Lounge Trip Reports

Review: Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge Sydney Airport

The Sydney SilverKris lounge looks nice, but suffers from a disappointing choice of F&B items.
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The Sydney Suites Gambit: Trip Planning
Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge & TPR
Singapore Airlines A380 New Suites SIN-SYD
Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge SYD
Singapore Airlines A380 New Business Class SYD-SIN

I caught a cab from my AirBnB in Surrey Hills to the airport. The train would have cost $18, but I had a $15 off first ride Taxify code that reduced my fare to about the same amount. Gotta love competition for Uber, except until that competition gets a bit too successful

I was surprised that SYD was an absolute madhouse on a Sunday morning. The traffic leading up to the terminal driveway was backed up for more than a kilometer, and we traveled maybe 200m in the space of 10 minutes. It’s a good thing I’d budgeted a lot of time to make my flight, but I can imagine quite a few squeaky bums in those cars.

It wasn’t much better inside the terminal. Check-in rows A to J were chock a block full, and row K where Singapore Airlines is located (all the way at the end of the terminal, in case you’re visiting in the future) was a relative sea of tranquility.

SYD Terminal 1

Four orderly queues are indicated at the check-in desk. I wonder if they bring out a separate standee for First Class when the outgoing aircraft is not an A380? Also, where’s the premium economy class queue?

Check-in lines at SYD

At check-in I was presented with my blue boarding pass (this is random but I really love the shade of blue that SQ uses for its business class boarding passes)…

SQ232 boarding pass to SIN

…and more importantly, a Fast Track pass. Australia has a special line for APEC cardholders but my new pass is still being processed so in the meantime I’m a commoner like everyone else. The lines at security and immigration were insane, and having the Fast Track pass (anyone with Star Gold would get one, even if in economy) was a lifesaver.

Fast track pass
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At long last I exited into the promised land known as “duty free shopping”. I was really surprised by how hectic the whole check-in process was at SYD. It could just be the day I visited but I’d advise you not to underestimate it the next time you’re there.

Departure area, post security

It is a very long hike to the SilverKris lounge after security, so plan your time accordingly. Singapore Airlines flights depart from the far side of the terminal, and today we were at Gate 61. I walk very fast and it took me about 10-12 minutes to get there.

Second floor, SYD departure area

You need to take an escalator up one floor, but finally you’re there.

SilverKris lounge entrance

The Sydney SilverKris lounge was the first ever lounge to receive the new SQ “home away from home” design in December 2013. It’s funny because in this issue of SilverKris magazine, the author writes that the Singapore lounges would be seeing the revamp in 2014. Here we are in 2018 and there’s still no word of when this concept will come to Singapore. For what it’s worth, I love this new concept. I think it’s visually stunning, and given that the Singapore lounges (T2 especially) urgently need an upgrade, this can’t happen soon enough.

My boarding pass was quickly scanned and I was admitted into the business class section of the lounge (there’s also a first class one, but for all intents and purposes it’s the same just with a sit down menu). There’s a small alcove next to the entrance with some trinkets from home, including (spot it if you can) a copy of Lee Kuan Yew’s From Third World to First.

SYD SilverKris design

This area forms part of the overflow seating, and wasn’t in use when I visited. Remember that the SilverKris lounge (together with the Air NZ lounge next door) is meant to accommodate all Star Gold, Business and First Class passengers. I saw a few passengers with Air NZ business class passes being directed to the Air NZ lounge (although if they knew their entitlement they could well have demanded access to the Silver Kris lounge. FWIW, the Air NZ lounge was more spacious but had very limited F&B).

SYD SilverKris lounge seating

There was even a dedicated drinks counter in this corner, for those who ventured there.

Overflow area drinks counter

The business class lounge was about half full when I arrived just after 10am. Morning seems to be a peak departure time for Star Alliance flights, and during my time in the lounge I heard boarding calls for Thai, United, Asiana and Air Canada flights as well.

