Singapore Airlines new A380 first class suites
Singapore Airlines is in the process of introducing new seats on its A380s in all four classes: economy, premium economy, business and first. These will be fitted to its entire Airbus A380 fleet, including retrofit work on 14 aircraft that are already in service, starting in late 2018 and targeted for completion in 2020, as well as the five new aircraft entering service. The new aircraft configuration carries six first class suites. The A380s currently serve Auckland, Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Sydney and Zurich.
There are two Silverkris lounges in Terminal 2B at Heathrow, and you will be directed to the left for first class. The lounge has a traditional look, with a self-service wine bar and plenty of areas for sitting, working and dining in privacy. The staff are friendly and helpful.
There were dedicated queues for both business class and the first class suites. The suites are on the upper deck at the front of the aircraft, and since they are in front of the engines they are very quiet during the flight.
The layout of the suite takes a little getting used to. There is a leather armchair facing forward, and then running perpendicular to this in front of you is the bed, which is folded up when you first board.
Along the side of the cabin by the windows are several storage spaces for magazines and bags, and there’s a private wardrobe for hanging your clothes and storing wheel-on bags, though larger bags are stowed at the front by the two separate washrooms at the end of the corridor.
The leather seat (21-inches wide) can be swivelled either towards the two windows, or towards the table area and television. I was so busy moving it around that only later did I realise you can also recline the seat and raise the leg rest if you simply want to sit back and read.
The table comes out of the side of the cabin and is very large and stable, and can be turned so that it is directly in front of the table for dining or working, or kept slightly to one side if you just want to rest things on it. As you can imagine, there is a huge amount of personal space, and you can get up and walk around if you feel like stretching your legs without ever walking out into the corridor.
The suites have sliding doors for privacy, and though they don’t reach to the ceiling, they are useful; if you keep the door open you will be eye to eye with your fellow passenger on the other side of the aircraft.
The suites have a number of charging points, including one power point in the wide table for when you are working and another by the bed, so you could keep two devices charged that way, and a third through the USB socket.
In the wardrobe there are socks and slippers, and I was also given a Lalique washbag containing a few useful items along with a candle and a bar of soap. I
SIA is retiring the oldest A380s and welcoming five new ones, each with a revamped layout, cabins and new seat products
asked for some pyjamas, which are also Lalique, and after take-off changed into these for the flight and hung my suit in the wardrobe.
There was only a slight delay in taking off because of bad weather and the need for the aircraft to be de-iced.
WHICH SUITE TO CHOOSE
Each seat is a separate suite, so if you are travelling as a couple you can choose either 1 and 2A or 1 and 2F. These two seats have a divider that slides down, allowing you to spend time together and make a double suite with a double bed. Alternatively, if travelling with a colleague, you can have the divider down to chat, and then raise it and have separate beds when it’s time to sleep. I was in 3F and this is one of the two suites that does not have that option.
The choice of food is huge, and on top of this you can also select from an even wider selection of dishes online prior to flying, using a service called Book the Cook. The à la carte menu includes a selection of dishes created by Milanese chef Carlo Cracco, and I decided to try these.
An appetiser of prawns came with a shaved pumpkin and radish salad; a starter of pea cream soup with mussels and squid ink; and a main course of seared Iberico pork loin with apple purée and pork jus. This was followed by Italian ice cream. Other options included Singaporean dishes and a cheese course. Overall I was impressed with the food and the presentation – each course was served by flight attendants with an explanation and I was asked if I’d like to change my choice of drink.
Singapore Airlines did very well in our most recent Cellars in the Sky wine tastings, winning three gold medals, including Best Overall Cellar. On boarding we were offered a choice of vintage champagnes – Krug 2004 or Dom Pérignon 2006. The whites and reds were well-chosen for altitude with many “name” producers, and all excellent of their type.
During the flight other snack and light meal options included char kway teow (noodles) with chicken, black mushroom and oriental chicken stock; sandwiches, chocolates and snacks such as crisps and assorted nuts; as well as fresh fruit.
Although it’s tempting to make the most of the extensive offering and eat and drink for the whole flight, this was landing in the early morning in Singapore; so I was keen to get a few hours’ sleep.
On request, the flight attendants come into the suite and lower the bed from the side wall, put a mattress topper on it, prepare the pillows and then the duvet on top. Once you get into the bed there are some thoughtful touches such as a lever by the side of the bed allowing one end to be raised so you can read in bed and watch the television in comfort, then lowered to horizontal when it’s time to sleep. The bed is 76 inches long, so most flyers will have enough room.
There is a separate headphone jack by the side of the bed, and the lights by the side of the bed are easy to use with pre-sets including off, night, low, medium and high. There’s also a Do Not Disturb button and a call button, and if you like you can raise the window blinds during the flight.
The safety belt for the bed goes across your chest and I found this troublesome, partly because it’s difficult to find the slot to secure it into, and also because it is quite tight across your chest, so much so that I found it a struggle to turn over because I was almost secured to the mattress. This is a good thing for safety, perhaps, though not if passengers decide to undo it during the night because it’s uncomfortable.
I slept for a few hours and then watched films on the IFE system – the 32-inch screen is high definition, and the Bose noise-cancelling headphones make it a very pleasant experience.
About two-and-a-half hours before landing we were offered breakfast. There was a wide choice including seafood noodle soup, citrus French toast, masala dosa, murgh keema (spicy minced chicken), or eggs – baked, scrambled or hard boiled.
We landed ahead of schedule, and there were no delays in disembarking. I was quickly out into Changi Terminal 3.
It’s hard to see how these suites could be bettered. There is lots of room, plenty of storage space, impressive food and drink, superb service, and a comfortable seat and separate bed. The first 100MB of wifi is free, and there are several power points for keeping things charged.
If you’ve flown much on an A380 you are likely to have been impressed by how smooth and quiet it is on board, and nowhere more so than at the front in one of these suites. Simply excellent.