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REVIEW – Singapore Airlines : Suites – Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

SQ suites first time 800x480 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

Singapore Airlines (SQ)

  • Flight: SQ830
  • Class: First
  • From: Singapore (SIN)
  • To: Shanghai (PVG)
  • Aircraft: Airbus A380
  • Seat: 3A
  • Booking Type: KrisFlyer award ticket (via Amex points)
  • Date: April 2015

pvg sin - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

SIN%252520PVG 22 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

I’m the opposite of a ‘gate louse’ – this comes with its advantages at SIN. It is a good tactic to turn up late, when the gate agents are in a rush to get the plane away on time and the lines are empty at the gate security scanners

Walking along the jetway I was positively giddy with excitement.

I’m pretty sure I was warmly greeted by a full contingent of cabin crew but was unable to completely register this because I was so utterly mesmerised by the cabin. I was coming at this from the perspective of someone who had only flown Thai and Qantas A380s before.

Both of those are nice. However, SQ is in another league.

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Looking through the cabin, you can’t help but feel that you’re on an old Pullman carriage about to embark on a multi-day journey through the rolling European countryside

SIN%252520PVG 24 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

What a great detail: the carpet is a different colour inside the suites than in the aisles. This really helps to add to the idea that the suite is your own private space, away from the public areas of the plane

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I think the rich chocolate leather is a big improvement over the beige/orange of the first generation suites

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An insanely plump pillow. SQ always seems to nail these little details

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Row 3 has to be the best on the SQ A380. It has 3 perfectly aligned windows and is neither close to a galley, nor can it be looked into by crew using the internal stairs

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Krug. At this stage I was grinning like an idiot and photographing everything in sight. To be honest, I think I needed the Krug just to calm me down.

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I could just about reach the ottoman without engaging the seat controls to bring me closer

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Keeping with the vintage luxury theme; these wood effect panels are pretty cool

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More storage space

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The industry standard for a decent pair of airline headphones (it still blows my mind that AA has these in Business and is one of the reasons I’ll always fly them over BA when given the choice)

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More storage space, including a cute little pull-out bin for paper, chewing gum etc. The IFE remote and seat controls are starting to show their age though, this is particularly apparent after having flown the 77WN the day before

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Some very nicely stitched leather. The leather finishes throughout the suites are absolutely superlative

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I never use the little vanity mirrors but it’s nice to know they’re provided for those that need them. At this stage I had pulled down the screens for privacy. As you can see though, these are by no means soundproof, the top and bottom are meshed and therefore not entirely opaque – quite different to OZ and EY F where there are solid walls

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You can never have enough storage!

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Taxiing

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Taking off: I love that eerily quiet, electronic sound that the engines on the A380 make. It never ceases to amaze me how a beast of this size can take to the air so silently

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Echoes of LHR T3 with the purple mood lighting. As you can see, my flight had quite a workable pax load: 7/12

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Time to relax

 



SIN%252520PVG 53 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

SIN%252520PVG 43 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

SQ’s PVG flights have a special menu. I decided to BTC on this journey with a view to trying the Chinese menu on the return flight

SIN%252520PVG 44 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

As SIN-PVG is only a short flight there is no full caviar service. Thankfully the satay wasn’t chopped from the menu though!

SIN%252520PVG 45 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

SIN%252520PVG 47 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

SQ leading with the more famous brand. Spending time on Flyertalk you forget that most people have never heard of Krug. Dom, on the other hand, has a serious marketing presence.

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Still, for me there is no substitute for the King of champagnes. Krug all the way.

SIN%252520PVG 49 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

Pichon Lalande, Fonterutoli and Corton Grancey. No effing around with this wine list then. CX would do well to take note.

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Not so strong here, perfectly drinkable wines but these pale in comparison to what’s on offer in NH, JL and QR’s F cabins

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Great tea selection. I really like how this is catered to the local market.

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The same fantastic selection as SQ J plus the exciting addition of Jamaica Blue Mountain


SIN%252520PVG 54 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

After my initial exploration of the cabin and a couple of glasses of Krug, I was ready to start taking pictures from every possible angle! Such a great amount of counter space even when the tray table is fully stowed. I’m a big fan of the deep steel cup holder as well

SIN%252520PVG 55 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

Behind my head you can see where the bed is stowed. The back of the seat folds forwards and the entire counter area folds into the ground to form the base. This means that you have a super comfortable bed without compromising on seat comfort. How do you get the best of both worlds? Put both worlds in the same suite!

SIN%252520PVG 57 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

This angle gives you a good idea of how see -through the mesh parts of the privacy screens are. If you’re thinking of joining a certain club I’d recommend waiting until the cabin is dark

SIN%252520PVG 61 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

All that photographing was tough work. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait too long until an FA came over to present me with the satay. This was exactly as good as the J satay, which is to say, it was excellent. Nonetheless, this is another instance in which F doesn’t come over as being markedly superior to J on SQ

SIN%252520PVG 60 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

Krug and satay. Life is good.

SIN%252520PVG 63 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

What’s that I spot in the corner of my eye?

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My rat-like grin upon being presented with more Krug and having my table set

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I’m not usually one for excess carbs. Garlic counts as a vegetable though right?

SIN%252520PVG 70 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

As far as ‘western’ tableware goes, I think SQ has the nicest I’ve seen on a plane. The Givenchy plates feel heavy and solid, the caviar detailing around the edges is a beautiful piece of design too

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My first disappointment of the flight: this is all the caviar you get on the SIN-PVG route

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Having said that, the flavour of this appetiser was pretty decent and I didn’t get caviar on CX HND-HKG either (or on any BA F flight, no matter how long!)

