Review | The mesmerising Singapore Airlines Suites | SYD-SIN-HKG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the trip of a lifetime, onboard the phenomenal and out-of-this-world Singapore Airlines Suites!

 

 

So it’s my birthday on the 24th of September, and for this, I am flying the amazing Singapore Airlines A380 Suites! My itinerary involves flying from Sydney to Singapore on the 24th of September, and then Singapore to Hong Kong on the 26th of September. After several conversations with the KrisFlyer Contact Centre about stopovers, unaccompanied minors, the website not working properly and redemption nominees, finally the flights are booked. At this stage, I have just got off the phone with KrisFlyer, and will update the report accordingly. This will be an amazing two flights, especially the one on my birthday! It’ll be amazing using the First Class drive-in check-in in Singapore and The Private Room in T3. Can’t wait! ✈ – 7:30 pm; Thursday 6 June 2013

^ The Itinerary ^

Well, the day of the amazing flight came fast! An early start to the day, so as to spend a good amount of time in the lounge. In the previous months I was in contact again with Mr Nicholas Ionides (President of Public Affairs at SIA) and Mr Mak Swee Wah (Executive Vice President of SIA). Mr Mak told me a while ago that he would be happy to meet up with me next time I was in Singapore. I told him I was to be in the country on the 25th/26th, and would love to meet up. He was, unfortunately, busy at the time, but kindly forwarded my email to Mr Nicholas Ionides, who then emailed me saying that he would be happy to meet with me. We agreed to meet up in the SilverKris lounge, and he granted lounge access to my Father and Sister who were flying Economy. But all of this excitement was present until a few days before the flight. Mr Ionides said he was unable to make it for the meeting as he had an unexpected business trip. This was probably in view of the announcement of the new Indian airline to be formed by Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons. But nonetheless, he managed to pull some strings to allow my Father and Sister First Class lounge in Singapore and also into the Air New Zealand (ANZ) Lounge in Sydney. The SIA lounge in Sydney was under renovation, and SIA were using the ANZ lounge. Because of this, ANZ wasn’t allowing guests of premium passengers into the lounge. However, thanks to Mr Ionides, they did this time!
Anyway, after checking in at the Suites counter and getting the nice golden boarding passes, we proceeded through immigration.

THE FLIGHT:
Airline: Singapore Airlines
Aircraft: Airbus A380-841
Registration: 9V-SKF; MSN 012
Route: SYD-SIN
Flight Number: SQ 232
Class Of Travel: Suites (First Class)
Seat Number: 03F
Departure Date: 24/09/13

Routing
The Check-In Banner
The Amazing Golden Boarding Card

After immigration we headed straight to the Air New Zealand lounge. It is a fairly basic lounge. At the time there was very limited food on offer, however, I would expect this to be different later in the day. It was fairly busy as a result of many airlines using it.

View from the lounge: A Thai Airways retro-livery B747 
View from the lounge: The SIA A380-841 taking us to Singapore. Registration 9V-SKF

Boarding was scheduled at 10:45am, so we headed to Gate 61 at about 10:30. At this point, boarding was just beginning for Suites and Business Class, so I headed through the priority lane and walked to the end of the airbridge, where I was able to turn into the dedicated Suites boarding bridge. As I approached the door, the crew came out, “Good morning, Sir.”. The steward handed my boarding card to the Leading Stewardess who took me to my seat. She showed me where to put my bag and asked if I wanted a drink. I requested the Tropical Sparkle, one of my favourite non-alcoholic cocktails in Singapore Airlines Business and First. It seemed to taste far better here in the Suites than in Business Class! At this point I noticed the blue card in the literature pocket…FINALLY I was onboard a Singapore Airlines flight with wi-fi! 

Inflight Connectivity Information Card

Soon the Chief Steward, Edmund Lee came and introduced himself. He was to look after me for most of the flight. I noticed his red tie and said “Ah…Red tie. Chief Steward!” and he responded with “Yes, Chief! But not the oldest crew!”. More about Edmund later, but he was THE BEST flight attendant (F/A) I have ever had onboard ANY flight. Edmund began by willingly showing me all the features of the Suite, including the storage areas, tray table and wardrobe. Just before he left I noticed he was using a MontBlanc Meisterstück Classic pen! I love MontBlanc and all their products…great to see F/As using them inflight!

