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March 3, 2017 / oneworld82

Singapore Airlines part I – JFK-FRA

Oh boy, here we are. The long awaited moment (almost one year) was finally here. Singapore was the last of the major airlines’ first class I had yet to try – well, there is still Air France actually – and I was very excited to be flying with them all the way to Hong Kong from NYC! The wrong way around, if you like, but certainly the best way to experience the hard and soft product and to properly report on them. Let’s say I took one for the team… 😉

When I arrived at the gate boarding was already well underway. I went through the Suites Class line, and once my documents were checked an agent escorted me all the way to the airplane door. Nice gesture.

My ride tonight

My ride tonight

As soon as I entered the plane, I was escorted to my suite, 2A. It took me 30 seconds or so to realize that this would be a great fly, as the crew came one by one to introduce themselves and as their attitude was all positive and all smiles. The fact that we were only 4 people in First tonight probably helped, but attitude (and proper manners) really go a long way!

Suites hallway

Suites hallway

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The purser and my aisle’s flight attendant came to introduce themselves, and they offered me a drink. I asked whether they had champagne, but they apologetically said they couldn’t offer it until after take off. So I ordered some sparkling water with lemon, but the purser promised me a glass of Dom Perignon as soon as we would take off. Great service already.

My Perrier was served out of a can and poured right outside the suite – again, proper way to do it. The flight attendant then came by to offer me a pj, slippers, and amenity kit. She took my shoes and put them in a dust bag to protect them – what a cool touch.

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I was offered also newspapers and magazines, and I took a copy of the day’s WSJ.

My flight attendant came by again asking me whether this was my first time aboard, and when I said yes she proceeded to give me a tour of all the functionalities of the suite. The first of many hot towels ensued.

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Singapore Airlines was the first carrier to introduce the concept of Suites, about 12-13 years ago. While the design on the A380 hasn’t dramatically changed – and while the competition came about with a host of innovations – SQ’s suite still looks elegant and luxurious – albeit not cutting edge.

The seat was very wide and comfortable, and on the side there was a good amount of storage space (plus a closet outside the suite and lots of space under the ottoman). Like mentioned earlier, the suite looks a bit dated, but that doesn’t subtract from its elegance.

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Lighting was abundant, controlled by buttons next to the seat. There were two storage areas to the left hand side of the seat, and one more for magazines in the front part of the cabin. Next to the TV screen there also was a vanity mirror, and next to the seat (on the right side) there was a trashcan.

After a second glass of water, boarding was completed and the captain announced a smooth ride to Frankfurt that will land us about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. The flight from JFK to FRA is relatively short – blocked at 7h25m – and like most red-eye flights from the East Coast to Europe is not really ideal to enjoy a great meal and then to catch a good night’s sleep. Thankfully, for once I was not flying to Europe for work, which made everything much less stressful.

I took a look at the menu, which read like this:

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As you can see the menu was varied and extensive.

After taking off the crew started getting ready for dinner, and my glass of Dom Perignon was served, with some nuts. What a great champagne this is – I must say that I prefer it over Krug, as I prefer the smoothness of Dom vs the citrus notes of Krug. I got a good picture of the bottle, and at this point the crew noticed that I really liked taking pictures, and so they tried to help me go above and beyond with that. In fact, shortly after the FA made my bed in the suite in front of me, and started taking pictures of me lying on the bed. Brilliant!

Champagne!

Champagne!

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In any case, dinner service started promptly shortly after. I liked a lot the tableware that SQ uses in First Class – very classy. We started with the caviar – served with all the works and a shot of Belvedere vodka. I am not sure what caviar Singapore uses, but it was good (although a tad salty).

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More Dom ensued.

Then, instead of the soup and salad I had asked whether I could have the other appetizer, which was an inviting lobster salad. I am glad I did the switch, as it was a very well-executed dish.

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More Dom.

Then, it was time for the main. One of the coolest features of Singapore Airlines is that you can pre-order you entree online through what they dubbed “Book the Cook” – a feature available to First and Business Class passengers on all routes but the short Kuala Lumpur one. The concept is brilliant – as we all know that on board choices tend to be somewhat limited (even if First Class) and the quality hit or miss. While dining by the way I was watching Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home – one of the best Star Trek movies out there.

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After reading extensively online, I had decided to go with the Classic Lobster Thermidore – half lobster with a decadent mix of cream and mushrooms served with asparagus and saffron rice. The presentation was fantastic, and the taste was, simply, wow. I mean it, this was possibly the best dish I have ever had on a plane, which tells me that Singapore Airlines really cares about the quality of its made to order food (which, also, helps them reduce waste).

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The meal was very well paced, and someone from the crew would check on me every 2-3 minutes (in a very discreet way) to make sure I was not missing anything (that is, my glass of champagne was always full :D).

While I was full (and I regrettably passed on the cheese) I still had room for dessert. My FA suggested I had the black forest cake, and I couldn’t do anything but oblige. As expected, it was delicious – mostly because it was moist and flavorful.

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So, the meal lasted about 1h30m and it was fantastic. SQ really got its catering and service right, even more so than ANA or Cathay Pacific (no offense, but ME3 service is not the most polished out there). The genuine hospitality and willingness to anticipate my needs was what really set Singapore Airlines apart, and overall I couldn’t have been any happier.

After dinner I finished watching Star Trek – The Movie (the original one from 1979) in my sleeping suite before catching 2-3 hours of sleep. The bed was very comfortable (And a glass of Hennessy XO certainly helped with my sweet dreams), and while I did not have too much time to sleep I felt well-rested when I woke up.

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While originally I did not plan on having breakfast (I just wanted to sleep all the way to Frankfurt and have a quick bite at the Senator Lounge if hungry), I was already up when the breakfast service began, so I decided to have something light – a cup of coffee and some fruit.

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Shortly after we started our descent into Germany, where we landed, as promised, around 15 minutes early. After a short taxi we pulled over our gate, and minutes after I bid the crew goodbye and, after being greeted by an escort at the exit door, I proceeded to the Senator lounge for the short, hour-long layover.

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Overall, this was a fantastic flight the thoroughly impressed me. SQ service went above and beyond in this sector, the food and beverage were spectacular, and the IFE was great. I really couldn’t have been any happier with my first SQ experience.

One Comment

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  1. Fabulous-Fusions / Mar 9 2017 2:34 pm

    Wow, it’s so awesome to see the whole 1st class experience! 🙂 I’ve never travelled 1st class, so it’s fantastic to see ‘real photos’ instead of those provided by airlines. I’ll be back here often 🙂

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