Date : 9 November 2015
Flight : SQ26
Plane : A380-800 (9V-SKQ)
Photo taken : iPhone 6+
Seats : 3C/3D
Duration : 13 hours 25 minutes
This is my 3rd experience in SQ Suites but my first long haul in premium class. Before i start, my apologies for the lack of photos as I have been pretty busy prior to this trip and hence I was pretty tired even before boarding the flight.
My flight was operated on a Singapore Airlines 9V-SKQ which is only about 4 years old (first flight was made only in early 2012).
I would describe SQ 26 as the ‘flagship’ route of Singapore airlines (the $23,000 flight) and probably one of the best route to experience SQ suites. The 22.5 hours of flight time covering both red eye and day time flight will allow you to experience both the bed as well as the day time cabin experience. The one disadvantage however is that you only get the truncated meal service. No doubt 4 meals are provided throughout the flight but all 4 are not the full meal service offered (unlike lunch and dinner). These meals are:
- Supper service (no Satay and Caviar course)
- Breakfast (very limited BTC)
- Brunch (again, no Satay and Caviar course)
- Light Lunch (same reason as above 😦 )
I arranged for my complimentary Wolero Limousine (courtesy of ANZ Travel Card) to arrive at my home at 6pm. I intend to have my dinner in The Private Room and to stroll around Terminal 3 before boarding.
As mentioned in my previous post on SQ802, Changi Airport has a separate check in terminal called the ‘FIRST CLASS CHECK IN‘ that is located in one corner of Terminal 3 (which you will need to alert the driver). This check in facility is available for ALL pax travelling on:
- Suites / First class (regardless of revenue or award)
- PPS Solitaire pax (regardless of class of travel)
Once alighted, porters will help you with your luggage from the car while the ground staff will readily assist you with your check in. Most of SQ’s long haul flight (Europe, USA and South Pacific) departs late at night hence the check in lounge can get relatively busy at night than in the morning. However, the whole check in process did not last more than 10 minutes. Once done, you will be issued your golden-striped boarding pass and the golden ticket (that gives you entry into The Private Room).
The special immigration lane allows Suites/First Class/PPS Solitaire pax to get through immigration in less than 1 minute! Once through, you will be right in front of the escalator that brings you up to the Silverkris Lounge. At the lounge entrance, the ground crew will take away your golden pass and escort you into the Private Lounge, going through the First Class Lounge section. We got into the lounge just before 7pm and both the Business Class and First Class lounge were pretty busy. Even the Private Lounge was busy as all but one table in the dining area was occupied. The waiters were evidently busy as it took more than 5 minutes before my wife and I were attended to by one. He took orders for our drinks and it was another 5 minutes before we were given the menu.
We ordered a few items from the menu:
- Oriental soup
- French Onion soup
- Lamb Shank Ossobuco
- US Prime Beef Burger with Foie Gras, Rocket Leaf and Fried Quail Egg
- Baked Cod Fish with Green Peas & Tomato Mango Confit
Each item is quite small making it easier for one to try out various items on the menu. Despite the size, both of us were pretty full by the time we are done (this is despite a very light lunch I had earlier). There is also a small buffet counter that offers fruits, desserts and some snacks.
I started off with a glass of champagne (Piper-Heidsieck was offered) while my wife took a pot of TWG Tea. Both the French Onion soup was good and tasty with lots of onions (and served with a side of garlic bread). The oriental soup was equally tasty with ample amount of goodies in it (not MSG-laden).
Satay was pretty standard (no different than those offered on board). For someone coming from a town famous for satay (Kajang, Malaysia), what was offered was subpar. The satay was a little dry.
Beef burger was indeed petite sized but the beef patty was quite juicy with a small piece of Foie Gras that was delicious.
As for the mains, lamb was quite well cooked and not at all tough. Perhaps, they could do with a little less beans in it. Fish took a little longer to prepare but it definitely did not disappoint us. The cod fish was pretty fresh and juicy while the mashed peas was to my liking.
Dessert was a piece of black forest cake which I shared with my wife and I helped myself to a small tub of Haagen Dazs in the First Class Lounge.
By the time we were done, it was almost 9pm! By then the dining area was pretty empty as quite a number of flights to South Pacific has already left (or leaving). After a short stroll for some duty free shopping, we went back to the lounge for some rest before our 22.5 hours / 16,500 km flight. While my wife was enjoying her TV serial on her iPad at the comfort of the lounge armchair sipping a pot of TWG, I took a shower to freshen myself up. The shower room looks pretty much the same from last year (with the out-of-place looking shower cream/shampoo dispenser still there).
Here are some views of The Private Room
Boarding time was listed as 11:25 pm at gate B5. By the time we got to the gate at 11:35 pm, almost everyone has boarded and both of us were one of the last to board (and the last to be in the Suites). My flight initially was supposed to be only 3/12 occupied, until 3 days prior to travel it became fully occupied! I later found out that there was an entourage of family from Brunei going to Frankfurt for medical reason. It is also on this flight that I met a fellow SQtalker, mr. upright man.
