It's fair to say anticipation was at an extreme for this flight. A year in the making the day finally came. Singapore Suites from JFK can be difficult to get without proper planning, like when the schedule opens 355 days from the day you want to fly.
jetBlue got me in early, too early for the Singapore check in to be open. However there was one agent at the end of the counter. He was there specifically for early arrivals. There was no red carpet service, special bag tags or some of the other things you might find with international first class check in procedures. The agent did escort me to security and suggested I go to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, which I did.
Check out the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse here.
After a pleasant stay in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse I headed downstairs to Gate A7, which was next door. It was crowded but the Singapore gate agents had the boarding area under control.
Contrary to the Boarding Sequence sign, there was no "Group 1" boarding for Suites passengers. We were included with Business Class.
A few passengers with special needs were boarded and it was time for general boarding. My suite awaited under the "n".
My Suite 3A. According to popular opinion 3A (or 3K) are the best seats because they have 3 windows. I'm not so sure as row 1 looks pretty private and A380 windows aren't the best for outside viewing anyway. (You can see the window arrangement on the above photo.)
This is a look from the front of the cabin with 1A the first suite. If there is another SQ A380 flight on my agenda you can find me here.
As you can see it is difficult to get a good cabin photo as the suites are shoulder level and fully enclosed.
I tried to get a better photo of the command center but was denied.
These are the center seats in row 2. Tonight the cabin would be almost full. I think 8 of 12 seats were occupied. I was hoping to see the double bed but one of the seats was occupied.
Back in January 2017 this Singapore A380, registration 9V-SKM, was reconfigured for premium economy seats. Apparently they also installed new suites as well. Although they could have been installed today as this aircraft was immaculate.
Upon boarding I was offered champagne. I declined the champagne until after departure. Much too busy snooping around.
I was presented with this smart Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit. The kit only included Acqua lotions and fragrance in this men's version. The stuff you usually find in amenity kits was stocked in the lavatory.
I was sized up for sleepwear.
Really nice. High quality. You could wear these out. The pants have pockets and a drawstring for the belt. Comfortable too.
There are two lavatories for first class. Both are behind the cabin between the two galleys.
All the toiletries you may need are located in the lavatory.
While the lavatory is not huge, like some A380 lavs, it's big enough to comfortably change clothes and there are two of them.
To conclude, pillow and blanket.
It was a beautiful day in New York that turned into a perfect evening. No clouds, wind, storms, nothing. We pushed back on time.
A couple other heavies ready to go across the pond.
Yet with the perfect weather we waited a full 90 minutes to depart. The explanation given at departure was it's a busy night at JFK.
So while we wait for departure let's have a look around the suite. Behind the seat is the bed. The seatback folds down and the side unit releases down almost to the floor. Then the bed is opened and laid flat. It makes for a bed without that annoying seam in the middle.
You can get an idea of how the table unit releases down to the floor here. Then the bed folds down to the ottoman level. With this arrangement the large IFE monitor is over 5 feet away, which is fine for viewing even though it's off center from the seat.
This is seat 3C. These center seats were occupied by a couple going to Hong Kong. Strike two on the double bed, well actually strike three.
The ottoman, which you can't use as a conventional ottoman, but is used as a seat for a dining partner and of course some of your carry-on luggage can be stored underneath.
Behind that is another small compartment that can hold something narrow, like a cell phone. Come to think of it, these suites were designed before the iPhone was even released. Tablets weren't even imagined yet.
Next door are your power ports as well as headphone jack.
On the other side is the IFE controller which must be used. A few touch button controls and a small tray for your spare change I guess.
Behind that is another small compartment with a plastic insert. I'm at a loss here, trash?
Using the control buttons you can turn on a light for eating or reading.
Singapore seats don't fully recline. This is true for first class seats as well as business class seats. Because of these seats have a fold down bed, the seat itself only partially reclines. Jury is out for me on this feature. These controls depict your limitations.
Next to ottoman is the placard/magazine holder and another useless storage compartment with an even more useless mirror.
Finally in the air I was offered some nuts along with what I wanted to drink. Champagne, but which one?
Hmmm, Krug, Dom? Dom, Krug? I asked Gavin one of the cabin attendants for a recommendation. He offered a sample of both. Really? Sure he replied. Okay, but just a small taste of each. First came the Krug as it must have been opened during boarding.
So much for just a sip. Then came the Dom Pérignone.
My winner this evening. Another please.
As I write this a copycat article appears in Forbes. It appears offering both is standard procedure.
