#redcarpettrip: SQ 423, Mumbai – Singapore, Singapore Airlines, Suites Class

#redcarpettrip: Trip Index


One of the most aspirational airline cabins out there still continues to be Singapore Airlines’ A380 First Class product, called the Suites Class by the airline since they were the first in the market to launch enclosed suites on a plane. The Suites Class was not available cheap on miles, only being offered for millions of KrisFlyer miles for the first 5 years of having the product on board. It was only in 2013 that SQ started to release seats on the Saver level, which meant you could have them much cheaper (in 10’s of thousands of miles).

The usual way to get SQ KrisFlyer miles, is by flying or by transferring from your Citibank or American Express credit cards. For this trip, I transferred tonnes of points from my Citibank Credit Card account and converted them to Singapore Airlines miles. The whole trip from Mumbai to Los Angeles costed 106,250 miles + INR 35,000 towards taxes and fuel surcharge per head, including a 15% discount for booking online. Singapore Airlines continues to be one of the few airlines which still charge fuel surcharge, but when you could have a trip worth INR 380,000 per head for less than 10% in cash, I wasn’t complaining. This one topped my best redemption of Citibank miles, over Singapore Airlines Business Class which I’d flown earlier.

To begin our trip, we arrived at the airport roughly two hours before the flight, where a GVK Pranaam host met us to help us with our check-in process. There was a separate counter for First Class check-in, and there was exactly one other guest in the Suites Class today along with the both of us.

Singapore Airlines, Suites Class Check-in, Mumbai

Singapore Airlines, Suites Class Check-in, Mumbai

Since check-in did not work for me on the app, I was supposed to check-in at the airport itself, and it took the airline crew a while to issue my boarding passes. It turned out I got the lovely dreaded SSSS sign, which befuddled the staff who had to go and get someone else to get a clearance to check me in. It could be a random security procedure, or could have been trigged by our one-way ticket. We went through security pretty quickly, but passport control took some time.

We visited the GVK Lounge after while we waited for our flight, and also had time to get a quick foot massage done.

Subsequently we arrived at the gate for our flight, which was pretty empty. Err, boarding was almost completed for the other class of passengers while we were still sticking to schedule.

Boarding Gate, SQ 423

Boarding Gate, SQ 423

Singapore Airlines SQ 423
Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) – Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Departure: 23:44 hours
Arrival: 07:45 hours (+1)
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 3C (First Class)

While it was our first time on Singapore Airlines Suites Class, the airline was clearly ready for us when we arrived. We were met by the lead stewardess at the door and she brought us to our seats. Shipra was unaware of the suites, and she was stunned by the visually beautiful tan leather cabin. We had the older cabin product on the flight tonight to Singapore, and personally, I preferred this cabin over the new dark tones of leather which was a cabin refresh implemented a while ago.

The Singapore Airlines First Class cabin has 12 suites, 4 single suites on both sides of the cabin, and 2 double suites in the centre. The dividers help if you would like your privacy, otherwise, SQ has designed the cabin in such a way that it makes a double bed in the air. This is good for families travelling together such as ours.

Singapore Airlines Suites

Singapore Airlines Suites

Each suite comes equipped with a 23” LCD screen for entertainment, along with an interactive control panel which is fitted near your armrest. Krisworld, which is the IFE system for Singapore Airlines is a massive collection of movies, TV series seasons (even full seasons!) and tonnes of other things to keep you occupied through the duration of your flight.

SQ Suites 23" LCD

SQ Suites 23″ LCD

SQ Suites KrisWorld Entertainment controls

SQ Suites KrisWorld Entertainment controls

Each seat had a small compartment which could be used to stow your small personal items such as reading glasses, wallet etc. Next to it, the noise cancelling headsets were placed, which were from Bose. A little birdie may or may not have already informed the airline that this was a special trip for us, and they had his and her SQ teddies waiting to welcome us on the flight. Apart from that, there were Singapore Airlines playing cards as well.

SQ Suites Seats 3C, 3D

SQ Suites Seats 3C, 3D

One of the highlights of Singapore Airlines’ world class service comes from the cabin crew training. The cabin crew was excited to have us on board, and they did not hide their excitement but were still professional and courteous throughout the flight. Since the cabin was largely empty, the crew offered to stow my cabin bag underneath another suite’s ottoman. For Shipra, they provided a bag to stow her leather handbag in, so that it could not catch any dust or stains in transit. Talk about covering all the details!

