Date : 11 November 2014
Flight : SQ802
Class : Suites
Seat : 3F
Plane : A380-800 (9V-SKB)
Photo taken : iPhone 6+
This is my first ever trip report – I am not a regular traveller, just an average guy who enjoys miles collection to be used for premium travel. I have no status with any carrier, just a regular Krisflyer member with Singapore Airlines.
SQ802 will be my second time on SQ suites (my first being SQ866 to Hong Kong). Just like SQ866 back in 2013, SQ802 was initially operated using a 77W until August 2014 when it was switched to an A380. This came at the expense of discontinuing one of the redeye flight (using an A330). Suites were first introduced in 2007 when Singapore Airlines became the first carrier to operate the Airbus A380. It was the cabin that everyone wanted to fly in but until recently, SQ suites were almost ‘untouchable’ for those flying on award tickets. Now one can fly the suites as it falls into the same category as first class.
My journey began when my taxi dropped my parents and I off at Changi International Airport Terminal 3 at the First Class check in terminal. This special check in lounge is located in one corner of Terminal 3. Upon alighting, porters will help you with your luggage to the check in counter while a ground staff will process your check in. The lounge was pretty quiet as it was still pretty early. Although cozy, it would have been good if beverages were provided at the check in lounge. My guess is that since one is able to check in almost immediately and be in the lounge within 10 minutes, snack service in this lounge seemed redundant.
Check in was pretty seamless and everything was done in less than 5 minutes. My parents who traveled with me in Business Class on the same flight was able to utilise this check in lounge too as I was flying in Suites. Upon completion, I was given an additional card (THE ‘Golden Card’) that allowed me to gain entry into The Private Room on top of the boarding passes. The First Class check in facility is also available to PPS Solitaire members.
Once we exited the lounge, a special First Class immigration counter is just about 20 meters ahead and again is only reserved for those travelling on first/suites (and accompanying travellers on same flight regardless of travel class). We cleared immigration in just 1 minute and upon clearing immigration, there is an escalator that will bring you to level 3 where Silverkris Lounge is located.
Upon entering, the Business Class lounge is just ahead while you will need to turn right and walk further in to get to the First Class Lounge. I was quite thankful that the ground staff allowed me to bring both my parents into the First Class section (they did emphasise that this was an exception as my parents are in their 70s). After settling my parents in the First Class Lounge, the staff escorted me further in to The Private Room. This is the ‘lounge within the lounge’ reserved only for those traveling on First/Suites tickets with no guests allowed (not even PPS Solitaire member unless they are traveling on First/Suites). In the past, this lounge was reserved ONLY for those traveling on revenue First/Suites tickets but this rule has been relaxed to include those travelling on award tickets.
Once in, I was escorted to the dining section of the lounge. On sitting, I was given the breakfast menu. Not wanting to overeat, I ordered the prata with fish curry with a pot of chamomile tea. The prata was OK but it was too crispy to my liking. The fish curry however was rich and tasty with big succulent pieces of fish in it. I also tried the dim sum and I find it rather ordinary. Besides the made to order breakfast, The Private Room has a small buffet section that include cheese, cereals and some sandwiches. The staffs were responsive and service was prompt.
After breakfast, I used the shower room to refresh myself before the flight. The shower room was bright and clean with the necessary amenities provided (toothbrush set, comb, towel etc). There is no door separating the shower cubicle so there is a risk of water splashing out. Water was hot with good water pressure. However, I find the soap / shampoo dispenser rather crude for a first class lounge. Nevertheless, it functioned well :).
Took my things, left the Private room and fetch my parents before heading to gate B2 for our flight. We were late to board as I made a stop at the Duty Free Shop. By the time we boarded at 820, almost all the Economy Class passengers had boarded. I directed my parents to the Business Class passageway while I boarded at the Suites passageway. Half way, I was greeted by a flight crew who promptly assisted me with my carry on luggage and my jacket. I preselected seat 3F as it is the seat with 3 windows (the rest have 2). My flight was half full (6/12 seats occupied). After i settled into my seat, the leading stewardess introduced herself and offered me a pre-take off drink. Took my first glass of booze, the Dom Perignon 2004 Vintage with a bowl of warm nuts. Unfortunately, the Krisworld entertainment system was not switched on yet. That gave me some time to take more pictures of the cabin and to go upstairs to check on my parents who were seated at 11D and 11F.
