Winston Aldworth flies aboard Singapore Airlines SQ176 from Singapore
to Hanoi.

The plane: An Airbus A330-300. There are 21 in the fleet, though it's planned to phase them out over the next year or so as the new, more efficient Boeing 787-10s and a handful of A350-900s come in.

Class: Business.

The seat: 15K.


Flight time: A sniff over three hours. We took off a little after 9.20am.

Fellow passengers: Predominantly Asian travellers, including way back in Economy Class, a school group of very cute kids having the time of their lives.

Food and drink: An early lunch (it's about 10.30am Singapore time when this food is placed in front of me) is served — and it's superb. I had a smoked duck breast with grilled vegetables for a starter and a block-rocking wok-fried prawn with fried chilli for the main. Obviously there's not actually a sizzling wok on the plane, so I tip my hat to whoever made this prawn dish so good. The dark sauce was rich, thick, sticky and restaurant quality.

The service: Singapore is one of those heritage carriers that trades heavily on its reputation for good service, and the crew on this flight, led by the estimable Jenny Lim, strengthened such claims.

Entertainment: Super-sized high-definition screens, operated by a small controller. The SilverKris system has a vast amount of viewing and music — as you'd expect from a high-end carrier. I love a little Larry David on a short-haul flight: the episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm with Salman Rushdie is one for the ages. Newspapers are also offered — as soon as I board I grab an armful. Wi-Fi: Nope. Newer planes and some of the retrofitted 777s in the Singapore fleet have Wi-Fi. You'll find it on those A350s and 787s.

The toilets: A short hop. Barely used.

Luggage: A hefty 35kg.

Airport experience: Changi Airport is an off-the-dial wonder. A glistening totem to the joys of mass transit, everyone involved in running an airport anywhere — including Auckland — should worship at this altar. I spent a stopover night at the fabulous Crowne Plaza Changi.

Verdict: A slick, professional regional service by a polished carrier that makes tricky things look effortless.