“Was The Hangover 2 as good as the first one?”
“No way man, nothing could be as good as the first one [insert Zach Galifianaalksdfasihis quote]”
“Haha, you’re right, [other Zach Galifiasdkjfahlkfashd9w2asis quote]”
In 2013 I treated myself to a First Class Round the World Trip. The highlight was a flight in Singapore Airlines Suites Class. Like I said in that post, it was an amazing flight. I’ve since flown a few other “aspirational” First Classes on other airlines and that Singapore flight is still up there near the top, tied with Cathay Pacific. Then, in October 2014, some kid stole a few of my pictures, a few paragraphs of my text, and a bunch of captions of my work and represented them as his own in his very viral story about his flight in Suites Class. (Still waiting on that apology, Derek.) A bunch of people stood up for me, which made a sour experience a great one. I needed to fly it again, I decided, to bring some closure to the first trip and what happened after. I actually had some Krisflyer miles that I had previously transferred over from my Amex account, so I really just needed to find the availability, and it opened up about a week prior to the flight.
To my regular readers, you’ll know I’m finishing up a trip report of a random long weekend I spent in Europe in November 2014. Let’s get everyone else caught up:
There was literally nothing exciting that happened on my way to Frankfurt from St. Gilgen, so I’ll sum it up with one sentence: it rained the entire drive. Exhausted, I spent the night at the Hilton Garden Inn attached to Frankfurt Airport and arrived early the next morning ready to find out for myself if Singapore Suites could be as good the second time.
I love the Departure/Arrival boards at Frankfurt Airport! They have those old-school flappy letters that remind me of train stations from my first visit to London in 1997. This trip I knew exactly where I needed to go to find the Singapore Airlines check-in counter (it’s not with the rest of the Star Alliance stands, if you’re looking at the board above it’s waaaay over to the left).
I checked in and was the really happy recipient of my Golden Ticket.
I spent some time in the Senator Lounge and didn’t find much to be different than the last time I visited that lounge, which you can read about in my previous post about Suites Class. A great lounge experience, but I didn’t want to eat too much. My first flight in Suites was to Singapore, a 12-13 hour flight. This time I was flying to New York City from Frankfurt, a roughly 8.5-hour journey. This meant meal times would be more compressed, which meant TIME FOR FAT ANDY.
I made my way to the boarding area and chuckled since it was the same gate as last time. It even had the exact same boarding order sign (the pic that the guy stole from me) as last time.
The boarding area is huge, since this is a big flight on a big jet. The gates to get onto the plane were massive as well. Oh, and so was the plane.
I paced around a bit, each minute passing slower than the next. The only thing standing between me and a glass of champagne was time itself. Time, the cruel beast it is, passed slowly, just to taunt me. Eventually I heard the words I had waited to hear: “Singapore Airlines is pleased to invite our Suites passengers aboard”
Once you pass through the boarding gate you’re presented with a two-story jetway. The top floor is for Business Class (since the upper deck of the A380 was all Business Class in this configuration of the aircraft) and the bottom floor is for Suites Class and Economy. This part felt oddly routine and I turned left and was greeted by (in order): a gate agent, a maintenance worker, another gate agent, a flight attendant outside of the door, and another flight attendant inside the door who escorted me to my Suite: 3F.
My flight attendant eagerly welcomed me aboard as she was blinded by brightness of my ear-to-ear smile. The best flight attendants match the enthusiasm of their customers, and she immediately became as excited as I was. I explained to her that I had flown on Suites before and was looking forward to this flight, especially since I had since flown Qantas and Etihad in First Class. And would she mind if I took pictures during the flight? She looked at me with all of the sincerity in the world and said, “Thank you for the opportunity to make this your best flight ever, better than the other airlines.” She meant it.
She suggested I start with a drink, maybe coffee? I laughed at her joke and asked for a glass of Dom Perignon, which was served by another of my attendants.
I had my camera out and was snapping away already, and my main flight attendant insisted on a tour of the plane before the other passengers arrived so I could get better pictures. We walked up the stairs to the upper deck and I was introduced to every staff member on the plane as “our esteemed guest in Suites Class today”. It made me feel pretty dang good.
Business Class looked great, not a bad way to spend 8-12 hours on a plane. Their business class seats are actually wider than most airlines’ First Class seats.
But this post isn’t about Business Class. We headed back downstairs, and on the way was again greeted warmly by most of the staff I had just met.
I made my way back to my suite. I chose the right side of the aircraft this time, since I was in the left window seat last time. You always want to be on row 3 if possible, since you’ll have three windows all to yourself. Singapore recently reupholstered some of their Suites Class cabins, but I was on an A380 that had yet to be configured, so the seat was just like last time.
Around the seat you’ll find plenty of little areas with power plugs, a privacy shade, and your remote control.
Singapore actually packs quite a few Suites into their A380s (although it never seems like it). There are 12 per flight, 8 along the windows and four in the middle. Each Suite, in addition to the closing doors, is offset from the Suites in the middle of the plane so it always seems like you have everything to yourself.
