After flying 12,000 miles traveling from SFO-LAX-BOS-SFO-ICN-NRT-PVG, I finally was getting ready for the penultimate part of my trip, the beginning of my around the world trip in First on Airbus a380’ s. In this case I was starting my journey in Shanghai, China flying Singapore Airlines Suites Class to Singapore. From there I’ll fly back to Narita and then onwards to Los Angeles, all on SQ a380’s. Needless to say I was incredibly excited, sure I’ve flown a handful of a380’ s previously, but getting a chance to fly on my favorite airline in their flagship Suites Class, was the cherry on top of the sundae.
I arrived at the gate about 10 minutes prior to boarding and there were three boarding lanes (sorry I didn’t get any snaps) one for coach, business and then suites. The former two had healthy lines but suites was empty, which was expected since the cabin was only 3 of 12. This definitely was going to make for a really nice trip. Besides that, since they have different boarding doors with 1L exclusively for Suites guests once you get on board you only see your fellow guests and the staff working the cabin. In my case it felt like it was 2 ½ crew to one guest, not bad huh?
Upon boarding and providing Sanjay (the purser) my boarding card, he proceeded to escort me to my seat in 2C, the first row of the middle 2 seats. Singapore employs a cabin with 4 window seats on either side of the plane and 2 rows of 2×2 in the middle. With all first class seats on the lower deck, and the balance of the first floor being coach class. The second deck is mostly business (60) and about 70 economy seats. The middle seats are famous for one thing, helping people join the mile high club :). Seriously though the middle seats convert into one large bed. I didn’t get to experience that (no not the mile high club, get your mind out of the gutter) till my final sector NRT-LAX, so stay tuned for those pictures and review! That being said the middle seats are ideal for those that want even more space than the standard suite provides. Especially if traveling with a companion that you’d like to converse with. The suites are pretty private, and talking to your neighbor otherwise is a bit difficult. As far as I know this is the only airline that offers such and incredible amenity, although Emirates a380 First Class affectionately called The Apartment has more space and can connect two seating areas into one large space but the beds are still separate.
So once Sanjay escorted me to my seat, he proceeded to take my roll aboard and stow it under one of the ottomans in an unoccupied suite. The cabin is devoid of overhead storage bins, so your bags need to go below your seat. Since in this case it was so empty, he was able to put it someplace else, and all I kept under my footrest was my backpack. Sanjay also gave me a review of the seat including the tv and seat controls, and how to operate the privacy doors. He also offered me a drink and I happily requested a glass of Champagne.
Once I was settled in Lucy one of the other flight attendants came by and introduced herself too. She provided me with slippers and an eye mask. The only other amenity offered on this late afternoon flight were noise canceling headphones. Sadly because this is a 4:45 PM departure and only a 5 hour flight, you’re not provided any PJ’s or amenity kit, but they do have combs, brushes, toothpaste, toothbrushes and shaving kits in the bathroom. In the grand scheme of things, this is really minor, but I think it comes across as slightly petty, for such a world class airline with a world class product, and cheap in my opinion. It’s the same complaint I have on the SIN-NRT-LAX sector. You get kits and PJ’s on the SIN-NRT sector, but if you’re connecting to LAX, they actually don’t provide you a new kit or PJ’s. I’m not saying I needed two sets, but really when people are paying upwards of $15,000 for this experience, don’t hold out. Emirates for example hands this stuff out like Singapore hands out hot towels.
The seat itself is really wide and pretty comfortable it’s 35″ wide in fact. When lounging, it was best to have the armrests down since the seat is so wide. On my left were the TV handset as well as the light and do not disturb buttons as well as a small storage bin for nothing bigger then glasses or a phone. On the right hand side there’s a divider that that slides up if you’re sharing the middle sets with a stranger, thankfully because of the light load it was empty, I think when I requested the seat they actually blocked the other one out. There was also power and a small lidded storage box large enough for your headphones and one open storage box big enough for magazines and such. Also on the right was a long think table/armrest. This area served as a storage spot and drink table as well as hid the large tray table. When you chose to sleep this entire armrest would slide down so they could make the bed. It’s an incredible engineering feat.
