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The Singapore Four - SQ new J, A380 J, 77W F, 380 Suites + Fairmont Singapore Suite

The Singapore Four - SQ new J, A380 J, 77W F, 380 Suites + Fairmont Singapore Suite

Old Nov 15, 15, 5:37 am
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The Singapore Four - SQ new J, A380 J, 77W F, 380 Suites + Fairmont Singapore Suite

With a US Airways RTW F redemption completed in a single week, I finally felt like a real Flyertalker. (Not to mention I’d done it with various HUCAs using only 100k miles and paying no fuel surcharges for BA F!) This is not the kind of thing that normal people do. Thankfully, we're not normal people

Still, I’ve never been one to rest on my laurels. The overwhelming feeling in situations such as these is that there's always more that you can do, something else to push the envelope a little further. Nobody leaves their mark on the World by simply following in the footsteps of others. I'm not the first person to do an RTW in a week. Hell some people even do them in less than two days. So, I had another trip planned, a trip which would begin three days after my return from the F RTW.


My plan was to maintain my body clock on Asian time, whilst living and working in London. I would be visiting the gym at 4am and getting to sleep by 7pm (work permitting). Having completed my RTW I was going to fly back to Asia, to see my girlfriend K and her family in Shanghai. K had stayed in Asia and would finish her RTW by flying home to London a couple of days after me. Throughout the course of this extravagant long-weekend I'd be trying SQ for the first, second, third and fourth time.

Not only would I be flying SQ four times but I was planning on sampling as many of their products as possible:

  • The brand new Business class on the 77WN from LHR-SIN
  • Suites on the A380 SIN-PVG
  • First on the 77W PVG-SIN
  • Business on the A380 (all J upper deck) SIN-FRA
  • I would then fly LH Y from FRA-LHR arriving into LHR at 10:40am and making it into the office for midday.


The F and Suites flights were booked with SQ miles earned via Amex Platinum and Gold cards. (Total 85k miles + taxes)
The J flights were booked with AV miles using tricks no longer available. (Total 45k miles + taxes)

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Part 1: LHR-SIN SQ J 77WN
Part 2: Fairmont Singapore Suite and Executive Club
Part 3: SIN-PVG SQ Suites 388 (The Private Room Breakfast)
Part 4: PVG-SIN SQ F 77W
Part 5: SIN-FRA SQ J 388 (The Private Room Dinner)
Part 6: FRA-LHR LH Y A321 (AC Lounge FRA and LHR T2 Plaza Arrivals)

*********

The RTW TR took nearly 8 weeks to finish. I'm hoping this SQ one will be a lot quicker! At the moment I’m still 6 months, 7 F flights, 5 J flights and countless hotel nights behind on my TRs. If you want to see all of that then feel free to follow my feed on Instagram, which is a lot more up to date !

If you’d like to see my recent travels written up as full TRs, my girlfriend K has what you need over at her blog Euriental.

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Previous Trip Reports
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Last edited by Jermyn; Jan 23, 16 at 7:20 am
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Old Nov 15, 15, 5:38 am
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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?'

SPOILER ALERT: HIGHLY RIDICULOUS.

Last edited by Jermyn; Jan 25, 16 at 2:41 pm
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Old Nov 15, 15, 5:38 am
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Part 2: Fairmont Singapore Suite and Executive Club

Part 2: Fairmont Singapore Suite and Executive Club


After looking around on the luxury hotel forum a general consensus seemed to emerge about Singapore: There is a dearth of luxury hotels.

Given that I only needed a room for around 15 hours, it didn't seem worth it to splash out on the Fullerton Bay or end up well away from the sights at the Valley Wing of the Shangrila (although both sound like great experiences if you have a few days in town).

One hotel that piqued my interest was the Fairmont.

Fairmont is not a chain often spoken about on FT or on the blogs. Their coverage is quite sporadic outside of North America (where there are some phenomenal looking old castles), their London hotel is The Savoy - a bastion of high society and very much a 'classic' (it is also the location of the only road in the United Kingdom where one drives on the right).

Nonetheless the Fairmont Singapore has a lot in its favour:
It gets consistently high reviews
It is located near the Marina
It is directly above a mall and MTR station
It is often cheaper than the other chain properties which have poorer reviews

The clincher for me was the fact that I was able to apply for Premier status (via a method which is no longer available) - this gave me $50 of free hotel credit vouchers, a 3rd night free voucher, an upgrade voucher and best of all: a suite upgrade voucher.