The middle two rows are ideal for couples traveling together. If you look at the pictures below, you’ll see how close you can be to your traveling partner (although they can raise a partition if necessary). Keep this in mind later.
I was busy taking pictures left and right and eventually I needed to take my seat to get ready for takeoff. The A380 has a slow, quiet, and powerful takeoff roll. It seems like the jet is barely moving when all of a sudden you’re airborne!
I settled in for the flight once we were airborne.
When my flight attendant saw how many pictures I was taking, she decided that she would do whatever she could to make my pictures the best ever. When she presented my with the Ferragamo amenity kit and my Givenchy pajamas before takeoff she also brought a Singapore Airlines teddy bear for me to have in my pictures. Then she decided after takeoff one wasn’t enough.
I was presented with a menu (in the leather folio to the left of the champagne glass above) and was informed I could dine at my leisure. I wanted to eat pretty quickly, since I needed to actually rest on the flight a bit. I was going directly to see clients when I landed in New York, so I had to 1) get some rest and 2) not get too crazy on the champagne. I took a look at the menu for the first meal, which had breakfast-y items.
I went with the fruit plate and some scrambled eggs and bacon.
They were as good as they looked, and I felt like washing them down with champagne added to the classiness of it. Then I did about the only thing that could make riding in Singapore Suites even classier.
After going through some pictures from Lake Bled and making some light edits (including one of my Pictures of the Week), I began thinking about sleeping for a bit. But not before my flight attendant came by and asked if she could see a few of the pictures I was working on. She acted really impressed, which was nice of her. I then told her that I was planning on taking a nap and she excitedly showed me what she had done.
The divider between the middle two Suites can be lowered to create a double bed! The middle divider part (the brown thing in the middle) is soft and not entirely uncomfortable. Still though, it’s a double bed made up of two single beds, but it’d be have to be pretty cool to share a sleep with your travel companion.
My flight attendant then told me she had also made up a single bed for me in another Suite so I could take pictures of the single bed setup as well. Unbelievable level of service.
I decided to have my sleep in the double bed.
I ended up sleeping for a good two hours (which is good for me on a flight, even a flight with a bed). Why didn’t I change into the pajamas you ask? I plan on giving them away soon so I just left them in their packaging so it wouldn’t be gross.
After my nap, I just laid there for a bit enjoying everything, I honestly couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I also had a moment of extreme gratitude for a hobby like this that has allowed me to see how the other half lives. I was, am, and intend to forever be thankful for experiences like these.
Anyway, I eventually started stirring and decided to go to the restroom to freshen up a bit.
When I returned to my original Suite, the teddy bear had been moved next to a Singapore Sling that my attendant had made for me.
Before I knew it, there were only two or so hours left. It was already the best flight ever. Singapore was playing with house money at this point and they wouldn’t relent, they were completely dedicated to making my experience special from beginning to end. I was ready for lunch.
My attendant suggested some champagne for lunch, and I couldn’t decide between Krug or Dom. Two glasses appeared. Then two bottles appeared.
I enjoy Krug, but really liked the 2004 Dom. Probably not as much as the 2000, but this entire sentence is ridiculous because how the heck do I have champagne preferences. My flight attendant took a look at the situation, decided it could be better, and before I knew it my glasses were back and better.
As I was enjoying the appetizer I looked up at the in-flight map and received a bit of bad news.
The appetizer was delicious, and I ordered some coffee and water so I could be in good enough condition to see my clients that afternoon! The main course arrived, beef topped with foie gras atop potatoes.
It was one of the better cuts of meat I’ve had on a plane. (as an aside, why Samuel L. Jackson doesn’t host an in-flight cooking show called Steaks on a Plane is beyond me). Then it was time for dessert. My attendant said she’d like to bring both options out for me so I can have a picture of both of them together. And if I happened to eat both of them she wouldn’t tell anyone 🙂
After a while we landed. My departure from the fantasy world of Singapore Suites and into the real world was swift and jarring. Especially during my coach flight from LaGuardia back to DFW later that night.
So what made it the best flight ever?
I phrased it in a way I really liked in an earlier paragraph: the flight attendants closely examined every station of the flight and found a way to make it even better. The attention to detail was precise and the service friendly, but wherever they could add an extra detail they did. That’s what made it the best. The bar was set very high by my first flight in Suites. This astounding crew made this flight better.
I know what you’re saying “Andy, you don’t ever seem to complain about flights like these,” and that’s partially true. I really enjoy flying and I always try to have a graceful attitude towards any slip-ups that occur, like in Etihad, where everything was nice but it was just missing something. This flight had no slip-ups. The crew was that good. It definitely helped that there were only three suites out of twelve occupied, but I have no doubt if there was a full load in Suites everyone would’ve still had a great experience.
Wrapping this up, I send my sincere regards to that amazing crew and look forward to seeing you again soon!