Bali has been on our radar for awhile but the long journey can be off-putting for American travelers. The flight from Los Angeles to Bali took 27 hours with 22 hours in the air! I don’t know about you, but 22 hours in economy is not my idea of a good time. That’s why we saved up our points and miles specifically for a trip like this! For only $57 in taxes each we enjoyed nearly 24 hours of business class bliss on one of the top airlines in the world.
At more than $3,000 per person one way, we never would have been able to afford purchasing business class fares. Fortunately, Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program makes it easy to earn the miles you need to experience their highly-rated business service for next to nothing. This post is a recap of the amazing in-flight experience as well as how you can do the same for your trip.
Booking the trip
Singapore Airlines departs from four cities in the United States: New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisico (SFO), and Houston (IAH). After searching their site I found availability for our desired dates departing from LAX. The itinerary had us flying out from LAX onboard a Boeing 777-300ER with a quick stop in Seoul for some passengers to deplane and to pick up new ones. We then continued on to Singapore where we had a 3-1/2 hour layover before boarding an Airbus A330-300 for the short, final flight to Bali Denpasar airport.
The cost of the flight was 68,000 KrisFlyer miles and $307.84 in taxes and fees per person. Singapore’s KrisFlyer program is partners with all the major transferable points programs, meaning you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Citi ThankYou Points.
Both Iylana and I had signed up for a Citi Prestige card and each had 55,000 ThankYou points after earning the signup bonus. We transferred those points into our KrisFlyer accounts and transferred the remaining 13,000 from our stockpile of Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with our Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which is our recommended card for those just starting to earn points and miles for their travel. The Citi Prestige card also gives you a $250 airline credit per year, so the $307.84 in taxes and fees was reduced to only $57.84 each out of pocket. (Note: Since booking this trip, Singapore Airlines has increased the points cost of their rewards, but also lowered the taxes and fees. Now, this same itinerary would cost 88,000 KrisFlyer miles and $27.90.)
We positioned ourselves in Los Angeles from our hometown of Lubbock, Texas by using our Southwest Airlines companion pass and Rapid Rewards points for a total cost of $11.60 out of pocket. After arriving at LAX we headed over to the international terminal to check in. Already tired from the early morning flight from Texas, we were looking forward to some lounge time to refresh before the main event. However, the Singapore check in counter hadn’t opened up yet. Fortunately, we were carrying our bags on, which meant we could use the automated kiosk to check in and receive our boarding passes. We proceeded through security and headed to the Star Alliance lounge.
Star Alliance Lounge
Singapore Airlines doesn’t operate its own lounge at LAX, instead sharing the Star Alliance Lounge with its other alliance partners. The lounge was one of the nicer ones we have been in, with plenty of space to stretch out and seclude yourself from other travelers. There is a mezzanine floor overlooking the terminal, and an outdoor space that is good for plane watching.
The buffet was large with lots of options, and there was an open bar with enough selections to satisfy just about any taste.
But the real highlight of the lounge were the large, clean showers. Air travel has a way of making you feel stale, so it was nice to freshen up a bit after having already traveled for about 8 hours from Texas.
The boarding process went quickly and smoothly. All it took was a quick glance at our boarding passes for the flight attendants to direct us to our seats, and from then on they addressed us by name, a nice touch that highlights the tremendous service Singapore Airlines is known for.
The business class seats were arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration with a total 48 seats spread across two sections. We were in the front section which had three rows for a total of 12 seats. The rear section had 9 rows for a total of 36 seats. I was glad we chose the front section as the fewer seats made it a little more intimate and meant less traffic back and forth to the lav.
After being shown our seats we were offered a welcome drink and we selected champagne. The flight attendants also handed us drink menus and asked us what we would like after take off. More champagne, of course!
While Singapore Airlines doesn’t provide business class passengers with a formal amenity kit, we were still provided socks, slippers, and an eye mask, with most of the other items you’d typically find in an amenity kit located in the lav.
Truly the highlight of the experience is the seat itself, which is phenonmenal. It is quite wide at 28”, amongst the widest in the sky for a business class product, and very comfortable. Iylana and I could almost squeeze into one seat together!
The seat also has 55” of pitch, giving you plenty of room to stretch out your legs. A typical seat has a small cubby at an angle for you to prop your feet on, but bulkhead rows instead have a long ottoman that crosses the entire width of the seat. Being tipped off to this I looked for seats in Row 11 for us. However, only one was available, so I selected seat 11K and Iylana sat behind me in seat 12K, which was fine for her since she is considerably shorter than I am.
Around the seat are plenty of stowage places for whatever essentials you need during the flight. I had my camera, laptop, headphones, and iPhone as well as chargers for my phone and watch all handy. The seat has an international power port with two USB chargers so you can keep your devices powered up. The tray table folds away out of site and there is plenty of tabletop space to set your drink; however, I wish there had been a proper cupholder for times when the plane was experiencing turbulence.
The seat also has controls for you to adjust and recline the seat in a variety of positions so you can find the most comfortable position for relaxing and watching a movie or eating a meal. However the controls don’t allow the seat to recline to a full lay flat position (more on that in a moment).