SYD SilverKris lounge business class seating
SYD SilverKris lounge business class seating
SYD SilverKris lounge business class seating
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Most of the seating is lounge chairs with side tables, but there was a sort of separate area with proper dining tables too.

SYD SilverKris lounge business class seating

 

The much vaunted productivity pods, that are meant to evoke comparisons with SQ’s business class seat, make an appearance. These are great semi-private spaces with power outlets and USB charging (although those ports are available throughout the lounge).

SYD SilverKris lounge business class productivity pod

The lounge overlooks the tarmac, where I could see a whole host of Star Alliance jets.

View from lounge
Unmarked plane and 9V-SKU in background

Including this strange unmarked jet. You can see the A380 that operates SQ232 at a remote stand in the background, next to a TG744. This A380 is called 9V-SKU and arrives in SYD as SQ221  at around 7.30am. It then sits idle until it departs at 12 noon as SQ232, so it doesn’t make sense for the plane to take up an aerobridge.

Given how seriously the Aussies take their food, I have to say the selection in the SilverKris lounge was disappointing.

Buffet selection, business class SKL
Buffet selection, business class SKL

There was a salad bar with a few options including something called “caviar dip” which, sadly, did not contain real caviar.

Buffet selection, business class SKL
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A toaster section with some limited and uninspired bread choices.

Buffet selection, business class SKL

And a coffee machine, which in Australia is a form of blasphemy (pop by next door to the Air NZ lounge where there’s a barista to make coffee for you).

Buffet selection, business class SKL

The hot food selection is really a mish mash of everything. I had a bowl of chicken congee, and assembled a plate of soggy hash browns, chicken sausage, steamed mushrooms and tomatoes, a quiche of some sort and some arugula leaves just for color. Nothing tasted particularly good, and I was surprised there were no eggs in sight. Everything tasted bland and unappetizing.

Hot buffet selection

Although it was only late morning, the alcohol selection was already out in full force. Reading other reviews online lead me to believe the alcohol is available around the clock.

SYD SilverKris lounge alcohol selection
SYD SilverKris lounge alcohol selection
SYD SilverKris lounge alcohol selection

The champagne on offer was Aubert Et Fils that retails at about A$25 at online wine stores. It was perfectly drinkable, but not worth burning through your alcohol allowance when the much more expensive Charles Heidsieck awaits onboard. 

Business class lounge champagne

I understand that the First Class lounge serves Veuve Clicquot, which although better is still decidedly a “business class champagne”.  Given the high quality of food you can get in the public areas outside the lounge, I’d say the catering in the SilverKris lounge leaves a lot to be desired (in all fairness the selection in the Air NZ lounge was even worse).

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There are two shower rooms in the business class lounge, both with attached toilets.

Shower room, SYD SKL lounge
Shower room, SYD SKL lounge

Conclusion

Although I quite like the decor, the poor catering in the business class section of the SKL is a disappointment. It’s definitely not the type of lounge that you come to the airport early for.

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michael_ams020
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michael_ams020

Thanks for your report. I agree with your observations, although earlier this month when I flew this sector, on the 9am SQ221, the check-in for F and J was a breeze, with a line of about 30 pax for Y. My biggest gripe with this lounge: the wifi! It was so extremely slow and kept disconnecting. Same situation as a year earlier. I mentioned this to the lounge management who encouraged me to send a complaint to SQ which I have done. Received a fast reply that they would look into it but never heard back after that. Food offerings… Read more »

Aaron Wong
Admin
Aaron Wong

Yeah, the food was bland and not at all appetising. Would be a shame if this is the first impression aussies get of sq

Alex
Guest
Alex

The unmarked jet is a Hi Fly A340 operating wet lease for Air NZ, while their 787-9s are being cycled out of service for the RR engine replacement.

Aaron Wong
Admin
Aaron Wong

Interesting! From a fuel efficiency pov it must be quite a hit to replace a dreamliner with an a340…