Business Class to Seoul Trip Report –
Business (J) class tickets cost a bomb but if you’ve been following SG GOOD LIFE, you’d have been updated to the best deals. This trip is special in that I literally paid for my J class ticket, albeit at an extraordinary discounted rate. I bought miles on Avianca Lifemiles (A Star Alliance member) and redeemed a J class ticket to Seoul from Singapore. I’ve already written about it here so I won’t go into details. Back then, Avianca was having a miles purchase promo (150%) and discounted redemptions to seoul (36,000 miles instead of 43,000).
One way business class tickets are exorbitant so it’ll be fairer to compare with the price of a return ticket divided by 2. The cost of a return fare on J is $2518. Therefore, the price on a single leg on a return flight would cost $1259. After including the taxes and credit card fees, I paid about $750 for my flight in J.
The annoying thing about redeeming one way tickets is that if you don’t redeem either economy (poor value for money) or business class tickets on the return leg, you’ll have to purchase a one way economy ticket back which can be more expensive than paying for a return ticket.
But this time was special, I redeemed a one way economy ticket back to Singapore via Lifemiles for 17,500 miles ($350). That’s typically what one would pay on a single leg of a return trip on a promo ticket.
Check in at Changi T3 business row was incredibly smooth, I didn’t have to queue at all and in 2 mins, I had my boarding pass in hand. I’m going on a holiday, the last thing I want to put up with is long queues. Little luxuries I’d say!
After the passport section, I went straight to the Silver Kris Lounge at Level 2. I detailed my experience on Changi T3 Silverkris lounge before (click here ) so I won’t go into the details. It’s 6.15am and I haven’t had breakfast so I’m naturally hungry. The breakfast spread wasn’t spectacular but it’ll suffice.
If you didn’t already know, some airlines lets you check in early. I wanted to do a sleep over at the lounge so that I could blog about my experience but I decided against it so that I could have a proper night’s rest at home to prepare for the long day ahead.
It’s now 7.15am, boarding time is at 7.30am. With my fastest pace, I marched to gate A19. Alas, It’s all the way at the end! It is imperative that I am one of the first to board as I plan to get a snapshot of an empty business class cabin.
Normally business class folks aren’t all that anxious to board but there were already small groups of people asking if they could board. The gate wasn’t opened yet. I was the 3rd in line so I managed to get to the cabin and grabbed a few shots without people. Yay!
Business class seats on the A330-300 aren’t the most spectacular. The seats are smaller than on the A380s and the A350s. Nevertheless, I’ve always advocated that business class isn’t all about the seats, but the service you get prior (check in, lounge), better food and drinks etc. Unfortunately, there were no redemptions available on SQ8 (777-300ER) when booking via Star Alliance.
Well, I like to view the glass half full. I think a luxury travel blogger is worth his salt if he has experienced different types of products so I take it all in good stride.
The issue with the A330-300 is that it is in a 2 2 2 seating configuration. This means that the people sitting at the inner window seats would have to cross over another person when utilising the rest room. It gets really awkward if the person is in a lying down position. However, if you choose the middle seats like I did, then there’s none of this problem.
The headphones are a significant upgrade from economy and are always a joy to have when seated in J or in F. I managed to catch two Korean movies: forgotten (기억의 밤) & 칠턱. Forgotten was a really scary movie and even in a bright afternoon cabin, the noise cancelling headphones worked their magic, making me feel rather alone while watching the movie.
I heard that some people actually prefer business class in A330-300 because it’s easier to get work done. I think this is true to some extent. The only issue I had was that because the seats are not as wide, the pillow took up the rest of the space in my seat. First world problems I know! XD
I had the Boston lobster thermidor (only available in first class) before, so this time I decided to try the ordinary lobster thermidor. I found the portion slightly small, but it was yummy nevertheless.
The rum and raisin was to die for. It was so good that I asked for a second serving. The Korean SIA stewardess serving my aisle kindly gave me another one. I also had a platter of cheese and some wine to go along with it.
The inflight manager Mr Chew, asked me if the meal (lobster thermidor) was alright. It turned into a full on conversation about travelling on SIA on the different classes and how even economy on SIA has much more legroom vs other airlines. We also conversed about the different planes that are going to be delivered. Well, geeky things only people who are interested in airplanes will want to know so I won’t go into the details here.
I’m not sponsored by SIA btw so I don’t need to say this but the service is what really makes SIA a truly great way to fly. In all my travels in F and in J, I had great conversations with the crew. They make time to connect and converse (click here for my previous trip report in J) (SIA are you reading this? I’d love to be sponsored, thank you in advanced.. heh)
Mr Chew asked if I would like an SIA bear. They ran out of stock for awhile and the new stock came in. Who says “No” to an SIA bear?
All in all, this was a great flight. Good service, decent food, awesome dessert, some work done, great movie experience. Worth the money? You bet!
Unfortunately, my return leg will be on economy but this gives me a chance to review Incheon’s priority pass lounges. Will update!