The seat of the suite was very comfortable with an oversized leather armchair made by Poltrona Frau occupying about 1/3 of the suite space. Recent trip reports suggested some of the A380 suites seats may have been reupholstered (but this is probably limited to the newer A380 plying the long haul route). The leg space is more than adequate for my 6′ 3″ height. opposite the chair is the ottoman that allows your companion to seat opposite you during meal time (with its own set of seatbelt). . There are no overhead compartments in the suites, hand luggage are stowed underneath the ottoman while each suite has its own coat/jacket cabinet. The TV is touted on the SQ website as having the highest resolution in sky. It is a 23″ 720P TV which is fixed (can’t be tilted). Suites passengers are supplied with the Bose active noise cancelling headset. I like this headset as it is comfortable to use and isolates the ambience noise very well (compared to the Phitek which is used in the Business Class – which I shall review on my SQ807 trip back to Singapore). Here are some pictures of the suite.
There was no delay and the door was closed on time. Enjoyed my second glass of Dom as the plane reversed from the terminal onto the taxiway and made its way to the runway (and more pictures of the suite of course). Not long after take off, I got myself a cup of Jamaican blue mountain. I can’t function without my morning coffee and today is of no exception. While waiting for the meal service, I ordered a glass of Ice Milo. It was to my liking as it was not too sweet. Amenity kit was distributed not long after take off. Being a short flight of 5.5 to 6 hours, I was only given a pair of slippers and an eyeshade. No pyjamas for a short morning flight.
Being in a premium cabin gave me the liberty to choose my own dining time. I decided to have my brunch at 11am as I was still full from my breakfast at the lounge. I had the Boston Lobster Thermidor the last time I travelled on Suites but it was not exactly pleasant as the it was rubbery and tough to chew on. I decided to give it a try again but with an instruction on not to overheat it. Below are pictures of the rest of the menu. I chose the antipasto platter, Chef Sam Leong’s double boiled soup, salad (standard option), BTC lobster thermidor and the dessert (on top of the bread basket choice and fruit basket). Had a glass of Kooyong white wine to go and later another glass of Dom. Here are the pictures of the Suites menu on that flight.
Unfortunately, my experience with the Lobster Thermidor wasn’t great again. The soup and the appetizer was great, salad and dessert was ordinary while the BTC Boston Lobster Thermidor …. lets just say I will probably not get this again in the future.
After the meal, I continued with my movie (Lucy) before I decided to take a short nap. As the suites were only half filled, the crew set up Suite 2F into a bed. Here are some pictures of the suite in bed configuration (and the middle suites that can be converted into a double bed). The bed is more than adequate to accommodate my height. I would not say it is comfortable compared to my bed at home, but at 40,000 feet this is definitely a luxury (compared to sleeping on an Economy Class seat). After waking up, I refreshed myself in the toilet. Unlike Emirates where the First Class is housed at the upper deck, SQ Suites are housed at the lower deck. Hence, SQ suites has only 2 standard sized aft toilets (unlike Emirates which can house a shower at the large upper deck fore toilet).
After my toilet break, I decided to watch movie on the bed (instead of on the chair). There were no chips on board (sadly) hence the stewardess came back with some butter cookies with a glass of TWG and later ice cream with another glass of Ice Milo. Here are some more pictures of the suites in bed mode.
Soon, the pilot made the announcement that the plane will begin descent. Preparations were made for landing, including stowing the beds back. I moved back to my 3F seat and had another glass of champagne (but this time I had the Krug Grande Cuvee instead). While sipping my bubbly, I can’t help but notice some wear and tear on this plane. This flight was operated on 9V-SKB which was delivered to Singapore Airlines in January 2008, hence it is almost 7 years old.
Here are more pictures of the suite
SQ802 landed on time at Beijing International Airport. More pictures taken while waiting to disembark. Beijing Airport however, does not have any VIP immigration clearance lane. It didn’t matter much as I was the second person to disembark and there were not many flights that arrived at that time. It took me about 30 minutes from the point of disembarkation to immigration clearance (due to me waiting for my parents to disembark from the Business Class section – the upper skybridge was deployed much slower).
The hard product of the Suites is still one of the best in the market, despite showing signs of ageing. Being the first to introduce the concept of Suites, Singapore Airlines Suites Class definitely raised the bar for first class travel back in 2007. It was unparalleled back then until Emirates introduced their own Suites and soon other airlines followed the concept of private suite on their A380 (and some 777s). 7 years on, SQ suites is definitely facing very stiff competition, especially from middle east carriers like Emirates, Qatar and Etihad.
Soft product wise, as always the charm of Singapore Girl still stands out. The professionalism of the Singapore Girl extends even to Economy Class and it has been an integral part of Singapore Airline’s image since its introduction in 1972. No doubt I have had some bad experience before with the services, I would still give two thumbs up to the Singapore Girl.
I hope that Singapore Airlines would introduce a new Suites design soon (after the new First Class was introduced into in Q3 2013 on their newer 77Ws) to keep up with the intense competition in the premium travel segment.
The damage for this sector
Miles – 42,500 miles (Saver Award, after 15% discount)
Surcharges – SGD $236.10
Next up, a trip report on my return trip back from Beijing on SQ807 on Business Class.