The stewardess attending to us came over to introduce herself after we sunk into our seats and presented us with warm towels and a menu, in a leather binder. She also inquired the size of sleeper suits that I would like to have, and brought me along one accordingly. While presenting the slippers, they were removed from the bag and placed on the floor. I was also presented with a For Him Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit, which included a travel-size bottle of cologne. Similarly, Shipra received a red colored For Her amenity kit, which included a lip balm, hand cream, an Eau de Parfum 30 ml and some cleansing towels.

SQ Givenchy Sleeper Suit & Amenity Kit

SQ Givenchy Sleeper Suit & Amenity Kit

Cabin Layout, SQ Suite

Cabin Layout, SQ Suite

Bose Noise Cancelling Headsets, SQ

Bose Noise Cancelling Headsets, SQ

We took off from Mumbai on schedule. The A380 has the quietest takeoff roll, in spite of the fact that this is a massive plane equipped with four engines. Immediately after take off, I headed to one of the First Class lavatories to change into my sleeper suit which was from Givenchy.

SQ provided all the necessary amenities in the lav itself, such as dental and shaving kits. Also, you could also use a leather-covered seat to seat yourself in case changing standing up isn’t your thing! Not to forget, the lavs were also generously sized and you could move around, unlike the back of the plane where you can’t.

SQ Lav & Amenities stocking

SQ Lav & Amenities stocking

SQ F Lav

SQ Lav

Service started about fifteen minutes after take off. We started off with a glass of Dom Perignon Champagne 2006, because hey, all trips should start with one. Champagne was brought along with a service of warm nuts.

SQ Champagne & Hot Nuts

SQ Champagne & Hot Nuts

For those of you interested in the wine list, it is enclosed below:

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White Wines & Champagne

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Red wines

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Cocktail Menu

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Spirits Menu

For the teetotalers, there was enough variety as well, including coffees and teas. They had me at Milo actually.

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Mock tail menu

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Soft Beverages Menu

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Single Origin Coffee

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Specialty Coffee

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International Tea Menu

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Tea Menu

The Singapore Airlines Suites Class cabin is big enough to have a co-passenger be seated across you for dinner. Singapore Airlines classified this flight as a supper flight, considering it takes off about midnight, and hence, has a truncated meal service, which excludes the caviar and the satay.

Here is the dinner menu, which was designed by celebrity chef Sanjiv Kapoor to suit the Indian palate. There was a meat and a meatless option of an Indian Thaali,  which included a lot of small plates along with Indian and western breads. A short menu of Asian and Western options was also available.

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Sanjeev Kapoor’s SQ F Menu

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Indian Menu

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Western Menu

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Menu

After drinks, they set us up in my suite for a dinner for two. We could sit across each other on the seat, and the ottoman and dine comfortably. Meal service started with another hot towel, and plates were laid down for the both of us. We started with some breads, and Singapore Airlines has to have some of the best Garlic Bread out there.

SQ Dining

SQ Dining

Shipra wanted to keep it light, so she started with a Cantonese Chicken Soup, served with Lotus Root and Red Dates.

Cantonese Chicken Soup

Cantonese Chicken Soup

She followed it up with the Seared Salmon in Lemon Grass Sauce, which was served with some Parsley Potato and Mediterranean Vegetables.

Seared Salmon in Lemon Grass Sauce

Seared Salmon in Lemon Grass Sauce

While I was not very hungry, I really wanted to try out the Thaali to be able to review it for all of you. So, I took one for the team, and went with the meat version of the Thaali. They set me up with butter chicken, fish gravy, spinach, beans and a Pulao, apart from a choice of breads and some raita.

Sanjeev Kapoor's Shahi Thali on SQ F Dining

Sanjeev Kapoor’s Shahi Thali on SQ F Dining

While I always appreciate Jet Airways for a nice Indian meal on a plane, given they are Indian. But most other airlines are not able to get you an Indian meal on a plane, which is very well done. So, this was a nice surprise, and I think I almost finished it off.

