FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - The Singapore Four - SQ new J, A380 J, 77W F, 380 Suites + Fairmont Singapore Suite
Old Nov 15, 15, 5:39 am
  #4  
Jermyn
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: London, UK
Programs: Ronin - churn and burn
Posts: 696
Part 3: SIN-PVG SQ Suites 388 (The Private Room Breakfast)

Part 3: SIN-PVG SQ Suites A380 (The Private Room Breakfast)


Despite travelling once around the World, trying 3 new carriers' F cabins the week before, there was one product I was looking forward to far more. A driving impetus that was keeping my body going after 25,000 miles and 32 time zone crossings.

This was it, after months of planning - the day had finally arrived!

I pretty much wanted to tell everybody I came into contact with that I was going to be flying Suites, strongly fighting the urge to just shout "suites" at old ladies as they crossed the road etc.

Somehow though, I'd managed to hold it all together.

My reward? The overwhelming feeling of joy, as my Uber pulled up to the special F area of Singapore Changi Airport's Terminal 3.


The highly unnecessary waiting area at First Class check-in - Singapore Changi. I can't imagine this facility ever being so full that the space is required.




With an abundance of golden white marble and sleek leather chairs, this even beats the TG F check-in at BKK. It also benefits from being entirely walled off from the rest of the terminal, rather than just being behind a tall partition.

The check-in agent was very efficient and friendly. She asked me if this was my first time flying suites. I told her that indeed it was as well as it being my second ever time on SQ. She told me that I was sure to love the experience and made sure to let me know that I had a access to a special lounge for F pax only. I smiled, acting like I hadn't researched all of this to a ridiculous degree beforehand.


An eerily quiet airport in the early hours of the morning
/

Even if the airport is quiet, it is totally awesome to have your own dedicated immigration and security channel, away from the masses
/

The SilverKris Lounge, accessible to those in business class and a mere gateway to those of us fortunate enough to be flying in F


I've got a golden ticket


Upon showing this ticket to the lounge dragons I was personally escorted through the J lounge; past another dragon that was guarding the F lounge; through the F lounge and past the final gatekeeper, who checked me in to The Private Room.

She passed me across to one of the very professional lounge attendants. He gave me a quick tour of the facilities and asked if he could get me something to drink.


I really dig the slightly old-school departure board behind this desk (and of course the giant Rolex clock above it). Being in TPR transports you back to a bygone era of locomotive luxury and this initial space sets the tone perfectly.


The main seating area. Very elegantly furnished with plenty of personal space for each passenger.


Much like the rest of the airport, The Private Room was free from people for at least an hour or so. I'm sure I'm not the only one out there who has gotten up extra early to enjoy a lounge



I asked the lounge attendant for a double macchiato and a breakfast menu, taking a seat in the dining area.

The dining room. This picture really illustrates one of the best features of the lounge, the high ceilings. This and a decent view are two must haves for a top class lounge, in my opinion. These features go some way to removing you from the feeling of being in a regular terminal building.


Can you spot the only other guest in TPR?


The breakfast menu


First things first: let's begin with an expertly prepared double macchiato


I love SQ's branding with the various different coloured stripes at the top of the boarding pass. It reminds me of collecting football stickers as a kid. If this was a football sticker, it would definitely be a 1995 foil Eric Cantona


The dim sum was passable but by no means great. The skins were quite thick and stuck to the chopsticks in a way that the best dim sum never does


I couldn't fault the Dom though


After my leisurely breakfast, which involved a repeat of my first two drinks orders, I made my way over to the gate area.

I love the A380. I know a lot of people trash-talk the shape of it. As a pure exercise in human achievement though, it is awesome. The fact that entire towns in France have to be shut down to transport the pieces to Toulouse is ridiculous. The largest and most comfortable passenger plane ever built. A bastion of human endeavour and international co-operation. I love the A380.




Singapore Airlines SQ830
Singapore Changi (SIN) - Shanghai Pudong (PVG)
Duration: 4h
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 3A (First Class)
Load: 7/12


I'm the opposite of a gate louse - this comes with its advantages at SIN. It is a good tactic to turn up late, when the gate agents are in a rush to get the plane away on time and the lines are empty at the gate security scanners


Walking along the jetway I was positively giddy with excitement.

I'm pretty sure I was warmly greeted by a full contingent of cabin crew but was unable to completely register this because I was so utterly mesmerised by the cabin. I was coming at this from the perspective of someone who had only flown TG and QF A380s before.

