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SFO-HKG CX First VS. SQ First - late night departure

SFO-HKG CX First VS. SQ First - late night departure

Old Feb 1, 11, 9:38 am
  #1  
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SFO-HKG CX First VS. SQ First - late night departure

Comparison on SFO-HKG FIRST CX 873 vs. SQ 001

In continuation of my comparisons heres one more on a keenly debated sector. I flew both late 2010 on transpac returns of an RTW.

Hope youll find it useful


On Ground:


Both Airlines have exceptional staff as far as their own teams are concerned. However lately CX have been outsourcing their actual counter staff, as have SQ SQs outsourced staff though have more training and are better at handling premium pax. I had a bit of an issue with CX staff on a through check-in for a domestic sector with 9W which got sorted by their supervisor. I was then escorted to the lounge and boarding and apologized too on board which was very good handling to remedy the situation instantly.

As far as lounges go both are pretty average. SQ with star alliance will mean you have access to the UA IFL which gives you some choice. BAs first class section of the terraces has good natural light but is a lounge well past its refurb date. Nothing special to write home about.

Verdict: SQ by a slight margin due to better staff training


Comfort:

SQ uses their 77Ws on this flight meaning no partner redemptions and keeping the first cabin exclusive. I am not a fan of this seat at all the fact that you have to get up to flip it over, that it doesnt recline forward all the way all mean that you have very limited flexibility during the flight. As a bed it is wonderful probably the best bed in First class (not talking suites here). However, as a seat not so much. Staying up right on it can actually take effort and the surface is quite slippery as you will experience during take off and landing. For a flight that in winter that lasts 15 hours, SQs bed is great for the 7-8 one would spend sleeping, but for the remaining time not so much. In fact for breakfast, I kept my seat in bed position and sat up. The tray table is height adjustable which is a nice factor.

CX seat and bed on the other hand is IMHO the best First class hard product in the air. Its not as private as some, but more private than SQ 77W with the contours and curves of the seat that create a pod like feeling. The seat is very flexible, the side comes up to increase bed width. The quality of Duvet, bedding etc is all excellent. The armrest built into the seat back actually reduces seat width a bit when pulled down but is perfect. As I was told on CX once, when they did their ground tests for the new First, they actually got feedback that the seat was too wide and consequently introduced this feature.

Verdict: CX by a pretty big margin here


Food:

SQ offers a supper menu regular SQ fliers you know what this means no Caviar. In fact the whole meal service seams quite abbreviated. While the time of departure lends itself to this (both flights leave around midnight). When flying First class, with 15 hours to spend my time adjusting to the time change etc. I dont want to be short changed. Also, the snack menu is very mediocre.

CX on the other hand offers a full First class meal caviar, salmon, salad, soup, Chinese favourites etc etc. The servings are more generous and meal service more lavish for sure. Also the snack selection usually included 2 western options, 2 chinese options and ice cream, all of which require preparation by the crew. Overall I find their catering is more thought through and definitely more first class for this route.

Verdict: CX again, by a pretty big margin


Beverages:

Champagne: Krug is back on CX (thankfully) vs. SQ Dom or Krug
As a Krug fan to me its irrelevant but I can appreciate having the choice is more meaningful so I will give this one to SQ

WINES: While I enjoy CXs wine selection, and love the Lynch Bauges, I agree that SQs choices are more refined.
Verdict: SQ

Spirits:
Johnny Blue on both, SQ serves Royal Salute vs CX which serves 12 yr chivas etc etc.
Overall again, while CX is more than adequate with the options and has a few jewels, SQs beverage list is more extensive and more refined (e.g. Blue Mountain Coffee, aged Port etc etc)
VERDICT: SQ



Entertainment:

The new 77W has all the latest gadgets and gismos that SQ offers. Huge clear screen, excellent selection of movies and TV shows etc.

CX has a similar set up, but less variety. Ive always loved CX content personally, I find their music personally suits my taste (Especially their Radio playlists that are still available to choose from on their AVOD system instead of just having CDs).

However, being unbiased based on hardware and variety I will give this one to SQ.




Service:


Personally, I find SQ service a little robotic, very consistent, extremely professional and something you cant go wrong with. I also feel you cant go incredibly right with it either.

CX crew a more experienced, personable and that extra factor of a chat or a getting to read their customer and differentiate service between the guy that wants to be left alone, vs. the guy that wants his champagne glass always full, vs. the guy that his happy to engage in some conversation (no offence to ladies here I use the term generically).

While I appreciate what many like about SQ, for me flying First class is so much about the little extra efforts and touches and Ive found CX crew flying transpac to be just exceptional.

Verdict: CX



Arrival:

CXs arrival lounge for the early morning arrival is a great place to freshen up, which SQ doesnt have. Other than that it usually HKG efficiency.

