Singapore to Tokyo-Narita | Duration: 7 hrs 10 mins | Aircraft: A380
Cabin: Suite Class | Seat: 3C/3D
Typical revenue fare: ~USD3,300 (~AUD4,400)
Krisflyer redemption: 51,000 miles + taxes
I paid: 80,750* Krisflyer Miles + taxes
* Inclusive of my First Class flight from Melbourne to Singapore (with stopover in Singapore). Considering that the MEL-SIN redemption costs 63,750 miles, tagging on this 7-hour suite class flight costs only an additional 17,000 Krisflyer miles! Hence I call this a ‘suite-spot’ – no pun intended.
Melbourne to Singapore
I have previously reviewed this flight.
During my 5-day stopover in Singapore, I made a small detour to my hometown in Ipoh, Malaysia. Although I had pre-arranged this trip months ago, I didn’t realise that this trip would coincide with my grandmother’s passing. So in retrospect this redemption proved timely as I was very grateful to be alongside my grandmother during her final moments. Leaving Ipoh I carried on with my journey with a heavy heart.
As SQ12 departs from Singapore at 9:20 in the morning, we flew in from Ipoh the day before at 6.40pm. Since the night was still young, we decided to catch up with some friends at Raffles City. Changi Airport is well serviced by MRT until midnight. Rather than lugging our suitcases along, we headed to the exclusive SQ First Class check-in lounge in Termimal 3 to ‘unload our burden’. The First class check-in reception is accessible directly from the passenger drop-off zone. However, we entered through the ‘exit’ instead as we were already in the terminal, having transferred from Terminal 2 via skytrain. The check-in staff were caught by surprise as we were not escorted by one of the porters that were stationed at the entrance. Honestly I was quite impressed by the small touches, including the offering of beverages, warm towels and customs declaration form relevant to your destination, just to name a few. Overall, the reception area appeared classy and spacious, and it trumped any priority check-in experience that I’ve had.
Lounge Access: The Private Room
Knowing that we had a relatively early morning departure, we decided to ‘rough it out’ for the night and not booking a hotel room. We returned to Changi Airport at around 11 pm and headed to the Private Room, which is reserved exclusively for passengers flying on First and Suite Class. The Private Room is essentially open all night with a brief shutdown period between 2.3o – 5.30am. Lounge staff noticed our flight departure was not until the following day, but welcomed us anyway. “Sir, the Private Room closes at 2.30am, but you may like to rest at our SilverKris Lounge next door (with long couches)… we are more than happy to provide you pillows & blankets”. I thought to myself “Grrrrrreat!!! …. I dont have to sleep rough after all”.
From the dinner menu, I selected the Chilean Sea Bass en Papillote with assorted Satay Skewers on the side. If you have not figured out already, I’m a big fan of seafood and just about anything with nuts in it. Both dishes were beautifully done. Technically that was our midnight supper rather than dinner. In Singaporean culture (if there is such a thing as Singapore is such a melting pot of many cultures), it’s not too uncommon to eat a late supper after dinner . In fact many local food outlets operate 24/7 in Singapore. Back to my dining experience, it was almost a flawless experience with the exception of the waitstaff becoming distracted closer to closing time (had to be reminded twice about our drinks order). In that instance I wished there was the option to help myself to the drink bar as waitstaff were clearly busy preparing for the closing.
Following dinner, I grasped the opportunity to shower at The ‘Private Bathroom’ before moving to the SilverKris Business Lounge, which operates round-the-clock. Upon arrival, there were at least five others who had secured themselves a long couch to optimise sleep fully supine. Interesting, when the others noticed that we came with pillows and blankets, they soon followed suit by requesting for the same at the counter.
Four hours later I reluctantly got up, but at the same time thrilled about our upcoming flight. Though my sleep was largely uninterrupted, I was aware of the ongoing background noises. Hence I do recommend using earplugs if you are a light-sleeper. At 7am, it was time for The Private Room 2.0: A re-visit to the First Class Lounge for breakfast. While enjoying my dim sum breakfast with wu-long tea, within an earshot were a couple making ’emergency’ phone calls. They were clearly the first class passengers bound for Milan trying to cancel their hotel bookings, as their plane turned back due to engine fire. The right engine/wing of SQ 368 seemed to be pretty damaged from the fire but fortunately all the passengers and crew were safely evacuated.