Both of those are nice. However, SQ is in another league.

Looking through the cabin, you can't help but feel that you're on an old Pullman carriage about to embark on a multi-day journey through the rolling European countryside


What an amazing detail: the carpet is a different colour inside the suites than in the aisles. This really helps to add to the idea that the suite is your own private space, away from the public areas of the plane


I think the rich chocolate leather is a big improvement over the beige/orange of the first generation suites


An insanely plump pillow. SQ always seems to nail these little details


Row 3 has to be the best on the SQ A380. It has 3 perfectly aligned windows and is neither close to a galley, nor can it be looked into by people using the stairs


Krug. At this stage I was grinning like an idiot and photographing everything in sight. To be honest, I think I needed the Krug just to calm me down


I could just about reach the ottoman without engaging the seat controls to bering me closer


Keeping with the vintage luxury theme; these wood effect panels are pretty cool


More storage space


The industry standard for a decent pair of airline headphones (it still blows my mind that AA has these in J and is one of the reasons I'll always fly them over BA J when given the choice)


More storage space, including a cute little pull-out bin for paper, chewing gum etc. The IFE remote and seat controls are starting to show their age though, this is particularly apparent after having flown the 77WN the day before


Some very nicely stitched leather. The leather finishes throughout the suites are absolutely superlative


I never use the little vanity mirrors but it's nice to know they're provided for those that need them. At this stage I had pulled down the screens for privacy. As you can see though, these are by no means soundproof, the top and bottom are meshed and therefore not entirely opaque - quite different to OZ and EY F where there are solid walls


You can never have enough storage!


Taxiing


Taking off: I love that eerily quiet, electronic sound that the engines on the A380 make. It never ceases to amaze me how a beast of this size can take to the air so silently


Echoes of LHR T3 with the purple mood lighting. As you can see, my flight had quite a workable pax load: 7/12


Time to relax




SQ's PVG flights have a special menu. I decided to BTC on this journey with a view to trying the Chinese menu on the return flight


As SIN-PVG is only a short flight there is no full caviar service. Thankfully the satay wasn't chopped from the menu though!




SQ leading with the more famous brand. Spending time on FT you forget that most people have never heard of Krug. Dom, on the other hand, has a serious marketing presence.


Still, for me there is no substitute for the King of champagnes. Krug all the way.


Pichon Lalande, Fonterutoli and Corton Grancey. No effing around with this wine list then. CX would do well to take note.


Not so strong here, perfectly drinkable wines but these pale in comparison to what's on offer in NH, JL and QR's F cabins


Great tea selection. I really like how this is catered to the local market. Much like the TWG was on the LHR flight.


The same fantastic selection as SQ J plus the exciting addition of Jamaica Blue Mountain



After my initial exploration of the cabin and a couple of glasses of Krug, I was ready to start taking pictures from every possible angle!

Such a great amount of counter space even when the tray table is fully stowed. I'm a big fan of the deep steel cup holder as well


Behind my head you can see where the bed is stowed. The back of the seat folds forwards and the entire counter area folds into the ground to form the base. This means that you have a super comfortable bed without compromising on seat comfort. How do you get the best of both worlds? Put both worlds in the same suite!


This angle gives you a good idea of how see -through the mesh parts of the privacy screens are. If you're thinking of joining a certain club I'd recommend waiting until the cabin is dark


All that photographing was tough work. Thankfully I didn't have to wait too long until an FA came over to present me with the satay. This was exactly as good as the J satay, which is to say, it was excellent. Nonetheless, this is another instance in which F doesn't come over as being markedly superior to J on SQ


Krug and satay. Life is good.


What's that I spot in the corner of my eye?


My rat-like grin upon being presented with more Krug and having my table set



I'm not usually one for excess carbs. Garlic counts as a vegetable though right?


As far as 'western' tableware goes, I think SQ has the nicest I've seen on a plane. The Givenchy plates feel heavy and solid, the caviar detailing around the edges is a beautiful piece of design too


My first disappointment of the flight: this is all the caviar you get on the SIN-PVG route


Having said that, the flavour of this appetiser was pretty decent and I didn't get caviar on CX HND-HKG either (or on any BA F flight, no matter how long!)


