I was quite lucky to be able to score another pair of Suites on SQ26 (which I guess could be the last as well). Suites / First class to North America is getting harder to come by (despite the recent devaluation). Instead of doing another post on SQ26 / Singapore Airlines Suites, I will focus on the difference from my previous flight. Paid about $900 for both tickets (compared to almost $1200 back in 2015).
Things haven’t been looking rosy for Singapore Airlines recently, especially with the latest announcement of loss-making quarter. This can be seen from some changes both on the ground and in-flight.
Let’s start with the ground service. The check in process, the boarding passes and TPR invitation card, immigration line remained the same. What has changed (from my observation) is the menu. This is the new menu in TPR:
This is the old one (from my trip back in 2015 and it was still the same during my trip in 2016):
The buffet items in the First Class Lounge seem to have gotten less too (but this is just my gut feeling).
One thing has gone missing since my last time in Private Room is the absence of the departure board! (no idea why is this so). The Private Room is definitely due for a much needed upgrade for it to stay competitive with other special First Class only lounges (e.g. Frankfurt Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Air France La Premier Lounge etc.).
Here are some pictures of my food from The Private Room:
My flight to JFK was on 9V-SKS (which is slightly newer than 9V-SKQ which I took back in 2015). This is a 5 year old plane, one of the newer A380 in Singapore Airline’s service (pending the delivery of the 5 new A380 with the new Suites). Hardware remained the same with the change coming from:
- Bose Noise Cancellation headphone – previously, Suites and First Class uses Bose QC15 while the current model looks more like QC25 (which is lighter than its predecessor but with equally superior noise cancellation).
- Amenity kit – the kit has changed back from the one I had from 2016 back to a kit which looked pretty similar to what I had back in 2015
- Pyjamas – the colour has been changed from grey to blue
The next change came from the menu. This is a comparison of the delectable selections (vs. 2015):
The other noticeable change is that amenity kit is no longer provided for the FRA-JFK segment.
The service however, is still the same signature Singapore Airlines service. Despite a full cabin to Frankfurt, the crew served everyone with a smile and were great throughout the flight.
Here are the pictures of my food for my SIN-FRA segment. Unlike 2015, I managed to catch 6 to 6.5 hours of sleep this time. Despite being labelled as outdated (compared to Etihad and Emirates’ cabins), SQ suites is still very comfortable for long haul journey and the bed still feels comfortable and good for red eye flight. I still rate Suites’ bed better than that of the First Class.
About an hour before arriving, the inflight intercom came on looking for any doctor on-board as someone was unwell in the Y cabin. This turned out to be my first ever medical call but thankfully, the passenger was not very unwell. After assessing her, I figured that she probably had a bout of stomach flu and thankfully I had my own stash of medication in my carry-on (instead of my check in luggage). The crew helped her to move to the back where there were a few empty seats for her to lie down (while waiting for her medications to take effect). She was later on the flight to JFK and she felt much better (thankfully).
The flight arrived slightly later than scheduled. After going through security screening (same as previously, with a ground staff leading the way), I opted for Maple Leaf Lounge this time (instead of Senator Lounge). I did not have much time to explore Maple Leaf Lounge but the lounge looked decent and spacious. There is a shower facility. Food spread looked about similar as what I remembered from my previous trip to Senator Lounge.
The second segment was fairly empty (just like my previous flight). As I mentioned, pyjamas were given but not amenity kits. The flight was uneventful and unlike the previous segment, we arrived into JFK about 15 minutes early.
Here are more pictures of my flight (and of course the food!).
Special mention to the IFS of both leg (John, for my SIN-FRA flight and Benny, for my FRA-JFK segment). Leading stewardess Khach has been extremely helpful and took good care of us throughout the flight too.
2017 marked the 10th anniversary of Suites. I remember how it was launched with much fanfare (as the launch customer of A380-800). 10 years on, the Suites is no longer the gold standard for commercial First Class travel. This does not mean Suites is now an inferior product. It is still a great product to fly in and is definitely still comfortable. My next Suites flight will not be until another 9 months from now.
Currently, only JFK is served by A380-800, hence Suites to North America will be even harder to come by (Despite the March 23 devaluation). I got my tickets at 187,000 miles while at the current rate one will need 240,000 miles! Even then, I can’t seem to find any availability 355 days out.