Some pre-take-off photos:

The Suite: Large Bench to the side with a large desk that extends out
Even the water glasses have a different design here!
The Suite: There is an ottoman that acts as a footrest or a seat for a companion during flight
The Cabin: View with door open but central blinds closed in the central Suite

It was a very different perspective seeing the aircraft turn from the front of this enormous aircraft. Soon after take-off there was a bit of down-time before the meal service began.

In the Suites, SIA offers a 5 course meal along with a wide selection of breads before the meal and an array of TWG gourmet teas, fine coffees by Illy and a selection of fresh fruits, to conclude the meal.

Two appetisers were available on this flight, including: 
Chilled malossol caviar with melba toast and condiments;
*Warm seared spiced scallops with pumpkin puree, caper raisin chutney and salad

Two soups were available on this flight, including:
Sweetcorn soup with crabmeat and basil pesto;
Chicken soup with Chinese mushrooms and bamboo shoot

One salad was available on this flight:
Caesar salad: Romaine lettuce with bacon, parmesan cheese, croutons and anchovy-garlic dressing

Four main courses were available on this flight including:
*Barramundi fillet with cold potato-marinated artichoke salad and iberico ham;
Wagyu sirloin with rosemary jus, roasted onion, mushroom, carrot, bell pepper and mashed potatoes;
Indian prawns curry with spiced vegetables and pilaff rice;
Braised chicken with bailing mushroom, bean curd with vegetables and fried ee fu noodle

Three desserts were available on this flight:
*Chocolate marquise with caramelised peanut and orange sorbet;
Grand Marnier caramel custard with strawberry salad;
Cheddar maffra, blue tar win berry’s creel, des clarine and holy goat organic succan grange cheeses with grapes and garnishes

To conclude:
Fresh, in season fruits;
Gourmet teas by TWG;
Gourmet coffees by Illy;
Pralines

* Indicates meals exclusively created by Matt Moran of Aria Restaurant, Sydney

Singapore Airlines features a comprehensive ‘International Culinary Panel’ (ICP). This comprises of well known chefs from around the world including Matt Moran (Australia), Gordon Ramsay (United Kingdom), Alfred Portale (United States), Carlo Cracco (Italy), Georges Blanc (France), Sam Leong (Singapore), Sanjeev Kapoor (India), Yoshihiro Murata (Japan), Zhu Jun (China), Suzanne Goin (United States).
On most flight in Business, First and Suites (and sometimes Economy), a small chef hat icon next to the meal selection indicates the meal has been created by one of these chefs. On this flight (and I assume most flights in and out of Australia), Matt Moran was the featured chef. In the menu above, the * represents meals created by him.

SIA also uses Givnechy crockery, cutlery and linen throughout all classes on all aircraft. Here is initial table set-up:

Givenchy base plate, cutlery set, bread plate, hot towel plate
Hot towel is replaced throughout the meal service
The intricate design of the Givenchy base plate on which each course plate is placed

I started my meal with Singapore Airlines’ famous caviar and condiments:

This dish is the most common First Class appetiser served on most First/ Suites flights. It features caviar, melba toast and other condiments, as well as a lemon wedge. The dish was flavoursome and perfectly salty. This was my first real time having caviar, and it was amazing. The chief steward, Edmund, even asked if I wanted more!

Following this was the soup course:

I selected the Sweetcorn soup with crabmeat and basil pesto. Yet again, this was a very flavoursome dish, and quiet a large serving. There was a lot of flavour, however a little extra salt was needed. There was a perfect amount of crab meat in the dish as well.

This was closest followed by the salad course:

The Caesar Salad was the only salad on offer for this meal. It was very tasty and flavoursome like all the courses. Onboard an aircraft the air is dry and taste sense is reduced. Airline catering involves adding a great deal of flavour so that meals that would be fine on the ground are not bland inflight. The salad leaves were presented nicely, wrapped tightly in cucumber (although this was a little tricky to take apart).

