Winston Aldworth eats lobster aboard SQ322 from Singapore to London.
An Airbus A380-800. But this is no ordinary A380 — it's one with lobster on board. With Singapore Airlines' new Book the Cook service, passengers in premium seats can pre-order from a wider — and better — menu. More on the lobster in a moment.
Class: Business. Which is where I ate lobster. Did I mention the lobster? There are 86 flat-bed seats in Business, 12 closed suites in First Class (where you can order a whole lobster), 38 Premium Economy (where you can pre-order other items from the Book the Cook menu, but not the lobster) and 245 standard Economy seats (where you can only dream of lobster).
Price: Return Business Class fares from Auckland to London are available on sale until October 23 from $7387. Which seems a bit until you consider that they serve lobster.
Flight time: We rolled through in a sniff over 13 hours, most of which I spent marvelling at, consuming and then raving about my lobster. Lobster. On a plane (well, on a plate, on a plane, if you want to split hairs). Have a think about that.
My seat: I was in 92F. In this configuration, the entire top deck is taken out with Business Class seats. That's a lot of lobster. Suffice to say the seats are fabulous and fold down to form a superb bed.
Fellow passengers: A lot of people eating lobster.
How full: Me? Very. It was a generous portion of lobster, served with seasonal vegetables.
Food and drink: For Book the Cook, you need to go online and order at least 24 hours before your flight. And (although there are other delicious things) you need to order the lobster thermidor. The creamy meat is served in the lobster's tail with a gruyere crust over it. It's the best thing I've eaten on a plane.
Entertainment: A lot of movies, though sadly not Colin Farrell's absurdist black romcom The Lobster.
The service: First rate.
The toilets: I can't think of a lobster reference for the toilet.
Luggage: In Business Class on the A380, you get 40kg worth of luggage in the hold; connecting flights may have less.
The airport experience: Changi Airport is how the whole world should be.
The bottom line: I know I've banged on a lot about this whole lobster thing, but honestly it's amazing. The Book the Cook service is the sort of thing all airlines should be doing.
Airlines simply wouldn't carry lobster as a regular meal — if no one ordered it, then that's a lot of an expensive dish that's gone to waste. With a bespoke meal, it means not only is the food offered of a higher standard, but also there's less wastage, and less weight being carried by the plane. No need to have four options for me to choose from. This is the future.