The boarding process was seamless and the gate area was very well-signposted in both English and Japanese. SQ12 service, in technical term, is actually a 5th-freedom flight as it continues on to Los Angeles from Tokyo-Narita using the same flight number. Unfortunately due to the upcoming route rejig, SQ12 will be downgraded on October 23 to a 777-300ER without Suite Class. This effectively means that JFK will be the sole US destination operated by Singapore Airlines A380.
Suite Class Cabin
The suite class cabin is located at the bottom deck of the A380 and the seats are arranged in 1-2-1 configuration. Although the seat configuration at business cabin is also 1-2-1, the suite class seats offer a greater seat width, as the business class cabin narrows towards the upper deck. Each suite comes with a superb level of privacy and the cream-brown leather seats are simply elegant. As much as I love window seats, the middle seats are great for couples and those travelling with a companion. The middle seats in theory could be combined to make a double bed, but we did not test this out during our day-time flight (perhaps it could be on our to-do-list).
Suite Class Dining
Unlike my previous experience in first class on a red-eye flight, the meal service on this leg was definitely a more sophisticated affair. A major drawcard to me is that suite class allows you to dine face-to-face with your partner.
Krug & Dom Perignon was on the offer like my previous flight. The entree was served progressively beginning with satay, followed by lobster & caviar, bread, soup and salad. The meal service up to this point was spot on and I enjoyed it thoroughly. For the main that I pre-booked via Book the Cook service which turned out to be rather disappointing. One criticism in two words: dry duck. The duck confit that I pre-ordered was overcooked and nothing like the one I had conjured up in my imagination, crisp skin with tender meat almost falling away from the bone. At this stage I was already quite full, I sampled the dish and moved on to dessert. For the dessert I selected the pear slice with custard and berry compote, coupled with a delicious cup of barista-made cappuccino.
The crew onboard were exemplary. I find Singapore Airlines one of the most consistent in terms of customer service, setting them apart from other competitors in the industry. In addition to being warm and friendly, I was impressed by their willingness to go above and beyond to please their clients. For example in this flight:
Scenario #1: Instead of getting another Men’s Salvatore Ferragamo amenity bag, I requested for a female amenity bag as a gift for my sister. “Sorry sir, unfortunately we don’t have any spare left in this flight”. That was totally understandable and I immediately gave up on that idea. Surprisingly on arrival, I was handed a brand-new women’s amenity bag shortly after the cabin door was opened. Wow, that blew my mind! Now that’s what I call extraordinary hospitality. She remembered my request 4 hours ago and followed through by communicating with ground staff. That also meant that I got to keep both amenity bags!
Scenario #2 : Just as the in flight duty-free shopping was concluding, I decided to purchase the new Singapore Airlines A350 die-cast model. As crew members were busy preparing for the descent, I missed out on the opportunity by the time the crew member had a moment to attend to my order. “Sorry sir that we’ve missed out on your order, but I am more than happy to post it to your address as a personal favour”. For privacy reasons, I politely declined but again I was impressed by their willing to go beyond what’s expected of them.
Arriving in Japan
Following dinner I watched a few National Geographic documentaries, and just as I was enjoying the ride, the captain made an announcement that we were 30 minutes ahead of schedule. We landed smoothly at Tokyo-Narita and at that point I wished to have also possessed the boarding pass allowing me to continue flying to Los Angeles. We thanked the crew and proceeded to the terminal. Unfortunately there was no dedicated express lane in the terminal, our only perk was to de-plane before all other passengers.
The overall experience with access to The Private Room was exceptional in many ways. I was particularly delighted that we could sleep overnight in the SilverKris lounge comfortably. Singapore Airlines Suite Class offers an excellent hard product and arguably the best cabin crew, who are willing to go the extra mile. While I love the option of pre-selecting my meal online, it did not work in my favour in this case as the main dish was barely passable. All things considered, the inflight dining experience has been outstanding. I would love to fly on the Suite Class again, but hopefully for a longer flight in order to enjoy the complete experience.
Don’t forget to share, comment & subscribe if you have enjoyed this review. I hope to cover how to earn and redeem Krisflyer miles in my future posts. Stay tuned.