SQ 26 (the journey continues…) – for Part 1(A) click here
We were met at door 1L by a ground staff who escorted us through the security checkpoint and transit area. The walk to the transit area is a little far (about 5 minutes) and we spent another 5 minutes going through a tight security check (similar to that done by TSA agents in USA). Out of the 12 pax, 3 of us continued on to JFK.
After going through the security, we walked a bit further and down an escalator before reaching Lufthansa Senator Lounge (which functions as a Star Alliance First Class and Business Class Lounge). Prior to going down the escalator, you would see the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (another option if one does not want to go to the Senator Lounge). Although this was my first time here, Frankfurt airport was eerily quiet (from what I have read, Frankfurt can get quite busy in the morning). That is when I remembered that Lufthansa crew was on strike. The escort staff offered to accompany us to the boarding gate when boarding commences, but I politely declined her offer.
We spent about 1 hour in the Senator Lounge. We were still quite full hence we didn’t really eat in the lounge (except for some small snacks/drinks). I took the opportunity to refresh myself. The shower area was not crowded at all and I was assigned a shower room almost immediately. The shower room was clean, spacious but simple. No toothbrush nor shaving kit was available (not sure if one can get from the attendant).
After shower, I explored the lounge. It was very well lit with a good view of planes. What I saw was a very spacious lounge. Food selection in the morning was very limited, consisted of cold food mainly (except for scrambled eggs). It cannot be compared to Silverkris Lounge in Singapore. I would however loved to explore the Lufthansa First Class Terminal (which I read is superior to the Silverkris Lounges and The Private Room in Changi Airport).
Soon it was time for us to board for our second leg to JFK. Flight was scheduled to depart at 8:20am local time and we got to the gate at about 7:50am. Most of the pax had boarded by the time we got to the gate.
Date: 10 November 2015
Plane: A380-800 (9V-SKQ)
Photo taken: iPhone 6+
Duration: 8 hours
Once again, we were greeted at door 1L by a new set of crew. We were duly escorted to our seats (which is again 3C and 3D) but occupancy for the second leg was only 4/12. I was told that Economy cabin was similarly quite empty but Business cabin was full (due to Lufthansa pax being housed on SQ26 as a result of the strike).
As usual, the crew came around offering pre-departure beverage, took our meal orders and distributed a fresh set of pyjamas for this segment. However, no amenity kits were provided for this leg. I noticed on the drink’s list that Dom 2006 was on offer (but was told that my flight did not carry the 06 Dom). After a glass of Dom 04, I managed to change into my pyjamas before the plane left the gate and before take-off, I managed to chug down another glass of the 04.
The flight left the gate promptly and we slowly made our way to the runway. With an empty cabin, I was able to move myself to seat 3A (the seat with 3 windows) for the take off. Very soon, we reached the start of the runway. With all 4 Trent engines on full trust, the plane soon took off and we were on our way across the Atlantic.
Once the seatbelt sign is off, the crew again offered us more beverages while preparing for second round of breakfast (for those who started the journey from Singapore). The crew set up Suites 3F for us to dine in.
This is the e-mailed PDF menu, which Singapore Airlines kindly provided me prior to my flight.
Once again, I made BTC order for the FRA-JFK segment and I chose the following:
Lobster Thermidor with buttered asparagus, slow-roasted vine-ripened tomato, and saffron rice (my choice)
Bresse chicken with morel polenta, roasted zucchini, asparagus and jus. Designed by Singapore Airlines International Culinary Panel Chef Georges Blanc (wife’s choice)
The service started with choice of beverage (which I chose orange juice and more Blue Mountain!). This was followed by fresh fruits and appetizer (which both of us chose to have yoghurt).
Next, came the bakery basket. Once again, I took the garlic bread and a slice of whole meal toast (to go with jam and butter). I also added on a chocolate croissant to go along.
The Lobster Thermidor ex-Frankfurt looked good and it tasted as good as it looked; definitely a 5 star for a plane food. Once again, the lobster texture was just nice, not too chewy and rubbery and the taste was excellent. It was cooked to perfection.
Compare this with the lobster ex-SIN (and another one ex-SIN back in 2014)
The lobster ex-SIN back in 2014 even had a claw (which was missing in 2015). However, it was very chewy and rubbery.
I didn’t really try much of the chicken, but I would say that the dish did not disappoint and the portion was large. My wife could not finish her meal.
By the time we got to the dessert, we decided to share just one portion (and even then we couldn’t finish it). It was a:
Combination of mango ice cream and crepes with raspberry coulis
Once we are done with the meal, the crew offered to turndown seats 2C/2D as our bedroom (leaving our things in our original suite). 2C/2D can be combined into a double bed as well.
I tried to catch a short nap, as we would be arriving in New York at 11am. However, I was too full from 2 breakfasts hence I only managed to catch about 1+ hours of sleep. I decided to watch more movies and this time, I managed to catch an action Korean movie called Assassins (which is a very good and entertaining movie).
I decided to give the delectable selection a try, but I was informed that it was only available on the SIN-FRA segment and not the FRA-JFK segment (to my disappointment). The crew only had snacks with them (from Business Class) and in the end I took some Hershey bar with chips. This time, I paired my snacks with TWG tea (instead of my Blue Mountain) and some Apple Bliss.