As with my previous flights, the crew will guide you to your seat but none offered to help me with my carry-on (unlike my flight to Beijing). The crew seems stretched, possibly due to a full cabin. Nevertheless, they were still courteous and professional. After taking our seats, pre-departure services were offered (drinks and towels, but no nuts). As I was taking picture for my wife, one of the steward was kind enough to offer his help to take a picture for both of us. Pyjamas and amenity kits were distributed and at the same time, meal order was taken before take-off.
The amenity kit offered were Ferragamo kits, with the men kit being in a simple grey pouch while the women kit was in a snazzy looking red pouch. The ladies pouch contains a cleansing towel, a bottle of perfume, hand lotion while the men kit comprises a bottle of perfume, after shave cream, lip balm and a cleansing towel. Eye shades and slippers were provided separately while toothbrush kit and shaving kit is readily available in the lavatory. There was no delay to the flight and soon push back started. Traffic at Changi Airport was busy as usual (around midnight) but we were soon on the runway. After a smooth and uneventful takeoff, the crew got ready for our supper meal service the moment the seatbelt sign was turned off. Before the meal service started, we were provided with more beverages (or champagnes) and warmed nuts.
Prior to departure, I e-mailed Singapore Airlines for the menu and they replied my mail after 2 weeks. I have included the attached PDF file from Singapore Airlines as a reference SQ26P9NOV SINJFK Menu. However, my wife and I chose the following main:
Pan-Seared Chilean Seabass in Bouillabaisse Broth
An adaptation from its Marseillaise original, its broth is flavoured with saffron, white wine and a splash of Pernod. Served with slow-cooked capsicum confit and zucchini pasta.
Boston Lobster Thermidor
A whole lobster sautéed in butter, flambéed in brandy, sprinkled with cheese, and served with creamy mushroom sauce, garlic and spicy mustard, and buttered asparagus.
One of the advantages Suites has over First is the ability to dine together in the same suite. This is made possible with the unobstructed Ottoman in Suites. When the meal service is ready, I was invited by the crew to my wife’s cabin and the table was set up for us.
The meal service started off with the bakery selection. Once again, garlic bread was my choice and many have written about the garlic bread and it did not disappoint. The first course was the appetiser and my wife and I selected a different choice. They were:
Maine Lobster with Fennel Salad (my choice)
Malossol Caviar with Smoked Balik Salmon (my wife’s choice)
As usual, food was quite well presented (Singapore Airlines no longer uses Givenchy wares but they started using Wedgwood wares since this year). Appetiser was ok, nothing special other than the piece of lobster claw J. The smoke salmon was rather salty but the Malossol Caviar was good.
The soup course came after the appetiser and the choices were as follow:
Basmati Rice Cream Soup (my choice)
Oriental Clear Chicken Soup (my wife’s choice)
The Basmati Rice soup looked and tasted like a fusion of Western and Indian style soup. It was a cream-based soup with basmati rice in it and topped with 2 pieces of prawn (tasted a little like Masala?). The soup was quite good despite the weird fusion style. Oriental soup tasted quite like the one we had in the lounge. Again it was not MSG-laden and in it were chicken cubes, asparagus and beancurd cubes.
The main course came next. Despite two previous disappointments with the Lobster Thermidor, I decided to give it one more try. I can say that I was not disappointed with the dish this time. However, the size of the lobster left much to be desired. It is way smaller than what I had in the past. Thankfully, both of us were still quite full from the lounge food. For once, the lobster was not rubbery and chewy. It was served with saffron rice, giant asparagus stalks and one big juicy piece of tomato.
As for my seabass, I could barely eat the pasta as I was on the verge of vomiting. I tasted one mouth of it with the Bouillabaisse Broth and it was rather bland. The seabass however was quite big, fresh and juicy. In the end, I ate the fish and the zucchini while leaving the pasta alone.
Last came the dessert and we could only managed to muster enough room for 1-2 bites (with us sharing one portion).
Zuppe Inglese (Italian version of the classic triffle with ice cream on the side)
After the meal service, we changed into our pyjamas. The crew gladly helped us with our clothes and stored it in the Suites cabinet (each Suites has its own wardrobe/storage cabinet). We caught a movie while waiting for our food to digest. The Suites chair is very comfortable to lounge in for movie. It is large and comfortable with 2 arm rest that can be pushed up. This chair can comfortably fit 2 person (allowing both to watch the same movie, as there are 2 headphone port per suite). The colour scheme of the suites was changed recently to be synchronised with the colour scheme of the new first class. Design wise remained unchanged. Much has been written about the hard product of the suites, hence I shall not elaborate too much here.
