En route to PATA Travel Mart 2007 in Bali, Travel Agent's Pacific/Asia senior editor Mark Rogers reviews Singapore Airlines' B777-300ER business class. There are probably hotel rooms in Tokyo with less space and fewer amenities than this cabin. I had the pleasure of experiencing the carrier's enhanced Business Class cabins on the flight from LAX to Taipei. Right off the bat I was impressed by the fact that they are stand-alone cabins, all with direct access to the aisle. You won't have to juggle that perennial conundrum: "Should I sit by the window so I can sleep? Or should I take the aisle so I won't have to disturb my neighbor when I get up to go the lavatory?"
According to Singapore Airlines, the Business Class cabins are almost 50 percent wider than most in this class. The fully flat seats are 30 inches and feature an innovative design making it the largest fully flat Business Class bed in the sky for both sleeping and lounging.
We departed LAX at 1 a.m. so I declined the dinner. If I'd chosen to dine I would have had a choice of sautéed prawns, Chinese-style roast chicken or pan-seared lamb loin. I was content to have a nightcap of an excellent Geyser Park Winery Chardonnay 2005 Alexander Valley. A flight attendant helped me set up the bed, which allowed me to stretch out completely in a horizontal position. A sound sleep made eight hours pass in oblivion. Waking up, I plugged my laptop into the cabin's AC power system and fired up my synapses with a cup of Brazilian Santos Bourbon espresso and got to work without having to worry about my laptop's battery punking out on me.
Besides all the entertainment bells-and-whistles, there are thoughtful touches like a shelf perfect for storing items you'll want easy access to during the flight.
Before touching down, breakfast was served, offering a choice of Asian favorites like dim sum, and Western fare - a parsley omelette with sun-dried tomato.
The new service, which debuted in North America in San Francisco last January, heralds innovations and improvements in all three classes, represents an investment of $360 million. All three classes have the KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system, providing entertainment, connectivity - with office tools such as spreadsheet and word processing on each system - and education, including instruction in 22 languages utilizing Berlitz World Traveller.
The B777-300ER service from Los Angeles operates every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday to Singapore, expanding to daily service next April.