The suite upgrade voucher doesn't automatically give you club access in most properties and in many cases the suites are only one or two categories above the base room.

However The Fairmont Singapore has genuine suites and grants club access.
I was sold.


My first impressions of the hotel were great. I was greeted curbside and had my bags taken from me. A check-in desk was immediately available. I really like how the decor is both artistic and interesting without being 'wacky'


I love that painting!


Check in was a very quick and comfortable process, I was quite surprised that they asked me for my clothing and shoe size. More on that later.


The decor in the hallways is very minimalist and tasteful.


My suite 2526


You know you're doing well when your room has a corridor


The minibar had some very nice glassware as well as plenty of coffee and water. Exactly what I needed!


The first thing I did was switch on the coffee machine.


A beautiful fruit plate as my welcome gift. I felt guilty about not eating any of this earlier, so used a dragon fruit as a gastric booze absorber at 2am


The living room


The GoPro really gives a better sense of perspective than a regular camera can


Just off the living room was a huge walk-in wardrobe


Wardrobe accessories


Nothing annoys me more than when hotels refuse to put an ironing board in each room, I'm glad the Fairmont didn't hold back!


The centrepiece of the entire suite was, without question, the bathroom. Hell, to call this a bathroom is to do it a disservice. I think it would be more appropriate to refer to this as The Bathing Colosseum


The Bathing Colosseum


Fairmont hotels have their own signature Le Labo Fragrance. It's called Rose but actually has a very deep, woody and masculine smell. I really like the Bergamote fragrance used at Park Hyatts but I reckon this one tops it. I have to say, before FT I never thought I'd become an expert on high end toiletries. Now I have enough LeLabo, Aesop, Shanghai Tang, SKII, Shiseido etc. to open my own shop


Dual vanities and loads of counter space, as well as plenty of room on the shelves


The shower runs the length of the entire back wall of the bathroom


After the ludicrous experience of returning to Asia, after only 3 days back in London, this shower massively helped me to clear out the old cobwebs and get ready for a night out!


Extra shower heads and extra toiletries. The suite life.


Compared to the bathroom, the bedroom seemed quite small. However, the floor to ceiling windows really helped to open the space up and of course, there was no need to store anything in here as there was so much storage space in the other rooms.


The most important thing, the bed was superbly comfortable. Like sleeping on a squidgy cloud. Seriously luxurious.




I like how they set up this tray with all the hotel info a well as the remote.


Fairmont hotels are part of the same group as the Raffles across the road (along with Swissotel). I was surprised to see how large the hotel actually is.


Located on the other side of Raffles, Naumi is another very highly rated hotel, it is affiliated with SLH as opposed to one of the major chains.


Any idea what these awesome buildings are?


The reason the check-in associate asked for me clothing and shoe size was revealed to me shortly after I got to the room. I heard a knock on the door and in walked a member of staff carrying a wicker basket containing a brand new pair of Reeboks and a full set of Reebok workout gear, sealed and wrapped in paper. This is a fantastic benefit open to ALL members of the Fairmont President's Club. Where you'll be lucky to get free wifi at other hotels, Fairmont really goes above and beyond!


Fresh kicks





After showering up and diligently photographing my suite for you wonderful people, I headed to the Executive Club to meet a friend of mine


The Executive Club is a beautiful and elegant space. Despite being quite full, the clientele was very hushed and polite, a world away from some of the free for alls that I've seen (i.e. been a part of) at Hiltons etc.

There was a huge selection of cold cuts, several hot dishes and a very large variety of wines, including Moet Chandon champagne (the "t" is not silent as Moet is a German name, rather than a French one. A great fact to deploy at parties if you want people to deeply dislike you )


10 different wines!


A few hot options (every time I stood up to take pictures people would stare at me, so this is the best I could manage )


The view from the balcony has to be one of the highlights of this lounge




Yours truly


After the executive lounge we headed out with a group of friends for drinks at 1-Altitude, a rooftop bar. It has a huge space with a higher outer level surrounding an inner garden, with a stage for live acts. The satay platters there are also immense.


Rooftop view


Another rooftop view


Some cool street art on our way to the next venue


Next time I'll have to make it during the day so I can come and get some BJJ sparring in. This is one of the most unbelievably well equipped MMA and grappling gyms in the world


An accurate representation of how I felt by the end of the evening, after the rooftop bar we headed to Club Street, which actually reminds me a lot of Spain, it has a great atmosphere with loads of small bars and restaurants spilling into the street.


