Flight Review: Singapore Airlines Suites BOM to SYD
Singapore Airlines First Class BOM to SYD
The famous First Class Suites from Singapore Airlines. This journey was the travel highlight of our round-the-world adventure. Since we were flying from Mumbai to Sydney, we got two solid legs in the Suites, as well as lounge time in the exclusive “Private Room” in Changi Airport. And Singapore Airlines definitely delivered on the hype.
Check-In: The ground staff at Mumbai Airport are mostly contract workers, including the Singapore Air check-in employees, who didn’t seem to believe we were flying First Class. They kept trying to direct us to economy check-in counters, but after showing our confirmation, they allowed us into the First Class line. The employee at check-in could best be described as surly, and after clearing our luggage didn't give us any more info. We followed the signs to security and immigration, not knowing there was a separate line for First Class. This was pretty disappointing, but as mentioned, no SQ staff were available at check-in so we gave it a pass.
BOM Lounge: Our boarding passes were accompanied by a “golden ticket” to access the GVK Lounge in Mumbai. We were greeted at the door, and asked if we wanted dinner or a massage first, and we chose the latter because...who wants a massage after an Indian meal? The half-hour foot or back massage (your choice) was at the spa inside the lounge, which is beautiful and worth a visit if you can spare the time. It was a great way to relax before a late night flight, after which we headed over to the restaurant for our first glass of champagne and a few snacks. The First Class area is within the main lounge, in a separate portioned off part, and it's main appeal is an a la carte menu. There was also a buffet (shared with Business Class) if you didn't like the menu, which was both extensive and beautifully presented. The tables had soft linens and the waiters came by to refill our glasses of Moet as we snacked on tandoori chicken bites, little bits of paneer, pani puri and other local delicacies.
Flight: SQ 423
Date: May 2, 2017
Departure Time: 23:40
BOM to SIN: We left the lounge with about 45 minutes to departure, and once we arrived at our gate, we walked straight on the plane as one of the last few passengers to board. As we walked down the jet bridge, an airport employee chased us down just to make sure we actually held tickets to sit in First Class. Not classy SQ. Once boarded, we were absolutely blown away by the elegance of the Singapore Airlines staff and the cabin itself (designed by luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste). Wood panelling and soft chrome offset the pale cream interior and the butter-soft dark leather seats. The crew were efficient without being intrusive, and provided us gorgeous Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits, menus, give us a tour of the cabin, served welcome drinks and encouraged us to take photos. The claimed that "by law", alcohol cannot be served on the ground on flights departing from India so we had fresh orange juice as a welcome drink before the Dom Perignon started flowing in the air. We were also introduced to the on-flight mixologist, who later made us a mean Sidecar.
After takeoff, nuts and drinks were served as our meals were being prepped. We did a blind taste test between Dom Perignon and Krug, because where else can you do that? Dom came out on top for both of us. The flight was quite late in the night, so the meal service was truncated into three larger courses. Also since there was only one other person in the first class cabin, the staff started making our bed in the row ahead of us so we could comfortably eat in our seats in row two and sleep in row one. After getting familiar with the entertainment systems and the in-flight beverages, appetizers and dinner was served. Both of us ordered the Thali which is an assortment of small Indian dishes that which we enjoyed, but having just left India, didn't stack up to the real deal you find in the roadside inns. During dinner, as a flight attendant was pouring champagne, some of it spilled on Sari which wasn’t a big deal at all. After profusely apologizing, they returned with a $75 shopping voucher for their duty free shop. It was unnecessary, but emblematic of the incredible, proactive service that Singapore Airlines offers. After a light desert and a glass of port, we moved over to our prepared Suite for a few hours of rest. The feeling of sleeping on an actual bed on an A380 at 37,000 feet was pure magic. The cabin doors slide shut, the seats are crisp and soft, the lights are dimmed, the champagne is buzzing in your veins and you are noiselessly sailing through the dark skies. What could be more magical or romantic than that? We slept like babies for three hours before preparing for landing in Singapore.
The Private Room Singapore: We had a 15 hour layover in Singapore and since we were both quite tired from the short flight, we headed to the lounge for some rest before leaving the airport to explore Singapore. Upon arriving at the SilverKris lounge, we were escorted into the exclusive “Private Room.” They didn’t have a rest area to relax and recharge, but they were happy to let us push together a few chairs to lie in. The lounge consists of very comfortable, spread out lounge chairs (a far cry from congested US Airline lounges), along with an a la carte dining area and private phone rooms. We were the only guests in the lounge in the AM. After sleeping for a few more hours, we grabbed a light bite in the a la carte dining area. They have quite a sophisticated menu from which I ordered the Mushroom Ragu Pasta served with truffle oil which was impeccable, Sari ordered a Dim Sum plate which was also tasty along with some fresh watermelon ginger juice. As mentioned, the food is really incredible, restaurant quality in both preparation and plating.
Flight: SQ 231
Date: May 4, 2017
Departure Time: 00:45
SIN to SYD: We were on another, slightly longer red-eye from Singapore to Sydney. After a beautiful day in Singapore, we headed back to the airport and went through first class security which was a breeze. After finding our gate, we were warmly welcomed on board once again and this time, we were the only passengers in the first class cabin so we were absolutely spoiled. The cabin manager and crew all introduced themselves and we all had some great conversations talking about our travels and Singapore as a whole. The cabin manager was a photographer himself, and offered to take pics for us throughout the flight--another example of that outstanding SQ service we've been talking about. Speaking of service, the staff in the first class cabin are much more focused on taking the time to chat with you, share personal recommendations and travel tips and find out more about yourself, which we really enjoyed. Before takeoff, we were served champagne and nuts. They also confirmed that our “Book the Cook” choices (where Singapore Airlines allows you to choose celebrity-chef meals for your flight ahead of time) were on-board which we were very excited for.
After a few more glasses of Champagne and a smooth takeoff, we were airborne into the Singapore night sky. We were able to watch takeoff from one of the empty window seats. As the meal service began, they informed us once again that they would make our beds in row 1, and we could enjoy dinner in row 2. We requested to sit across from each other in one of the empty window seats which they were happy to accommodate. I had ordered the Curry Lobster Patta, while Sari ordered the Roast Lamb Rack with Mint Jus which were both sensational. There is something about eating lobster in-flight in a space larger than most restaurants that feels like the height of decadence. Along with a glass of Dom, I had ordered a Singapore Sling concocted by the mixologist on board which was a perfect blend of sweet and tangy. The flight attendant suggest a full-bodied red wine to pair with Sari’s lamb which also hit the spot. Since we were quite full, we capped the meal off with some fresh fruit and a glass of excellent port rather than a heavier desert.
Before going to sleep for the night, the team mentioned they could take us on a tour of the aircraft, which we took them up on. It was only my second flight on an A380 and I wanted to see the upper deck. First Class is located on the lower deck, but we were told that's going to change this year in the next reconfiguration where First Class will move upstairs. As we made our back to our seats, our bed was already made up for us and we once again slept soundly for 4 hours before we were getting close to descending in Sydney. While we weren’t hungry for a full breakfast, we split an order of Belgian Waffles as a goodbye to first class life.
Tsunami Says: Flying Singapore Airlines Suites on a long-haul flight is an experience of a lifetime. While it isn’t the best “value” to get you from point a to point b in a premium cabin, it is definitely worth the additional cost if you can afford it. We spent 87,125 Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles and $363.13 in taxes and fees each, which we found to be amazing value if the routes work out. Singapore Airlines is a transfer partner for Chase, Citi and Amex.