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
After a two hour stopover SQ 25 was ready to resume its journey from Frankfurt back to Singapore. The 2nd leg is in fact longer than the 1st, clocking in at about 11.5 hours (versus just under 7 for JFK-FRA), which also explains why you can get a saver Suites ticket for 57,375 miles from FRA-JFK but need to spend 91,375 miles to go from FRA-SIN.
Given that it’s 93,500 miles to go SIN-FRA-JFK, if you wanted to go to FRA it might even make sense to throw in $100 (on a one-way saver) to add a stopover in Frankfurt, after which it’s like having a bonus onwards ticket to New York. I’m sure some people can make that kind of itinerary work .
The load on FRA-SIN looked every bit as full as the load from JFK-FRA. There was the usual scrum at boarding but everything was don with German efficiency and before long I was heading down the jetway to meet a new crew for the 2nd leg.
The cabin shots from the JFK-FRA leg had a yellowish tint to them thanks to the cabin lighting (it was night time). No such issues this time- we had the full force of the morning sun blazing into the cabin.
I made my way back to 1F which was ready for its closeup.
Unlike on the JFK-FRA leg, this flight had the personalized little cards in each suite with the name of the person who prepared it. I love small touches like these.
And unlike the JFK-FRA leg, SQ is able to serve alcoholic drinks on the tarmac at FRA (can anyone familiar with customs laws tell me what determines whether or not an airline serves alcohol before takeoff? I imagine they get taxed for every bottle they open on the ground but surely there’s some rule that governs this?).
I finally figured out that I could make better menu shots simply by using the crop feature.
Krug was the drink of choice for FRA-SIN.
A second amenities kit and set of PJs were given to me, although I had already received one on the first leg.
I mentioned in passing to the crew that I was trying to collect the SQ Teddy bears and they gladly obliged by bringing over two.
I took an expansive approach to my seat, as this shot shows.
After takeoff the crew came around to take lunch orders.
As with all SQ lunch services, this one started with:
Singapore Chicken and Lamb Satay
With onion, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce
Satay is a mainstay of all SQ premium cabin meal services, but I’ve noticed the quality really differs depending on which station you fly from. These were fairly good, although I still think the best satay is catered out of Singapore.
Warm Crusted Scallop with Olive Cream and Pancetta
Served with tomato confit and celery
Caviar was available again and I’ll be honest, I was tempted. But I had photographed the caviar on the JFK-FRA leg and for the sake of photo variety I wanted to take a photo of something else. The sacrifices I make…
Tom Yum Gai Soup
Spicy Thai broth with chicken and lemon grass
Not usually a big fan of tom yum but it sounded better than the alternative (pumpkin soup with amaretto, pumpkin and balsamic vinegar). I quite enjoyed this version of it though. It was unfortunately toned down for western palates but still retained enough of heat you could sort of see what they were going for.
Salad of baby spinach, arugula, frisee, tomato and kalamata olive
With choice of Balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil dressing or sundried tomato dressing
I’ve never been a fan of airline salads and this didn’t do anything to change my mind.
There were several choices of mains but I had ordered lobster thermidor through book the cook.
Seared iberico pork loin with quince puree and jus
Served with savoy cabbage, sous-vide cold red apple wedges and artichoke
Pan grilled fillet of beef with rosemary jus
With buttered broccolini with pinenuts, roma tomato and green olive mash
Gaeng Phed Ped Yaang
Thai style red curry roasted duck, vegetables and steamed rice
Egg Noodles in soup
With seafood, Chinese greens and mushroom
I wish SQ had a lighter lobster option. Perhaps something grilled or steamed, or at least not smothered in cheese the way lobster thermidor is. Even an Asian take on lobster (lobster dumpings, chili crab style lobster…) would be great.
The lobster was fine, once I scraped off most of the cheese. I’m not a fan of saffron rice, so come to think of it I’m not sure why I ordered this. Good photos, though.
Amaretto Bonet with Almond Ice Cream
And apricot puree
Chocolate Bailey’s Cherry Gateau
With vanilla ice cream
I just opted for the vanilla ice cream and skipped the cake. It wasn’t good. It was more ice than ice cream. Which suggests the caterer was using a cheap brand with a low butterfat content. You know how when you have premium brand ice cream like Haagen Daz or (to a lesser extent) Ben and Jerry’s you can taste the rich creaminess of the milk? And when you have cheaper ice cream (think Marigold) you can taste ice crystals? This was much closer to the latter.
The dishes were cleared and the bed was made. It was too early to take a nap so I decided to browse some of the IFE
The highlights this month included Jungle Book, a film I dismissed with a meh when it was released in cinemas but warmed up to when I read the reviews.
I thought it was a great film. Idris Elba made a great Shere Khan, and I believe this was the first move to show Scarlett Johansson without makeup. I’m sure in the midst of all the capering there was some vague commentary on colonialism but that might just have been the 5th glass of Krug talking.
