Lufthansa A330 Old First Class DFW-FRA
Driving the Nurburgring Nordschleife
Lufthansa First Class Terminal
Oslo to celebrate Chris Guillebeau
Singapore A380 Suites Class FRA-SIN
Singapore Airlines Private Room and Singapore 777-300ER First Class SIN-HKG
Hong Kong and the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui
Cathay Pacific’s The Wing Lounge and 747 First Class HKG-SFO
Everyone has a great flying story. For me, one of my first memories was OK ALREADY I’LL GET TO THE SINGAPORE SUITES PART.
So how did I get to ride up front on the A380? Amex recently ran a one-day 100,000 MR points promotion for their platinum card, which I was going to get anyway. Conveniently enough, the trip from Frankfurt-Singapore in Suites and Singapore-Hong Kong in First cost 105,000 Singapore Krisflyer points, so I transferred the points over (it took about 6 hours to update my Krisflyer account), confirmed my flights, and pretty much squealed like a little girl for about 3 weeks as the flight approached.
But first, a lot of unnecessary build-up.
I caught the 4:10am Flytoget train back to Gardermoen airport. It was about as painless as it could possibly be, and, after a short wait, checked my bag to Frankfurt.
I was flying coach to Frankfurt, which isn’t really that bad provided you’re not a very tall person. And, by very tall person, I mean have legs.
About an hour and a half and two torn knee ligaments later, we had a soft touchdown at zie airport in Frankfurt, where my “zie” schtick is no doubt still funny. I immediately went to claim my bag. Full disclosure: I checked a bag so I’d have a reason to go into the main terminal and experience what I was sure would be excellent ground service from Singapore Airlines. I went into the arrivals area and promptly: got lost. Those of you who have tried to transit Frankfurt know what I’m talking about (in fact, most of you are probably still there, trying to find your way out. Good luck.).
I eventually found my way over to the Star Alliance section, so I thought, and perused the various airlines for the Singapore Airlines desk. I later found it precisely nowhere near the other Star Alliance airlines. I took my first steps onto the beautiful Suites rug and waited for a few moments while the lone agent finished checking in another passenger (I was really early, so I wasn’t expecting a full staff quite yet). Other passenger shooed away, I confidently approached and said, “Hello, how are you today?” The agent customer servicedly responded, “I’m…how you say…very congested” and proceeded to prove it by blowing a huge chunky honker into a waiting handkerchief. Only about 80% disgusted, I then remembered everyone saying “Singapore’s ground service is a bit inconsistent”. I don’t quite recall anyone saying “Singapore’s ground service is full of snot” but I could’ve just not been listening I guess. The lady used some hand sanitizer, sniffled, but I didn’t care, because all of a sudden I was in possession of The Golden Ticket.
I almost jumped with joy, but that would’ve been a little too wonky. I took my ticket, sped through security (light crowds this early in the morning) and found my way to Lufthansa’s Senator Lounge. It was an extremely nice lounge, almost comparable (in amenities at least, not the service) to the First Class Terminal from a few days ago. I really enjoyed the decorations. I frequently say to friends back home “I love it when people put big block letters in places that don’t really convey any sense of meaning”…BOY WAS I IN LUCK.
The food selection was decent, but I didn’t want to get too full before the real deal on my approaching flight.
My time passed in the lounge very slowly. After what seemed to be about three weeks I decided to make my way to the gate and get my first look at the Airbus A380-800 that would be escorting me to Singapore. Not the prettiest of sites, but I’m from Texas and we like things Big, and it definitely fit the bill.
On first sight, it looked like a bully in school, you know, the one with the thick hulky brows. And that one eye that never quite seemed to be looking where the other was. But you know what, I was impressed. “Look!” I said, to no one in particular. “It’s big!” This elicited a fierce yawn from a waiting passenger. Right around this time I was paged over the intercom, I was needed at the gate desk, a massively impressive contraption with 6-7 boarding lanes to help board 500+ passengers as quickly as possible. I showed my passport and was given an invitation to The Private Room at Singapore’s Changi Airport upon my arrival.
There was still about 20 minutes until boarding began, so I killed time around the gate area.
At last, boarding was called. Well, not really called, for me anyway. One of the gate agents found me and invited me to board before the other passengers. Well buddy, you had me at “board before the other passengers”.
I walked down the jetway on the lower level. The first jetbridge you come to is for Suites passengers, the one further down is for Economy. A lady (judging by the fact my beard had grown out further and my attire, a t-shirt and jeans) saw me about to turn towards the Suites and said “Sir, Economy is this way.” I confidently (and probably arrogantly) responded, “Well tell Economy I said hi, heading to my Suite” and somewhere a bunch of people were like “OOOOOOO BURN”.
I was greeted on the jetbridge by one of my attendants for the flight, who welcomed me to Suites Class and escorted me to Suite 3A.
