which was laid out on the seat to bring home since unused.
Just a slight pet peeve of the button design, though it could just be me, when slouching or moving towards the left, I set off the crew call touch button with my arm I think at least 10 times in 3 hours, and didn’t know it thanks to the noise-cancelling headphones.
It reminded me of the Scoot light and sound show on the Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Sorry to the multiple cabin crew who attended to me almost immediately every 15-20 minutes or so for nothing. That was a super fast response by the way.
After the KrisWorld system was shut off momentarily at the end of the meal and came back on again, the flight details changed from SQ380 to SQ1. Still going to Hong Kong after all.
Restaurant A380 @Changi Business Class Toilet
And I didn’t forget this part – what’s a complete RailTravel Station experience without a visit to the toilet?
Unsurprisingly, the toilet was kept clean, despite the crew being busy with the heavy meal service.
Quite a glamorous mirror in Business Class toilets.
My rating of a good aircraft toilet is the provision of paper towels.
However, Singapore Airlines goes a step further in Business Class to provide towels.
The familiar mouthwash along with Penhaligon’s hand lotion and eau de toilette.
The amenity drawer in Business Class was empty, so presumably the amenities have moved to the amenity kit found inside the goodie bag.
Disembarking from Restaurant A380 @Changi Business Class
Disembarkation was called by the SATS ground crew in an orderly safe-distancing fashion,
Thank you Seat 15A.
Heading up the aerobridge. Or should I say down because I’m coming down from the upper deck?
Thank you 9V-SKN. No turbulence at all.
Offloading all the dishes and cutlery after the flight.
Heading back into the terminal building.
Sign of the times.
Heading out back to the Transit Area to arrivals.
Singapore Airlines ground staff line the path towards arrival immigration.
The very closed Skytrain Station B, till further notice.
The friendly staff bidding everyone goodbye as everyone heads down to arrival immigration.
It was a simple passing through immigration since there’s nothing to check in the first place, aside from wristbands.
The welcoming green arrival hall of Terminal 3.
Passport collection for blue wristbands are at Row 47, with table numbers assigned by row numbers.
My pick-up is at Table 2.
Heading out, I was stopped by customs for a bag check. I miss the whole arrival package, and was happy to oblige, at the same time asking about how they were sorting out the SHN people and us. (Spoiler: It’s not possible since SHN passengers would be in groups to shuttle buses.)
Once out, I headed back up to the departures level to check-in for my Changi Airport Transit Area Shopping Tour.
Overall, an interesting experience on board Restaurant A380 @Changi Business Class. Let me break my opinion down a little.
The aircraft was parked at the gate throughout the experience. So that means there’s no movement aside from all the mainstream media running around the aircraft (which was somewhat annoying). As such, it was a lot easier to eat my meal as compared to a wanton mee soup on board AirAsia through turbulence. While I didn’t get any hot drinks since Champagne > coffee, the stable environment also ensures that any hot drink ordered is served.
The engines are also not switched on, with electricity provided on the ground by auxiliary power units (APU). That also made for a quiet environment to enjoy my meal in, which is not possible mid-air unless I plan to fly on an A380 glider. But this in a way takes the flying simulating part out since all I heard was my movie and no blades spinning.
It also feels like there were more crew than usual, making it a very attentive and personalized experience, although I may be wrong on this one for regular Business Class services since I’m usually an Economy passenger. I was addressed as Mr. [surname] whenever possible, and the crew were able to accede to any request immediately like wanting a photo taken or to have more bubbly. In fact, I never thought any airline would actually ask me “Would you like more champagne?” with a bottle in hand ready to fill my glass up, and at the same time also worrying why I had only wanted half a glass of red wine.
Catering for the main course may have faltered a little, but at the end of the day, Singapore Airlines doesn’t sell itself based on monetary value alone or their tangible products like consistently upgrading the seats or upsizing the KrisWorld screen. Singapore Airlines also focuses on intangible products like their branding and service. The service standards on Singapore Airlines have been very consistent throughout the years, regardless of route, and everyone knows what they’re doing. And this is coming from an Economy passenger and mega AirAsia fan.
While you can put a monetary value on products, the additional personalization and feeling of knowing you are well taken care off pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight (like repairing my torn bag overnight) is hard to replicate consistently on every flight, which is probably why Singapore Airlines is not surprisingly the world’s best airline in so many awards around the world.
While I disagree with certain stuff during COVID-19 like laying off staff despite receiving Government funding during this season, I think I’ll be sticking around with Singapore Airlines if the fares can remain affordable as it was pre-COVID.
Thanks Singapore Airlines for the affordable Business Class on-ground experience, and I’ll see you back in Economy Class when the skies are open again.