Kulfi is one of Shipra’s favourite desserts, so we decided to share a Blueberry Rabri Kulfi between the both of us, which was delicious.

Dessert: Blueberry Rabdi Kulfi

Dessert: Blueberry Rabdi Kulfi

After a lot of food stuffed inside us, we were done for the night, and we thought it was a good idea to catch a nap on their fabulous product. The reason Singapore Airlines is different than other airlines is, because they’ve invested in a full-size bed in the seat. This means you don’t have to be used to the same softness of the cushion for travelling awake as well as asleep. But this also means you can’t just press a button to make a lie-flat bed. You almost always have to have a crew make it for you.

Singapore Airlines’ crew offered to make our bed, and we saw them retract the tables under and make a proper double bed in the air. The seats vanished under and a bed came out of the wall of the suite. Here is how it looked when it was ready! The crew in charge of assisting the both of us on the flight was not happy with the first time the bed was made, so she went about fine tuning it till it was completely presentable for the both of us! Have a look!

The divider is not fully gone, as in you can’t sleep over it, but still, both the seats seamlessly merge and at least it won’t be a bother if you sleep criss cross!

SQ F Bed

The bed is ready

The great part about a genuine crew is that they foresee what a passenger wants. Seeing me click all these pictures, the crew offered to take a few pictures for us as well, which was a nice touch. They told us how almost all their passengers wanted a picture in their fabulous product and they were always happy to click a picture or a few.

At this point we were about 2 hours into our flight, so it was a good idea to catch some sleep to be ready for a full day of travelling ahead. We slept for two hours, and it did feel like sleeping in your own bed. The nice thing about flying an A380 is also that minor turbulence is easy to deal with, you don’t even realize it happened!

After about a couple of hours we were only about 1 hour out to getting into Singapore, so I woke up and changed out into my travel clothes. Then I woke up Shipra as well, and as she changed and got back into her seat, the crew insisted she sit there and perhaps try their fabulous Singapore Sling. But guess what came out after?

SQ Birthday Cake

SQ Birthday Cake

A few days before the flight, I had called up Singapore Airlines and informed them that it was going to be Shipra’s birthday around the time we were travelling, so they placed a cake for her on the plane. This is a courtesy Singapore Airlines provides passengers of all cabins free of charge, but one needs to update the booking at least 24 hours prior.

After the shock and awe, Shipra cut the cake and we had a bit of it. The crew offered to pack the rest of it for us, but we asked them to distribute the rest of it amongst the other passengers and crew on board.

But, the guys one upped it on me as well! They made us a card, which was presented to the both of us and they even got an Indian crew member on board to write in Hindi on the card!

SQ Greeting Card

SQ Greeting Card

I can’t say much more than I was floored with their gestures. This was one of the best crew we had flown with, ever, and they were so involved with us, and we were happy to chat them up as well. We were almost ready to land now, and I headed to one of the window seats to be able to watch the sights from landing into Singapore.

SQ Flight Map

SQ Flight Map

View from the Wing

View from the Wing

We touched down on time, and had almost two hours for a trip to the Singapore Private Room, some duty free shopping and getting on to our next A380 Suites Class flight. So watch this space for more trip reports coming up next.

SQ A380 at Singapore Airport

SQ A380 at Singapore Airport

Bottomline: This wasn’t my first time flying First Class, but if you started flying First Class with Singapore F, then there is a high benchmark to beat the next time around. On a good day, they will beat most other First Class flight experiences hands down!

What have been your favorite experiences on the Singapore Airlines Suites Class?

Pros

+ Attention to Detail
+ Fantastic design and space
+ The most attentive crew
+ Localised Food Menu

Cons

- Not a sector long enough to enjoy the fabulous service and soak it in!

Rating

About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

More articles by Ajay Awtaney »

Comments

  1. Ajay – I just booked BOM-SIN-HKG-SFO in Suites/First for the same number of miles, but my taxes and fees were about US$530 (I paid in SGD) compared to the approx US$230 you paid per person using INR. Any idea why there was such a differential? Most of my hit was in YQ – maybe an increase over the past year? Or potentially it was the booking currency? Let me know your thoughts.

    • Nevermind – You can delete – somehow misread as 35000 INR covering two people. Glad you enjoyed your trip! I’m definitely looking forward to mine.

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