FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - The Singapore Four - SQ new J, A380 J, 77W F, 380 Suites + Fairmont Singapore Suite
Old Nov 15, 15, 5:40 am
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Jermyn
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: London, UK
Programs: Ronin - churn and burn
Posts: 696
Part 5: SIN-FRA SQ J 388 (The Private Room Dinner)

Part 5: SIN-FRA SQ J 388 (The Private Room Dinner)


The Private Room (Dinner Service) - Singapore Changi Airport

The return portion of a good trip always brings a distinct sense of ennui with it. You know you have to return to work, reality will soon set in and (if you're anything like me) you're also absurdly full from all the eating you've been doing.

I was actually a little worried that I wouldn't get access to TPR, given that my onward journey was in J (on a plane with an F cabin). I had heard conflicting reports on the SQ forum and this seems to be a policy that ebbs and flows and is very much dictated by the whims of the dragons.

I thought I would try a little misdirection and handed over my F boarding pass on top, with the onward J pass underneath.

This seemed to do the trick, the dragon's eyes lit up and she smiled, asking me to follow her to TPR.

In the late evening TPR is definitely busier but the staff are still very attentive and keen to ensure that you are well taken care of. Whilst the main sitting area was very full, the dining room was relatively empty




First things first, time for a glass of Dom and a counterbalancing bottle of Evian


I ordered the foie gras and quail egg burger, without a bun. The burger was fairly dry but the egg and foie were great.

Overall, I find the dining setup at TPR to be a little strange. There is a limited buffet (less choice than in the F lounge next door) and the food that is brought to you a la carte is not particularly inspiring. Maybe things have just moved on since TPR first opened, some of the wow factor is lost.

Personally I far prefer spending time in Cathay's new Pier lounge at HKG.



After dinner I quickly caught up on some trip reports


Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge - Singapore Changi Airport

Seeing as I had 3 hours to kill, I thought it would be an opportune moment to inspect the First class lounge.

I'm generally more of a OneWorld flyer. I understand the system. Mid level status gets you all the benefits associated with J class: business lounges, priority boarding, extra bags etc. The top status gets you all the F class benefits: F lounges, even greater priority goading, even more bags. The system is simple and it makes sense.

*A only give lounge access with the top status, even then it only applies to J lounges, not F. Except for certain airports where different 'status lounges' are built to cater to elites.

Why am I harping on about this?

Because, the result of this system, is that the 'best' lounge at SIN is rammed full of SQ F passengers (and people who are top revenue based elites), whilst the F lounge, with its enormous acreage of floor space and plentiful buffet, sits almost empty.




I sat down at the, very grand, white marble bar. The design of this lounge is very welcoming and the service much quicker than in TPR. I liked being able to sit down and talk to the barman whilst a TV in the background played sports. This felt like having a drink at a grand hotel, rather than sitting in a waiting room.


Nice to see the F cups and saucers on the ground ^

In future I think my strategy will be to grab some Dom in TPR and then make my way to the F lounge. It just seems a little more alive and I far prefer being able to select my own food at my own pace.

If you are ticketed in F on another *A carrier and are thinking of switching in order to try TPR : Don't bother, seriously.


Singapore Airlines SQ26
Singapore Changi (SIN) - Frankfurt (FRA)
Duration: 13h25m
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 96A (Business Class)






The initial experience of boarding the SQ A380 upper deck was pretty jarring. In the last two weeks I had flown

BA F on a 744
AA F on an A321T
JL F on a 777 (twice)
SQ J on a 77WN in a mini-cabin of 8 seats
SQ Suites on an A380
SQ F on a 777

I'm not gonna lie, FT has spoiled me. I can't remember the last time I sat in a row greater than 20. Seeing row after row of (admittedly very large and spacious) J seats, I felt like I was looking at the tanks of people in The Matrix. I suddenly had to come to terms with not being a unique and special snowflake.

Still, I had my private space, my sanctuary. The final row… all to myself





The extra high wall adds to the sense of privacy in the final row of the all J upper deck SQ A380


I love it when airlines break up the cabin by varying the colour of the seats


No prizes for guessing what happened to all those spare pillows


Given that this is SQ, I wasn't worried about proximity to the galley


I know it's been said before but how similar is this seat to F on the 777? No wonder SQ had to invent Suites. Having flown the 777 F and this within hours of each other I can firmly attest to the total similarity. The key differences in hard product are the size of the cabin and the lack of a permanent table under the IFE monitor


My golden throne for the next 13 hours


The controls certainly look newer and cleaner than on the old 777s


What other airline has the areas around the seat controls completely clad in high grade, super fine leather? Seriously impressive. Note the shaped area around the second headphone jack - designed as a storage space for when you want to hang your headphones whilst in bed mode.