These guys were not fighting to a level becoming of a street with this name


I took breakfast in the executive lounge, I know that the breakfast spread in the main restaurant at 5* Asian hotels can be straight up ridiculous but I wanted to save myself for TPR and Suites. I just needed something quick in a quiet environment, with a great view




At this early hour I pretty much had the whole place to myself


The view from this guy's 'office' definitely beats mine


The coffee was great, the salmon was enormously thick and delicious. The dim sum was distinctly average.


Overall I really enjoyed my first Fairmont experience. In fact it was so good that I tried the one in Manila not long after (it was also great but you'll have to wait for that TR) and I'm returning to this very hotel for New Year's!

Sometimes a one night stay can be a bittersweet experience, if the hotel is good you really don't want to leave and wish you'd had longer to enjoy the facilities. The Hyatt Regency (now Grand Hyatt) Incheon is another example that comes to mind as is the Ritz Carlton in HKG.

The service at the Fairmont Singapore was excellent, particularly in the executive lounge. It's certainly the first time I've seen an omelette station at a hotel lounge too! I loved the bed and also the decor in the public spaces, the gym kit amenity and toiletries were fantastic too. Finally the location was perfect, having a shopping centre, ATMs and an MTR station in the same building - as well as a Marina Bay view. It doesn't get much better than that.

Last edited by Jermyn; Nov 18, 15 at 3:55 pm
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Old Nov 15, 15, 5:39 am
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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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Old Nov 15, 15, 5:39 am
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Part 4: PVG-SIN SQ F 77W

Part 4: PVG-SIN SQ F 77W


After a few days spent visiting K's family and gorging on amazing Chinese food, it was time to head back home (and directly to work!). We got to the airport around 2 hours before departure and there was hardly anybody around.

SQ Rolling out the Red Carpet for it's F class customers

Check-in was quick and simple and security was a breeze. We were at the lounge within about 10 minutes.


Air China First Class Lounge - Shanghai Pudong Airport


Check-in at the lounge was a bit weird, there were way too many members of staff (as tends to be the case in China) and none of them really seemed to know what they were doing.

It seemed that people were just flashing whatever card or pass they wanted, in their vague direction, and just quickly walking by the dragons without any questioning.

So I guess it says a lot that under this set of admission criteria, the Air China F Lounge was basically empty...

The Air China F lounge is built around a central atrium featuring the bar and buffet area


The first part of the lounge that you pass is an area with lockers and computers. I like being able to store my bag at a lounge without having to deal with an attendant. I like being able to grab a camera, use it for a while, put it away, grab my laptop, put it away, get showered etc. Having to make multiple trips to a manned cloakroom can get tedious pretty quickly


Coffees made to order. These were pretty good. I guess the addition of syrups is a nice touch for people who hate coffee and just want an excuse to drink a hot milkshake


The buffet area had quite a diverse selection of hot and cold options… none of which were particularly great


I didn’t much fancy the idea of desserts for breakfast. The presentation looked nice though


A few cold savoury options


Cereals and toast. There was something quite sad about this section. All the containers looked like they needed replenishing and the fridges were rammed with sellophane wrapped sandwhiches (unlabelled) and unbranded local mineral water. Decidedly un-First Class


Design-wise the lounge was great in some respects and downright weird in others. This shot paints the lounge in quite a good light. Some thought has gone into the design, I quite like the idea of the wooden slatted 'wall', which opens the space up nicely


However, the seating arrangement is absolutely obscure


Why pile so many chairs into an F lounge, especially without placing some dividers in between them? It honestly had more of a feel of a furniture showroom than a relaxing lounge


One redeeming feature of the lounge: natural daylight


This section reminded me of the old Priority Pass lounge in LHR T1 (this is not a good thing)


Nice vase. To be fair, this shot could easily have been taken in the hallway of a Park Hyatt


More cool Chinese vases


K and I initially settled down in the dining area and ordered from the a la carte menu. We supplemented this with some cold starters. My hot and sour soup was markedly worse than my local takeaway in East London. It also ran a grotesque temperature range from tepid to almost frozen. The cold starters were ok though


K’s Laksa was… salvageable. It could be eaten. That’s about the nicest thing I can say about the dining options at the flagship Air China First Class Lounge in Shanghai


After that dining experience I felt quite dirty, so figured I’d have a shower. Surprisingly the shower room was spacious, very clean and had absolutely everything you would need. As a point of comparison, JL's F lounges at HND and NRT don’t have shaving foam or moisturiser and the rooms are very cramped. Conversely BA’s shower rooms at The Concorde Room are spacious but also look like the ideal location to shoot a movie about a haunted and unusually filthy asylum. So in that respect Air China wins


Freshly wrapped towels and slippers are provided


In addition to being clean and spacious the shower had excellent pressure


All in all, the Air China lounge doesn't have a lot going for it. If you're connecting it's worth heading there to use the showers. Otherwise, given the quality of F&B available in the terminal, I'd probably skip this lounge and go in search of some xiao long bao (Shanghai dumplings) in the main terminal area.

