Like I explained in an earlier post, me and Shipra were travelling from Mumbai to Los Angeles on Singapore Airlines Suites, a redemption we made for 106K KrisFlyer miles + Fuel Surcharge per head. We visited the fabulous GVK Lounge in Mumbai, then flew to Singapore with a fabulous SQ crew and then made a short visit to the Private Room in Singapore Terminal 3.
We started for our gate about 30 minutes before the flight. Since the gate was directly underneath the lounge, it did not take much time to arrive at the gate. In Singapore, security check happens at the gate, and after a swift check, we walked to our gate. An agent scanned our boarding passes and waived us towards the plane.
Singapore Airlines SQ 12
Singapore Changi (SIN) – Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Departure: 09:23 hours
Arrival: 17:00 hours
Aircraft: Airbus A380
Seat: 3C (First Class)
SQ12 is the flight number assigned to the flight between Singapore and Los Angeles, however, the flight makes a stop in Tokyo Narita as well to refuel before the long trip across the Pacific Ocean. This is not just a technical stop, but indeed a commercial stop as well for Singapore Airlines, as they have fifth freedom rights to carry traffic between Tokyo and Los Angeles on this flight.
As we arrived on the plane, we had selected the same seats for ourselves as the previous flight, 3C for myself and 3D for Shipra. This was partly because the other set of double seats (2C/2D) was marked as bassinet and I never bothered to book it by calling the agent. Instead, I took the ones those were easily available to me. Aiming to replicate the hotel luxury experience in the air, we were greeted by a small tent card on our seat.
This time around, I got the newer refreshed cabin, and our seats were done up in dark brown tan hues, instead of the camel tan one on the previous plane.
This time around, my bag had to go under my own ottoman instead of the one in the next cabin because the flight was pretty full. Yet, there was enough space to keep my shoulder bag inside as well. Shipra was offered a bag to store her handbag in, because ladies’ handbags can’t be put on the floor in SQ F flights!
I also managed to click a picture of the individual suite lining up the window. The difference is in the location of all the ports, which are located on top as compared to the C/D seats where it is embedded in the wood panel on the sides.
The flight steward who was going to work this flight introduced herself to us, and presented the leather bound menu for this flight. The crew was only going to go up to Tokyo, and a new set of crew was going to take up the flight from there on.
The first impression sets the tone for the flight on Singapore Airlines, and while the last crew was joyous from Mumbai to Singapore, this time around it sounded like the crew was just going to be stern and to the point. In a hit or miss game, this looked like this one was going to be missed. I wouldn’t mind this crew on a night flight when I would like to be left alone to sleep, but on a day flight, I am more than happy to encounter engaging flight crew.
Anyhow, I was offered the option of Dom 2004 and Krug, however, I asked for a glass of Coke Zero this time around.
Since this was a day flight, no amenity kits or pajamas were offered, something I always find pretty weird. A premium cabin traveller got to have access to the entire offering on a flight, and more often than not, daytime travellers also catch a nap on the plane, which is why those pajamas are given out in the first place. I was offered a choice of newspapers, however.
We pushed back on time, however it took a while to get to the runway and be on our way. We spent about 20-30 minutes waiting to take off. I switched on the entertainment system, and started to watch a movie while I waited to take off. We were provided with the Bose noise cancelling headsets.
After take off, the interactive IFE handset told us the flight to Tokyo was going to be short today thanks to the nice tailwinds, and we were going to land in Tokyo in about 5 1/2 hours.
After take off, I was served a Krug, while Shipra chose to stick with some sparkling water on this flight.
A little later into the flight, we were offered the famous Canapé service of Satay by Singapore Airlines, and I went with an assortment of Beef and Chicken Satay.
About an hour later, lunch was set up for the both of us. This time around, I hopped over to Shipra’s Suite 3D to have lunch with her. I must admit, the ottoman is every bit a nice place to sit and eat, except for the backrest that does not come along!
As is customary, lunch service started with bringing out the bread basket, and hot towels for the both of us. I went with my favourite, the Garlic Bread again. Shipra also tried some of their flatbread.
For appetisers, I tried the Iberico Ham, which was very fresh and tasty given the assortment of meat, strawberries and leaves. Nothing like anything I’ve had before.
For Shipra, it was the Lobster Medallion on Baby Spinach, given that she loves her seafood. I tried a bit of it too, and while I am not as crazy about seafood, I could have eaten it myself!
This was followed by salad, where I went with an interesting Orange Yoghurt dressing on top.
For the main course, the both of us had already selected our meals via the Book the Cook service offered by SQ. Ex-Singapore, the Book the Cook service shines, since they have a massive assortment of dishes to suit all palates. Here is a list of all the dishes they serve ex-Singapore on Suites & First class flights.
Shipra went with the Classic Lobster Thermidor, which was done very nicely and was still pretty soft for consumption. Mysteriously however, there was a portion of rice that came along, which we did not know about!
I had also made a Book the Cook reservation, and to ensure variety, I went with the Confit of Duck Leg, which was served with Mushroom Risotto.
While I liked the Lobster Thermidor, and it is also a specialty for Singapore Airlines, I was more impressed by my own selection, and I polished off the entire helping, though it took a while to finish it up.
To finish it off, we went with a helping of desserts, which was an assortment of Passion Fruit Mango Ice Cream, Pistachio Ice Cream and Panna Cotta ice cream, served with fruit salad. Since I moved back to my own seat for this course, they laid out the table cover again on my seat. Can’t seem to remember the last time I put on the table cover myself to eat ice cream!
For those of you interested in the rest of the menu options, here they are, including Kyo Kaiseki (Japanese small plates):
The plane, while being equipped with the Wi-Fi service, did not have it activated for this flight. There was a senior Hilton executive in the cabin who was very upset since he could not send out emails!
The not so nice thing about a day flight in the Suites cabin is, the crew does not offer to set up the bed for you. This gave me an opportunity to try and bring the seat to its maximum sliding position, and catch a nap. All I can tell you is it was very uncomfortable! And it shows in this picture that Shipra clicked while I was sleeping!
With the tailwinds on our side, we lined up to arrive in Tokyo much ahead of the scheduled time of arrival.
On arrival, we were advised to collect all our belongings and go through transit security at Narita again.
Bottomline: While the hard product on this flight was absolutely top-notch, it is the soft product, i.e., the cabin crew which sets the tone for a flight on any plane, especially on a Singapore Airlines Suites flight. While SQ could train them all they could on the protocol and methods of working a first class flight, they can’t really make them exude warmth and friendliness. On this count, while we had a good flight, it was not great, as my previous flight with SQ a few hours ago.
What are your experiences with Singapore Airlines crew on the Suites class?