After going to the bathroom briefly I came back to find the salad taken away (they must have known I had had enough) and the hot towel replaced. Next came the main course:

I used Singapore Airlines’ Book The Cook service, which I took advantage of on my last SIA Business Class flight. I decided to order the very famous Singapore Airlines Boston Lobster Thermidor. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy this course as much. Mainly because I was very full by this point. The lobster itself was fairly bland. The rice was amazing, though. Edmund even came and offered me an unopened jar of chilli flakes. He said that he really liked chilli on food and goes to a special restaurant in Singapore (or Sydney, I can’t remember) that makes really hot food. Love the personal touches in the service!

To conclude the meal, was the amazing dessert service:

I chose the chocolate marquise with caramelised peanut and orange sorbet, which is a dish exclusively created by Matt Moran of Aria Restaurant in Sydney. The marquise itself was very rich and thick, and incredibly tasty. The orange sorbet was a perfect consistency and had a strong tangy orange taste. The caramelised peanuts were a wonderful touch.
So that concluded the lunch service on this flight. The crew on this flight were amazing, and every time I went to the bathroom they kindly opened the door for me. The lavatories are also cleaned after every use.
After a little while I went to explore the aircraft. For the first time I was able to walk all over the upper and main decks of the aircraft. My father and sister were upstairs in Economy, and Edmund kindly took me upstairs to see them. Because I was in the Suites, the cabin crew took extra care of them. The Inflight Supervisor, Leading Stewardess and Chief Steward regularly went and asked them if they needed anything, and apparently several other passengers were looking at them wondering “Who the hell are you??”!
During the exploration of the aircraft I really got to see just how massive the A380 is. The forward grand staircase linking the Suites and Business Class.
The very front of the A380 (apart from the cockpit). Door 1L. Cockpit and crew rest is to the left.
Nice lighting and architecture in the ceiling
Grand staircase with velvet rope. I went up these several times.
The left aisle of the Suites Cabin 
 The inflight control panel that control everything (including water levels, the videos playing throughout the cabin, communication to the ground and more). It even has a printer to receive documents from the ground.
The left aisle of the Suites Cabin. Notice how the aisle is wavy instead of straight.
THE SUITE
Being onboard in the Suites is unbelievable. The ambience is amazing. Engine noise is very low because of being in the nose of the aircraft. There is an enormous amount of space in the Suite and in the forward area of the aircraft. Plenty of storage available under the ottoman, in the side closet and in many other compartments in the Suite. 
The individual seat reclines very far, is very wide (even wider than the SQ Business Class) and has a useful footrest. The ottoman at the end of the Suite is used either as a footrest or a companion seat. The side of the Suite has a large bench to place items, as well as storage compartments and the connectivity panel. A very large table folds out from here. It feels very sturdy and has a deep brown wood finish just like the rest of the Suite. It also slides forward and back. When it comes to the bed, SIA has created a First Class bed unlike any other airline. In SIA’s long haul Business Class, First Class and in Suites the seat DOES NOT recline fully flat. Instead the seatback folds down and is used as the bed (Business and First). It has a proper mattress padding for more comfort. In the Suites, however, the seat folds down and a whole bed is folded out from the wall behind. It is the same length as a single-bed and is very, very comfortable. One of the little things I love about the Suites cabin is that the aisle is wavy instead of straight and the aisle carpet is a different colour to that of the Suite floor. Just makes it look that little more interesting! The doors slide closed very easily, and a pull down blind on either side of the doors allows for more privacy. 
 
