SQ802 Suites (SIN-PEK)

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.

 

Photo 11-11-14 06 44 39
Quiet & cozy First Class Check in Lounge
Photo 11-11-14 06 44 45
Check in counters in the lounge
Photo 11-11-14 06 42 14
The ‘GOLDEN PASS’

 

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.

Photo 11-11-14 06 48 34
The immigration counter upon exiting the check in lounge
Photo 11-11-14 06 52 13
Silverkris Lounge – right in front of you once you clear the immigration
Lounge entrance
Lounge entrance

 

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.

Business Class lounge is in front once you enter the lounge
Business Class lounge is in front once you enter the lounge (accessible to those travelling on Business Class or PPS members)
Turn right and walk further in - you will reach the First Class Lounge (Accessible to those travelling on First/Suites class or PPS Solitaire member)
Turn right and walk further in – you will reach the First Class Lounge (Accessible to those travelling on First/Suites class or PPS Solitaire member)

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.

walk further into the lounge, you will see The Private Room
walk further into the lounge, you will see The Private Room
Oversized sofa in the dining area
Oversized sofa in the dining area
Another view of the dining area
Another view of the dining area
Breakfast ala carte menu
Ala carte breakfast menu
Prata with fish curry
Prata with fish curry
Thick chunk of fish in the curry
Thick chunk of fish in the curry
Dim sum
Dim sum

 

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 :).

Shower room in The Private Room
Shower room in The Private Room
Nice shower cubicle
Nice shower cubicle
additional water outlets of the shower
additional water outlets of the shower
This doesn't fit into the shower cubicle design
This doesn’t fit into the shower cubicle design

 

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.

SQ802
SQ802
Sign indicating entry for Suites passengers
Sign indicating entry for Suites passengers

 

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.

23" 1280 x 720 TV
23″ 1280 x 720 TV – perhaps we can see a bigger TV with full HD with the SQ Suites Mark II?
Bose active noise cancelling headset - definitely my favourite
Bose active noise cancelling headset – definitely my favourite
Poltrona Frau leather armchair
Poltrona Frau leather armchair
Chair at full recline
Chair at full recline
Photo 11-11-14 08 48 19
Ottoman opposite the chair, with its own seatbelt – for guest to dine together in the suite
Foot rest - fully extended
Foot rest – fully extended
Storage underneath the ottoman
Storage underneath the ottoman
Can be used as a foot rest too! (if your leg is long enough)
Can be used as a foot rest too! (if your leg is long enough)
Retractable table (fix height, unlike the first class table)
Retractable table (fix height, unlike the first class table)
No overhead compartments
No overhead compartments
Coat cabinet
Coat cabinet
Suites corridor
Suites corridor
Panoramic view of the cabin
Panoramic view of the cabin

 

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.

Dom Perignon Vintage 2004
Dom Perignon Vintage 2004
Dom Perignon with nuts
Dom Perignon with nuts
On the runway - preparing for take off
On the runway – preparing for take off
Take off !
Take off !

 

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.

Front cover of the Suites Menu
Front cover of the Suites Menu
Ming Jia Zhen Zuan - by Chef Sam Leong (instead of Zhu Jun)
Ming Jia Zhen Zuan – by Chef Sam Leong (instead of Zhu Jun)
Western selection (what I opted, except for the main course which was my BTC and the soup)
Western selection (what I opted, except for the main course which was my BTC and the soup)

Photo 11-11-14 08 31 06

Champagne and wine selection
Champagne and wine selection
More wine selections
More wine selections

Photo 11-11-14 08 45 38

Cocktails & Aperetifs
Cocktails & aperitif
Spirits & Beers
Spirits & Beers
Non alcoholic choices
Non alcoholic choices
More non alcoholic selections
More non alcoholic selections
Coffee
Coffee
Specialty Coffee
Specialty Coffee
TWG Tea selection
TWG Tea selection
More tea selection
More tea selection
Photo 11-11-14 09 14 28
Some freshly squeezed orange juice with nuts shortly after take off
Table being set up for meal service
Table being set up for meal service
Givenchy wares
Givenchy wares
First course - antipesto platter.  Loved the foie gras!
First course – antipesto platter with a glass of Kooyong white. Loved the foie gras!
The highly recommended SQ garlic bread
The highly recommended SQ garlic bread
More selection from the bread basket
More selection from the bread basket
Second course - soup.  Very tasty double boiled soup with chicken and conpoy.
Second course – soup. Very tasty double boiled soup with chicken and conpoy.
Third course - salad, nothing special
Third course – salad, nothing special
Main course - BTC Boston Lobster Thermidor.  Portion is adequate (probably I was still full from my heavy breakfast), nicely presented but lobster still felt rubbery on chewing
Main course – BTC Boston Lobster Thermidor. Portion is adequate (probably I was still full from my heavy breakfast), nicely presented but lobster still felt rubbery on chewing
One big lobster claw
One big lobster claw
Dessert
Dessert
Kiwi fruit from the fruit basket - very sweet
Kiwi fruit from the fruit basket – very sweet
Cheese
Cheese
A cup of Blue Jamaican to end the meal
Another cup of Blue Jamaican to end the meal with

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).

Suite 2F, converted into bed
Suite 2F, converted into bed
Another view of the bed
Another view of the bed
A bottle of Evian by the side
A bottle of Evian by the side
Storage for computer / magazine
Storage for computer / magazine
control panels after the suite has been converted into a bedroom
control panels after the suite has been converted into a bedroom
Bed is long enough to fit me in
Bed is long enough to fit me in
The double bed (suites 3C and 3D)
The double bed (suites 3C and 3D)
Suite 2F however cannot be closed fully
Suite 2F’s door however cannot be closed fully
Suite window shade down
Suite window shade down
Toilet mirror
Toilet mirror
Not so spacious toilet
Not so spacious 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.

Photo 11-11-14 12 01 17

A cup of TWG Paris-Singapore brew
A cup of TWG Paris-Singapore brew

 

Butter cookies - would have preferred some chips/nachos for movie
Butter cookies – would have preferred some chips/nachos for movie
More Ice Milo!
More Ice Milo!
Ice cream with Chocolate ice cream by the side
Ice cream with Chocolate ice cream by the side

 

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.

Signs of aging
Signs of aging
more wear & tear
more wear & tear

Here are more pictures of the suite

Remote  control
Remote control
air vent
Light
Photo 11-11-14 13 05 07
3 pin headphone jack, RJ45 jack, RCA video in jack, 2 x USB port and an international AC plug
Storage compartment for small items
Storage compartment for small items
vanity mirror
vanity mirror
side table
side table
second headphone plug in the suite - allows 2 people to watch the same movie together.  The seat can definitely accommodate 2 small-sized people
second headphone plug in the suite – allows 2 people to watch the same movie together. The seat can definitely accommodate 2 small-sized people
One last glass of champagne before landing - The Krug Grande Cuvee
One last glass of champagne before landing – The Krug Grande Cuvee
Krug
Krug

 

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).

Front view of the Trent engines of the A380
Front view of the Trent engines of the A380
Beijing International Airport
Beijing International Airport
This stairs will bring you to the Business Class section at the upper deck
This stairs will bring you to the Business Class section at the upper deck
Preparing to disembark
Preparing to disembark
Passage into the cockpit (and pilot resting area)
Passage into the cockpit (and pilot resting area)
One final view of the 'Whale Jet' before leaving
One final view of the ‘Whale Jet’ before leaving

 

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.

 

 

 

 

One comment

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