Riding with the Pioneer: Singapore Airlines A380 Suites

Singapore Airlines is one of the few airlines that is well known for their stellar service and product innovation. They were the launch customer for Airbus 380, the double decker jumbo jet and the current title holder of the largest commercial plane, and they were the first airline to introduce the enclosed style premium seat (the ‘suite’) to their fleet.

Even in economy class, my experience with SQ has always been great and I truly think they deserve their 5-star airline rating from Skytrax. So I was very thrilled when I finally got the opportunity to fly home in one of their Suites.

Note that SQ has blocked Suites Class redemption to partner airlines so you can only redeem miles using SQ’s own Krisflyer, which, fortunately is not too difficult to attain.

The Flight

  • SQ 26 Suites
  • New York (JFK) – Frankfurt (FRA) – Singapore (SIN)
  • 20:15 – 6:50 +2 (7h 35m + 12h 10m, with a 1h 50 layover)

I have to say, everything on this flight met my rather high expectation. That may partially be because flying SQ Suites is one of the most aspirational experience for an aviation geek and I have read so many reviews of this flight beforehand but still, it was hard to fault SQ.

The suite design resembles a train compartment and while it may be too conservative to some, I like it. I did not have any issue with the available space (it’s wide enough for an adult and a child to sit side-by-side) and was comfortable with the firmness of the seat. I also find the window shade in the door as a cool addition as you can have a view/peek of the cabin without the need of opening your suite doors.

Now, the seat can be converted to a bed but you need to stand up and flip it over to get the mattress out (the crew will gladly do it for you). This is actually a common feature across SQ’s first cabin seat – I’m including a picture of their first class seat on B777 below for comparison – and while not exactly the most convenient set up, it does give a more ‘bed-like’ feeling. Spread out their quality bedding and you’ll get yourself a recipe for a good sleep. Though I think it could be better with a thinner pajama.

The route that I took includes a fifth-freedom leg between JFK and FRA and we had different set of crews serving us for each leg. While the crews serving JFK-FRA were good and courteous by any standard, the crews on the FRA-SIN were exceptional and one of them was always there to promptly handle my needs.

Another joy of flying SQ premium cabin is passengers get to choose their meal from a wide array of menu online by using the ‘Book the Cook’ service. The satay, in particular, did not disappoint! Combine this with the abundant in-flight entertainment options and you are guaranteed to find something to keep you busy throughout the flight.

Final words

Considering that this product was introduced almost a decade ago in 2008, it is somewhat understandable to see the cabin started showing its age and I hope SQ will introduce a refurbished version soon. Having said that, this product still trumps many of their competitors’ and I think their in-flight service standard is something that other airlines should look up to.


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