Here are a few more pictures of the cabin:
The Suite: Large bench on the side with the menu and T3 tech magazine!
Doors closed in the Suite!
My Suite. The cabin was dark because lights were turned down and blinds closed. This is with the in Suite lighting on.
The lights in the Suite are really soothing and can fully light up the Suite whilst the rest of the cabin is dark.
The nightly Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines. Such a different perspective from the front of the aircraft!
Lit up Suite number with arrow pointing towards the Suite door.
View from outside the Suite with the blinds open
Suite 3A and 3F are popular because they feature 3 windows instead of 2
Different coloured carpet in the Suite and in the aisle. The aisle is actually wavy, instead of straight
I now wanted to have the bed made and relax for a little. I asked Edmund to do this, and he offered to make the bed in the central Suite so I could leave my window Suite as a lounge room. He was also telling me about how the centre Suites cane converted to a double bed (which I was well aware of, by the way). One of the other FA’s suggested I get changed into the Givenchy Sleep Suit while they made the bed. But Edmund said “Oh, you wanted to see how the bed is made, right?”. Edmund was well aware of my intense passion for SIA, and was extremely happy to show me all about the aircraft. He showed me all the steps they take to turn down the bed. Instead of the seat reclining all the way, an actual mattress comes down from the wall panel behind. It’s a pretty complicated 20 step process to fold it down and lower the various tables in the Suite. After he made it, I asked whether he could make the double bed seeing as no one else was in the central Suites. He was happy to do so, so I left to get changed. When I came back, the double bed was made with the lighting on softly and the pillows and bankers nicely laid out.
Here are some more pictures of the double Suite:
This ceiling light strip was my favourite lighting feature of the Suite
This control panel is available next to the seat normally, but is covered when the bed is made. This is the panel for when the bed is made. It also has a few extra lighting controls.
The ceiling spotlights/reading lights were also a nice feature
Two 23-inch widescreen LCD TV’s and a double bed onboard an aircraft!
After a while, I had a knock on the door, and when I opened it, my father, sister and all of the crew were there with a cake, SIA teddy bear and a gift from my sister. They sang happy birthday and one of the crew said “Obviously we can’t have a candle, so blow out the pretend candle!”. By the way, the cake was on a Givenchy plate. After this, my father, sister and I went to my lounge room Suite and the crew brought us extra cutlery and plates, as well as offering drinks.
My sister wanted to experience the Suite as well, so the crew allowed her to lie down in my double Suite for a while. Pretty nice of the crew to allow them to spend so much time in the Suites!
For the rest of the flight, I relaxed and explored the aircraft more before the refreshment service.
The refreshments offered were:
Nicoise salad of fingerling potato, kalmatta olive and kenyan beans with seared king scallops
 
OR
Boiled beef cheek in soup with udon noodles with bean sprouts and shiitake mushrooms
 
As you can see in the picture, I chose option 1. This was one of the most amazing dishes I have had onboard an aircraft. It was full of a variety of flavours and perfectly salted. There was plenty of meat and a good balance of thin and thick udon noodles.
Concluding this flight, we spent two nights in Singapore, and continued on to Hong Kong (also in the Suites). Because I was continuing on in the Suites, I was able to use The Private Room in Terminal 3. My father and sister were allowed in the First Class lounge. We were also able to use SQ’s drive up check-in lounge, which was amazing.
Here are some pictures of the First Class check-in and lounge in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3.
Exit of the First Class Check-In
A gold sticker on the boarding card permits access to SIA’s private immigration channel
Seating at Check-In
 Menu in The Private Room
This Duck dish was amazing
 Amazing Chocolate Fudge ice cream
The double-cooked duck leg
Breakfast in the Private Room. Staring with an AMAZING Paris-Singapore TWG Tea
Givenchy tea-cup
Bacon and eggs before the Hong Kong flight
The Private Room
The Private Room
The Private Room  
 The Private Room 
 The Private Room 
 
 The Private Room: Looking from lounge area towards dining area 
 
 The Private Room 
 
 The Private Room: Dining area in the background 
 
Most of the chairs in The Private Room are like this
Travelling in the Suites was an absolutely amazing experience. I flew on redemption, but if I were to have paid in full, it would have been WORTH EVERY DOLLAR. So if you enjoy the finer things in life, or if you love aviation and travel, I absolutely recommend that you put a Suites trip on your bucket list.
 NEXT TRIP REPORT: 
SYD-HKG and back on Virgin Atlantic A340-600 Premium Economy, HKG-SFO and back on Singapore Airlines B777-300ER Economy, Emeryville CA to Seattle WA on Amtrak Bedroom Suite, SEA-SFO Virgin America A321 Main Cabin, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Hilton San Francisco Financial District, The Westin Seattle, The Boeing Factory Everette WA, Apple Headquarters Cupertino CA
 
 
STAY TUNED!
 

That is it for now.

Fly well.
Travel safe.
And enjoy the journey.

✈  A.K

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s