Book The Cook was studied well in advance. For the JFK-FRA segment of this flight to Singapore only a dinner selection was available. Since it's only a 7 hour flight, and with a late evening departure, I can certainly understand only one full meal. However I am surprised a lighter first meal and full breakfast wasn't offered. This BTC menu had numerous choices, but in the end one stood out.
The on-board menu had even more choices. I guess Alfred's choice is kind of a prix fixe meal yet I assume you can mix and match with other items. This menu was available for viewing online prior to departure as well.
The breakfast menu was somewhat surprising to me. Special "K"? Okay so one full meal is understandable. But what about the people who ate dinner before the 9PM departure and went to sleep right away. They get a continental breakfast before arrival?
The beverage menu was extensive as you might expect. I've always admired the tasting ability of accredited Sommeliers. The movie SOMM gave great insight to the uniqueness of this talent. My palate doesn't appreciate their best work, or even most of their work. When I read a wine has hints of black cherry, tobacco, or any such taste, rarely do I experience the same. Maybe it's because I drink it too fast. Nonetheless these descriptions offer me insight to whether or not I want the wine. On today's flight the feature wine was an Australian Shiraz.
Hints of Christmas pudding and cured Iberian pork?
Cocktails and spirits.
Coffee and coffee specialities.
Tea and tea specialties.
Time to dine. The other fabulous cabin attendant's name was Stephanie. She prepared the place setting.
No amuse was served, nor were any of the famous Singapore Airlines satays.
So I was content to sip my Krug and watch The ZooKeeper's Wife. As mentioned the monitor is centered while you sit on the side of the suite. The monitor is just okay, not high resolution like for example Asiana's behemoth of a monitor.
Bose noise cancelling headphones, which the noise cancelling is not necessary on the A380. It's remarkable how quiet this aircraft is.
Switching between movies and the airshow is like jumping through hoops, as the saying goes.
But the main event was in progress. Singapore Airlines exceptional service.
What a lovely presentation of Malossol caviar. I was offered chilled vodka but gracefully declined as that glass of champagne was #3.
Mistake one, not ordering the clam chowder.
Bamboo fungus and fish maw was like chewing on, well, bamboo.
It was time to switch to wine. While the Shiraz was tempting, the Margaux was irresistible.
Stephanie deftly accommodated the request.
A pretty impressive selection of beverages on this flight.
Freshly cracked black pepper, a nice touch I'd say.
You probably guessed the Book The Cook selection.
Beautifully presented, restaurant quality prime filet with a rich but not overpowering sauce and crispy potatoes.
The temperature was about a minute past perfect. I blame that on the 90 minute delay out of JFK. Notice the knife.
Neither of the desserts struck my fancy, so I ordered the Financier cake.
Which was basically pound cake with ice cream.
I also ordered a Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee which was good coffee, although I suspect it wasn't Jamaican Blue Mountain. Why? On the subsequent flight to Singapore I requested the same only to be told they didn't have any. And I'm not sure how I ended up with 2 glasses of water, but staying hydrated is important.
After a delicious meal and way too many cocktails, Gavin prepared my bed in suite 4A. While I appreciated the gesture, in retrospect the galley noise in this suite can be bothersome. After a short nap it was time to land. I didn't have breakfast, nor do I recall if it was offered but I'm sure it was.
We landed direct to the east, offering a beautiful view of suburban Frankfurt.
7 of 19 Singapore Suites hours are now complete.
Carrier: Singapore Airlines
Date: August 2017
Route: New York JFK - Frankfurt
Flight #: 25
Aircraft: Airbus A380 #9V-SKM
Configuration: F12/ J86 / W36 / Y245
On Time: No - ATC delay JFK
Reward Flying Rating: 8.1 out of 10 ✈
✔︎Newly refurbished cabin was immaculate as was the suite.
✔︎Very comfortable seats for sitting and sleeping. Would prefer a better recline.
Cabin/Seats Rating: 8.5 out of 10 ✈
✔︎Beautiful amenity kit and pajamas. Plus all the amenities you'd expect on a first class airline.
✔︎Fine china (or appears to be), yet missing a special touch like a flower or candle as some airlines do.
✔︎Delicious meal from a variety of options
Amenity/Food rating: 8 out of 10 ✈
✔︎Big monitor without exceptional resolution but pages and pages of content, hundreds of selections.
IFE rating: 7 out of 10 ✈
✔︎Gavin and Stephanie were outstanding. Gavin could have been a comedian. He was very funny, called me a spy because I was taking so many pictures. Fun crew.
Flight Attendant rating: 9 out of 10 ✈
✔︎A380 The more I fly this aircraft the more I like it. It's unbelievably quiet and you really don't feel turbulence, at least the little bumps. Now if only they make the windows more view friendly....
Aircraft rating: 8 out of 10 ✈