The pyjamas no longer bear the words ‘GIVENCHY’, just Singapore Airlines. This is the first time I am trying out an airline pyjamas hence I am not able to compare it. However, if felt pretty comfortable (doesn’t make me feel hot and the fabric is soft and does not irritate my skin). The pant’s length however was barely enough for my height (or perhaps I wore it too high up?). Nevertheless, I don’t have much issues with the pyjamas and I used it for the rest of my trip.
After one movie, we tried to catch a nap and the crew duly provided turndown service and converted the seats into the much coveted double-bed (though it is no longer the gold standard of air travel luxury. The Suites has since been overtaken by the Etihad Residence and Aparment). Each seat came equipped with a 23” HD (not Full HD) TV and a pair of BOSE noise cancellation headset. The legendary KrisWorld entertainment system need no further introduction and it provides non-stop entertainment across all 3 (soon to be 4) classes.
Meanwhile, we took a ‘round the plane trip’ on our own, going up the front stairs to the business class section. 9V-SKQ has an all-business upper deck. Business Class was about 90% full (with few empty seats). We made our way to the rear and walked down the spiral staircase into the Economy section (which was full!). By the time we got back to the front, our bed was ready. The bed as able to fit my entire length (without the need to sleep diagonally), and it is definitely more comfortable than that offered by First and Business Class. Each suite comes with 2 pillow, 1 bolster and a nice comfortable quilt. The front cabin is relatively quieter than the Economy section, one filter out more noise by sleeping with the Bose Headset on. The disadvantage of this is that you can only sleep facing upwards (and not on your sides for obvious reason). In all, I managed to catch about 3 to 4 hours of sleep on this leg (but not very deep sleep). This is not too bad for a light sleeper like myself (I wish I could sleep more though).
I spent the rest of the journey catching up on movies that I have missed over the last 6 months due to my busy schedule. Instead of switching back to seat mode, I decided to watch movie in bed mode (as my wife was still enjoying her sleep on the bed). I tried to go light on the alcohol on this trip, instead I took 4 cups of Blue Mountain and 2 cups of TWG. I also helped myself to a glass of ice Milo and along the way, I was given more nuts and some Hershey bar. As much as I wanted to try on the light bites, I was too full to even consider a bite.
About 2 hours prior to landing (somewhere over Eastern Europe), cabin lights were up in preparation for Breakfast Service. Our beds were converted back to seats (a process which the crew describes as laborious). Service started with a much welcomed hot towel to freshen ourselves up. Table was set up and I was soon invited over to my wife’s cabin for breakfast together. The service started off with beverages (orange juice and more Blue Mountain for me) and soon was followed by the bakery basket. Again, I went for the garlic bread and a slice of wholemeal bread. We booked the following from the BTC menu:
A traditional Japanese array of dishes presented in sequence, with ingredients and garnishes reflecting and changing with each season. Designed by Singapore Airlines International Culinary Panel Chef Yoshihiro Murata (inclusive of Breakfast service and available only on flights with duration of 2 hours or more; some items are served at cabin temperature)
Yu Pian Mi Fen
Singapore style thick rice vermicelli noodle soup with sliced pomfret and green vegetables. Garnished with spring onions (inclusive of Breakfast service)
After my bad experience with the Kaiseki previously, I took a big gamble with it this time. My plan was to go for the in-menu Nasi Lemak in case it failed me. Thankfully it didn’t! The kaiseki breakfast is also multicourse (as with its lunch/dinner counterpart) but slightly abbreviated (only 2 course). The items provided did not taste weird (unlike my previous Kaiseki).
My apologies as I cannot recall exactly the items in the first course. The second course (the main course) came with a bowl of Japanese calrose rice, a very tasty bowl of miso soup, bean curd and a fish dish. The Kaiseki is served with a cup of Japanese Sencha.
My other half chose the Yu Pien Mi Fen (a choice which I always make fun of, as it is a $3.00 dish available in Singapore food court). The simplest food is the hardest to make it right and I got to give it to Singapore Airlines for making the dish good. The fish was fresh and not at all ‘fishy’ and the soup was good. More importantly for my wife, it came with vegetables (something my wife cannot live without).
We finished our meal in about 45 minutes to an hour and by then we were over the airspace of Poland. Our flight did not go through Caspian Sea, but it took a northerly route flying past Moscow. After breakfast, we changed back to our clothes in preparation for our Frankfurt stopover while the crew was busy clearing up in preparation for landing. Decided to listen to some music while preparing to land (good thing that Krisworld is now a gate to gate service – hence it will not be turned off prior to landing). Soon the plane started to descend and the plane arrived on time at about 6:40 am local time (right on time!). The crew bid farewell to us (as it will be a fresh set of crew who will be with us on our second leg to JFK) and as we exit the door, we were met by a ground staff who assisted us to the transit area for our next segment.