Verdict: CX

Overall:
Its not any easy choice you are dealing with the two heavy weights the best of the best both of whom are flying new products, at identical times. SQ lets this sector down with the supper service and not giving you the full first class experience.
I also find SQ 77W seat honestly a step back from the sky suite.
Having said all of that, their consistency, professionalism, excellent inflight entertainment, outstanding selections of premium beverages make them a great way to fly.
I have a soft spot for CX service, find their seat miles ahead and their food excellent.
Given the choice on this route on this flight, I would go with CX
avm2806 is offline  
Old Feb 1, 11, 12:04 pm
  #2  
 
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I too have flown both SQ 77W F and CX F SFO-HKG and have to agree with your take on it. I have since been flying CX F out of LAX but in general I give the nod to CX.
DLATL777 is offline  
Old Feb 1, 11, 3:43 pm
  #3  
 
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Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts.
bubb1 is offline  
Old Feb 1, 11, 6:23 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Originally Posted by avm2806 View Post
Comparison on SFO-HKG FIRST CX 873 vs. SQ 001

In continuation of my comparisons heres one more on a keenly debated sector. I flew both late 2010 on transpac returns of an RTW.

Hope youll find it useful


On Ground:


Both Airlines have exceptional staff as far as their own teams are concerned. However lately CX have been outsourcing their actual counter staff, as have SQ SQs outsourced staff though have more training and are better at handling premium pax. I had a bit of an issue with CX staff on a through check-in for a domestic sector with 9W which got sorted by their supervisor. I was then escorted to the lounge and boarding and apologized too on board which was very good handling to remedy the situation instantly.

As far as lounges go both are pretty average. SQ with star alliance will mean you have access to the UA IFL which gives you some choice. BAs first class section of the terraces has good natural light but is a lounge well past its refurb date. Nothing special to write home about.

Verdict: SQ by a slight margin due to better staff training


Comfort:

SQ uses their 77Ws on this flight meaning no partner redemptions and keeping the first cabin exclusive. I am not a fan of this seat at all the fact that you have to get up to flip it over, that it doesnt recline forward all the way all mean that you have very limited flexibility during the flight. As a bed it is wonderful probably the best bed in First class (not talking suites here). However, as a seat not so much. Staying up right on it can actually take effort and the surface is quite slippery as you will experience during take off and landing. For a flight that in winter that lasts 15 hours, SQs bed is great for the 7-8 one would spend sleeping, but for the remaining time not so much. In fact for breakfast, I kept my seat in bed position and sat up. The tray table is height adjustable which is a nice factor.

CX seat and bed on the other hand is IMHO the best First class hard product in the air. Its not as private as some, but more private than SQ 77W with the contours and curves of the seat that create a pod like feeling. The seat is very flexible, the side comes up to increase bed width. The quality of Duvet, bedding etc is all excellent. The armrest built into the seat back actually reduces seat width a bit when pulled down but is perfect. As I was told on CX once, when they did their ground tests for the new First, they actually got feedback that the seat was too wide and consequently introduced this feature.

Verdict: CX by a pretty big margin here


Food:

SQ offers a supper menu regular SQ fliers you know what this means no Caviar. In fact the whole meal service seams quite abbreviated. While the time of departure lends itself to this (both flights leave around midnight). When flying First class, with 15 hours to spend my time adjusting to the time change etc. I dont want to be short changed. Also, the snack menu is very mediocre.

CX on the other hand offers a full First class meal caviar, salmon, salad, soup, Chinese favourites etc etc. The servings are more generous and meal service more lavish for sure. Also the snack selection usually included 2 western options, 2 chinese options and ice cream, all of which require preparation by the crew. Overall I find their catering is more thought through and definitely more first class for this route.

Verdict: CX again, by a pretty big margin


Beverages:

Champagne: Krug is back on CX (thankfully) vs. SQ Dom or Krug
As a Krug fan to me its irrelevant but I can appreciate having the choice is more meaningful so I will give this one to SQ

WINES: While I enjoy CXs wine selection, and love the Lynch Bauges, I agree that SQs choices are more refined.
Verdict: SQ

Spirits:
Johnny Blue on both, SQ serves Royal Salute vs CX which serves 12 yr chivas etc etc.
Overall again, while CX is more than adequate with the options and has a few jewels, SQs beverage list is more extensive and more refined (e.g. Blue Mountain Coffee, aged Port etc etc)
VERDICT: SQ



Entertainment:

The new 77W has all the latest gadgets and gismos that SQ offers. Huge clear screen, excellent selection of movies and TV shows etc.

CX has a similar set up, but less variety. Ive always loved CX content personally, I find their music personally suits my taste (Especially their Radio playlists that are still available to choose from on their AVOD system instead of just having CDs).

However, being unbiased based on hardware and variety I will give this one to SQ.




Service:


Personally, I find SQ service a little robotic, very consistent, extremely professional and something you cant go wrong with. I also feel you cant go incredibly right with it either.