After our breakfast I walked K over to her gate, she was flying to HKG to pick up her return flight to LHR as part of our final US Airways F RTW.


Singapore Airlines SQ831
Shanghai Pudong (PVG) - Singapore Changi (SIN)
Duration: 4.5 hours
B777-300ER
Seat 2A


My trusty steed for the PVG-SIN flight


Stepping aboard this 77W it was hard to be anything other than underwhelmed, given that the last flight I'd been on was in Suites. However, the service on this sector was next level.

I was immediately greeted by name, helped with my bags and offered a glass of Krug. That could probably even take the edge off having to sit in Y!

Making small talk the delightful FA asked me whether I was heading home to Singapore. I explained that much though I'd love to call Singapore home, I still had to make it all the way to London. I then went on to explain the purpose of my trip, trying as many of SQ's products as possible in the space of 5 days. Instantly her face lit up, she excused herself, brought over the CSM and gushed to him about what I was doing.

The three of us then spoke for a while about SQ and flying in general, as another FA greeted the remaining three F pax.

After the CSM excused himself to greet the others, the FA stayed behind and said to me that she couldn't make the seat bigger but she would do everything in her power to make sure that this was the best of all my SQ flights!

The cabin is starting to show some signs of wear


I like the mounting of the IFE screen though. I feel like nowadays a large, fixed position screen is the norm for 'true' F. TVs on retractable arms always end up getting rickety


Plenty of legroom (is it even worth doing legroom shots in F?)


Only 4/8 today. A couple arrived after I took this pic and sat in 1 C,D. So I decided to move back to 2A, giving us all a bit more private space.


Adjustable height controls for the tray table


Tiny details, the top of the reading light has a rubber pad on it, so you can hang your headphones on it, without them slipping off. Also, the fact that the entire seat is covered in buttery soft, hand-stitched leather is pretty amazing


Top marks for anybody who knows what this orange button does


Universal power, USB and RCA video


Bose noise cancelling headphones


Side storage


Ready. Set. Krug.


After 2 glasses of Krug the crew began their preparations for take-off. PVG always has a very eclectic mix of planes from around the World. Today was no exception.

Not often you see one of these


A multi-coloured parade of planes from around the World


Once we were airborne the FA immediately rushed into action to offer me more Krug and some warm candied nuts


She saw me taking pics with my GoPro and asked if she could pose for a shot with me


Cheese.


I don't usually rock the FDR look but the FA offered me a blanket and seemed so happy at the thought that I'd use it, that I couldn't say no


I eyed through the menu and decided that, as per my original plan, I would go with the Chinese option. This would be my first experience of a non-BTC main on SQ. Whenever I've tried a region specific menu in the past, it tends to be very good and sometimes even better than the regular catering (CX F to TYO comes to mind here)


I was tempted by a lot of the Western options though
<

Spicy beancurd sheet and bamboo shoot salad
Chinese wine marinated chicken
Broccoli with Yunnan ham

These starters were all fairly insipid. There wasn't enough textural or flavour difference between the various ingredients. Disappointing.


Yeah-heah!


Beautiful presentation: silver chopstick holder and silver detailing on the chopsticks themselves. I also love the small detail of the soup spoon holder


The soup itself was absolutely fantastic. I never realised how much I liked soup until I started getting it in F!


The main course:
Stir fried Angus beef fillet with dried chilli and cashew nut
Steamed black cod with spinach sauce
Bok choy with pickled potherb mustard
Shimeji mushroom fired rice

This was excellent. Every element was superb both in isolation and as part of the whole course. The cod fell into beautiful flakes as you touched it, the beef melted in the mouth and the perfectly cooked mushrooms brought a deep umami richness to the rice.

Fantastic.


I tried to skip dessert but much like the blanket, I knew this wasn't a battle worth fighting! The FA needed to see me maximise my experience of this flight and it may well have ruined her year if I didn't at least give this dessert a try

Black rice pudding with vanilla sauce and mango.
I was expecting something more soupy, like the Balinese bubur injin (one of my favourite desserts). This was great nonetheless. Not too sweet or large. The perfect ending to the meal.






