Anurax manages a local IT consultancy and software house. His love is technology and how it can be implemented to improve lives from a social-ethical-productive perspective. Flying has always been his passion, and the view of the world at 35,000 feet has always been magical.
Singapore Airlines A380 New Business Class SIN-SYD
Air New Zealand B777-200 Business Class SYD-AKL
HiFly A340-300 Business Class (ex-Emirates First Class) AKL-SYD
Singapore Airlines A380 New Suites SYD-SIN
Virgin Atlantic A330-300 Upper Class LHR-IAD
SQ 232 SYD – SIN
Flight Time: 8hrs
Cabin Class: F
This is probably the best leg of this trip and one of my best flights.
The new 2017 Singapore Airlines Suites that offers not only the best in comfort and privacy, but are also excellent on-board dining and pampering. I really wanted this flight as it had a mid-day departure so one can enjoy the full Suite experience compared to a sleeper service. I wanted to stay awake so I can sleep better for my flight from SIN to LHR.
On the Ground
I decided not to through-check my luggage to London as I wanted the full experience from the ground, having 4 hours to wait.
Upon arrival, I picked up my bags from the carousel and headed to the Sydney departure area to check in. Singapore Airlines (SQ) has dedicated check-in counters for Suites, Business and Premium Economy class passengers. With the low number of Suite Class passengers, the process was smooth and easy. SQ also provides FastTrack security clearance and you are given a pass, instead of access being printed on your boarding pass.
After clearing immigration, I headed to the SilverKris First Class lounge, which is on the Star Alliance side of the terminal. It was about a 10 minute walk (there was no free buggy like Heathrow) near Gate 60. The entrance to the Business Class is on the left when you enter, and the First Class entrance is a hidden door on the right, which the staff will open for you upon presenting your boarding pass.
The First Class lounge is no Private Room but I really like it a lot. It is very cozy with a separate dining area and a lounging area with good views of the tarmac. The furnishing is based on the “new home away from home” team which tends towards classic contemporary, unlike Virgin or Air New Zealand’s modern chic look and style. There is a buffet dining area with generally the same offerings as the Business Class. However there is also a la carte dining which offered pretty good food.
Star Alliance flights depart from gate 56 to 62 , which is a stone’s throw from the lounge. Priority boarding is available for Suites, Business and Premium Economy passengers (in that order) followed by Economy passengers based on the seat rows.
The new design and lighting is gorgeous. The purser and flight attendants approached me and greeted me by name (even before seeing my boarding pass!). The purser was very warm and friendly. As he was not familiar with the new product yet, he got his team to introduce the cabin to me.
The flight attendants who came up to me were very friendly and started to introduce the seat and suite to me. However, I replied that I wanted to explore on my own. The cabin crew also highlighted that the lavatory is a must-visit.
In the Cabin and Seat
The new cabin comes with LED lighting which provides a nice calm environment and feel. The new Suites are definitely a major revolutionary design over the previous Suites. It is modern and contemporary, unlike the predecessor being more classic.
I found the table next to the door a bit narrow to be really practical. The door fully closes with slight gaps (for the cabin crew to monitor). One issue that most people comment on is the position of the seats whereby you see your neighbour across the aisle when the door is open during take-off, landings and meal times.
The Suite comes with a seat and a separate bed (that is folded into the wall during take-off and landing. The seat is like a director’s office chair – nice and comfy but not good to sleep on (from a first class perspective).
The window shades are controlled digitally and have various settings besides up and down.
Plenty of storage space for your purchases – This is at the bottom corner beneath the main table.
The new lavatory is amazing, next to a shower (which I think is excessive) nothing beats this. It is huge for an airplane and I could actually stay inside for the entire flight. There is plenty of space to manoeuvre and changing to the pajamas is so easy unlike the previous where it was a bit of a squeeze. There is even a separate powder table! This is one area I’m really impressed as SQ has never been so generous with the lavatory. In Suites, there are 2 lavatories at the front of the cabin, the other one is about half the size of this without the powder area but it was just as good.
The new Suites come with a 32” screen which makes it feel like you are watching your TV at home. It is also fully retractable, which means you can pull it out to adjust to various angles. I found watching TV on the seat not too comfortable. Perhaps I just couldn’t find the right angle, but watching it lying on the bed was really awesome.
The Suite comes with a detachable tablet that allows you to control just about everything except the seat and bed (ahem SQ).
At the arm-rest of the seat comes the seat control and another controller for the entertainment system.
Another set of controls for lights and TV positioning on the main table
The new Suites also allows you to customize the lighting of your Suite. A bit too complex and really not sure it’s worth the hassle just for one flight. A nice feature though.
As this was a day flight and I had many more hours of flying coming up, I decided on an hour of power nap. Many folks have commented that the bedding is on the firm side but I think it is just nice (I like firm/hard bedding). The headrest is adjustable so I actually kept the bed slightly lifted up to watch movies. I do find the new Suite bedding better than the previous bed.
For this flight, I did a Book the Cook for the Lobster Thermidor. For starters, there was the Caviar, followed by the soup and then the mains. There was also dessert and fruit which I declined as I was too full. Having flown the Kangaroo route many times, the food out of Sydney is generally very good and this was no exception.
As I had a continuing journey on Singapore Airlines, my Suite Class boarding pass permitted me to use the Private room even though I was flying in Business Class to London. The catch is that the departing flight must be on the same day as the Suite class. How wonderful! I managed to grab a good meal before 9 hours of sleep on the plane.
In-Flight Service and Conclusion
The service on this flight was excellent. The purser came to greet and all the flight attendants were attentive and helpful. As this was a new product, the entire crew really tried their best to promote it and demonstrate the features.
I have to be honest, this is my favourite Singapore Airlines Premium product. Overall, the technology is great and the design is very good. The new seat is really good and I like the new bed a lot. In terms of space and privacy, this is much better than the previous Suites.