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A “Sweet” Singapore Airlines Suites First Class Experience from JFK to Singapore

Last updated: September 14,2023
Originally Published: October 14,2023
by Sam Helmy

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Purchasing The Singapore Airlines First Class Ticket (Award Availability)

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It all started with a beer and a random conversation with Eric from Award Wallet in October 2021, who happened to mention to my husband that Singapore Airlines’ “old” A380 was bookable from JFK to Singapore via Frankfurt for a mere 132,000 Krisflyer miles per person.

Well, that was all we needed to hear as we quickly transferred Amex points to Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer booking portal.

The transfer took about three days to clear and space was going fast, but luckily we managed to snag a departure date almost a full year into the future for October 4th at 8:55 PM.

We were only able to make this flight happen for two reasons:

  1. We were lucky enough to have heard of this exceptional deal just prior to a popular travel blog hitting “publish” on their post about it.
  2. We were flexible enough that we didn’t care whether we left for Asia on October 4th or October 12th. We figured that October 2022 Asia would be largely open and this premonition proved correct. 

Then, happily, in December of 2021 we received the following email:

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Now – normally – I don’t dance when I get a notification that my seat has been changed, but in this case, I did, because it meant that Singapore Airlines had finally upgraded the A380 that they fly on that route, and that meant we were finally going to experience the coveted Singapore Suites double bedroom.

Singapore Suites, here we come!

I was no stranger to business class and its many amenities: priority check-in, welcome champagne, lay flat suites, cute PJs, and snacks galore.

But I’ll admit – Singapore Airlines’ first-class suite service has SPOILED me and set a ridiculously high bar for luxury commercial flights, and I’m not sure that I’ll ever surpass it. 

Check-in for Singapore Airlines First and Business Class Passengers

While Suites passengers have their own dedicated check-in area at Changi airport, this was not the case at JFK, where we simply checked in next to business class passengers. To be honest, I could have cared less about an exclusive check-in section, especially because I knew what awaited me on the tarmac.

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JFK’s Virgin Airlines Lounge

Singapore Airlines doesn’t have a dedicated lounge at JFK, so they sent us to the Virgin Clubhouse at Terminal 4, just after security, and above boarding gates A4 and A5. 

Entering the lounge, I knew we were off to a great start.

The lounge itself is pretty modern-vintage looking yet cozy and offers different sections designed in Virgin’s distinct whimsical style to relax in.

You can pamper yourself over an open bar, work comfortably, refresh with a nice shower if needed, or even have a full three-course meal should you desire. We opted to keep it light and ordered a la carte with a light salad, steamed pork buns, a toffee caramel English pudding, and of course a bit of bubble. Consider it an appetizer before we smashed our palates into the main course: our first eight-hour connection flight to Frankfurt the A380.

Boarding Singapore Airlines A380

The first-class suite passengers are first in the boarding sequence, and as we walked through a separate entrance and past the galley we received our first greetings from Singapore Airlines’ very warm crew. They addressed us directly by our last names before making sure they were pronouncing our first names correctly, and each member of the crew wore one of the most pretty and pristine uniforms I’d ever seen. 

The upper deck has only six suites, each one a little wider than a work cubicle, and each passenger was personally “delivered” to their designated suite. The crew carefully hung our jackets and stored our luggage in a personal compartment while they introduced themselves and offered a first glass of Dom Perignon Vintage 2008 and some warm nuts in case of pre-flight famine. 

Singapore Suites Seats and Cabin Configuration

We immediately got cozy, even though we couldn’t recline our Poltrona Frau leather armchairs just yet as we waited on the tarmac. Each beautiful piece of the fine Italian craft furniture we were seated in was fully operable by a digital screen pad that included a separate hand TV control – set next to the armchair – and another command pad under the window. This armchair seat could swivel around 200 degrees and recline up to 45 degrees, including with full leg extension. 

Singapre first class suites

Even though my husband and I were separated by about 7 feet and in different suites, we felt close, as the crew removed the short retractable wall separating the suites and, later, set up a double bed for us. This feature is only available for seats 1A-2A and 1F-2F.

First Class Amenities and Entertainment System

Now even with onboard entertainment an 8-hour flight can feel a little tedious and stuffy, but time flew by for us in our suite headquarters. Within 40 minutes of take-off, after being served up a bubbly refreshment and a hot towel, we headed to the lavatories to change into our complimentary pajamas and a pair of slippers and to properly refresh ourselves with a nice set of first-class swag. Both of us had received an amenities kit from Lalique that included a lip balm, face mist, bedtime mask lotion, and 1 oz. of their official fragrance. The lavatories were spacious and had everything we needed for our nightly routines, including makeup removal, nail files, razors, and dental kits. 

IMG 2630 First Class

Now we were ready for the fun part: binge-watching a great catalog of the latest Blockbusters, tv shows, and documentaries on our 32-inch full HD swivel TV complete with a pair of Bang & Olufsen noise-canceling headphones… Those aren’t complementary, sadly.

