If there is one First Class suite that has pushed the boundaries of design and space it’s got to be the Sublime Singapore Suites New A380. There is nothing quite like it, in features, design or the sheer amount of square footage. So much so that you jump metrics from mere inches to foot measurements.
After waiting for almost a year, I found an award space from Sydney to Singapore. Booked a whole 9 months in advance to coincide with my return back from my New Zealand trip. Closer to the time I decided an 8 hour night flight was not long enough to appreciate this product, especially if I needed to sleep for at least 2/3 hours. So I kept searching for award space to Zurich/London around the whole of January 2020, with no luck. Eventually, I realised a Shanghai day flight would suite better instead with plenty of award seats available for my date ranges. The slight detour and my third visit to Shanghai was more than worth it for this!
So without further ado, let’s dive right into how the other half like to fly around from Singapore!
Route: Shanghai PVG – Singapore
Flight No: SQ833
Departure Time: 16.45
Aircraft: A380 (New Suites & Latest Business Class)
Redemption Program: KrisFlyer
I had a 2 night stay in Shanghai. Despite covid-19 already spreading around Asia at this point, the city felt calm and people were going about their daily lives. For the first time ever, I started wearing face masks.
Instead of getting a taxi, I decided to make my way to the airport with the Maglev!
Personally I’m too much of a geek to pass that up. Especially after the disappointment of missing out on that chance by flying from the wrong Shanghai airport in my first trip around China back in 2016!
With a roughly 10 minute ride, I arrived at the airport with just over 3 hours to departure.
Singapore normally flight 4 times a day to Shanghai PVG, and thus have permanent counters in zone E.
Once I located the counters, I was surprised to find check in was not in motion. 5 minutes left to opening time, I took the chance to see if I can get rid of some loose change that were weighing down my jeans!
6/7 minutes later, I was back and promptly checked through. I had the golden Suites ticket on my hand along with invitation to Air China First Class Lounge.
Lounge In Pudong Airport
The Air China First Class Lounge In Pudong is used by China Airlines as well as Star Alliance Gold members. Suffice to say, it’s not quite up to Singapore First class standards. If you were flying the other direction, you would get invitation to the Private Room which is vastly more befitting of a Suites experience. I was lucky to be able to try that on 2 other occasions the month before.
In all honestly if this was your only chance to experience to the Private Rooms, I would be bummed about this. Booking Singapore – Shanghai would be the better option in that case.
Boarding Suites Upper Deck
I wanted to board the Suites as early as possible and thus headed to the gates a full hour and 10 minutes before departure.
Almost pinching myself when I caught sight of our A380. Even though I have flown SQ A380s over a dozen times, this was the first time in Suites Class!
My excitement somewhat waned a peg when I discovered they were not quite ready to board us. Another Suites passenger ahead of me was probably more impatient than I was.
To be honest, the whole boarding experience prior to stepping onto the aircraft felt more like a business class setting than First Class.
My idea of a Suites or any First Class experience does not involve waiting around for anything… so I decided to go enjoy the taxiway movements for a few minutes..
Meanwhile the boarding area got more crowded. Suites were ready for boarding exactly 4.20pm for the 4.45pm flight.
In a haze of excitement I hurried on through. I took a short video of the boarding but forgot to take actual pictures.
Suites passengers have a separate boarding bridge to the Upper Deck of the A380.
I was greeted at the door by the Cabin Service Manager and handed over to one of the First crew, Matthew, who escorted me through the Suites cabin and to my Suite.
The Sublime Singapore Suites Cabin
As you walk through and into the cabin, it feels like anything but an aeroplane. The gorgeous design and lighting exudes a sense of a hotel like atmosphere. 6 full height private Suite rooms are arranged in a 1-1 setup resemble a uber luxurious delux train cabin. Off course, it is far wider with rooms on both sides!
My suite 1F was at the front right hand side..
And I still could not believe this was real! On a plane!
The suite centres around a wide leather armchair by Italian designer, Poltrona Frau. It swivels 360 (caveats when bed in mode) and a 45 degree recline capability. The bed itself is tucked on the right hand side.
Now a critique if you will. To the discerning eye, the bed design may come across somewhat clumsy. If we are talking of exacting standards here, could the bed have been more elegantly concealed? As a regular viewer of George Clark’s amazing spaces, I feel Singapore missed a small trick here for that extra polish and grace. I would be far more impressed if a bed popped out of that wall, as if out of nowhere, and disappeared back into it.
Moving on, a stylish console table contains fresh flowers in a vars. Your menu awaits in a plush leather folder. With food and beverage choices longer than there are hours to consume it.
There are 2 entertainment screens, a main 32″ screen complemented by a smaller 15″ one can be used before and during landing right up to disembarkation.
Each Suite also comes with a full height storage cupboard just behind the huge TV screen. This contains 4 hangers to put up any jackets/layers/shirts you want. A top shelf contains all the bedding. A side compartment has slippers and shoe shine as well as another mirror. At the bottom you still have plenty of room to store carry on suitcase. Once again, I captured this in video and forgot to take actual pictures of it!