Switching it up for my coffee time listening. Since the dawn of social media you just don't get full blown rock stars anymore. A shame really.


The F cabin lights are dimmed after the lunch service


At this stage I asked the FA to make the bed up for me, whilst I went to get changed.

Deep sink and waterfall tap


Ferragamo colognes


The FA prepared the bed with a few extra pillows so that I would sleep comfortably


Time to get some rest. Definitely not in the same league as the bed in Suites though


A little Milo ice to help me sleep


Overall this flight was fantastic. I ate well, drank my fill of Krug, rocked out, slept soundly and got to talk about planes with people who knew what I was talking about

The service was next level. Silly good. I felt unbelievably well looked after. I think that once you fly SQ F, it becomes very difficult to review other carriers' F in isolation. Make no mistake, this is the high water level, the benchmark, the apex of passenger service in the airline industry.We talk a lot on FT about aspirational products, if I ran an airline this would be my aspiration: deliver service as good as SQ - because it is the best, bar none.

It was with a heavy heart that I watched the sun set for the final time on this trip. The lights of hundreds of ships glow in the distance, a fragmented beacon pointing us towards Singapore


Last edited by Jermyn; Dec 20, 15 at 1:01 pm
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Old Nov 15, 15, 5:40 am
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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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Old Nov 15, 15, 5:40 am
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Part 6: FRA-LHR LH Y 321 (AC Lounge and LHR T2 Plaza Arrivals)

Part 6: FRA-LHR LH Y A321 (AC Lounge FRA and LHR T2 Plaza Arrivals)


Like a live lobster placed in a freezer, I continued my slow descent into the icy clutches of the fate that awaited me.

What a fall from grace.
SQ Suites to SQ F to SQ J and now I found myself waiting to gain entry to one of LH's many functional J lounges.

My onward flight to LHR was on LH Y. I had thought that an intercontinental J boarding pass would grant me entry to the lounge. I would have a shower, eat breakfast and print my boarding pass there.

The pompous little dragon delighted in telling me that if I wanted to gain access perhaps I should pay for business class

So now I found myself with no boarding pass, no lounge and two hours until wheels up.

Thankfully I still had another option...

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge - Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

At the desk to the Air Canada Lounge I was warmly greeted by the dragon. "A Singapore Airlines business class customer? Of course, please, welcome to the Air Canda Maple Leaf Lounge!"

Wow. Not only was the dragon super friendly, the lounge was nearly empty, filled with delicious food, beautifully decorated and had runway views!



20 power points for 8 seats and an awesome flame statue? ^


I really like how the lounge is broken up into various areas, they all fit the central colour scheme but offer very different styles of seating.


My first stop upon entering the lounge. Now I will admit that I was pretty effing jet lagged at this stage and had just gone through an emotional rollercoaster with the lounge dragons and the thought of a day in the office looming large, however I could have sworn that this machine played classical music as it made coffee.

If anyone can verify this for me, it'd be great to confirm that I didn't go nuts.


I like how they had water jugs with sliced lemons in them. I abstained but it was funny to see how many dudes in suits were plowing back beverages from the far end of the drinks area at 8am.


All the carbs you could ever want. Bonus points for the pastry cups intended for use as scrambled egg receptacles


Seriously. All the carbs.


Thankfully there was also some fresh fruit and cold cuts to counterbalance the carb festival. Bonus points for TG Whalejet views.


My breakfast. The bescahmel scrambled eggs were spectacular. Best I've ever had. The breakfast was so good, I had it three times over

I really enjoyed the Air Canada lounge. It did get busier as time wore on but was cleaned constantly and dishes were replenished well before they ran out. Also, the design made the space feel a lot less busy than it would have felt had the seats all been placed in unbroken rows - as tends to be the case in AA or BA lounges.

Also, I cannot emphasise enough how much it helps having views of the outside world when trying to adjust your body clock.


Lufthansa LH904
Frankfurt (FRA) - London Heathrow (LHR)
Duration: 1h40m
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Seat: 26F (Economy Class) !!!


Not much to report here. Y is Y. Boarding was quick. The FAs were more friendly than I was expecting. Better than a lot of BA shorthaul crews.