But before the binge watching, we have to cover food & drinks. About those…

Singapore Suites Food & Drinks

Being a foodie myself, my expectations for this type of in-the-sky first-class catering were high, and for me, all of the anticipations I felt since redeeming these tickets a full year earlier came down to the food. We knew about Singapore Airlines’ famous “Book the Cook” service, but as they weren’t serving their famous lobster thermidor on this route we opted not to pre-order our meals in advance and instead added an element of surprise by waiting until our transatlantic adventure began. 

The menu was displayed in every suite, and within fifteen minutes of departure I began deliberating and our order was taken forty minutes later. A rather interesting gesture is that every member of the crew sits on their knees while explaining the menu as if they are explaining the interior of a candy store to an excited child. After ordering, the seating was arranged so that my husband and I could have dinner together.

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Singapore Suites feature a special menu created by one of Los Angeles’ most beloved chefs, Suzanne Goin, that they describe as an “artful culinary masterpiece fusion of Mediterranean and California flavors.” The seasonal menu consists of three courses and three or four choices for each course, including Chilled Malossol caviar (gently salt-cured Russian caviar), a selection of gourmet cheeses from Rouge Creamery, with award-winning cheeses from Oregon, and fresh fruit. It was a hard choice indeed.

The wine menu dough was curated by sommeliers Michael Hill Smith, Jeannie Cho Lee, and wine writer Oz Clark.

We decided to do what any smart couple would do: choose different choices for each course so we could share and taste more widely from this magnificent menu. 

Singapore Suites Dinner

For appetizers, we went with the chilled malossol caviar with blinis and their usual assorted condiments and the Hudson Valley smoked trout with an Heirloom tomato and green salad. It was our second time tasting caviar and made us realize that we were probably eating a lower quality before, as the malossol had a milder, more delightful flavor.

For the main courses, we had the Cantonese-style roasted duck with plum sauce and the beef tenderloin garnished with pepperonata, and baked with ricotta cheese, olive paste sauce, and lemon vinaigrette. Every dish was presented in an accurate formal waiter mode and with perfect finish and flavor. Assorted warm soft bread, butter, and olive oil were nice complements.

IMG 2490 First Class

For our final course, we shared the plum and creme fraiche cake and the gianduja chocolate mousse cake. For drinks, we stuck to the Dom Perignon and mineral water. Refreshments like prawn congee, cold meat ciabattas, mini cheeseburgers, warm cookies & milk, and delectables (snacks) such as assorted nuts, chocolates, and potato chips were available throughout the flight to satisfy any middle-of-the-flight cravings.

After a memorable and tasty dinner, the crew prepared our beds, we finished our movies and went to sleep for a few hours before landing in Frankfurt. We didn’t take any breakfast (as tempting as it was) and waited to take a light – but nice and warm – one in the Lufthansa lounge.

Two hours later, we were jumping back onto the same plane for our final connection flight to Singapore. This time, we had twelve hours ahead of us and we had no idea what day it was anymore. But we were well taken care of and now had a sense of what exactly to expect on the second leg of this journey. The service and the amenities were exactly the same, but we obviously had a different, fresher crew ready to greet us as we boarded.  

Singapore Suites Lunch

Just thirty minutes into our flight, it was lunchtime and we were ready for it. We started with some warm bread and a glass of an Australian Kaesler Barossa Valley Vintage 2015 Shiraz, bold and with black fruit notes. We chose it not as a specific pairing for our food, but just because it sounded great. It was. This time we ate separately, but still glanced up at each other from time to time to nod our heads in approval of our tasty food.

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For canapes, we started with some soft and warm Singapore chicken satay skewers and peanut sauce. As an appetizer, I went for the caviar again (we felt like caviar snobs all of a sudden), and my husband opted for the beetroot-stained smoked salmon. Since I had wanted to try the salmon too, my designated flight crew member insisted on bringing it to me, and it was worth it. For the main course, my husband had the slow-roasted pork belly with red wine sauce and I went for the seafood ‘La Mian’ noodles. The broth was nice and rich, a perfect entry point into a month eating nothing but Asian noms. For dessert, we both had the Manuka yogurt ice cream with baked banana and cocoa crumble. 

And just like that, we were ready once again for a long nap in our conjoined beds. The “next day” and about one hour before landing it was time for breakfast.

IMG 2594 First Class

We started with some fresh-cut fruit and continued with the blackberry yogurt with goji berries. My husband had a German-style breakfast with eggs prepared onboard, and I tried the Khao Thom Talay or rice porridge, with shrimp, scallops, and grouper fish. I was very happy with my choice. Coffee, green tea, and warm butter bread rolls served as the finale to our first-class foodie gourmet adventure.

Singapore Airlines Service Overall

For perhaps the most luxurious and expensive first-class flight commercially available, you expect near perfection, but Singapore Airlines’ service actually exceeded my admittedly high expectations. I am sure there is someone out there who feels otherwise, perhaps because the crew accidentally mistook their selection of champagne for white wine. For us, we felt like the crew acted as a sort of personal sky-concierge: their kindness felt genuine, they were respectful of passengers’ privacy and objectively reasonable with any requests. The cabin crew was the main reason why this experience was great for us, and with just a little luck and the right points of redemption, we hope to repeat it sometime soon.

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