SIN%252520PVG 73 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

The soup was absolutely phenomenal. I never order soups when I’m dining ‘landside’ but always feel that they perform well in the air. Clear soups in particular have always been great, every time I’ve had them on F class flights

SIN%252520PVG 74 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

SQ’s chicken consomme with smoked chicken, truffle tortellini and vegetables is probably the best airborne soup I’ve ever had

SIN%252520PVG 75 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

The second disappointment of the flight. Almost identical to the domestic F salad I had on AA the week before. The plating could really use some work

SIN%252520PVG 76 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

I’ve no idea how I managed to capture this exact moment. I’m almost certain that the male FA wasn’t ‘pitching’ whilst the female FA caught the plates. Then again I’d had a fair few glasses of Krug by this point, so I can’t say for certain. Perhaps the FAs were self conscious about the quality of the salad and were throwing plates to make me forget about it

SIN%252520PVG 78 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

After much deliberation and investigation on the SQ BTC thread, I opted for the Curry Patta Lobster for this flight. Whilst it wasn’t quite as nice as the ex-LHR J lobster thermidor, it was still very good

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I really like how SQ goes all out, providing the lime pickle and poppadoms to accompany this dish

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Just casually eating a lobster in my private bedroom on a plane.

SIN%252520PVG 81 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

After a decent wait to let my food settle, I broke with my personal tradition and opted for dessert as opposed to cheese. The FA offered me some Sauternes in that way that FAs sometimes do – I couldn’t really say no… and was glad I accepted.

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Belgian chocolate mousse cake with passionfruit sorbet, fresh fruit salad and vanilla sauce

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This whole thing disappeared in seconds

I was getting pretty sleepy at this point, given my early start and late night, the night before. Science has proven that drinking coffee before a nap leaves you more refreshed than either having a coffee or a nap alone.

There is no scientific rationale for the extra chocolate.

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As we say in England though: in for a penny, in for a pound

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After the meal I asked the FAs to make up my bed, whilst I went to investigate the spacious bathroom aboard the A380. I love how SQ, TG and CX decorate their F cabins with orchids

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Although we weren’t presented with amenity kits on this short hop, there were plenty of high-quality amenities available in the bathrooms

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Ferragamo eau de toilette and moisturiser

Arriving back at my suite I was totally wowed by the transformation! All of a sudden my opulent dining car had given way to a peaceful sleeper carriage.

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Two regular pillows and a cylindrical bolster pillow. This should be a bare minimum on all F flights!

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The cabin is so well thought out. There are extra controls above your head once the bed is folded down as well as a new, more convenient, magazine rack

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The back of the seat also turns into a brilliantly conceived bedside table

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SQ had the entire Monty Python back-catalogue loaded, which made for some excellent pre-nap entertainment

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Introducing: My photographer (no not Eric Idle, the three legged bloke above him)

SIN%252520PVG 89 - REVIEW - Singapore Airlines : Suites - Singapore to Shanghai (A380)

I had half a mind to just stay up watching Monty Python but knew I’d regret it if I didn’t at least get a little sleep before arriving in Shanghai for the weekend. A good way of tricking your body into sleeping, in the middle of the day, is to give it a ‘night cap’

I slept very soundly for around an hour.

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There are few feelings as intense and wondrous as the one you feel when you open the blinds after falling asleep in your bed, only to see these magnificent engines starkly imposed over a bright blue sky

 


Conclusion


I went into this flight with some pretty high expectations.When I first flew Business Class a few years ago (Thai Airways in a cradle seat), I was totally blown away. My friend who had booked with TG miles told me that this was nothing, the best product was a private suite on Singapore Airlines.

Back in 2010 you couldn’t book that for anything under 1,000,000 KF miles.

Still, from that moment I vowed to one day travel in that cabin, It didn’t matter how, I was going to make it happen. The elusiveness and inaccessibility of SQ’s flagship product are ultimately the factors that drove me into this ‘game’.

***

The check-in and fast track experience are very slick. They set the tone very well indeed. In my opinion, the sooner and longer you are ‘separated from the masses’ the more an F experience shines.TPR is very cleverly designed, the ever increasing levels of exclusivity help to build anticipation and excitement. This once again gives you a feeling of separation from the outside world. It really makes the airport experience seem effortless. SIN is a lovely airport but it is very busy, TPR is an oasis of calm.

All of that is completely secondary though.

The cabin itself is the star of the show. In this respect my expectations were truly exceeded. Photos just don’t do it justice. Sure, Suites have been around since 2007 so the IFE is a little slow and there are a couple of small scratches on the surfaces. Overall though the hard product is just spectacular.

I honestly spent a good 5 minutes just grinning and giggling when I first sat down.

It’s not often that you capture the childlike feeling of waking up at christmas to find your presents. SQ achieves this. In spades.

The service was not as attentive as on my Business Class flight the day before but this may well be due to the fact that this was only a short hop.I was served by a number of different FAs, this made it hard to build rapport with any individual FA in particular.

Nonetheless, the service was polished, professional and very efficient. So not exactly something to complain about!

All told, this was one of the highlights of my time spent chasing points and miles; one of the moments where all of the hard work really paid off. Moreover it was also a great anticipation builder for the trip that Kamara and I were due to take, flying long-haul Suites, two months later…


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