I love the side bins upstairs on A380s. There is effectively unlimited space for hand luggage if you are in a window seat.


Plenty of other extra touches too. SQ always thinks of the small details. The nook for the water bottle is a perfect example.

Compare this to VS Upper Class with the tiny drinks table that has a stiff lamp intruding on the space where a drink should go:




Shoe storage


The only downside to sitting in a bulkhead seat is that the IFE monitor is mounted higher than the other rows and it can't be tilted.


Another storage space (seriously when you use all of the storage on the SQ J seat, it's like checking out of a hotel when you land. It takes 20 minutes just to check you haven't left anything behind!)

Also: they even have a telephone jack?!


As soon as I was seated an FA offered to hang my coat, addressing me by name as she did. I was also given a menu and offered a drink. No surprises for guessing what I went with


I switched to white wine for the pre-meal drinks service.


An insane amount of space for a business class seat




TPR = The Private Row

I pre-ordered via BTC but the regular menu choices looked pretty good too.
Given that this is a night flight, the crew kicked into action very shortly after take off. There's nothing worse than being on a redeye desperate for sleep, whilst the crew slowly plods along.

SQ still manages to lay a tablecloth, provide a side plate and butter dish and serve dishes directly rather than relying on trays and trolleys. These sorts of details do not go unnoticed.





A huge selection of snacks available after the regular meal service.


The meal started with marinated prawns on a mesclun salad. Of course, I couldn't resist the garlic bread!


This dish was a great start to the meal. The prawns were large and succulent and the salad wasn't just leaves, which is good.

I was a little disappointed not to get satay on this flight though


The BTC lobster ex-SIN absolutely paled in comparison to what I got ex-LHR though. No wonder the crew gathered to admire that wondrous lord of Poseidon's kingdom.

This lobster was notably smaller, tougher, suffering from worse presentation and included an undercooked tomato and overcooked asparagus.

Oh well... at least there is one small area in which SQ can improve. You were probably starting to get annoyed by their overachieving at this stage right?


The chocolate mocca cake with vanilla sauce was ok but once again, orders of magnitude worse than the dessert in J ex-LHR


The lights were dimmed shortly after my table was cleared.


I took this as my cue to make a pillow kingdom out of every pillow I could get my hands on. It ruled.


I snapped this pic in the morning, after a solid 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.


Luckily I woke up just as the sun was rising. Not often I get to see the back of a wing!


Amazing morning colours, the moon still visible in the sky


Seeing as I had the entire row to myself, I took the opportunity to actually look at the sunrise itself, rather than its repercussive colouration effects, over on the K side of the plane.


I will never understand people who close their windows and watch IFE when this sort of thing is going on outside


With around 2hrs to go before landing, the breakfast service began. I had actually pre-ordered eggs benedict but asked if it would be possible to switch to Nasi Lemak. A final bid to grasp a hold of SE Asia before I faced the inevitable fact, that I was currently on my morning commute to the office.


Not an obvious combination of fruits, although the plating was nice and I'm a big fan of pomelo ^


A pretty decent cappuccino, although I could have done without the 90s style chocolate topping


I started with a very good bircher muesli. Simple but effective.


The Nasi Lemak was superb. I loved the presenation, complete with pandan leaf underneath. Some mise en place had obviously taken place in the galley. This is not dish that was brought onto the plane pre-assembled. Crunchy, soft, hot, cold, spicy, sweet, savoury. All the elements were separate and ready for me to combine. This dish was really, really good.


Conclusion

SQ J on the A380 is one of the very best products in the sky. The whalejet has huge side bins, wide aisles, less engine noise and notably better air quality than the 777W.

If you aren't in the mini-cabin on the 777W I'm sure you can make an argument for this being the better product.

However, there is no mistaking the fact that you are a cog in a machine here. The A380 upper deck is filled with row upon row of other passengers. The 777WN seat that I got ex-LHR (which will be rolled out on the A350s too) feels a lot more cosy and comfortable than the seat on the A380. There is less storage space but the design, the colours and the level of finishes in general, blows the A380 J out of the water.

Most importantly, the level of personalised service and the feeling of being in a cabin of only 8 people was never going to be possible to replicate here.

Given the chance to repeat either of these experiences in the future, I'd still opt to try a new product rather than go back to A380 J.

On the other hand the 777WN mini-cabin rates as one of my favourite products in the sky. I would make a significant detour and/or pay extra to fly it again.

Last edited by Jermyn; Jan 23, 16 at 2:34 am
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