The soup was absolutely phenomenal. I never order soups when I'm dining 'landside' but always feel that they perform well in the air. Clear soups in particular have always been great, every time I've had them on F class flights


SQ's chicken consomme with smoked chicken, truffle tortellini and vegetables is probably the best airborne soup I've ever had


The second disappointment of the flight. Almost identical to the domestic F salad I had on AA the week before. The plating could really use some work


I've no idea how I managed to capture this exact moment. I'm almost certain that the male FA wasn't 'pitching' whilst the female FA caught the plates. Then again I'd had a fair few glasses of Krug by this point, so I can't say for certain. Perhaps the FAs were self conscious about the quality of the salad and were throwing plates to make me forget about it


After much deliberation and investigation on the SQ BTC thread, I opted for the Curry Patta Lobster for this flight. Whilst it wasn't quite as nice as the ex-LHR J lobster thermidor, it was still very good


I really like how SQ goes all out, providing the lime pickle and poppadoms to accompany this dish




After a decent wait to let my food settle, I broke with tradition and opted for dessert as opposed to cheese. The FA offered me some Sauternes in that way that FAs sometimes do - I couldn't really say no... and was glad I accepted.




This whole thing disappeared in seconds


I was getting pretty sleepy at this point, given my early start and late night, the night before. Science has proven that drinking coffee before a nap leaves you more refreshed than either having a coffee or a nap alone.

There is no scientific rationale for the extra chocolate.

As we say in England though: in for a penny, in for a pound


After the meal I asked the FAs to make up my bed, whilst I went to investigate the spacious bathroom aboard the A380. I love how SQ, TG and CX decorate their F cabins with orchids


Although we weren't presented with amenity kits on this short hop, there were plenty of high-quality amenities available in the bathrooms


Ferragamo eau de toilette and moisturiser


Arriving back at my suite I was totally wowed by the transformation! All of a sudden my opulent dining car had given way to a peaceful sleeper carriage.

Two regular pillows and a cylindrical bolster pillow. This should be a bare minimum on all F flights!


The cabin is so well thought out. There are extra controls above your head once the bed is folded down as well as a new, more convenient, magazine rack


The back of the seat also turns into a brilliantly conceived bedside table


SQ had the entire Monty Python back-catalogue loaded, which made for some excellent pre-nap entertainment


Introducing: My photographer


I had half a mind to just stay up watching Monty Python but knew I'd regret it if I didn't at least get a little sleep before arriving in Shanghai for the weekend. A good way of tricking your body into sleeping, in the middle of the day, is to give it a 'night cap'


I slept very soundly for around an hour.

There are few feelings as intense and wondrous as the one you feel when you open the blinds after falling asleep in your bed, only to see these magnificent engines starkly imposed over a bright blue sky



Conclusion
I went into this flight with some pretty high expectations.

When I first flew in J a few years ago (TG in a cradle seat), I was totally blown away. My friend who had booked with TG miles told me that this was nothing, the best product was a private suite on Singapore Airlines.

Back in 2010 you couldn't book that for anything under 1m KF miles.

Still, from that moment I vowed to one day travel in that cabin, It didn't matter how, I was going to make it happen. The elusiveness and inaccessibility of SQ's flagship product are ultimately the factors that drove me into this 'game'.

***

The check-in and fast track experience are very slick. They set the tone very well indeed. In my opinion, the sooner and longer you are 'separated from the masses' the more an F experience shines.

TPR is very cleverly designed, the ever increasing levels of exclusivity help to build anticipation and excitement. This once again gives you a feeling of separation from the outside world. It really makes the airport experience seem effortless. SIN is a lovely airport but it is very busy, TPR is an oasis of calm.

All of that is completely secondary though.

The cabin itself is the star of the show. In this respect my expectations were truly exceeded. Photos just don't do it justice. Sure, Suites have been around since 2007 so the IFE is a little slow and there are a couple of small scratches on the surfaces. OVerall though the hard product is just spectacular.

I honestly spent a good 5 minutes just grinning and giggling when I first sat down.

It's not often that you capture the childlike feeling of waking up at christmas to find your presents. SQ achieves this. In spades.

The service was not as attentive as on my J flight but this may well be due to the fact that this was only a short hop.I was served by a number of different FAs, this made it hard to build rapport with any individual FA in particular.

Nonetheless, the service was polished, professional and very efficient. So not exactly something to complain about!

All told, this was one of the highlights of my time spent chasing points and miles; one of the moments where all of the hard work really paid off. Moreover it was also a great anticipation builder for the trip that K and I were due to take, flying long-haul Suites, 2 months later...


Last edited by Jermyn; Nov 28, 15 at 6:05 am
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