The ottoman pictured above is in a fixed position, and flipped open if you wanted to store some thinner items. Underneath this area you also had enough space for a small roller or backpack. They also have a set of seat belts here too, so if you wanted to chat or eat with someone else and have dinner for two, you’d be able to do that. Above the ottoman, was a pretty large TV, maybe 27″. The picture below is slightly deceiving, on two parts. First because it’s two suites it looks like one giant TV, and also the bars on either side of the TV’s make them look wider then they really are. Needless to say between the space of each individual suite, the size of the large TV, the privacy afforded by the sliding doors to the suite, and the sliding shades you have one hell of a space to enjoy your flight. Besides that the service I’ve always received when flying SQ regardless of where on the airplane your sitting is always top notch.
There’s not much else I can say about the seat. It’s comfortable in all positions, there’s plenty of space to stretch out and you have all the amenities you’d expect in a fine hotel. The part that gets me is that it’s not a hotel, it a plane you just feel that comfortable. Now comparing this plane and this seat to the two other versions of First Class I’ve experienced on Singapore is tough. All of them have been great. The 744 and 77W are nice and I’d dare say the 77W is a pretty private and spacious but what set this apart is the sheer size and grandeur of of what they have accomplished on the a380. I mean it’s a mini apartment for crying out loud!!! I just can’t get over the fact that this is how the other half lives when they travel all the time. In my case this was an incredibly decadent way to travel home on a mileage redemption.
Eating and drinking on Singapore Airlines is a treat, let’s just be honest. They have the Book The Cook feature that lets you preorder your meals on certain routes if you choose. You can order Wagyu Beef or Lobster Thermadore for example, the menu is incredibly extensive. Beyond that the menu on the plane is also really broad and provides many choices for many palates. It truly makes for a gastronomic experience. On the drink side of things they also do a good job of catering some fine wines, spirits and champagne. Today they offered Dom Perignon 2004 and Krug Grand Cuvee both retail well over $150 USD. Besides that spirts ranging from Johnnie Walker Blue and Macallan 12 and some of the best coffee on the planet Jamaican Blue Mountain. Needless to say drinking and dining on a Singapore Airlines flight is always fun, and in my case the drinking was very very fun.
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To begin we were offered warm nuts and a choice of drink. In my case the choice of drink was obvious
Prior to any meal on SQ (I can’t remember if that’s the case in coach) I know rough life,
you’re served beef and lamb satay with peanut sauce. Plus a side of cucumbers and raw onions. This is just one of those little things
that separates them from the pack when it comes to meal service.
Again presentation is very very important to the culture of the airlines. The staff take great pride in
making sure everything is set exactly how it should be down to the the bars on the plate being straight across.
My appetizer, was amazing. lobster with butter, can I have more please?
I’ve had the lobster thermadore before, and this was just far far superior for me.
Silky, velvety pumpkin soup with herb oil was divine. I’m not sure how else
I can describe this soup, except to say that it was freaking incredible.
The crisp green salad was the perfect palate cleanser after two very rich dishes. Sadly though I really didn’t need it,
I was so full at this point I was just finding ways to make it look like I had eaten it, when really I had just moved the food around the plate.
Oh the fish, was it good? Yes. Did I need to eat it? No. Did I eat it? Of course! another outstanding item, the fish was
moist, not dry and had tons of flavor. Oh and the lemon sauce with the potatoes it was out of this world.
They just melted in your mouth, it was if they were mashed on the inside but not on the outside.
Except for when I was sleeping, I don’t think there was a time that this glass was empty.
There was no reason on this earth that I needed desert, but I just could not pass it up. And yes it was that good.
As usual service on SQ was perfect. All of the staff I interacted with were a joy to talk to. Regardless of whether they do or don’t love their job you’d never know. Everyone always referred to me by my last name and always did anything with a smile. I don’t know how they do it. Besides that, the attention to detail is what sets them apart from any other airline I’ve had the pleasure of flying on. The food is served at the right temperature, they just know when your drink is done and come by to refill it, you couldn’t and don’t need to want for anything. They just anticipate your needs. I’d have to say on the service level only Cathay Pacific comes close, but I’m sure there are others that come close too, I’ve just not flown them. Staff are personable, friendly and willing to chat if you want it, I also didn’t experience any language barrier issues, unlike what I’ve experienced on ANA, Thai or even Emirates. I can’t expect everyone to speak my language, and I can’t speak anything other than English, and not well for that matter, but it sure is nice to be able to easily communicate with people when needing to fulfill basic needs. I do feel they are as good as the hype.