Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class JFK – FRA

Ever since I started reading trip reports online, Singapore Airlines First Class has been at the very top of my list of premium products to try when I obtained the means to acquire an actual First Class ticket.  I finally had the means and the mileage balance to do so right after I graduated from university in Spring of 2014.  Taking advantage of lucrative credit card bonus offers, some reimbursable expenses, and (at the time) a new partnership between Singapore Airlines and Chase Ultimate Rewards, I gladly relinquished 104,125 miles (a 15% discount online off the published 122,500) and about $400USD to make one of my childhood dreams a reality.  A pretty good deal you might say, although I’m not sure what the going rate for a dream is…

Singapore Airlines SQ25
JFK – FRA
March 21, 2015
Suites Class, seat 3A
Airbus A380, 9V-SKM

At around 8pm, I made my way from the Virgin Clubhouse over to the Duty Free shop to pick up a box of chocolates for my to-be crew. I am not one who usually purchases Duty-Free, and was actually quite surprised to find that even though boarding had already commenced, you were still able to make purchases. Unfortunately, because international departures from the US do not leave from a sterile concourse, I could not take my purchase with me and had to wait for it to be delivered to the jet bridge. I headed over to the gate, scanned in, made my way down the pier and waited. After about three-quarters of the economy cabin of an A380 had boarded, a Duty-Free rep finally made her way down the ramp to us.

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Big bird herself – The massive A380 as seen from the boarding pier

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Walking down the ramp towards the boarding door, you can just see that the A380 is a massive airplane. Unfortunately, we were only boarding through two jet bridges. Don’t get me wrong, two is completely sufficient as the Suites cabin occupies everything between doors 1 and 2, but there’s something about having to wait behind economy passengers as a suites passenger, when business class upstairs has a bridge to themselves.

At 8:50pm, I finally stepped aboard, was greeted by no less than 3 flight attendants at the door, turned left, and was escorted to suite 3A. The cabin ambience was ….. soothing: dimly lit with a peachy tone on the mood lighting, Asian spa-like music playing in the background, and Singapore Airlines’ signature scent pumping through the air vents. Here’s a POV video I took a little later during boarding to give you a taste.

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Looking towards the front on the left side of the Suites cabin
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My lovely Suite 3A, one of only two suites onboard with 3 windows, versus 2.

After putting my carry-on backpack under the ottoman (four feet in front of me), I wasn’t sure what to do. I just wanted to touch and take pictures of everything. Already in the suite was a sleeping pillow, throw pillow, blanket, slippers, and the menu for JFK-FRA-SIN in a leather portfolio. Did I mention that everything but the menu was provided by the luxury fashion house Givenchy? I was already on cloud nine prior to pushback.

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Givenchy pillow, throw pillow, and throw blanket
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Singapore Airlines Suites Class Pajamas
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Socks and Eyemask
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Magazine rack next to the ottoman
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Port unit on the left, next to the seat
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Storage unit that holds the Bose headphones and other small items like glasses or passports
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Simple seat controls, all that is needed since the bed is standalone
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Entertainment remote and usual lighting controls, including a do not disturb light

In the middle of feeling every surface and amenity in my suite, Ravi one of the lead stewards came by to introduce himself and offered me a pre-departure beverage. Naturally I asked about the Dom Perignon; he was very apologetic and explained that it would be available after takeoff, but he could only offer me a glass of Krug. “Sure”, I said, its not like it made a difference to me – I have never tasted champagne that retails for +$200 before. Before disappearing to retrieve my drink order, I handed Ravi the box of chocolates and asked him to please share it with the crew for me; he was very appreciative – or at least appeared to be (I’m sure he was).

A bit of a side note: I like to get crews a little treat, usually a box of chocolates, when I fly long-haul in a premium cabin. But, I suspect that the pralines on Singapore Airlines are as nice, if not nicer, than the box of Godiva I had gifted. So I was actually questioning my gift. I was probably paranoid and overwhelmed by the whole experience.

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Glass of Krug on the large disappearing console

Anyway, Ravi came back with a glass on a silver tray, a bottle of Krug, and proceeded to pour it right in front of me ever so gently before placing it on the drink holder to my left. Not long after, inflight service manager Ruth came by to welcome me aboard, thank me for the box of chocolates, and encouraged me to let the cabin crew know if there was anything they could do to make my journey more comfortable.

After Ruth had floated away, I continued exploring the suite and the KrisWorld inflight entertainment system. There was a decent selection with the latest releases like Birdman, Gone Girl, and Theory of Everything just to name a few. Did I mention that this was all projected on a 23-inch widescreen?  Definitely the largest entertainment screen I have ever had in the sky.

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23 inch LCD wide-screen
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IFE remote which also displays remaining flight time

Singapore Airlines also provides Bose QC15 headphones in suites. I too have a pair of QC15s, which I love dearly. But, the pair of headphones provided by the airline doesn’t have an on/off switch, obtaining power from the headphone jack, making them useless if someone were to “forget to return them” – brilliant.

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Bose QC15 headphones, for use onboard only

Ruth came by one more time to clear the champagne flute, and shortly after 9:30pm we were airborne. The climb-out was slow and quiet, and it really could have been far less exciting, I could have been sitting in economy.

Breaking 10,000 ft., there was a double-chime, and the cabin crew bounced into action. As we continued our climb, Ravi came by with a silver tray, flute, and a bottle of 2004 Dom Perignon, announcing that it can now be served since we’re off the ground.  Taking a large gulp of the freshly poured Dom, I decided that I actually preferred the Krug.