About 1.5 hours before arriving, cabin lights again were turned on in preparation for a light lunch before arriving in JFK.
Again, Suites 3F was set up to accommodate us. Other than the mains (which I chose the BTC, the rest of the course has no choices).
We started off with an appetizer comprising a Gazpacho with crabmeat. A cold soup, the soup was flavorful (rich in tomato) with a mix of crabmeat, avocado and mango.
Bakery basket came next just before the mains were served and no prize for guessing which bread I chose :P.
My BTC mains for my lunch were as follow:
7oz Beef Fillet with cafe de Paris butter, baked potato with sour cream, roasted vegetables and grilled tomato
Fillet of veal in Pommery mustard sauce, asparagus with wild mushrooms, and fettuccine
The Beef Fillet definitely did not disappoint. It was flavorful, not overcooked (and hence not tough and rubbery) and a very generous cut! It was served with a big piece of baked potato with sour cream (for someone who doesn’t like potato, my wife liked this baked potato) and roasted carrot and tomato. Paired with the café de Paris butter, it tasted heavenly. This was a contrast to the beef I had ex-PEK on Business Class last year (which was bland, overcooked and dry).
Although it is not fair to compare First Class and Business Class food, here are some pictures for comparison
The veal was well cooked but not overcooked and hence not tough to chew on. It came with a generous portion of sautéed button mushrooms, asparagus and fettuccine. For our lunch, we decided to have some red wine to go with our meat and of course more champagne (both Dom and Krug).
We ended the meal with one share of brownie with Vanilla Ice cream.
After the 4th meal of our journey, we adjourned back to our bed to finish off our movies. After the movie, I quickly changed into my clothing (and my pre-packed thermal wear in preparation for NYC weather). Soon announcement was made that the plane is starting its descent and the crew were busy to prepare for landing and converted all beds back to seats.
We arrived into a wet New York weather as it was drizzling and the plane landed smoothly despite the rainy weather. We reached JFK early (about 11am, 15 minutes earlier than scheduled). We slowly taxied to our gate and the advantage of being in the front cabin was that you get to deplane first. After bidding farewell to the crew, we walked as fast as possible to the immigration (to avoid the crowd – after all, a semi loaded A380 can easily ferry about 200 to 300 pax easily). Thankfully, SQ26 arrives at a non-peak time. We got past the border control in less than 20 minutes and with priority baggage unloading, we got to the cab queue slightly before noon! We were in the cab queue for just less than 5 minutes and very soon, we were off to Manhattan Island to start our North America holiday!
- SQ26 offers the longest time (22 to 22.5 flying hours) for its Suites. This is about 1.5 to 2 hours longer than the return flight, SQ25 and SQ11 (LAX-NRT-SIN). Hence this is the best route to go if one wants to experience Suites to the fullest
- In view of the timing, you will not get the full meal service in either leg. Nevertheless, it is more than what my stomach can take!
- SQ25 offers the full meal service if one can get the tickets. (but at a slightly shorter flight time as it is a West to East flight)
- The redeye flight allows one to enjoy a good meal in The Private Room prior to flying
- One can e-mail Singapore Airlines at least 2 weeks in advance (it took them more than 1 week to reply my mail) to request for the menu (and hence make it easier to decide if one wants to BTC).
- The crews were courteous and friendly in general but I felt less warmth compared to my previous Suites trip to Beijing and Hong Kong.
- One can always change their pre-selected BTC for those offered on the menu.
- Lufthansa Senator Lounge is adequate but cannot be compared to Silverkris Lounge in Changi Airport. One can try the Maple Leaf Lounge as an alternative.
- A quick search on ITA Matrix shows one way SQ F at close to $13,000. Emirates first goes for $10,800 while Asiana and Etihad goes for $8,000 and $8,600 respectively. If one is to travel on revenue ticket, perhaps Etihad may be a better choice given that the First Apartment is superior to Singapore Airlines Suites on the ground and the hard product on board (I have not experience Etihad First to give a comparison)
- For North America flights served by A380, try to plan your trips at least 330 days in advance (particularly SQ25 and SQ26). I got my tickets for Nov 26 travel (my initial date before changing to Nov 9) on Dec 21 2014!
- SQ 25 seems harder to get than SQ 26.
- Singapore Airlines no longer offer Saver Award for SQ326/26 or SQ325/25 combo.
- Try to plan your travel ex-Sin either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
- Try to get the teddy bears as early as possible (these are hot items).
- For solo travellers, seats 3A and 3F would be the best option (as it has 3 windows vs. 2 for the rest).
- For couples, seats 3C and 3D is a must! Seats 2C/2D is usually blocked online.
- Suites may get a new look by 2017.
- For those wishing a direct flight, SQ21/22 will make its return in 2018 (I definitely look forward to score 2 seats on that flight!).
Total miles burnt – 183,000 miles (220,000 miles before 15% discount)
Total YQ spent – about SGD $1,100 (before the fuel price adjustment in early 2015)
Total distance flown – about 16,500 km (22.5 hours flying time)