By Eric Rosen
January 11, 2019
Courtesy of Eric Rosen

Singapore Airlines unveiled new, industry-changing first-class suites back in November 2017 as part of a complete cabin refresh aboard its double-decker Airbus A380s. Virtual hotel rooms in the sky, the suites are 50 square feet each, have closing doors for privacy, and contain Poltrona Frau leather armchairs, twin-size beds, and 32-inch entertainment screens, among other features.

Oh, and so far, there are also only 30 of them in the airline’s entire fleet – just six per plane on five A380s – though the airline does plan to retrofit its 14 older A380s with them by the end of 2020.

That makes the new Singapore Suites one of the most exclusive experiences in the sky today. Thanks to a strategic redemption of 50,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, though, I got to enjoy the utmost in in-flight luxury on a recent trip from Singapore Changi International Airport to Shanghai. Here’s what flying in Singapore Airlines’ new first-class suites was actually like.

Airport Amenities

The experience started on the ground. My flight departed at 9:20 a.m., but I arrived at the airport at 7:30 a.m. in order to enjoy some time in the airline’s lounge. Singapore Suites passengers can utilize a dedicated first-class check-in reception area, with its own private driveway, at Singapore Changi’s Terminal 3. The moment my taxi pulled up, a porter was present to take my bags inside to one of check-in desks.

The agent there confirmed my travel and identification details, took my carry-on and escorted me to the dedicated customs and immigration checkpoint, which I breezed through in a moment.

Once I arrived at the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge within the terminal, the entrance agent there personally escorted me through the main lounge to the Private Room, an area reserved exclusively for passengers flying in first class or suites on Singapore Airlines.

The main lounge has several sitting areas where passengers can work or unwind, but I headed to the dining room. There was a small buffet, but also an entire à la carte menu available with items like shrimp fried rice, dim sum, waffles, and eggs benedict. Other passengers were enjoying glasses of 2009 Dom Pérignon, but it was still a bit early for me, so I had a cappuccino and scrambled eggs with chicken sausage and asparagus. I did not want to fill up, though, because I knew what was still to come on my flight.

Scoping Out the Suite

I headed to the gate early so that I could be among the first passengers to board, and I was the first to arrive in the suites section at the front of the A380’s top deck. The flight crew could not have been friendlier, showing me the various features of the suite, and even pouring me glasses of Dom Pérignon and water while I snapped photos of everything.

What blew me away most was just how much room there was in my suite, 1F, which was the first one along the right side of the plane. It felt like stepping onto my own private jet.

Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

The armchair faced forward for takeoff and landing, but could swivel 270 degrees to face the windows or toward the entertainment screen on the interior wall during the rest of the flight.

A console near the door held the oversize dining table, while the one near the windows contained small stowage compartments and a lit vanity mirror. Next to it was a touchscreen tablet that I used to adjust the suite’s lighting, call flight attendants, and control the entertainment system.

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Speaking of which, the entertainment screen was 32 inches and included a current selection of movies, television shows, music, games, and information on my flight.

The first-class section had two lavatories – that’s right, two bathrooms for just six passengers – one of which was enormous and contained a sit-down vanity counter and a changing area in addition to the toilet and sink, but no shower like on Emirates or Etihad. Flight attendants cleaned them between each use, so they were spotless the whole flight.

Time Flew By

Once we took off, the crew came through closing the suite doors so passengers could have privacy from the rest of the cabin. The doors were really more like thick screens since there were small holes through which flight attendants could look in from time to time and ensure passenger safety and comfort. Incidentally, they also contain what amounts to a small closet where passengers can hang clothes and stow small bags during the flight.

I told my flight attendants (there were three helping me at various points) that I wanted to be sure to have some time in my suite’s bed, so they began my meal service immediately. I had pre-ordered my main course using the airline’s Book The Cook service, but I had plenty of time to enjoy several other dishes as well.

Courtesy of Eric Rosen

I started with an amuse-bouche of chicken and lamb satay…along with a glass of 2004 Krug Champagne. Among the other wines available were a Chablis Premier Cru and a Pinot Noir Premier Cru Monopole from Albert Bichot Domaine Long-Depaquit in Burgundy, Chateau Rauzan-Ségla Margaux from Bordeaux, and a 2013 Pieropan Amarone from Italy.

I moved on to a smoked salmon appetizer, skipped the soup course, and had a salad of radicchio and baby spinach before the entrée of grilled king prawns with lemon garlic sauce and couscous.

For dessert, I tried a mango-coconut charlotte with thyme sauce and crème fraîche ice cream. Everything was served on the airline’s signature Wedgwood china, of course. In between courses, flight attendants were constantly on hand to make sure my water and wine glasses never got below the half-full mark, and dishes were cleared as soon as I’d finished each course.

Courtesy of Eric Rosen

I concluded my meal just under two hours into the flight. One of the flight attendants took me for a brief tour of the rest of the plane so I could see the new business-class seats as well as premium economy and economy.

While I freshened up afterwards, the crew prepared my bed. Unfortunately, because this was a short daytime flight, I was not given the Lalique pajamas or amenity kit that suites passengers can expect on the longer-haul flights, but there were Lalique products to use in the lavatory.

When I returned to my suite, I found the bed dressed with a Lalique duvet and sheets, and two full-size pillows. The bed measured 26 inches wide by 76 inches long, which was plenty of space for me, but if you’re tall, you might have to squeeze in. I promptly curled up and fell asleep for nearly 90 undisturbed minutes.

Courtesy of Eric Rosen

I had declined a wake-up call offered by the flight attendants, but woke up in time to have a cappuccino and watch part of a movie before we landed. Then before I knew it, the flight was over. The experience from gate-to-gate had lasted around six hours.

Final Impressions

Although I wish I had been able to fly Singapore Airlines’ new suites on a longer route, even this quick daytime trip was enough to thoroughly enjoy one of the most luxurious experiences ever offered in commercial aviation.

The two most memorable aspects of my flight were the sheer space of the suite itself and the excellence of the service both on the ground and in the air. Although top-notch customer service is the norm for Singapore Airlines, the crew on my flight specifically were able to tread a perfectly calibrated line between friendliness and diligence.

As for suite itself, while 50 square feet might not sound like much on the ground, it can turn a first-class cabin into an experience that feels more like flying private – especially thanks to that separate bed and the Lalique trimmings.

The fact that I was able to experience all this for nearly free by redeem miles for the flight only made it that much more enjoyable.

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