After breaking my ankle in Sydney I was unable to continue with my travels. Luckily, my insurance company came up trumps and offered to cover the costs of my flights back home.
Reluctantly, I accepted their offer (ideally wanting to carry on travelling but accepting the fact that I didn’t really have a choice). My insurance company organised everything on my behalf, leaving me to pack my things and say goodbye to friends.
However, only when I arrived at the airport did I find out that I was flying business class! “Yes, Mr Jones, you’re flying business class all the way to London”.
Wow, I thought, this is going to be crazy! I was so excited.
I was about to get my first ever taste of luxury air travel. I was about to live like a King.
First, I’ll describe my experience in chronological detail. If you’d rather hear about my thoughts and opinions, skip to further down this article.
What was business class actually like?
Sydney Business Class Lounge
From the check in desk, I skipped the queues at security and immigration (largely helped by having wheelchair assistance) then soon found myself entering the business class lounge. I had 1 hour until boarding so took this chance to explore the lounge amenities.
The bathrooms had showers (towels provided), changing areas, plenty of sink space and a variety of toiletry products (such as combs, razors, shaving cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste). I really wanted to use the shower but couldn’t due to my broken ankle.
Next up it was time to check out the food & beverage selection. There was wine, beer, fruit juice, fizzy cans and a coffee machine that would make any type of hot drink. Not to mention, a section dedicated to making your own cocktails; it had bottle after bottle of different spirits and mixers, plus lemon & lime wedges to garnish and even bottles of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.
The food on offer was equally impressive – soups, curries, meat dishes, vegetarian dishes, antipasti selection, fresh fruit, cheese platters, dessert boards, chocolate truffles. I could’ve stuffed myself silly but all too soon it was time to board (if I ever fly business class again, I’m going to arrive at the airport super early!).
Sydney to Singapore flight
Once on the plane, I was addressed as Mr Jones and got welcomed into my business class seat (a.k.a. my throne). Before take-off I was offered a choice of welcome drink: champagne; juice or signature cocktail. I then received a hot towelette and made my food selection for dinner.
After exploring the area around me, I found that my business class seat had the following features: an extra-wide leather seat (with cushions, electronic footrest, recline function and the ability to fold flat as a bed); a large TV (with touchscreen remote control and thousands of entertainment options); a large concealable table; multiple lighting options; multiple storage compartments; power socket with USB port; personal mirror and not 1 but 2 windows.
Later, a 5-course dinner was served alongside free-flowing wine, beer or beverage of choice. My 5 courses were: smoked salmon & antipasto plate; beef fillet with chimichurri sauce; mango & passion-fruit cake; cheese, crackers & whole fresh fruits; coffee with pralines and truffles.
Throughout the flight I made use of the entertainment system, ordered various drinks (including cocktails, speciality coffees and liqueurs) and enjoyed the wealth of legroom. Prior to landing in Singapore I was served another small meal.
Singapore Business Class Lounge
In Singapore’s Changi airport I was shown to the SilverKris business class lounge where I had a 3 hour wait until my connecting flight. Much like the lounge in Sydney airport, this one had excellent bathroom facilities, comfy seating and a huge variety of food and drink.
Singapore to London flight
On the second flight I had an almost identical seat and thus all the same facilities. The main difference here was the length of flight; at 14+ hours, there was plenty of time to test out the sleeping arrangements of Singapore Airlines business class. With the seat converted into a bed, I managed around 7 hours of pretty decent sleep.
My dinner on this flight consisted of: smoked trout with orange wedges; braised beef short rib; chendol (Asian sweet dessert); cheese, crackers, fruit, coffee, chocolates. I was also served a hot breakfast prior to touchdown in London.
So, after 26 hours of living like a King, my business class experience was over. 🙁
My reactions, observations and feelings
Throughout the flights I kept giggling to myself, barely able to believe what I was experiencing.
When nobody was looking I’d do a little celebratory dance – I even recorded myself doing it! You can see my moves in a video I created – watch it on YouTube here.
I was surprised at the high quality and wide variety of food & drink available. I was expecting good food (once I knew I was flying business), but it exceeded my expectations.
Obvious differences compared with economy class were the extra legroom, wider seat, and huge TV screen.
However, there were also more subtle differences that I noticed and appreciated; linen tablecloths and napkins, metal cutlery, salt & pepper shakers, ceramic plates.
I observed a top quality service from Singapore Airlines staff – they tended to my every need, made me feel extremely welcome and even gave me a free gift when I left.
Ridiculously excited. I was like a child on Christmas morning! As mentioned in my reactions section, I kept laughing to myself and dancing in my seat.
I felt grateful for having this opportunity – even if it was at the expense of a broken ankle.
Finally, after it was all over I felt lost and confused – unsure if I’d ever experience this again and still not quite able to believe what had happened!
Is it worth it?
After reading this article, some of you may be considering booking business class flights for your next trip.
However, before you do, please read this following section (there are some things you should know).
My business class seat was one of the best on the market as of 2019 (I think). The aircraft was modern, the airline was highly reputable (out of 3 options from my insurance company I chose Singapore Airlines for this reason) and the route was one of the longest in the world (therefore more time to enjoy all the details).
BUT (and it’s a big but), unless you can guarantee a high quality business class seat such as this one, you might not want to commit so soon (or at least want to do some more research first).
You see, not all business class seats are the same. In fact, they can be quite different.
After some research, I found that the quality of business class seats varies significantly with different companies and aircraft types. For example, the size of the seats themselves (and included personal space), seat configuration (and thus proximity to other passengers), food & beverage quality, service level – all these things have the potential to be vastly different when booking a business class seat. Comparatively, economy class has very little variation in quality across the different aircraft types and different airline carriers.
So, it doesn’t make sense to risk getting a smaller business class seat on an aircraft that could be 20+ years old, especially when you might have expectations of something similar to what I had.
My point is this: if you can increase the chances of ensuring a high quality business class seat (by choosing a reputable airline and using Seat Guru’s seat map finder to check configurations for particular routes), then yes, I would recommend business class to anyone who can afford it. As mentioned earlier, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.
If you don’t take these steps to get a high quality seat though…well, don’t come complaining to me that your experience wasn’t the same as mine!
Okay, but is business class worth it? Well, that’s a matter of personal opinion. I guess you’ll just have to try it and find out!