There are still a lot of questions coming through about just how private the Suite is and whether or not the blinds are see-through. I have no idea what people are anticipating doing within the confines of the Suite, but as a public service I will post this again-
You can see through the top bit of the blinds. I have to believe this is design rather than oversight.
Similarly, the bottom of the blinds also has the see through mesh. So let me take great pains to emphasize again- keep it PG in there.
I took a nap and awoke about 4 hours from Singapore.
I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this before but the A380 has to be one of the quietest aircraft cabins I’ve ever been in (perhaps second only to the 787). Perhaps it was because I was seated in the nose section, but it felt entirely different from the experience on a 777 or 330 (cabin noise is not always a bad thing though- I’d rather hear the drone of an aircraft engine than the snoring of my seatmate).
It was time for a snack.
SQ doesn’t have the best snacks menu, and it’s a right shame. Here’s their snack menu
- Egg noodles (prawns, vegetables, oriental chicken stock)
- Kway teow (chicken black mushroom, oriental chicken stock)
- Beehoon noodles (chinese greens, black mushroom and vegetable stock)
- Ciabatta with cheddar cheese and grilled marinated vegetables
- Wrap with smoked turkey, leafy salad and guacamole
- Warm focaccia sandwich with gammon ham and roasted vegetables
- Assorted nuts, chocolate bar, potato chips, butter cookies, cookies, fresh fruit, cheese
And for comparison, here’s what Etihad has to offer on a long haul flight in First Class
- The Etihad Steak Sandwich (rocket leaves, turkey rashers, red onion compote, melted cheese, mayonnaise and grain mustard)
- Beef fillet steak (chive omelette, king oyster mushroom and baked tomato)
- Selection of Asian snacks (radish cake, prawn wonton, shrimp shumai, tofu dim sum, tahi fish cake, gulian sauce)
- Made to order sandwiches
- Breakfast bakery basket
- Breakfast cereals
- Fresh organic eggs cooked to order
- Afternoon tea (scones, sweets, finger sandwiches)
- Fresh fruit, Ice Cream, Potato chips, Fresh baked cookies and madeleines, Swedish crisp breads, Baklava, Cheese
SQ’s offerings are basically sandwiches or noodles. And their noodles are variations on a theme- you get instant noodles or kway teow, and you get chicken stock, mushroom, prawn and vegetables in some permutation or other. Their sandwiches also aren’t freshly made like they are on Etihad.
I ended up going for the kway teow with chicken and prawn. If there’s one product flaw with Suites, it’s the inability to dine in bed mode (this is possible in the 77W First and Business class products). But because the bed was just so comfortable I asked the crew if it were possible to bring the portable table they have, which they gladly obliged.
The portable table, as you can see from the shot above, doesn’t have anywhere near the space of the main fold out one but it was more than sufficient for a plate of noodles. Hopefully the next generation of Suites will have a tray table that can be deployed in bed mode because nothing says luxury quite like breakfast in bed.
Speaking of which, breakfast service started about 2 hours before landing.
The meal started with a serving of fresh fruit
I skipped the corn flakes. I don’t know how people can tell me corn flakes are healthy. It’s probably because they’re so bland that people think “something that tastes this bland has to be healthy”. But do a bit of reading and you’ll learn about the rather interesting history of corn flakes…
For the mains there were choices of the following
Singapore style sliced pork and meatballs in rice porridge
Coconut flavored rice with sambal, omelette, marinated chicken and peanuts
Trilogy of seared beef fillet, lamb loin and veal sausage
With cafe de Paris butter, mesclun and potato cake
Prepared baked, scrambled or boiled with brie cheese, cherry tomatoes and mesclun. Choice of bacon or chicken sausage
Lunches and dinners are pretty luxurious in First Class, but can you really glam up breakfast? The most atas option was probably the “trilogy” of beef, lamb and veal and that was probably because of the name.
Congee was the preferred choice for me then. It was good enough, if not a bit of an underwhelming option for First Class.
I asked them to prepare a side of eggs for me which came out really nicely. I wonder how they prepare scrambled eggs in the galley.
Before long my 2nd (or 3rd, if you count this trip as two flights) suites experience was drawing to a close. I remember how excited I was when I first reviewed Suites. Although that first time excitement can never really be recaptured, it’s still an amazing product to fly and it’s probably the closest thing you can get to a private jet experience with miles (well, you can do this too but you’d be dumb).
I mentioned before that when SQ launches its updated Suites product (very likely to be in 2017) the size of the Suites cabin will also shrink. Shrink by how much exactly I do not know, but this means that award space will be much harder to get. For the moment it is still possible to book 2x Suite Savers at one go on certain routes, if you get lucky. So if the Suites experience is on your bucket list, no time like the present.