When they say it looks like a dentist’s chair, they’re not kidding. The suite was huge, spacious, and had a surprising amount of storage. I thought as I walked in, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE”. Also, I thought “this is bigger than that hotel room in Oslo” and I wasn’t far off. Everything found a place, and everywhere I looked I found another subtly placed nook, perfect for the National Geographic magazine I nerdily accepted from one of my attendants as she came by with an assortment of reading materials.
As I sat down, I was greeted eagerly by one of my flight attendants. The Suites cabin was halfway full, but it felt like I had the entire crew to myself. It’s hard to put into words how good they were. When I needed something, they were at my side. When I didn’t need anything, they’d very sneakily double-check to make sure. When I hadn’t asked for anything in a while, they brought by a bottle of water and some potato chips, just in case I was hungry for a snack. Everything was crisp, as I expected. I’ve read plenty of reviews of Suites Class, and had high expectations. My expectations were blown away. When Singapore claim they’re the best in sky, they’re right.
For the record, I preferred the 2000 vintage Dom. I told my attendant to please inform the other guests that they were out of the 2000 vintage so I could have the rest of it to myself. I don’t know if they took me seriously or not, but I had the rest of that bottle. So good, much better than the Krug I had on Cathay Pacific last year.
The takeoff roll of an A380 is hard to put into words. It feels powerful, yet really casual, like Mark Wahlberg walking in slow motion away from an explosion. I wasn’t even sure we had gone full thrust but then we just casually strolled up into the sky, nary a bump to be found along the way.
As I perused the in-flight entertainment system (which was leaps and bounds nicer than Lufthansa, but not quite as nice as Cathay Pacific) I was overjoyed to find I could create my own playlists, and promptly added the best song ever.
As I was contemplating maybe calling Carly Rae, the meal service began with a delicious satay.
And then came the caviar. It was nice to confusingly try and eat the caviar properly without zie Germans judging me (in case you’re confused, read my Lufthansa flight post).
I had pre-ordered the knuckle of veal (which would be an amazing name for a heavy metal band) via Singapore’s Book the Cook option. Before it was ready I enjoyed a nice soup.
Then the main course arrived. It was cooked to perfection (unlike the beef I’ve had on most airlines), juicy but not too much. It was of course presented with much fanfare by my flight attendant.
Would I like some dessert? WOULD I?! It was raspberry tiramisu and I should’ve hired a poet to describe how delicious it was.
My flight attendant offered to make my bed for me if I’d like to have a nap, which sounded nice after eating 38 pounds of food. I went and changed into my ultra-chique Singapore Airlines pajamas. I asked my flight attendant how I looked, which I think she thought was her cue to take a picture. So she did.
The bed was very comfortable, even though the cabin was a bit warm.
I slept for about two hours, very pleasantly I might add. When I started stirring about, my flight attendant magically appeared (no idea how she could tell I was awake, as the doors to the suite were shut) and asked if perhaps I’d like a snack, some crisps perhaps? Well sure, and how about one of those Singapore Slings I’ve been hearing about?
And, naturally, my flight attendant thought it’d be another good time to take a picture of me with my first Singapore Sling.
So what does a Singapore Sling taste like? Well, it’s hard to put into words, but: really sugary syrup. All that said, it wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t pay whatever they’re asking for at the Raffles bar in Singapore for one.
I walked around the plane for a bit (in my pajamas, which felt exactly as awesome as it sounds, getting the weird looks from everyone on the plane). I couldn’t take any pictures, because it would’ve just looked too creepy, but I did get this sweet shot of the staircase at the front of the Suites cabin.
I had a bad feeling the flight was coming to a close, and it turned out my premonitions were correct. But no good flight should end without a great breakfast service, Singapore Airlines thought, so I took my seat for a great breakfast.
As breakfast concluded, my flight attendant peculiarly asked me if perhaps I’d like another raspberry tiramisu since I had scarfed the one down so quickly last night. I was actually a bit hesitant, but she insisted I would like it, so I said sure, why not?
A reminder: my birthday was the week before, which I in no way mentioned to the flight staff. But accompanying the raspberry tiramisu was a Happy Birthday card (signed by the entire flight crew), two decks of Singapore Airlines playing cards, and four flight attendants very quietly singing Happy Birthday to me.
We landed right on shedyool in Singapore and just like that the best flight of my life was over. I’ll say it again: I expected prompt, professional service, and I got plenty of it. What surprised me was the warmth and genuineness displayed by each member of the flight crew. Regardless of whether they had seen me before or not, everyone addressed me by name and sincerely wanted to know if there was anything they could do to help. I wasn’t expecting that. I wasn’t expecting to feel so…cared for. It’s hard to put everything into words, but I’ve tried my best and hope you’ve enjoyed the post I know most of you have been waiting for.
Up next: Singapore’s Private Room lounge and Singapore First Class from Singapore-Hong Kong