I had the best seat on the plane. The guy next to me tried to convince me that he should have the seat instead as he had booked an exit row. Yeah, sure I'll take your middle seat with no extra leg room. Good idea @:-)

In no time at all we found ourselves at LHR T2. This did not happen by accident. I had planned to arrive on LH as I wanted to check out the recently opened Plaza Premium Arrivals lounge at the *A terminal. It is the only Priority Pass arrivals lounge that I know of anywhere.

Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge - London Heathrow T2


I was offered a shower key as I checked in and quickly stopped at the bar for another coffee. My 6th of the morning.

There was a training group in there going over the features of the lounge, so I didn't take any pics of the main area. It is just a small bar with a few tables nearby, they serve hot food and coffees, which is basically all you could ever hope for in an arrivals lounge.


The shower room was spotlessly clean and quite spacious


Excellent water pressure and again, super clean


The drawer was stocked with a variety of amenities


Ready for the office

Conclusion

This trip was awesome.
Super awesome.
I went one and a half times around the world in the space of 2 weeks.
I snowboarded in Japan, hung out by the pool in LA, went to Katz's deli in NY, drank at a rooftop bar in Singapore, hung out in the world's tallest Park Hyatt in Shanghai and tried four different SQ premium cabins.

That is the power of FT.

The trip was tiring but definitely doable, given the comfortable surroundings in which I found myself. With enough coffee, booze and sleeping tablets you can make any timezone work

The sheer diversity of experiences was monumental. Before FT I had never even conceived of the possibility of seeing the world like this. Flying in business class... one day. That was the dream.

How things have changed. The TR forum made me aware of the possibility of itineraries like this. As this forum has inspired me, I hope that you'll all be able to derive some value from what I've written.

How would I rank all of these products having flown them all in such quick succession?

Best Seat
SQ Suites is the best. No surprises there. The hard product is just so insanely breathtaking that nothing could ever spoil it.

Best Service
SQ
. My F flight on the 777 and J on the 77WN were both stratospherically good. Unimaginable. The level of personalisation and care was truly beyond reproach.

Best Food and Beverage
JL F the wine list is exceptional (quite possibly the best there is) and you get the impression that no expense has been spared anywhere. Cedar chopsticks, Loewe amenity kits, $200 tea in a wine bottle etc.

Best Lounge
I visited some overrated lounges: QF F at LAX, CCR at LHR and TPR at SIN. A bad lounge: CA at PVG. And then there were two pleasant surprises: AC at FRA and SQ F at SIN.

Out of these I actually liked the SQ F lounge at Singapore Changi the best: more casual and less busy than TPR with a wider selection of food and the ability to serve yourself (choice is the ultimate luxury after all).

Honorable mention
SQ J on the 77WN. Given the option, I would definitely take this over BA F from LHR-SIN. The service was up to the quality of the hard product too. A cabin of 8 people in J is fantastic. Something about the layout and colour scheme makes it infinitely nicer than rows 3 and 4 on the AA 777 too.

As an introduction to SQ it exceeded expectations wildly. BR has better F&B as well as PJs etc. but it doesn't feel luxurious.

SQ's J on the 777WN leaves you with the same lasting impression as a good flight in F. The level of customisation, personalisation and attention to detail is just fantastic. I would seriously love to fly this again.


Thanks everybody for reading all of this. Now I'm only 6 TRs behind...

Last edited by Jermyn; Jan 23, 16 at 7:18 am
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Old Nov 15, 15, 5:58 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
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Looking forward to this!
alexisonsmith is offline  
Old Nov 15, 15, 1:41 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by alexisonsmith View Post
Looking forward to this!
Thanks, Part 1 is now up!

Last edited by Jermyn; Nov 15, 15 at 2:57 pm
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Old Nov 15, 15, 4:02 pm
  #10  
 
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Jermyn, I alwYs enjoy your TRs, but one where you're feeling badass AND eat a meal with a high degree of magnificence is extra special
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Old Nov 15, 15, 5:01 pm
  #11  
 
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Nice start. With J like that you can argue that SQ doesn't need F.
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Old Nov 15, 15, 5:24 pm
  #12  
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Wonderful start to your TR. Really like both the comments and photos...and that breakfast does look really good.

Thanks for posting this!
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Old Nov 15, 15, 7:46 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Excellent trip report so far, Jermyn!

Your previous CX F trip reports inspired me to book my own trip in F with CX this December - I'm counting down the days!
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Old Nov 15, 15, 8:05 pm
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by grandgourmand View Post
Nice start. With J like that you can argue that SQ doesn't need F.
It does seem to be a genuine halfway between j and f.
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Old Nov 16, 15, 12:26 am
  #15  
 
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subscribed!
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