FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - The Singapore Four - SQ new J, A380 J, 77W F, 380 Suites + Fairmont Singapore Suite
Old Nov 15, 15, 5:38 am
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: London, UK
Programs: Ronin - churn and burn
Posts: 696
Part 1: LHR-SIN SQ J 77WN

Part 1: LHR-SIN SQ J 77WN

Usually when embarking on long haul trips in premium cabins, on a new carrier, I have weeks of anticipatory buildup.

In this instance though I had barely enough time to gather my thoughts after the previous week's RTW.

Still, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited to try SQ for the first time. SQ is a carrier whose name has long been synonymous with excellence and I was very eager to see if the airline could deliver.

Moreover, there still haven't been a huge number of TRs on the new J product - featured on the latest delivery of Boeing 777-300ERs (better known as the 77WN). When you see a TR with a limited number of photos it is almost like a teaser, a trailer, it builds curiosity within you.

I went to the airport straight from the office, nothing unusual there, I always do my best to maximise holidays with night flights. However, given that this trip was only going to last 5 days, I packed a single carry on for a long-haul to Asia.

I love the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow. The scuplture that greets you at the entrance is absolutely phenomenal. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you're going to commission artwork for a new airport terminal this is a fundamentally superior way to spend the money than the Qatari bear.

I'm not going to lie; as I strode up to the J class check in with my bizarre itinerary, issued on El Salvadoran ticket stock by an airmiles program based in Colombia, with the intent of flying to China on a Singaporean airline - with nothing but hand luggage, I felt supremely badass.

At this point in time there was no SQ lounge and I had already tried the LH, AC, UA and Plaza options in the past. I already knew which lounge was best and headed straight there - Plaza Premium. It was a bit of a relief knowing that I could actually lounge in the lounge as opposed to rushing through for some action paced gorging and photographing

The Lounge entrance

The bar area - where I generally choose to sit

The main seating area

DIY Thai Noodle soup

The carb counter

The ubiquitous orange Indian goo, a feature of all LHR T2 lounges

G&T, poppadoms and a DIY Thai Chili noodle soup - it doesn't take much more than this to make me happy!

The Plaza lounge has a very comfortable atmosphere. If you want noise and action you can have it. If you want quiet you can have that too. There is a very large variety of food and drink, including plenty of snack items and bottles/ cans that can be taken on board with you. Power sockets are plentiful, the showers are powerful and everything is clean and very tastefully designed.

If I was designing a third party lounge, I don't think I'd be able to come up with a huge number of improvements.

Singapore Airlines SQ319
London Heathrow (LHR) - Singapore Changi (SIN)
Duration: 12hrs
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER (New Fleet)
Seat: 11A (Business Class)

The gate areas at LHR T2 are highly organised, with different turnstiles for different classes of service and status

There was a slight 20 minute delay to our flight (as usual Google updated me about this long before the gate agents had a clue) but soon enough, the efficient boarding process had us all onboard.

I was lucky enough to secure seat 11A which is in the front row of business class, in a 2 row mini cabin of 8 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, exactly like F.

Pre-suites SQ had trouble in differentiating its premium cabins, with the latest product on the 77WN the "problem" returns. Which is why you can understand their drive to eliminate F entirely on the A350.

On first inspection the seat looked better than any other J product I'd ever seen

The indentation behind my bag shows where the foot cubby is on the regular, non-bulkhead, seats. The extra leg-space in this row is remarkable.

A decent sized cubby hole which can easily fit a macbook or small bag. Also a reading light, power, HDMI, S-video and USB ports.

I like having these simple and easy to use seat controls, without having to use the IFE or some extraneous remote

3 extra lights mounted on the right of the seat

The main storage cubby, located under the IFE control

Acres of space to stretch out, or use your laptop whilst in bed

My first impression of the cabin?
I was utterly blown away.

The space is much more private and welcoming than BA F on the 744 a few days earlier. The layout was actually more similar to JL F and in some ways, such as the location of power sockets and storage, I prefer SQ J. The sleekness of the design definitely trumps JL's spartan and utilitarian F offering.

I was immediately offered food and drink menus and asked for my choice of PDB, as well as having my jacket taken. This is a far cry from a number of other airlines I've flown in J where you get either water or juice, picked from a large tray as your PDB.

SQ's J drinks menu is absolutely out of control. Talisker 10? The Isle of Skye's nectar is a finer drop than most carriers load in F. Also quite an extensive cocktail list given that BA's crew have been known to struggle when asked for the one single cocktail they offer in J

I opted for a glass of the Taittinger, I was hoping this flight would have some Bolly loaded but you can't have it all I guess! The champagne was brought to me individually and poured at my seat.

I really like this glassware

There's nothing like the feeling of taking your first sip of a PDB just before a longhaul flight

One way in which SQ does differentiate J from F is that they don't hand out pyjamas or amenity kits for J passengers. I was still given a few bits and pieces though.

A sleeping mask and some wonderfully bizarre slipper socks

The meal service began promptly after we levelled off. I was offered a top up of my champagne and an "amuse bouche".

The chicken satay was unbelievably good. The chargrilled flavour really shone through with thin strands of aromatic lemongrass visibly ingrained onto the surface of the meat.

The menu for this evening's flight

Waiting for the table to be set for the meal. The table's height can be adjusted to allow eating in a variety of lounging/ bed positions. It is also very easy to swing the table to one side during the meal service, should you need to use the restroom. This shot also gives you an idea of just how private this 2 row mini-cabin is.

