Singapore Airlines took the top spot on our list of the Best Airlines In The World.

The list ranked the best major international airlines for flying economy class, based on two categories: the quality of the in-flight experience and the on-time delays.

Last year, I flew economy class from New York City to Singapore (with a stop in Frankfurt) on Singapore Airlines, and saw for myself why the airline gets rave reviews.

What really helps the airline stand apart is not the seats or the food or even the entertainment (though it has all that), but the service. People who work for the airline are trained to treat passengers with respect and care — something that’s increasingly unusual these days.

We thought the day-long trip to Singapore would be unbearable. But even in economy class, it was surprisingly pleasant.

Disclosure: Our trip to Singapore, including travel and lodging expenses, was sponsored by the Singapore Tourism Board.

From the moment I stepped on the plane, flight attendants greeted me by saying “Welcome aboard” before guiding me to my seat.

from-the-moment-i-stepped-on-the-plane-flight-attendants-greeted-me-by-saying-welcome-aboard-before-guiding-me-to-my-seat Jennifer Polland/ Business Insider

Like most airplanes, you have to walk through business class before entering economy. It’s easy to get jealous of the large, comfortable reclining seats and private pods.

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Even in coach, the seats were fairly spacious. Each passenger gets a nice fluffy pillow and fleece blanket.

even-in-coach-the-seats-were-fairly-spacious-each-passenger-gets-a-nice-fluffy-pillow-and-fleece-blanket Jennifer Polland/ Business Insider

The airplane has nice touches like magazine racks filled with international publications for fliers to peruse.

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Once you’re seated, flight attendants bring you steaming hot towels.

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The hot towels are served with tongs.

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Each person gets his or her own TV to watch during the flight — even in coach.

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The in-flight entertainment system was very good.

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There’s a great selection of current movies.

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You can also peruse city guides for Singapore, New York, and other destinations they fly to, from Zagat.

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Or you could even learn a new language with Berlitz.

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Flight attendants hand you a menu so you can choose what you want to eat on your flight in advance.

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The dishes actually sounded pretty good.

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For dinner on the first leg of the trip (to Frankfurt), I ordered the pan fried chicken with creamy herb sauce, vegetables and potatoes. It was surprisingly decent.

for-dinner-on-the-first-leg-of-the-trip-to-frankfurt-i-ordered-the-pan-fried-chicken-with-creamy-herb-sauce-vegetables-and-potatoes-it-was-surprisingly-decent Jennifer Polland/ Business Insider

For lunch on the second leg of the trip (from Frankfurt to Singapore), I ordered the stir fried chicken with Chinese vegetables and noodles, which was tasty. I also appreciated small things, like the fact that they include real utensils (and not the flimsy plastic kind).

for-lunch-on-the-second-leg-of-the-trip-from-frankfurt-to-singapore-i-ordered-the-stir-fried-chicken-with-chinese-vegetables-and-noodles-which-was-tasty-i-also-appreciated-small-things-like-the-fact-that-they-include-real-utensils-and-not-t Jennifer Polland/ Business Insider

I knew the service was exceptional after I slept through breakfast and got up to walk around the plane. Just as I was about to ask a flight attendant about breakfast, he asked me if I would like to eat something, and then said “I know where you’re sitting and I’d be happy to bring you breakfast. And would you like some coffee or tea?”

i-knew-the-service-was-exceptional-after-i-slept-through-breakfast-and-got-up-to-walk-around-the-plane-just-as-i-was-about-to-ask-a-flight-attendant-about-breakfast-he-asked-me-if-i-would-like-to-eat-something-and-then-said-i-know-where-you Jennifer Polland/ Business Insider