Flight Check: Singapore to Wellington, via Canberra on Singapore Airlines

By Tim Roxborogh

Tim Roxborogh flies on Singapore Airlines inaugural Capital Express — Singapore to Wellington, via Canberra.
A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200. Photo / 123RF
A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200. Photo / 123RF

The plane: Boeing 777-200R.

Class: Business, with a bed length of 193cm, 56cm across.

Flight time: Seven hours from Singapore to Canberra, five hours from Canberra to Wellington. The service now operates four times a week, connecting Singapore, Canberra and Wellington.

Fellow passengers: Thirty-eight business-class passengers, 228 economy-class passengers, about a dozen journalists, several senior Singapore Airlines employees, a handful of politicians and two diehard aviation geeks, who go on as many inaugural flights as possible.

Entertainment: As you'd expect from the world's most-awarded airline, there was a huge range, including more than 80 movies and 120 different TV shows. I got a little teary during the Jeremy Irons/Dev Patel film The Man Who Knew Infinity about the early 20th-century Indian maths genius Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Always a fraction embarrassing sitting on a plane and having a bit of a cry to yourself. I blame the altitude. A 15.4-inch screen compared to nine inches in economy class.

Tim Roxborogh on Singapore Airlines.
Tim Roxborogh on Singapore Airlines.


Service: Friendly to the point that it seemed the crew genuinely liked both their job and their passengers. They were also prompt, as in, with you in a matter of seconds any time one of us pressed the attendance button. Oh, not to mention the small matter of their incredible care of a fellow passenger who was suffering blackouts, heart palpitations, severe dehydration, anxiety and who was regularly fainting. A doctor was summoned, a steward held the poor chap's hand throughout and at one point the captain even came down the aisle to wish the passenger well. This was on the Singapore to Canberra leg and word is the passenger is recovering well in Canberra, hopefully to return soon to New Zealand. He was so taken by how well he was looked after that he insisted on photos with all the staff who assisted him.

Food and drink: Tables set for you by the cabin crew and the feeling you were in your own fancy little restaurant. I had a glass of champagne with my roasted chicken breast. Snacks were plentiful. The only issue was that of personal temptation and gluttony, not a lack of variety or taste.

Toilets: I have a small bladder so it was notable on more than one bathroom stop that the toilets weren't only clean, but the toilet paper had been refolded to have that little triangle pointy tip that humans so crave of their toilet experiences.

Airport experience: Changi has been held aloft as one of the great airports of the world for many decades and is still worthy of that reputation. It remains hard to beat for efficiency, variety of shops and restaurants and a business-class lounge where you almost want longer to wait until your flight time.

Would I fly this again? I would never say no to Singapore Airlines.

- NZ Herald

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