The mushroom salad was delicious, with a very generous amount of protein. Leagues ahead of F salads on BA and AA

A playful piece of design for the nesting S&P

Having heard how good some of the options can be and more importantly not wanting anything too heavy after a week of non-stop eating (and more sure to come in the days ahead) I pre ordered Lobster Thermidor from SQ's Book the Cook program.

Whilst she was setting my table the FA asked if I'd ordered Lobster ex-LHR before. I told her that I hadn't and that this was in fact my first ever flight on SQ.

She was very excited to hear that this was my first SQ flight and made conversation about other airlines, asking me how I thought SQ compared. I told her that I was loving it so far and this really seemed to make her day.

In any case she told me that I had chosen very well. In fact all the FAs had gathered in the galley to admire my lobster before serving it, due to its high degree of magnificence.

I was fairly sure that there was a degree of hyperbole at play but smiled and went along with it, rubbing my hands in excitement.

Then she placed this armoured behemoth of the seas in front of me...

Thankfully SQ didn't cut corners on the engineering of their tray tables. That thing could have tipped over Fred Flinstone's car with ease.

The flavour was sweet and rich and the meat was enormously plentiful, the claw meat had clearly been added back into the chopped tail to add to the indulgence.

The vegetables were also perfectly cooked and still slightly crunchy. The entire dish was leagues ahead of the rubbery lobster and frozen peas and tomato that you're served when you pre-order the lobster thermidor on TG F.

Once I'd finished, the FA came over to ask if the lobster was as good as it looked.

"Better," I said.
"I'm so glad to hear it. I hope you left some room for dessert."
"Oh I'm not sure I'm really full."
"Why don't I just bring one over and you can try it, I promise you don't have to finish it!"
"OK you've convinced me" (yeah I know, I'm weak)

Hazelnut semifreddo with a rich chocolate center, covered in hazelnut praline and crushed meringue... it turns out I did finish it. I finished the hell out of it.

I was hoping to get some sleep so opted for some TWG chamomile at the end of the meal

I love the small detail of the dish to put the teabag in. You also won't hear me object to being given Charbonnel et Waker truffles

The meal service as a whole was truly spectacular. It was not of the calibre of NH F but short of that, it was one of the best meals I've ever had in the air.

The service was a perfect mix of professional and friendly.
Every dish was spectacular in its execution.
The table and glassware was of a high quality.
Refills were proactively and frequently offered.

Would I have preferred Krug to Taittinger? Yes. Is Krug a fundamental pre-requisite of a decent meal? No.

After the meal I spent some time watching a movie whilst in bed mode.

Noise cancelling headphones

Rocking the slipper booties with my TG PJs.

Night time cabin shot

During the night time portion of the flight I got a couple of refills on my tea. It seems that on SQ it is vey easy to get trapped in a vicious cycle. Each time I went to the bathroom, as I walked back to my seat, Fiona the delightful second shift FA would ask if there was anything she could get me.

Much like the dessert conversation I'd had with her colleague during the meal. It was very hard to resist. She would always make it seem like a fantastic idea to drink more tea, maybe have a biscuit, or some chocolate, perhaps some whisky to help me sleep etc.

So that is my one complaint about SQ. The FAs are so unbelievably nice and eager to ensure you have a good time, that you end up eating and drinking more than you intended to

Resistance is futile.

Nonetheless I was able to get a good 6 hours of sleep and woke up at that special moment when most other people are still sleeping.

I really enjoy being up before everyone else on a longhaul flight. The atmosphere is very tranquil, you can hear some light clinking of trays as breakfast preparations are made but FAs have generally not had anyone new to speak to for a while and will happily make you a coffee and chat for a while. If you're really lucky you'll get a chance to experience an airborne sunrise, although on this flight I'd missed the opportunity by a good few hours. North/ South flights are the best for that.

Not wanting to bother the FAs with endless coffee requests during the breakfast service, I had a couple of fantastic double espressos in advance of the morning meal.

Next time I have a lunch flight on SQ I'm ordering a Cafe Royale! (or carajillo as we call it in Spain)

Waking up to views like this never gets old.

The IFE on the 77WN is ultra slick and responsive. A particularly cool feature is the moving map on the remote.

Seeing as there were a few options available I also opted to BTC for the main course of the breakfast. The other options looked decent though.

The breakfast service began with a wonderful mango smoothie

A proper table setting for breakfast. I love the individual pots of marmalade. The filter coffee was actually pretty good and the fruit was very fresh and firm

Fancy yogurt

My main course of Pad Thai was excellent. A very generous portion size with separate trays of chilli and chopped peanuts as well as the separate wedge of lime

Breakfast was great. Far too often it is treated as an afterthought by other carriers, not only in J but even in F. SQ has gone for premium ingredients, espresso based coffees and multiple courses, with the option to pre-order numerous main courses. The only carrier that comes close in J is BR.

All too soon the familiar sight of hundreds of shipping tankers came into focus; we were approaching Singapore.

This was something of a bittersweet moment. I genuinely did not want the flight to end. The service was just so unbelievably next level, I could have stayed in that cabin for a week without losing interest.

On the other hand, I couldn't help thinking, 'If J is this good, how unbelievably ridiculous will F be?'


Last edited by Jermyn; Jan 25, 16 at 2:41 pm
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