Singapore Suites Side Panels Personal Entertainment Pad
The window side contains plush storage units as well as all the entertainment and suite controls. You have no less than 4 different lighting options. And with several brightness/intensity levels, you can customise the mood of the Suite how you desire.
There is no shortage of space to store personal belongings in this Suite. Right down to any touch-up of makeup before your arrival
Each window has a 2 stage blind for semi or total blackout. These can be controlled directly below the windows or buttons in the side console if you are seated.
Once you get the hang of it, the seat controls are easy to use and very responsive. I imagine some could just play with the novelty of the swivel chair itself for a couple of hours! It means you have full control of your aspect and view, including just watching the clouds pass by below you.
There are just so many features and functions it really takes a while to orient yourself with the Suite and all the possible customisation each passenger has at their disposal! If you feel unsure there is a handy guide..
Singapore Suites Crew
Crew can make or break a First class experience and this is where Singapore Airlines consistently excels.
Also looking after me today was Peggy, introducing herself just after Matthew escorted me in. She arrived with a hot towels and asked if I needed anything while I settled in.
Seconds later the third Suites crew, Ling introduced herself and promptly served me the welcome champagne.
In today’s flight 5 of the 6 Suites were occupied. A notable passenger was a 10 year old Singaporean child flying with his mother in Suites 1A & 2A. Lucky kid!
Duly noting my excitement, each of the 3 crew members offered to take pictures of me during the course of boarding…
During final take-off roll Suites passengers are required to be in the armchair in the front facing position.
In a rare occurrence, my attention was consumed by the Suite and crew, I was unaware if we actually departed on time or if there was a slight delay. Time was flying, before we were!
Singapore Suites Dining
Pre-departure, I spend a little time inspecting the exclusive dining & wine menu for Suites Class. The choices were as extensive as the Suite features. Being a mid-haul flight, the main focus was dinner. However, I could order anything I wanted off the menu at any time.
Menu for tonight offered:
Peggy was eager to go through the options with me to fit the meal service around my preference.
The culinary experience began with a version of a signature, the Singapore Chicken & Lamb Satay with onions, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce..
For a familiar dish, this was as delicious as ever.
Next up was the formal appetiser for Suites class, for which I chose the baked lobster..
As you can see this was a substantial lobster, especially just for an appetiser! As far as lobsters go, this was high up there.
For next course I opted for the broccoli soup..
This seemed a perfect choice following the lobster. Once again, in true First class dining, Singapore shows how even something as simple as soup can be elevated to another level. I enjoyed every spoonful.
I intentionally decided to take a little breather after this to space out the meal. Gave me a chance to wander around the cabin and check out the bathroom suites, pictures in next section.
45 minutes later, I was ready for the next course, grilled asparagus with frisee salad and cherry tomatoes.
Finally, it was time for the main, for which I chose the Pan Fried Beef Fillet..
The main came with seasonal roast vegetables & parmesan polenta. This was simply divine, one of the best cuts of meat I’ve had on a plane!
At this point, I was already quite full. But I was determined not to skip any of the courses. After a 15 minute breather, it was time to tackle the dessert..
Fortunately, as you would expect from a good mousse, it was light. Yet hitting the spot with any sweat cravings!
Last but not least, it was time for the cheese course..
I don’t normally go out of my way to eat walnuts, but surprisingly it was a good combo with the cheeses and dried apricots. I would have preferred a sweet pickle served alongside the plate though. However, knowing I would only be having a couple of bites, I did not request it.
I finished off the meal with a decaf coffee, served with fine pralines.
The whole meal service lasted almost 3 hours! The whole service was catered around me, after each course the crew ensured everything was OK, only cleared away plates when I had finished and only served me the next course when I was ready for it.
Singapore Suites Restrooms
Befitting the Suites, the A380 has two giant restrooms exclusively for the Suites passengers.
As you can see this is merely just a restroom but a powder room, changing room and everything else in-between 🙂
On hand from the sit-down vanity counter, you will find an abundance of toiletries and other essentials. From body lotions to facial mists from Lalique
The other restroom layout is slightly different, but with same deco and size. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of it, but you can check it out on my Instagram stories if you wish.
Singapore Suites Entertainment
I have covered Singapore Airlines entertainment system in several reviews prior to this. The programming options are reasonably extensive, with a mixture of current and popular classics. What differs in First Class or Suites is the plethora of additional controls at your fingertips and the screen real estate!
The wireless tablet controls all your entertainment options as well as lighting in the cabin. Whether you are watching on the big screen or the smaller. I found the interface fairly intuitive and responsive.
If you fly Singapore Airlines regularly, be sure to sign in with your Krisflyer account, so you can save all your favourite programmes to watch or finish on your next flight.
On a super long flight be mindful that the tablet needs to be charged via its docking position after 4/5 hours. So place that in before going to sleep.
