Why Singapore Airlines is the Best Airline in the World

Many things in travel are debatable. What’s the best country? Where is the best food? What’s the best city? Beach? Resort, etc.? In my mind, and in the minds of many of the world’s premier travelers, one thing that’s not debatable is that Singapore Airlines is the best airline in the world.

Singapore Airlines plane


The first time I flew Singapore Airlines was back in 1999; which was also the first time I went to Asia. I took their 747-Megatop from Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo. At that time, I was still a novice traveler and didn’t have a ton to compare it to but even then I knew it was the best.

Singapore Airlines business class menu


Their economy service in 1999 was the best I had ever experienced. The food was the best I’d had and needless to say Singapore had the most beautiful cabin crew I had ever seen.

With some Singapore Airlines cabin crew


14 years later and some 200 airlines flown later, Singapore Airlines is not only still great but it has just gotten better. While their economy class service is still tops, I have been fortunate to fly business class and along with their new suites, is the best I’ve ever flown.

My business class flat bed seat on the Singapore Airlines A380


It’s not only the actual flat bed seats in business; which allow you to actually get some sleep on the really long haul flight but it’s the attention to detail. For example, on my flight down to Singapore a few days ago, I fell asleep immediately after the fasten seatbelt sign went off. I had my bed down and the do not disturb sign up. I hadn’t talked to any cabin crew or anything.

Boarding Business Class on the Singapore Airlines A380


Several hours later I woke up and slightly disoriented I walked up to the crew station and asked if they had anything to eat and drink still available. The two crew said, “absolutely Mr. Abbamonte, seat 18D right” and gave me several options. I was befuddled that they knew my name and seat number when they hadn’t seen or talked to me. Its little things like that that I remember and it’s the attention to detail that makes Singapore different.

My badge at the Singapore Airlines International Media Event


During my time in Singapore I was able to go on a behind the scenes tour of Singapore Airlines with a group of International media. I had never done that before with any other airline and I imagine most airlines wouldn’t want to let you see behind the scenes of their operations-especially any US carrier!

Singapore Airlines cabin crew training at their training facility in Singapore


We visited their training center where I got to see firsthand how they train their amazing cabin crew. Singapore Airlines cabin crew goes through intensive training both before they start working short haul economy class service and again as the crew graduates to different classes of service and different lengths of flights.

We also saw behind the scenes of how the signature Singapore Airlines girl becomes what she is. We went into the hair and make-up room where each girl’s make-up color, shades of skin and facial complexions are scrutinized. It was intriguing to hear the stringent requirements with their cabin crew.

The Make-Up room presentation at the Singapore Airlines training center


At first it seems a little harsh as they even take body mass index measurements to make sure they fit properly into their customized outfit and maintain that size. But as I thought about it more, it makes a lot of sense. The cabin crew is what most people associate with Singapore Airlines. The look, the outfit and the manner in which they act are so important to their brand and in fact the brand of Singapore as well.

Sanitary clothes to enter the kitchen area at the Singapore Airlines Food Facility


Additionally, I visited the SATS (formerly called Singapore Airlines Terminal Services); which is where the food you get on the plane is made, prepared and packaged. This was truly fascinating and also reassuring because of the lengths of safety and cleanliness we had to go through before we went in.

CDC style room where you get pelted with air so little dust particles are removed before entering the kitchen area at Singapore Airlines food center


This included wearing hair nets, face masks and also going through a CDC style room where you are pelted with air to get any potential dust particles off you. So you know their food is sanitary!

One of the kitchen areas at the Singapore Airlines food center


Singapore Airlines does boast the best food of any airline. Many dishes are created by Michelin star chefs from famous restaurants around the world. It’s not just that they have the best food but they have the most varied food as well. Much like the country of Singapore; which is made up of so many different ethnic groups, the food on Singapore Airlines is the same-varied.

Showing the different assembly points of the different types of cuisine at Singapore Airlines food center


They actually have a massive kitchen facility where they make all different types of food. Labeled such things as western kitchen, Thai kitchen, Halal kitchen etc., they freshly prepare all meals in this facility. All meals are cooked fresh from the best ingredients and done to an exact specification. The food is then stored at proper temperature and is always consumed within 24 hours of its preparation at the facility. Anything older than 24 hours is thrown out.

Some Singapore Airlines meals all prepared by hand


It was also fascinating to see how individual meals are prepared for people with special needs. When people sign up for special meals like vegetarian or a religious meal; they are prepared at the SATS facility. They are labeled with the passengers’ name and flight number. It was really cool to see how organized that process was. It’s one of those things you never think about as a passenger but that is so important to the airlines service.

Halal meals being assembled for a flight at Singapore Airlines food center


The other thing that really impressed me was how Singapore Airlines selects the wines they serve on board. Again, another thing you never think about or pay attention to but that is another thing that sets Singapore Airlines apart.

10 different wines to sample at the media tasting for Singapore Airlines


I was privy to attend a private wine event at Singapore Airlines. We did a tasting along with the distinguished panel of three acclaimed wine consultants that actually select and buy wines from around the world for Singapore Airlines. These are the people that pick the wines you drink on board. I love wine and think I know more than the average person about wine but when you hear these experts speak, you realize you know nothing!

Distinguished wine panel at the Singapore Airlines International Media wine tasting event


For me, it was a thrill to listen to why they like and dislike certain wines and follow along and compare what you thought to what they thought. Not to brag but I did win a bottle of 2000 Dom Perignon because I scored the top three wines the same as the panelists!

2000 Dom Perignon bottle I won for accurately assessing the wines the same as the panel at the Singapore Airlines wine event


Singapore Airlines is the only airline that takes this much care and invests this much into wine selection. Again, it’s the attention to fine details that goes unnoticed but when it’s pointed out, you realize that other airlines don’t do it.

