The Long Way to New York: Trip Planning
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge, Singapore
Singapore Airlines A330 Business Class SIN-BKK
Thai Airways First Class Lounge & Spa, BKK
Thai Airways B747 First Class BKK-HND
Getting from HND to NRT
ANA First Class Lounge, NRT
ANA B77W First Class NRT-ORD
United Club ORD
United B767 Economy ORD-EWR
Visiting the US Open
Sheraton New York Times Square
Hilton New York Midtown
Wingtips Lounge JFK & Delta to DC
Exploring Washington DC
Element New York Times Square West
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, JFK
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites JFK-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge FRA
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites FRA-SIN
Does the world really need another Suites trip report? I thought as I left the Virgin Clubhouse and headed over the boarding gate. After all, flying Suites is on the bucket list of any travel blogger worth his or her salt, and a simple Google search will turn them up by the thousands. Heck, you can find more than a few on this site alone.
But it would bug me very much if my Long Way to New York trip report ended on an incomplete note. And so write I would.
Boarding was at Gate A7 and out the window I caught a glimpse of the whalejet that was going to take us back home to Singapore. It’s a right shame the economics of the A380 don’t make sense in the current climate, because this aircraft is a marvel of human engineering. I’m a starry eyed romantic but I’m under no illusions about the ultimate fate of the A380- unless Airbus gets a neo version out with better fuel burn, and unless Emirates keep buying them up like hotcakes, the A380 may within 20-30 years be consigned to the Nevada boneyards.
Until then, however, 9V-SKP was fulled up and ready for boarding.
When boarding was called,I bounded down the jetway so I could take photos of the cabin before it filled up (all but two seats were filled in Suites)
I was greeted at the door by the beaming inflight supervisor (but unlike my SIN-CDG flight, was not greeted by name. That’s understandable though, given that on SIN-CDG I was the only Chinese passenger in Suites and it was easy for them to do the math. This time there was a good mix of Singaporeans and Americans in the cabin), who checked my boarding pass, memorized the name instantly and said “This way Mr Wong”, leading me to seat 1F on the starboard side of the aircraft.
Apologies in advance for the tint of the photos, but this is a rather accurate representation of how the cabin looked. I assume the A380 has mood lighting and given that this was a nighttime departure they use the more soothing, gentler lights so as not to disrupt people’s sleep cycles. On the FRA-SIN leg report you’ll be able to see the cabin in its full, sundrenched glory.
Suite 1F awaited in all its leather-clad brilliance. Note the darker leather trim- this is the 2nd generation of Suites products that received a new upholstery. It’s a mid-cycle refresh and needed, given that Suites launched in 2007 and has seen a lot of mileage since then. A brand new Suites product is coming in 2017, but details are sparse. We do know there will be no showers though. I guess that limits my options of getting naked at 38,000 ft.
But more importantly, SQ’s new A380 configurations will have fewer Suites than before. This means that award availability will be harder to come by. Meaning that if you want to give Suites a try, no time like the present.
While I was in the midst of photographic bliss the cabin lead materialized at my side with the menu and a bottle of water.
And presented me with a variety of magazines. I continued my onboard pretentiousness where literature is concerned and selected The Economist and The New Yorker. It seemed appropriate to sip champagne and read The New Yorker while remarking in my head how good it was that they’d done away with Estate Taxes.
And yet, I felt that something was strangely missing. I had all the usual seat photos, but could I show people something new?
I glanced down the aisle to make sure no one was watching. Then stood on my ottoman to take this downwards shot. I was very proud of how discreet I was.
Naturally, the minute I stepped down I realised there was a cabin attendant next to me.
“Oh, just stretching my legs!” I said. Everyone needs to, you know.
I suppose she had seen stranger things done in the Suites cabin because she looked completely nonplussed. I am using the term in its North American usage, which is surprisingly the exact opposite of conventional usage.
She asked me if she could bring a drink before takeoff. I perused the menu
The list was as impressive as always. Champagne isn’t served on the ground at JFK because of customs restrictions, unfortunately, so draining the SQ wine cellar would have to wait until after takeoff. I just requested a glass of sparkling water.
From my photo taking antics she deduced that I would like a photo taken, and willingly obliged.
After she left I went around documenting the rest of the seat
Each seat has a universal (well, it doesn’t fit India plugs) power socket and 2 USB outlets for charging.
You can see from the IFE controller that the systems on this aircraft are the older iteration of the Krisflyer IFE.
The seat has an abundance of storage space for every little thing you need. There is no overhead storage, but that’s because it’s grossly unnecessary. The space under your seat, the personal cloak closet, the many many nooks and crannies to put and loose laptops, eyeglasses, dead bodies, you name it.
A Ferragamo amenities kit was brought (and for some reason the lighting in the cabin changed). SQ has very, very basic amenities in its kits, but you can supplement them with loot from the loo.
And so I did. SQ’s A380 loos, even in First Class, are barely distinguishable from those in coach. I really think it’s a missed opportunity and hope it’s something they’ll rectify on the new Suites.
The amenities drawers were well stocked with goodies.
They also had Tuscan Soul aftershave and fragrances in the loo. These are communal and not for individual consumption, so Hao Gong Ming told me to leave them behind.
After enhancing my amenities kit I tried to duck out of the way to take a photo of the bathroom, failing miserably.
I did, however, manage to perfectly photograph the sink, which is automatic.
And the door
Back to my seat and more goodies had arrived. All this, and we hadn’t even taken off.