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Ravi with the 2004 Dom and mixed nuts on a silver tray
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Bubbly

All this drinking filled up my bladder and I had to break the seal, so I made my way to the lavatory.  Who knew that an airplane bathroom could be so … spacious.  There was a sitting bench that could be folded down on top of the toilet (I assume for changing purposes), a full length mirror (since you actually had the room to maneuver and see yourself), amenities from Salvatore Ferragamo (as well as razors and toothbrushes), and even hand towels (as opposed to paper towels!).  Also, the faucet was sensor controlled, something I really appreciate since I hate touching nasty surfaces and faucets that shut off the moment you stop pushing the handle down.

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Clean and spacious Suites lavatory
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Full length changing mirror
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Salvation for a minor germaphobe like me – every airplane needs a sensor faucet
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Salvatore Ferragamo amenities
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Hand linens, because paper towels are for peasants

After a relatively long bathroom visit (not actually doing anything but examining the facilities), I returned to my suite where Ruth came by to take my dinner order.  I chose the caviar with a shot of Belvedere to start, the lobster appetizer if there was any left, skipped the salad, chose the beef fillet cooked medium, and held off on dessert to see if there was any room left in my stomach after all of that.  Ruth was surprised to see I had my entire meal figured out, and asked if I would like a top-up of the Dom, I declined and asked to return to the Krug.

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Leather portfolio containing the extensive menu

A little more on the menu – this was the largest menu I have ever had the pleasure of sifting through on a plane.  It was 18 pages in English, and another 18 in German, and thats just the New York to Frankfurt segment! Just the freaking coffee selection spanned 2 pages.

Here are all the English pages for the New York to Frankfurt leg.  Click on each image below to see it in full scale.

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About 10 minutes later, the caviar arrived in a rather stunning presentation.  I wont speak too much about the meal service because it was absolutely delicious and beyond restaurant quality (especially the service), but I will say that I am surprised that Singapore Airlines has not implemented the use of a pearl spoon for the caviar service.  You are left with the metal forks, which the caviar clings to, making it difficult to not destroy the roe before even consuming it.  I know, #firstworldproblems, but even ANA, Cathay Pacific, and JAL have pearl spoons, and I consider SQ to be of equal if not greater quality.

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Full malossol caviar presentation with shot of Belvedere vodka and glass of Krug – Garlic bread on the side

The lobster appetizer came next, and was what I considered the least tasty course of the meal.  Much of it was bland, which was probably intentional to bring out the taste of the lobster – yeah I’m not sure how I feel about that at 37,000 ft.

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Maine lobster with kenyan beans, quail egg, roasted baby beet, lettuce and tarragon dressing

Then came the butternut squash soup served steaming, and was very savory with the heavily salted duck confit.

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Butternut squash soup with spicy apple compote, duck confit, and pumpkin seed oil

And finally, the highlight of the meal.  The most impressive fillet of beef I have ever had onboard a plane, cooked to a perfect medium.  I kid you not, it was the kind of beef that melts in your mouth.  By this course, I was already beyond stuffed and needed to call off dessert.

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Beef fillet (cooked to a perfect medium) with cabernet sauce (apologies for the blurriness)

It being pretty late, coupled with a lengthy meal service and several drinks, turndown service was my next request.  Leaving my suite to change in the restroom, the remaining dishes were cleared and my bed was made.  I returned to my suite to find my seat gone, and in its place a fully sleepable twin sized bed, a “nightstand” and a full bottle of Evian.

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Turndown service, notice how both the seat and side console are gone (folded down and away into the floor)
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Double doors closed

I thought that it would be difficult to sleep from the excitement of flying my dream First Class product, but it was pretty easy with the food, alcohol, and full day being me.  I quickly snapped a few photos and passed out for a solid three hours, waking only an hour before landing as the sky started to brighten (left the window shades up).  At least I put the bed to good use.

Triple windows as we descent into Europe
Triple windows as we descend into Europe

In Singapore Airlines fashion, noticing that I had awaken from my slumber, Ravi came by to offer me breakfast – of which I had forgotten to take any photos of.  But, as is the norm these days, even in Suites Class apparently, only a continental breakfast is served.  Mine consisted of some fresh squeezed OJ, fresh fruit, a warm croissant with butter and marmalade, and a cup of the TWG English breakfast tea.

I managed to finish my breakfast fairly quickly, but there were other passengers that had woken up after me, and were still being served.  Their breakfast setup was finally cleared away some 15 minutes before we touched down.

The first leg of my Singapore experience concluded 30 minutes ahead of schedule at 0930 local time as we pulled up next to a brand new Qatar Airways A350.  Upon disembarking, I thanked Ruth, Ravi, and Ben for their hospitality.  All suites passengers deplaned through door 1L in a private jetbridge, and we were met by an SQ agent that would escort all of us continuing to Singapore to the Senator Lounge (First Class lounge for non-LH star alliance airlines, as well as top tier members of LH’s frequent flyer program) for a shower and some more refreshments before the onward leg.

A brand new Qatar Airways A350 at FRA
A brand new Qatar Airways A350 at FRA

Concluding Thoughts

According to most other travel bloggers, this is the best way to cross the Atlantic.  I can’t say that myself, simply because this was my first trans-oceanic crossing with a non-US based airline.  But, I can see what they are getting at.  The service, food, and seat were top notch, and I really could not ask for more.  If your bank account is big enough and you need to release some pressure from it, I highly recommend flying to Europe with Singapore Airlines in Suites.  For those of you like me, fresh out of college, slaving away at a first job with little vacation time, start racking up those miles through work travels or credit card spend (for all regular purchases, don’t spend more than you can afford).  You can bet that I’ll keep doing this.  If I’m using up half of my personal day off allotment, I want to make sure that I’m truly relaxing before going back to work.  Treat yo-self.

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