Singapore Airlines sets the global standard in service, food, wine and hospitality. It is the best airline in the world and there really isn’t a close second in my view. Now having met the talented and friendly people behind the scenes, I can see why.

Disclaimer: Singapore Airlines flew me free of charge to Singapore, business class, so I could attend these sessions and write a story about it. In no way did they influence my opinion. All views expressed here are mine and mine alone.

Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more and it’s the little things that make them the best

  2. The best part of going to Singapore is flying with their AIrline…isn’t that how the saying goes???

    • That used to be! Singapore is actually really cool now and fun…there will be a post on that coming up…a lot different than it used to be!

  3. Sounds great but Singapore is really f’in far from the US and if you’re not in biz class that would suck!

    • Doesn’t matter where you fly or how far because anything more than 5-6 hours in coach sucks compared to business class…there’s no disputing that!

  4. Cool story Lee. I haven’t ever flown with Singapore. My favorite is Virgin Atlantic. I got to fly them in business class to London about a year ago and it was pretty amazing.

    • Nice, I haven’t flown Virgin Atlantic in years…the problem with them as I see it is they have no mileage partner programs like Star or One World etc…unless I missed something last few years

  5. They are the best I’ve ever flown. Service is impeccable and the food is the best. Prices are a little high though if I recall correctly.

    • Service is impeccable and prices are comparable to others but you definitely get your money’s worth..certainly compared to other options

  6. I hate flying but I fly a lot for work and SIA is the best I’ve been on. I haven’t been on nearly as many airlines as you so they really must be the best if you say so. Good post Lee.

  7. The first time I flew Sing Air was in 2008, and I’ve yet to fly anything better. A close second would be Air New Zealand. I flew from Houston to Singapore via Moscow. I was on coach, but was fortunate to have three seats to myself for all the legs. Food was great, as was the entertainment system. The staff was amazing, but don’t let those pretty faces fool you. One of the flight attendants jumped all over this drunk Russian that was harassing me. That just made me love Sing Air more! :-)

    • I would have paid to see that! If you’re in coach and you get 3-4 setas open to lay down, that’s about as good as business anyway

  8. I have yet to fly Singapore Airlines, but given it’s reputation I look forward to that day…

  9. I totally agree that Singapore is an amazing airline, but for me the best has to be Swiss, even when comparing class for class directly.

    • Swiss is a nice airline…I think second best in Europe personally behind Turkish. Although admittedly I have a built in bias against Swiss because I knew someone who died in that plane crash years ago off the coast of Nova Scotia.

      • Hi Lee

        Just to inform you that the airline of Switzerland today is different to the one that had the crash off the coast of Nova Scotia. The airline that had the crash was Swissair which ended up going out of business. After Swissair went bankrupt an entirely new airline was set up called Swiss International Air Lines. It is currently owned by Lufthansa and is with out a doubt one of the worlds best airlines. So while the logo is very similar to the old Swissair the airline that operates today is a completely different company.

  10. Thanks for the detailed post

    I’ve flown sq in f and j longhaul multiple times. They are very nice, but it is overboard to call them unequivocally the best. In many cases, particularly in J, their service is a bit robotic compared to some of their Asian (and select European) competitors.

    For exampe, the FAs knowing your name even when you weren’t in your seat is far from unique to sq. Every airline has their food prepared in sanitary facilities.

    Check out the forward cabins on NH, JL, LH, QF, BA and EK and report back!

  11. Francois Sandenberg says:

    I flew from Singapore to LA on the direct business only flight recently – it was about 90% capacity. A week later I returned. When I stepped on the plane the Chief FA recognised me and welcomed me by name and indicated that I’d be travelling on the other side of the plane from my previous leg. Now that is amazing. Even though the Chief FA had not personally served me on the flight, she recognised me by sight and recalled my name. She did exactly the same to my colleague who was travelling with me. I have flown on most airlines, and SQ are miles above the rest in their consistency of service. They make one feel at home. It’s the little touches that matter. Airlines come and go, but only SQ have maintained that impeccable service even through tough economic times. They are worth paying that little extra for.

  12. I flew Singapore Air (Los Angeles to Chennai, India and back) nine times over 2009 to early 2010. I flew Business seven times (2 times the all-business class direct flight, 5 times on a 747 through Tokyo), Economy once (with my wife and two kids) and First Class once.

    They are, by far, the best airline service in the world. The time I flew Economy I was already a PPS member because of my miles. The plane’s steward came back and addressed me by name and said if there was anything I or my family needed, to just let them know.

    Singapore’s Changi Airport is also, hands down, the best airport on the world. Absolutely unbelievable.

    After all my flights I used 220,000 of my miles to get two free round trip tickets to New Zealand flying on my second favourite airline – Air New Zealand.

    I always choose SA if possible or a Star Alliance partner. They have both treated me well.

  13. Steve McLean says:

    Ok, so If I understand well they pay for your flight and they you do a positive article saying they are the best in the world. Very ethical, indeed.

    • Hi Steve, I write my opinions based on my experiences whether they pay or not. I have long said Singapore Airlines was the best airline in the world…that’s been no secret. Check some of my top 5 lists from years ago. I would never write something because of a favor…only what I believe.

  14. SQ are an awesome airline. The training they give their staff is top notch. I once wrote a letter to all the American Airlines and advised them they may want to send their staff to Singapore to train. I still fly Singapore as often as I can- even though I was due to fly on their aircraft that crashed many years ago. Sometimes the Universe throws you a major gift when you choose to listen to your gut feeling :)

  15. I truly loved this article! I am a big fan of SQ both in economy and business class. Truly great inflight experience! Awesome post!

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