Another mesmerising review from our guest reporter, BK Tan, detailing the incredible experience of flying the Singapore Airlines Suites!
Carrier: Singapore Airlines (SQ)
Flight Number: SQ403
Duration: 5 hours
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Cabin Class: Suites
Seat Number: 01F (Dining) 02F (Resting)
October 3rd 2014 – Seven years since the Singapore Airlines Suites made its international debut, today was to be my first-time onboard this luxury haven. An impromptu decision, made possible by cashing in my air miles for the one-way upgrade from Business Class to Suites.
It was great that as a frequent hotel patron, Leela Ambience Hotel provided me with a complimentary airport transfer in a BMW 7-Series, a ride fit for a “Raja”. The hotel, conveniently located at Gurgaon meant it was just 20 minutes away from the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Overseas-hubs that Singapore Airlines operates from have the glamour toned-down a few notches. Unlike flights departing from Singapore, there is no porter to meet and greet you at the curb-side; no dedicated private lounge available for passengers travelling on First Class and Suites to check-in; no “private-access” lane dedicated to Singapore Airlines First Class and Suites for immigration clearance; and no lounge beyond First, or Singapore’s exclusive “The Private Room” at overseas-stations. Reality bites! Whilst all that pre-departure exclusives would be nice-to-have, one would easily forgive and forget after entering heavens’ gates, onboard Singapore Airlines.
Security is tight at Indian Airports. Today, Security is more environmentally green at Indian Airports. Thanks to email and photo apps on smart phones, no paper documentation is required. A screen shot of the departing flight and passport is all that’s required today. After clearing security, which took all but 3 minutes, I checked the flight terminal display and proceeded to the Singapore Airlines Suites check-in counter.
Including myself, there were only four of us on Suites, and this would be for a family of three. Yup! That’s their daughter looking at me posing for a photo.
With my bags tagged for Singapore, my gold pass was presented together with a map on how to get to the SilverKris lounge.
Yes, as mentioned earlier, “The Private Room” is non-existent at overseas airports. Passengers travelling in First Class and Suites use the SilverKris Gold Lounge. The only “exclusivity” here at the Delhi lounge, was placards “Reserved for Suites”. Good enough for me!
After a short chill-lax at the lounge, it was time to board the massive Airbus 380 / registration # 9V-SKJ.
The Singapore Airlines team, at the gate, all ready to board the Airbus A380 (Tail: 9V-SKJ) for the Singapore-bound flight. Unfortunately, weather conditions were poor, and taking a photo of the Airbus A380 would serve it “injustice”…..
As I had upgraded myself using air-miles, I bid farewell to my colleague who was travelling on Business Class. Before stepping into the aircraft cabin, the crew had already offered to assist me with my luggage. Able to manage, I politely declined. More importantly, it is not my style to have cabin crew treat me like a “legendary” being.
There are a total of 12 seats in Suites, so with just four passengers onboard this evening, I decided to “upgrade” myself from Suite 3D to 1F (for dining) and 2F (for resting).
Settling into my “castle” at 1F, Sharon asked what I would like for my pre-departure drinks. Having been informed that Dom Pèrignon could only be served after our departure, I decided to have ice milo, a drink that had some relevance at the close to 10pm hour.
Sharon returned a few minutes later with my ice milo. By then, her colleague had already dropped by my Suite at 1F and presented me with my loot – Salvatore Ferragamo Amenity Kit; Singapore Airlines pajamas and Bose headphones for a wholesome inflight experience.
I politely requested for a photo opportunity that she quickly obliged to assist with. Priceless moments have to be captured on “film” – metaphorically at best, with technology advancements past the film era.
SQ403 departed Delhi at 22:10hrs. Flight time to Singapore: 5 hours. Once the aircraft reached a cruising altitude of FL390 (39,000 feet), Sharon came along with Dom Pèrignon.
“Mr. Tan, we have opened a bottle of Dom Pèrignon for you. You should also try the Krug later.”
Intrigued, I asked which she preferred. She mentioned that her choice would be Krug as it was refined in taste, smoother and less bubbly.
Great to know, I asked if my colleague seated in Business Class could join me for a drink.
“Of course, Mr. Tan.” (naturally, a momentary lapse as I am sure she meant to address me as “Lord” Tan)
With a snap of my finger, my colleague arrived, seated across my seat, where I placed my feet earlier (chuckle). Luxury at leisure in my Suite 1F Cabin, we each downed a glass of Dom Pèrignon! What a way to live, as we cruised along the dark night skies.
Supper From Delhi to Singapore
Meal Service soon arrived and it was time to “banish” my colleague back up to Business Class. It was definitely late for a lavish meal, but today being my first experience on Suites, “indulgence with caution” was on the cards. I selected the lighter meal of fish vermicelli. The alternative was “Pan roasted chicken stuffed with dried apricot, sautéed vegetables and gratin potatoes (lemon thyme jus)”. The latter option would just have been way too filling!
Armed with a glass of Krug in hand, and Fine China all set, I was ready to wine and dine in my posh restaurant at 38,000 feet!
Appetizers: Mezze platter of eggplant salad, marinated lobster and grilled red peppers
Soups: Oven roasted pumpkin soup garnished with crouton and chives
To fully enjoy my Suites experience, sleep was a definite NO!! Here, I pose in pretend-rest mode, on a double bed across from my second Suite cabin, 2F. This was pictured with slightly under 3 hours of remaining flight time, before happy hour ends!
Here’s me in my private Suite cabin, 2F. The one way experience would have cost approximately US$2.8K / S$3.6K. That’s US$560/hr or US$9.30 / minute! Thank goodness all that’s required is 32,500 miles for a one-way upgrade.
Nature calls! A visit to check-out the lavatory onboard the Singapore Airlines Suites is a must-do! Here’s photos and a non-intended selfie of my pilgrimage. Yes, toiletries are by Salvatore Ferragamo!
As with most Singapore Airlines flights, SQ403 arrived in Singapore on-time, at 06:06hrs, October 4th, 2014. Here’s photos of Sharon and myself; as well as the team who made it all happen at Suites!
A believer in complimenting and recognizing crew for excellent services and experience, I penned a letter to SVP Cabin Crew, to give the team some well-deserved cheer, for an exemplary onboard experience.
Dear Mr. Marvin Tan,
This letter is to commend the team who displayed exemplary service in the Suites cabin of SQ403 / October 3rd, 2014.
The duties of flight service crews today go beyond providing routine inflight services that business travelers like myself have become accustomed to. Without doubt, the skill-sets displayed by team had extended beyond the basic and routine service that one would typically expect for premium class travel.
I am confident that my letter to you today, commending the excellent services from the team would definitely not have been their first. Nonetheless, excellent hospitality far reaching normal expectations should not go unrecognized and unappreciated.
Once again, a job well done, handled with professionalism that raises the bar of inflight service. Without doubt, the team mentioned, are excellent role models for their fellow peers at Singapore Airlines.
For your records, and onward communication to the team please.
Mr. BK Tan | SQ403 | October 3rd, 2014
If you have not enrolled in Singapore Airlines’ mileage rewards program, it may be interesting to note that a host of salutations are offered. With the exception of “Emperor”; “Empresses”; and “Dowager”, you’d find something suitable that rings a jingle to your ears. Here’s what I occasionally go by…. So next time you see me onboard, do drop by and chat with the “Lord”.☺
Beng Keat TAN (“BK”) writing freelance. BK
may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org