AM Flying: Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Review

Without a doubt, the Singapore Airlines Suites is the carrier’s ultimate product. Thanks to its exclusiveness to KrisFlyer members, the product itself has been praised and coveted by international travelers. But that doesn’t mean the experience is totally out of anyone’s reach. If anything, our A380 Suites Review aims to prove otherwise.

In this post, I’ll be sharing my own experience of this luxurious Suite-in-the-Sky experience. I’m excited to begin Asian Miler’s AM Flying series of trip reports.

Singapore Airlines A380-800

The Preparation

Planning the Journey

As a newcomer to the miles and points game, I’ve already decided that my first award would be the most exclusive experience available to any KrisFlyer member: the A380 Suites. So when the Internet was ablaze with news of changes in KrisFlyer redemption rates in early 2017, I decided the time was ripe.

At the time, there already was a flurry of frequent flier devaluation announcements going on with other carriers in the industry. So this redemption decision wasn’t really difficult; on the contrary, it even made me excited to get something concrete out of my miles.

It was (and still is) quite difficult to find a spot in the much-envied Singapore-Frankfurt-New York route. Considering the number of routes the A380 flies and my own schedule and visa restrictions, I chose to fly the Hong Kong route in mid-October. Admittedly, a flight to Hong Kong is on the short side of 1587 miles lasting just under four hours. But for now this is enough to give me a taste of Suites and see just what the fuss is all about.

SIN-HKG. Courtesy of Great Circle Mapper

Getting the Points

The A380 Suites is available only to KrisFlyer members, no matter which route you fly. After a few years of spending through my American Express KrisFlyer Ascend card, I’ve earned more than enough miles to book the reward. A First/Suites seat required 37,500 miles less a 15% online booking discount, based on the old chart. So the final points required was a measly 31,875 KrisFlyer miles.

It also helped that I’ve been staying loyal to Star Alliance carriers and crediting all of the miles to KrisFlyer. I do miss the days when flying United gave full miles, even on deeply discounted tickets… but alas, those days are no more.

Weighing the Value

A one-way Singapore Airlines A380 Suites ticket from Singapore to Hong Kong costs an average of S$2960. With a redemption cost of 31,875 miles (and excluding the $50 fuel surcharge and a booking fee), I was able to get a 10.77cpm (cents per mile) value out of it.

Remember that I value Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer at 2 AMP. For comparison purposes, I place 2 AMP = 2 cents, therefore I got 5 times the value from my KrisFlyer miles for this booking. I doubt anyone would get a very similar value if miles were redeemed for economy seats.

 

The Experience

At the Airport

The distinction for a trip on Singapore Airlines First or Suites class begins before you even step off your car at Changi Airport; there is a separate welcome entrance for First or Suites travelers before you reach Terminal 3.

Separate entry for First Class at Changi Airport

At the drop-off area you are welcomed by concierge service, personnel who escort you to the welcome counter. You step over to exclusive check-in desks, one for each passenger. Most likely because I was flying on the first A380 out that morning there was no queue and check-in was done in no time at all.

The Suites’ golden boarding ticket!

I was soon escorted out of the hall and into the airport, with a short walk across to the dedicated express Immigration lane. Talk about special treatment! Again, there was no queue at all.

Which was just as well. I went to the airport very early that day on purpose for one reason: access to the really exclusive SilverKris lounge!

SilverKris Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 3

Access to the SilverKris Lounge is reserved for passengers flying on premium cabins on any of the Star Alliance airlines. The newest one out of these are in Terminal 3, so I headed there promptly and was welcomed warmly at reception.

The first thing you’d probably notice are the nicely marbled floors and walls, and the space. But more than that, you’d immediately notice the partitioning of the lounge by cabin class. So first, all entrants will come across the Business Class section, which was pretty crowded even so early in the day.

Business Class section

Business Class lounge section

The section is divided into a couch area and a dining space. The buffet food corner (not pictured) is to the side, and they serve a selection of standard drinks. It at least seemed that there was enough warm food, thankfully, for all the visitors.

As I moved along deeper into the lounge I walked past this display of redeemable items on the KrisShop, the KrisFlyer program’s shopping portal. Of course, I know better than to redeem my precious miles on these items (because they’re simply poor value for my hard-earned points).

KrisShop memorabilia on display

Moving along I arrived at the next area, the section for First Class. Perhaps due to the rarity of travelers on this class I didn’t across any staff at all. This was a bit of a disappointment; it made me wonder if you could just as well have come from Business and sneak access into First.

A rather desolate First Class section welcome desk

First Class section

First Class lounge area

Bar at the First Class section

As you can imagine, there was a lot of breathing room in First Class. The space itself is understandablyfe smaller than Business, and there was plenty of room to relax. There was even a bar (again, unattended) serving coffee and tea in the morning, but I imagine they could just as easily serve hard drinks at night.

But I still have further to go, because flying Suites means…

The Private Room welcome desk

Yes, in the innermost sanctum of the SilverKris lounge is The Private Room, the most exclusive KrisFlyer lounge of them all. And thankfully this time, welcome staff was present to confirm my golden pass and guide me into the hall.

And stepping into The Private Room I could already feel the Suites experience.

The Private Room lounge section

The Private Room lounge section

Very early in the day, The Private Room was rather quiet and empty. Which was perfect, because I intended to enjoy every moment of pre-departure. There were more than enough armchairs and couches to recline in.

They also had a few other amenities, like computers (Macs, to be precise), a family room or resting space, and clean restrooms with showers too. This is great for people connecting to a A380 flight on Suites.