I already had a few sets of SQ PJs so I kept this set sealed for a giveaway (see the bottom of this article)
They also gave me a blanket. This is a sitting blanket, not a sleeping blanket. Yes, there is a distinction. The sleeping blanket is a much smoother, silk lined duvet. The sitting blanket is perfectly alright, but I’d never swap one for the other.
SQ has upgraded their inflight headsets in First Class. They’re now using Bose QC25s instead of 15s. It’s like having Nimbus 2001s versus those lousy 2000s! I can’t wait for them to go with the 35s which are wireless. I think that would be a very big breakthrough.
The Captain came on the PA and in a very reassuring baritone told us that we would be taxiing imminently and experiencing some limited turbulence along the way.
Service items were cleared from the suite for takeoff. As the aircraft taxied, I examined the menu.
After takeoff my champagne was finally served (I opted for Dom, deciding to take Krug on the FRA-SIN route. Decisions, decisions) along with warmed nuts.
With this bounty before me I switched on Mr Robot. Oh Philip Price, when will you ever learn! The Dark Army cannot be trusted.
Before long the crew came over to set up the table. The JFK-FRA flight is not particularly long, taking just under 7 hours. For the crew to squeeze in a full dinner service + continental breakfast means that they need to get things done rather sharpish in order to give the passengers about 4-5 hours of sleep.
You’ll recall from my SIN-CDG flight that it was a redeye departure, so supper was served instead of a full dinner. In that case, caviar was used more as a garnish than the main dish. This flight was a dinner departure so we had the full caviar treatment along with condiments.
I have no idea how to eat caviar, but I imagine you put it in your mouth and chew. That seemed to work the first time so I continued doing it.
A lovely roasted San Marzano tomato soup was served along with garlic bread. I’ve found the standard of SQ’s garlic bread to differ widely depending on which station you fly from. Unfortunately this was one of the poorer ones- the bread was completely hard throughout and impossible to eat without breaking it into a million crumbly pieces.
The salad was a forgettable experience. I compressed the leaves together as best I could to make it appear like I ate it. They kept on re-expanding.
For the main course, I had already ordered from the book the cook menu
U.S. Grilled Prime Beef Fillet
Grilled U.S. Prime Choice beef with asparagus, baby spinach, roasted potato, and served with balsamic onion sauce. Designed by Singapore Airlines International Culinary Panel Chef Alfred Portale.
I have had very, very bad experiences with airline beef, but kept the faith in the belief that one day I would find the one. What a keeper this man is, ladies.
Alas my heart was broken again. The beef was dry, tasteless and tough as a boot.
“This is why I don’t love”, I told myself.
I requested the Thai seafood curry and rice be served instead, and it was much better. Even if all the seafood was clearly frozen and not fresh (you can tell by the texture of the shrimp)
The desert, “Gotham Black”, sounded gothic but I enjoyed it anyway.
The catering ex-JFK was good enough, all things considered. The beef was disappointing (but since when has airline beef ever not been disappointing. I challenge you to find an instance) but the Thai green curry seafood more than made up for it. The soup was great, the caviar was a proper serving and there was all the Dom I could handle. 4/5.
After I washed up I asked the crew to make the bed. I think that SQ’s Suites bed is the best in the business, bar none. I’m comparing this to the Lufthansa, ANA, Thai first beds, and none of them come close to the comfort afforded by the one in SQ Suites.
Yes, you do have a great deal of privacy when the Suite doors are closed.
When the seat is converted into bed mode, you have this convenient row of switches near your head.
But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Suites, although enclosed, are not completely private. The blinds have small holes at the top that people can look through, and anyone taller than 1.8m can probably see into the Suite.
I need to say again how ridiculously comfortable the bed is. It gave my bed at home a run for the money. I slept through all the way till landing in FRA, giving the forgettable continental breakfast a miss. There was also a limited snacks menu, but I decided to save that for the much longer FRA-SIN flight (stay tuned).
The service throughout was top notch. I didn’t really have much opportunities to interact with the crew apart from meal and turndown service, but the service was everything you’d expect in an SQ First Class cabin. Then again, my requests aren’t really anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps if I wanted a lullaby…
We landed in Frankfurt on schedule for our 2 hour layover, bright and early at around 930 in the morning.
And parked next to a Qatar Airways jet.
Singapore Airlines Suites remains an unmatched product in the sky. True, I’ve not tried Etihad’s Apartments (and likely never will, unless I suddenly decide to put truckloads of spend onto a Citibank Premiermiles card so I can transfer miles to Etihad Guest…) but SQ Suites is probably the most “accessible” uberlux product for Singapore based flyers. What that means is that if you really wanted to try the product and didn’t care what route you flew, you could conceivably try the experience for as little as 31,875 miles (SIN-HKG). Yes, 3h 45 mins is probably insufficient for the full experience, but if it’s just a bucket list thing to check off…
Protip: During the Songkran festival SQ uses an A380 to serve the SIN-BKK route. First Saver on this route would be 25,500 miles, which would get you a Suites experience just over 2 hours. Read more about that here, and if you can plan a trip to Bangkok next year around that time…
We alighted the aircraft and met a ground staff who walked us 100m to the Senator Lounge.
I’m always open to new ideas for trip reports that people want to read about! As much fun as it is to write about Suites, there are already so many similar reports out there that surely there’s some new ground to be broken.
So what kinds of trip reports do you want to read about? Take part on our Facebook page by end of day Friday (28th Oct)!
One winner will get an SQ First Class Ferragamo Amenities kit + a Sleeper Suit.