Winston Aldworth flies aboard SQ286 from Auckland to Singapore.
A 777-300ER. This plane first flew in July 2014, so it’s relatively new.
Class: Premium Economy.
Seats: This was more like an old-fashioned Business Class seat than Premium Economy — wide leather seats with ample legroom and reasonable pitch. Superb for a daytime flight, when movies and reading are the focus.
Price: Return Premium Economy fares star from $3320. There’s a sale on at the moment for London in Premium Economy, return starting from $4787.
The seat: 30E.
Time: A midday flight, scheduled for 10hr 15m. Being a day flight there was a lot of movie-watching going on. It’s good to arrive in Singapore at 7pm — if you manage to stay awake for the whole flight, you can crash out on Singapore time and have a good night’s sleep.
Airport experience: Auckland is under construction still. Some of the airport was quite noisy but they have done a reasonable job of not interrupting the flow and comfort of passengers. Service: Just when you thought that you might need an apple or a drink of water, they would appear. One staffer took the opportunity for a moment’s shut-eye when she had to to buckle in during turbulence. I’d call that reassuringly calm.
Entertainment: The SilverKris system always has plenty of movies, TV series and music. I dived deep into The Man in the High Castle.
How full: Full as a bull in Premium Economy and Economy was also packed.
Fellow passengers: Five passengers and their luggage were “deplaned” — taken off the flight prior to departure. I’ve heard this threatened to late-comers before, but never seen it. Details unknown as the service crew were tight-lipped.
Food and drink: The champagne flowed after take off and hot towels were offered, adding to the Business Class flavour of Premium Economy.
The lunch meal: Was pretty good, chicken tikka masala and pork belly, and the Oob organic icecream was a real treat.
Toilets: Clean, and featuring the airline’s signature products. The foot pedal for the bin (pictured) in the toilets is one of the most civilised things in aviation. Without getting all OCD about it, I hate to touch any surfaces in those toilets.
The verdict: A superb start to the European longhaul.
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