The Private Room computer access area

The Private Room private spaces

Inside one of The Private Room private spaces

The Private Room restrooms

The Private Room restroom and shower

But entry into The Private Room is not complete without having my fill of their menu. I haven’t had breakfast yet so I was looking forward to what was being served.

The Private Room dining section

The Private Room buffet area

Breakfast corner of The Private Room dining area

There’s a little food corner in the dining area, and they had a selection of dairy, sandwiches and cereals, apart from drinks. Standard fare, actually.

But I took advantage of this opportunity to order something from their breakfast menu. Keeping in mind my inflight meal on Suites, I kept to just the Eggs Benedict and dumplings platter. A weird combination, I know, but I had to at least be satisfied from having almost skipped breakfast.

My pre-departure breakfast

A sampling of dumplings

The first (of many) glasses for breakfast

And who says you can’t have fancy champagne first thing in the morning? I was just getting started.

Sadly before long, I had to tear myself away from first ever experience of The Private Room… I had to focus and knew my priorities; my actual in-the-air exSuites experience has yet to begin! With that I headed to the gates, both excited and somewhat smug to do priority boarding at my own pace as I showed my golden ticket to the skies!

 

In the Air
The Seat

After walking along the boarding bridge past the gates, I asked the staff about Suites and was politely guided to the entrance towards the front of the huge A380. Once my boarding pass was confirmed, I was introduced to my home for the next few hours.

Suites partition-rooms

The window Suites seat 3A

Suites sliding seat and side desk

At the time, this flight was still using the old Suites. However, the leathered seat itself felt no less elegant. I perused had controls on the side to adjust for back and leg rest tilt angle. It was nice knowing I can tweak it anytime during the flight for comfort.

The seat-room was impressively spacious. Without a doubt, they had designed this cabin for luxury and comfort. I thought that KrisFlyer frequent flyers would surely appreciate the exclusivity of this flight experience.

After taking some preliminary photos and finally settling into my seat, the purser came to confirm my meal and offer drinks, to which I ordered my (second? third?) glass of sparkling champagne. I took it upon myself to ask to lie down during the flight, which the purser noted. He informed me that it would take some time and only after take off for the crew to set it up.

 

The Food

Once the flight took off, the cabin crew went on their business bringing meals and setting up my bed. I had to step away from 3A in the meantime, so they offered to serve my meal in the the adjacent vacant room, in 4A. I obliged.

While waiting, I browsed the inflight menu for soft drinks and liquor. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but the offering was quite lengthy.

A full list of caffeine beverages

Other non-alcoholic drinks

Suites passengers can have alcoholic drinks too (regardless of time of day, I suppose). That list was just as extensive.

Wines and sparkling champagne (Krug 2004, anyone?) on parade

A listing of offered cocktails and spirits

I didn’t waste the opportunity to get a luxurious taste of Krug 2004. And yes, not just once, but twice on the flight!

And finally I looked at what was standard breakfast served in Suites on this four-hour flight.

Suites brunch course menu on Singapore to Hong Kong flights

Suites brunch side menu on Singapore to Hong Kong flights

The selection looked pretty ordinary to me, for something served on Suites. Which is why I was glad I took the time to look at Singapore Airlines’ Book-the-Cook option. This allows passengers traveling on premium cabins to preorder a special gourmet meal, depending on the route flown.

Lo and behold, for my second breakfast I was served this:

My Suites main course: Book-the-Cook Boston Lobster Thermidor

And for a meal served at thousands of miles above sea level (where your taste buds are impaired), the dish was just… (pardon the pun) heavenly. I’ve had lobster before, but you know the chefs do their homework for coming up with such a scrumptious meal in the environment I was in. I enjoyed every morsel of it.

But that wasn’t all, of course. I also had an aperitif, appetizer, salad and desert each served in turn. (I just had to… ahem, serve the main dish here first, for effect.)

My aperitif of choice, Krug 2004

Cereal appetizer for breakfast

A selection of fruits

Special 70th anniversary dessert

All in all, my morning flight meal experience was really good. It was a really good decision going with Book-the-Cook, and I can’t imagine a Suites experience otherwise.

 

The Bed

After having quite a scrumptious meal, it was time to relax. I was informed that the flat bed was ready, and I was more than happy to enjoy the rest of my morning trip lying down.

Suites seat 3A, now a lie-flat bed

I had the window shades down, of course, and jumped into bed at once. And it was quite comfortable, even with the safety belt on.

I imagine that for longer flights this is the standard in lie-flat beds in the skies. For anyone traveling 10+ hours I’d say full flat beds are a must. It’s comfortable, gets you rested and keeps you warm for most of your flight. Given the chance, I’d like to try this product again on a long-haul flight, on the newer Suites too.

 

The Entertainment

I spent the rest of my flight browsing through the movies and shows available. I didn’t really have enough time to watch through a full film, but I enjoyed watching previews and seeing the updated selection that month.

Widescreen entertainment display and leg rest area

Noise-canceling headphones for the flight, courtesy of Bose

It was really good having the noise-canceling headphones available in Suites. I ended up spending the morning listening to songs instead. I managed to enjoy the tunes without having to hear the hum of the engines the whole time. And that can get pretty irritating when you’re on a long-haul flights.

 

The Summary

The Singapore Airlines A380 Suites is indeed an exclusive experience in the skies. Despite flying the older Suites seats, my experience was by no means any lesser. From the care given by the crew, to the comfort of the seat, the privacy and space of the cabin, and even the notably tailored Book-the-Cook dining experience, my first experience with the Suites was fantastic.

Would I fly the product again? Definitely yes, and next time preferably on the new Suites and on a much longer route. Once more I may have to wrestle with online award seat availability and limited route choices, but this rewarding experience is definitely worth it.

New Singapore Airlines A380 Suites