Guestwriter Trip Reports

First Class for the Family: Singapore Airlines A380 Suites MEL-SIN

A review of SQ's A380 Suites product

Trip Planning: Hacking the SQ Waitlist
Singapore Airlines Ground Experience and The Private Room
Singapore Airlines SIN MEL 777-300ER First Class Review
Singapore Airlines SilverKris First Class Lounge MEL Review
Singapore Airlines MEL SIN A380 Suites Review


SQ218
Melbourne (MEL) – Singapore (SIN)
Date: 25 Mar 2017 (Sat)
Aircraft: A380-800
Seat: 2C/D (Suites Class)

Following the much anticipated reveal of the next generation SQ cabin products on 2 Nov, I guess this report is already well on its way towards being obsolete even before being published. We will still see the first iteration of the Singapore Suites around for some time though. The new products will come with the 5 new A380s to be delivered over the course of the coming year, but SQ has 19 of these superjumbos after all. While it is confirmed that the older planes will be retrofitted with the new products, this is only expected to start late next year, and will be a slow process that is only expected to be completed by 2020.

That’s certainly good news for those of us who have been saving up for a Suites class redemption! Aaron’s article on redemption award availability for the new products doesn’t look too promising, and trips like these for the whole family may be a thing of the past. Hopefully there will still be good saver availability on the old product.

The in-flight service on my previous 2 trips in R and F had been good, but rather uninspiring. The mix up in my BTC order on my SIN LHR flight cast a shadow on the otherwise good crew, and the service in my SIN MEL leg was just too abbreviated. I am expecting too much? Well, perhaps. But when the airline is charging almost double that in Business Class which already features pretty darn good service, I think the expectations are justified. I attributed it to the high passenger load on both those flights (and yes, I see the irony in that I was the non-revenue passenger that contributed to those high loads), so I was pleased to see that there were only 5 Suites passengers on this flight.

I must say, the difference an excellent crew makes really is phenomenal.

There are people who just have an innate talent for customer service, and when all 3 of the crew working the R cabin have that, it really makes for a vastly different experience. The routine is exactly the same; welcome on board by name, being shown to the seat, introduction of the IFS, presentation with amenities, drinks and meal orders etc, but what is done with that short minute of interaction makes a world of a difference.

We ambled towards the plane with our hands full with the carry-ons, pram and daughter, and the moment the LS caught sight of us on the aerobridge she rushed forward to help relieve us of our burden. The introduction by the IFS did not feel at all like a perfunctory exercise, but it was a short but enjoyable conversation which really made my wife and I feel welcome on board (yes, even at 1230am!)

We settled in pretty quickly with our glass of DP, and I couldn’t help but overhear the interaction between the passenger behind us and the CS. To cut a long story short, the passenger went down the drinks list and was extremely persistent in finding out from the crew precisely how many bottles of each wine (especially the DP and Krug) the plane was carrying for the flight. Naturally, the CS was not too keen to reveal this sensitive piece of information. He was trying his utmost best with all sort of tactics (very much like negotiating with a toddler actually; stalling, distraction, change of subject, feigning ignorance etc.), all while maintaining an air of professionalism and politeness you’d expect from an SQ crew. I could almost feel him reaching into the recesses of his brain to his training session on ‘Dealing with the Difficult Passenger’ back in crew school for more tricks to use. It was super entertaining and my wife and I were exchanging raised eyebrows and stifling giggles throughout. After about 5 minutes, this passenger was still at it, and I was getting interested too. Yeah, how many bottles of that Pichon Lalande could I knock back tonight if I really wanted to anyway?

I’ll spare you the suspense I endured, but in the end the poor CS cracked. He only revealed the number of bottles of champagne though, which was 2 bottles of Krug and 4 bottles of DP ’06 for that evening. This is just pure speculation, but I don’t think this means SQ routinely stocks less Krug than DP on their flights (off the shelf, Krug is more expensive by about $20-30). Anecdotally I’ve been told that passengers tend to prefer Krug, and perhaps it was just that more of it was consumed on the SIN MEL leg. Anyhow, thankfully the passenger did not give any further trouble, and there was no evidence that he was inappropriately inebriated at the end of the flight.

IFE controls on the door panel
Power socket and USB ports on the side of the table
Bose noise cancelling earphones and Menu for the evening

The seat and paraphernalia is, well, the same seat as previously reviewed. Although this already features the refreshed version of the original Suites, there was already evidence that this upcoming revamp is much needed.

Laminate peeling off

The laminate on the side table was peeling off for some of the seats, and I wondered for a brief moment whether I would get into any trouble if I… Accelerated the peeling process. I restrained my inner child though, and got ready for a quick dinner after take off.

We had the double-bed made almost immediately after take off for my daughter to resume her sleep, and so my dinner table was set up in the adjacent empty Suite. I had placed a BTC order for the Cantonese Roast Duck with Veges and Steamed Rice for this flight, and again, being a red-eye, this was quickly served with neither fuss nor fanfare.

Cantonese Roast Duck with Vegetables and Steamed Rice

I guess I was just being naive to expect that the roast duck skin will be anywhere near as crispy as on land. The food needs to be reheated in the plane after all. I would say this was more braised rather than roast duck. Otherwise, the rest of the dish checks out as edible, but really nothing to shout about. The veges were surprisingly well done though; steamed just right till soft, but not too mushy. All the same, I’m thinking I should really just stick to Lobster Thermidor next time…

Again, the menu is truncated for the sleeper service. I stayed up awhile to watch some sitcoms, and made some small talk with the crew. Again, this is where I really felt the difference, in terms of their warmth and genuineness. It definitely does help that only 2 passengers were still up by this time, but nonetheless, I was very impressed. I quickly got tired though and returned to my ‘bedroom’ where my wife and daughter were already K.O.

We managed to sleep in a little longer on this flight, and woke up refreshed the next morning. Any lingering sleep debt was quickly erased with a cup of Blue Mountain. Thankfully my daughter was still blissfully asleep, and well, you know what young parents do nowadays; snap multiple photos of everything!

Suite dreams are made of this

So with that, First Class for the Family has come to an end. A combination of the Krisflyer devaluation earlier this year, the new Suites product very likely limiting award availability, and my daughter no longer being eligible for infant fares makes an encore of this trip highly unlikely for me.

2017 hasn’t been a particularly good year for miles and points hobbyists, with devaluations seen on several programs and quite a few popular local credit cards being nerfed. But here at Milelion we are committed to helping everyone travelling better for less, and you can be sure that we will continue to sniff out the best deals and strategies to make trips like this possible for everyone.

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1 Comment on "First Class for the Family: Singapore Airlines A380 Suites MEL-SIN"

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Only 1.2 bottles of champagne per passenger? Tsk tsk, standards must be slipping.

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