The noise-cancelling headphones provided are one of the best out there for comfort and quality of sound.
Since both the armchair and large screen rotate, you can find exactly the perfect viewing angle for you however you are seated or in bed mode.
Contrary to my low lighting pictures, the high definition screens were superb. The smaller screen could have easily been a tad bit bigger, like 18″? But I can also see how this could have been a conscious design choice not to detract too much space to screens!
Suites & First Class passengers also have complementary WiFi.
The Sublime Singapore Suites New A380 Bed
About 20 minutes after I finished my post dinner coffee, I asked Peggy if she could make my bed. She seemed only too happy to oblige! I could have stayed inside the Suite at that point, its really big enough but I decided to take a walk back to check out the business class cabin.
Moments later I came to find my bed ready..
I did not just have the bed made, but everything else around the Suite was adjusted for bed mode. From the armchair orientation to the headphones hooked near the bed and large TV screen facing directly for bed viewing. Right down to the placement of the Singapore Bears I was given earlier on in the flight.
This is a full length bed that folds down from the side walls. Quality of the bedding and pillow was exceptional.
Peggy again checked in to see if I needed anything else..
She handed me a bottle of water, insisting I use the dedicated Service button by the bedside if I needed anything. She then closed the doors fully as she left.
I had a short but very restful nap.
After I got up again, I realised I could have easily fallen into a deep sleep. It all felt super cosy, like it was a Sunday afternoon at home. The mattress was somewhat on the hard/firm side. If this was a 12 hour night flight, I would have requested another mattress layer.
Suites 1F & 2F and 1A & 2A pair together to form double Suites and consequently can be made into double beds. Unfortunately 2F was occupied, but I got a glimpse of the other side while I wandered around earlier during meal service..
With 50 minutes to Singapore, I got up and moved back to the armchair.
The crew noticed that I had got up and came by to see if I wanted to order anything before we land. I could not imagine needing anything, other than perhaps if we could somehow extend this flight by a few hours!
Just before final landing approach Peggy & Ling dropped by to thank me for choosing Singapore Airlines and it was their pleasure to serve me today. They handed me a goodie bag of with some extra slippers, eye shades and facial toner they only usually prove in ultra long haul flights as well as to store the new Singapore Bears to take with me.
Overall Thoughts Of Singapore Suites New A380
This was a rare memorable flight, that I sad to get off. One for the photo album, so to speak. The pleasure was really all mine. Speaking of photos, I am somewhat disappointed I relied on my Samsung phone and even worse, a 2018 GoPro to capture it.
The Samsung S10+ is generally a great all purpose shooter, but honestly does not do the Suites justice in low lighting conditions. Earlier part of the flight, when I had the windows fully open, I actually had the opposite problem. The pictures were somewhat over exposed, and those defining details and accents just we not coming through. At the same time, I wanted to fully immerse myself into the experience, and not worry too much about the pictures.
First and foremost, the service and the soft elements of the product was simply delightful. All 3 crew members were professional, yet aptly breaking the ice. Getting to know me a little to personalise the service how they could. There was not even a moment, where I felt the service was not sincerely personal. A huge distinction between elements of Business Class service.
Food and beverage elements were outstanding too. Largely on par with what I would expect from a good quality restaurant in London.
Now the somewhat more tricky part to score is the physical product. For one there is no real direct comparisons you can confidently make on a fair basis. Perhaps the closest thing I am aware of would be the Etihad First Class Apartments, which I have now only due to fly in September. Singapore Airlines really has pushed the boundaries here in both ambitions, design and allocated space to each Suite.
For such a huge Suite however, you would perhaps expect the bed to be a little bit wider. Even just by a couple of inches. Because in terms of overall bed comfort for me, I would say Cathay First class would win in that category. It is much wider in the shoulder area, which has a net positive impact, despite its slightly narrower feet area. Naturally, some could argue that the very fact you have a completely separate bed to sleep on, is much more of a luxury. In paper, it is.
On the armchair front, some could find the limited recline a sore point. Alongside this, it has some restrictions to full range of movement when the bed is made. But both these they are so minor, I cannot imagine they would genuinely detract from the experience on a 13 hour night flight to Europe, where presumably you will want to be actually in bed for 5/6 of those hours at least.
All else, from aesthetic appeal, lighting, storage and extra controls were on point. Could they go further? Yes. Perfection is something to strive for but rarely achieved. Emirates latest First Class Suites (just on 777) have complete floor to ceiling privacy doors. This enables them to provide your own temperate controls! But once again I do not feel we would be comparing apples for apples here if we went for an overall comparison.
In conclusion, Singapore Suites is really a league of its own. One that deserves to be on your bucket list of experiences because it is a joy to fly! If you manage to book this, be sure to reserve Suite 1A or 1F, it looks slightly bigger.
Verdict in numbers
- Ground Experience
- Seat Design & Features
- Bed & Bedding
- Food & Beverage
- Staff Service
- Restrooms & Amenities