CX crew a more experienced, personable and that extra factor of a chat or a getting to read their customer and differentiate service between the guy that wants to be left alone, vs. the guy that wants his champagne glass always full, vs. the guy that his happy to engage in some conversation (no offence to ladies here I use the term generically).

While I appreciate what many like about SQ, for me flying First class is so much about the little extra efforts and touches and Ive found CX crew flying transpac to be just exceptional.

Verdict: CX



Arrival:

CXs arrival lounge for the early morning arrival is a great place to freshen up, which SQ doesnt have. Other than that it usually HKG efficiency.

Verdict: CX

Overall:
Its not any easy choice you are dealing with the two heavy weights the best of the best both of whom are flying new products, at identical times. SQ lets this sector down with the supper service and not giving you the full first class experience.
I also find SQ 77W seat honestly a step back from the sky suite.
Having said all of that, their consistency, professionalism, excellent inflight entertainment, outstanding selections of premium beverages make them a great way to fly.
I have a soft spot for CX service, find their seat miles ahead and their food excellent.
Given the choice on this route on this flight, I would go with CX
macabus is offline  
Old Feb 1, 11, 6:33 pm
  #5  
 
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Probably the best comparison between CX and SQ F I've read yet.

I don't fly Westbound transpacs in F during the night, so I can't compare on this route.

But, on a daytime F flight on both CX and SQ when all the cylinders are firing, I would give the nod to SQ. But only because the SQ flight from LAX-SIN stops in NRT, which has the best F catering in the world IMHO.

Waygu beef, Kurobuta pork, and the best lamb chops on the planet That's what SQ serves from NRT. I love the caviar and Salmon on CX, but it simply doesn't compare to the catering from NRT on SQ.
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Old Feb 1, 11, 8:33 pm
  #6  
 
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My opinion - CX - no one does it better hope they live up to it in a few weeks for me too.
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Old Feb 2, 11, 12:23 am
  #7  
 
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I would agree... what annoys me about SQ is that they could beat CX, but they're half-arsed sometimes and coasting.
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Old Feb 2, 11, 12:52 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by macabus View Post
Probably the best comparison between CX and SQ F I've read yet.
Based on my one CX flight, SFO-HKG this past Sunday, I would second abm2806's rating CX over SQ overall. And as long as the Krug was flowing, the inferior CX wine/booze offerings weren't that big a deal.
The CX cabin ambience, suite and seat comfort were wonderful. I was sorry to leave after 15 hours. Even Mrs. SFO remarked that she preferred the CX seat to SQ.
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Old Feb 3, 11, 5:04 am
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Really good comparison! Thanks.
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Old Feb 3, 11, 5:19 am
  #10  
 
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Great report! Completely agree, though I think one factor is that SQ's "robotic" FAs actually score huge when you do get the occasional tired/lazy/bad-hair-day crew on other airlines. The only consistent complaint I've read over the last few years about CX F is that it can often be FA-dependent in terms of service.
If the CX FAs are not on the ball, SQ gets the nod--because, to me, "robotic" means SQ's FAs in F are dependable and by-the-book in terms of service offered.
Still, with my limited CX F experience (with several SQ F flights under my belt), I'd agree with the OP's statement.
Thanks for the report.
kyushuman is offline  
Old Feb 3, 11, 12:30 pm
  #11  
 
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It will be interesting to see what happens to CX service over the next few years. I keep on reading reports that CX Y and C service have gone downhill in quality but that F has remained the same because of the senior FA's who staff the cabin. When they retire and are replaced, is CX F going to go as downhill as their C service has?
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Old Feb 5, 11, 1:03 pm
  #12  
 
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I think you forgot to compare one thing, which SQ will win hands down anytime: amenity kit.
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Old Feb 5, 11, 2:10 pm
  #13  
 
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This is an excellent comparison report that will benefit anyone flying this route and these airlines. I am flying CX First Class to HKG next month and eagerly await their superb service and comfort.
Seat 2A is offline  
Old Feb 6, 11, 2:41 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by ORDnHKG View Post
I think you forgot to compare one thing, which SQ will win hands down anytime: amenity kit.
Yes agreed - however the CX PJ's win over SQ's
avm2806 is offline  
Old Feb 6, 11, 2:43 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by kyushuman View Post
Great report! Completely agree, though I think one factor is that SQ's "robotic" FAs actually score huge when you do get the occasional tired/lazy/bad-hair-day crew on other airlines. The only consistent complaint I've read over the last few years about CX F is that it can often be FA-dependent in terms of service.
If the CX FAs are not on the ball, SQ gets the nod--because, to me, "robotic" means SQ's FAs in F are dependable and by-the-book in terms of service offered.
Still, with my limited CX F experience (with several SQ F flights under my belt), I'd agree with the OP's statement.
Thanks for the report.
Agreed with most airlines and with CX in J - but CX in F is a different game all together. Honestly, my worst CX F flight has still been superior in terms of level of interaction, anticipation and personalization to my worst SQ F flight. This is one cabin where these guys really know what they are doing.
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