Winston Aldworth flies aboard Silk Air MI637 from Da Nang to Singapore.

The plane:

A 737-800. SilkAir is fully owned by Singapore Airlines, and has for years serviced Asian nations as a short-haul carrier based in Changi. You won't see their banner in the skies for much longer, it was recently announced that the SilkAir fleet would be converted and fly under the Singapore Airlines banner by 2020, with a few 737-800s going to Scoot, Singapore's low-cost brand.

Class: Business.
The seat: 1D. A window seat, with cracking views over ocean and islands.


Flight time: We're called for boarding at 1.05pm, with departure at 1.35pm. The flight time is scheduled for a swift 2hr, 40m, and we land a little before 5.30pm, Singapore time, meaning I have plenty of time to take advantage of the Changi Transit Programme, getting $40 vouchers to spend at retail outlets around the airport. It's a great deal.

Entertainment: It's a short hop, so I read my book.

How full: There are 12 seats in Business, and only four are left empty. Economy — with 150 seats — was pretty much packed.

Fellow passengers: Mostly seemed to be Asian families heading for holidays. I chatted to one mum at the back of the plane and it seems Singapore remains the region's biggest hub.

Food and drink: I went for a very good Malay-style spicy fish dish, with sauteed veges on the side.

The service: Crisp and friendly. I had a great chat with two of the crew about the change from SilkAir to Singapore Airlines.

The toilets: There's one up front for the Business cabin and two at the rear of the plane for Economy. Clean throughout the flight.

Airport experience: Da Nang International Airport, the third busiest in Vietnam, is a clean, efficient hub. There is good shopping, and a tidy process for moving travellers on their way. There's one lounge, The Orchid Lounge, which is comfortable and well-stocked — get yourself a spicy noodle bowl and a cold beer.


As we were taxiing out to the runway, I saw an open-walled hangar with a couple of Sukhoi Su-22 fighter bombers sitting there. The Vietnam People's Air Force operates 36 of these babies.

Verdict: An excellent departure point from a fascinating country.