Since this was such a long flight there were multiple meal services, four total, with three between Los Angeles and Singapore, and the last one on the flight to Bali. We utilized Singapore Airlines’ “Book the Cook” option which lets you choose from a broader selection than just the in-flight menu.
Overall the food ended up being the most disappointing part of the flight. Of the four dishes I ordered only the Sweet and Sour Fish warranted being labeled as “good.” Iylana felt the same with the Beef Sukiyaki she ordered being the only thing she enjoyed. It’s not that the other dishes were inedible by any means, they just didn’t quite live up to the “business class” expectation.
All the appetizers and desserts that were served were good, which are the same if you order off the menu or use the “Book the Cook” option, so maybe it’s just a result of “Book the Cook” meals being prepared in advanced so there are less meals to prepare for the daily menu which I had heard might be the case. Just in case you’re still hungry or something doesn’t sit right, there are also several snack options you can order on demand between meals.
One of my favorite parts of long haul flights is the in flight entertainment. A good IFE can make a long flight much more bearable, and it gives me the chance to catch up on movies I had missed in theaters. The selection on Singapore didn’t disappoint and I watched The Salesman, Lion, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Moana, and Nocturnal Animals. There were also several other movies I would have liked if I had the time. In addition to movies there are many TV shows as well as music and games to keep you occupied.
All of this is enjoyed on the 18” screen which was more than adequate with good image quality, though I was a little jealous of the 23” screens in first class 🙂
Wifi is also available, but the prices seemed quite steep to me so I passed on connecting as there was plenty on the IFE to keep me entertained.
After about 12 hours of flying we decended into Seoul for some passengers to deplane and to pick up a few more. We were required to deplane and take our belongings through a security screening. After that we passed the rest of the time in the Singapore lounge. It was a little on the small side, but there wasn’t very many people there since it was so late and seemingly very few of the other business class passengers bothered to seek it out. There was a decent selection of light snacks and drinks. It was fun trying out a few of the Korean drinks including an aloe-flavored one. In all, it was a better place to pass the 1-1/2 hour layover than sitting at the gate.
Back aboard I was looking forward to maximizing sleep time for the rest of the flight. Now while the seat was comfortable, the same can’t quite be said for the bed. Rather than reclining into a full lay-flat mode like other premium seats, the Singapore seat instead folds down to create a bed. After the dining experience, the bed was the second most disappointing aspect of the flight, which is a shame since the seat was so good.
There wasn’t very much padding and there was an awkward fold which created a bump right in the small of my back. I also found I couldn’t stretch out straight even though I was in the row with the extra ottoman width and despite the claimed 78” in bed length (I’m 6’2”, so my 74” should have fit fine). In the end I found the most comfortable position for me was to prop myself up a little bit with pillows behind me so I could stretch out straight and not have the bump in the small of my back.
Even with these gripes I was still able to sleep about 6 hours, two on the flight to Seoul and 4 between Seoul and Singapore, a feat which would have been nigh impossible for me in economy. However, Iylana had no complaints about the bed, but she’s a much harder sleeper than I am.
We arrived in Singapore at around 5:30am, a little ahead of schedule and had almost 4 hours until our next flight. Singapore Changi Airport is almost a destination unto itself with beautiful arrays of orchids, a butterfly garden, free theater, plenty of shopping and many other attractions to keep travelers occupied while they wait for their flights.
But with another flight ahead of us as well as some travel time to get to our room in Ubud, we decided to spend the layover time in the business class lounge, which was just as nice as the Star Alliance lounge in LAX. The buffet had a variety of Asian and Western breakfast choices. Even though it was “early morning,” my body’s internal clock said it was happy hour so I sampled some of the Singaporean beer they had available on tap.
And once again, taking a shower left us feeling revived and refreshed and ready for the final leg of the journey.
Singapore to Bali
The final flight was aboard an Airbus A330-300 and had 30 business class seats with 5 rows arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration. It was an older plane, which was surprising since I figured this would be a popular route and would warrant an updated cabin. Still for just a 2-1/2 hour flight the seat was more than comfortable, even if it couldn’t compare to the seat aboard the 777. We were served our fourth and final meal and squeezed in one more movie before landing at Bali Depasar airport ready to explore all of the island’s charms.
Overall we were more than pleased with our flight experience from Los Angeles to Bali. While the dining left a little to be desired, the service was incredible with plenty of drink and snack options to make up for it. And while the bed could be improved upon, the seat itself offered ample comfort so as to not feel so cramped.
In total, nearly 44 hours elapsed from the time we stepped outside our home until we arrived at our Airbnb in Ubud. That can daunt even the most intrepid of travelers, especially with an economy long haul flight mixed in. We’re glad we put our points to good use to make the journey not only bearable but enjoyable. Are you ready to use points and miles to start planning your next adventure? Sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and get started today! The signup bonus will get you most of the way toward an incredible international business class flight! Questions? Comment below and we’ll answer.