The Singapore Airlines first class suites are consistently rated as one of top 5 first class experiences out of any airline in the world. They offer world-class dining and service along with elegantly designed cabins that come with unrivaled privacy and an opportunity to enjoy a full double bed while traveling. Here’s a review of my recent experience flying in Singapore Suites from NRT to SIN aboard the A380.
The lounge experience
My Singapore Suites experience started in Tokyo at the ANA First Class lounge in NRT.
It’s a smaller lounge that had minimal traffic when I was there. They served mostly Eastern dishes, such as sushi and other seafood platters, though they also had an array of rolls, cheeses, and sandwiches to choose from.
We were able to relax and enjoy some champagne and soup and wash up in their very nice shower facilities.
After I finished up in the shower and changed I realized I didn’t have anything to fix my hair (huge problem, right?), so about 25 minutes before boarding we left the lounge to find some hair product, which almost turned out to be a fatal mistake!
My Singapore Suites experience almost ended before it started…
We found a duty free shop near our gate and I sampled some hair product that worked amazing but had a strong odor to it that smelled just like a lumber store. I didn’t want to go around with me head smelling like Home Depot, so I passed on buying the hair product and headed back to the gate for boarding.
After about 15 minutes of waiting at the gate, we were finally only minutes away from boarding. I started digging around my bag for my passport and boarding pass and that’s when it dawned on me, I couldn’t find either of them!
If you’ve ever misplaced something important at the airport, you know the drill…. everything comes out of the bags!
I was scrambling and going through all of my luggage contents but they were nowhere to be found and the thought of missing my Singapore Suites flight was putting me on the verge of a melt down of epic proportions. Forget the issues with being in a foreign country without a passport, all I could think about was not boarding that A380!
Then it clicked… I must have set them down when I was trying that stupid hair product or when I was in the ANA lounge. Thinking they’d be more at risk of being lost at the duty free store, we first ran back over to the store and asked the cashier if they found anything. She said no. So we scoured the entire store, going through every aisle, and then finally, there they were: my passport and my (literal) golden ticket sitting undisturbed on a random shelf!
With those in hand and my sanity slowing coming back to me, we ran back to the boarding gate and as soon as we arrived they started calling out for the Suites to board. It was time!
As we entered the plane through the first class entrance, the first class flight staff lined the walls to the entrance and greeted Brad and I by name as if we were on a first-name basis and as if they already could recognize our faces. I knew right away that this would be a great flight. They guided us through the luxurious first class cabin and I got the first glimpse of my seat!
The luxurious style of the suite, designed by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste, immediately blew me away. The leather, the wood-grain, the arm chair, the space, everything! It was especially nice being in the interior cabin where our private space was essentially doubled.
After making it to our seats, the staff wasted no time in asking us for our drink preference.
Of course, I had to go with Dom Perignon (2006). Little did I know, I’d actually had Dom before at my brother’s wedding (not sure if it was the same type), but both Brad and I enjoyed the taste of Dom and preferred it as our type of on-board champagne and had a few rounds of it to get our flight started. I’m not a big drinker these days but put me on a plane and bring me some top-shelf champagne, and I’ll definitely knock back some glasses.
After getting our drinks they came around with magazines and newspapers and I snagged my usual, NatGeo.
Once settled in, I scoped out all of the features of the suite. The suites have a 23-inch LCD tv, which while not exactly a game changer in size, is still perfect for your viewing purposes inside the suite. The in-flight entertainment is solid, offering plenty of new movies and tv shows.
You can store your carry-on luggage underneath your footrest, where you should have plenty of room to store it as well as plenty of room to extend your legs and relax. Just to your left, you’ll find outlets to charge all of your electronics.
Singapore provides you with noise-cancelling Bose headphones which are top of the line and reminded me why I need to get me another pair since they are perfect for flying.
They also provide you with a designer amenity kit by Salvatore Ferragamo, which includes a designer bag, lip balm, after shave, and cologne. I’m still in love with the Ferragamo cologne and to be honest may have found me a new “scent” to replace my Burberry Brit Rhythm which I’ve had for some time now.
The pajamas, which are made by designer Givenchy, come in a nice storage pouch.
Since this was a late flight, I decided to go ahead and change into the pjs before we ate so that I’d be able to get some rest straight away after dinner, so I went off to the bathroom to change.
The bathroom is nice like you’d expect for a first class cabin but nothing too overwhelming or game changing. I do like how Singapore stockpiles things like toothbrushes and razors in the bathroom so they are there for your convenience.
If you need to change, there’s a drop-down bench that falls over the toilet that should help you out.
The pajamas are extremely soft and comfortable and considering they are part of a plane’s amenity kit, they feel pretty heavy duty. In fact, they might be a little too heavy for some people since Singapore tends to keep their A380 cabins a bit warm. If you run hot naturally, these pajamas may keep you too warm for your liking.
It kind of looks like I’m wearing a onesie in the photo below but they are two pieces (although I wouldn’t be completely opposed to wearing an issued onesie with the right thread count).
After getting changed into the pjs, I decided to scope out some of the other parts of the cabin.
The hallways have a bit of a train feeling to them with the layout of the suites. In fact, a couple of people who saw my Singapore Suites photos initially asked if we were on a train.
The doors and walls to the suites are beautifully done. The wood grain paneling + diamond-stitched leather combo seats are an excellent combination that set Singapore Suites apart from other cabins.
One thing I really like is that you have so many options to tailor your privacy level. You can keep doors and window shades open, doors open but window shades down, or close up everything. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to keep the shades down for your privacy but keep the doors open so that you can flag down a staff member when needed.
With the window shades down and the doors shut you’re offered maximum privacy. The suite walls are higher than anything I’ve ever flown in (I think even higher than Etihad’s) and so you get an even more secluded feeling like you’re shut off from the rest of the cabin. As you can see in the photo below, there are still some slots where one can see inside the suite but those tend to vanish when the lights go dark.
I spent a little bit of time taking photos of the suites located along the wall. Nothing felt too different about them compared to the interior suites, other than the interior suites obviously being more spacious when combined. We may have opted for the window suites but with the option to experience a double bed on the plane it really was a no-brainer to go with the interior cabin.
Unfortunately, it looks like the window shades (for the exterior of the plane) are manually drawn so there’s no button like on the Etihad Apartment or other first class cabins.
The service from the first class crew was phenomenal and it really made the experience unforgettable. From the moment we stepped on the plane and were greeted by name (they even accurately pronounced my crazy last name) until we left the plane, we were treated like royalty. Whether it was something big or small, the staff was there to quickly see what they could do to help us out and always did with an amazingly positive attitude.
I expected big things for the dining on Singapore Airlines and it didn’t disappoint whatsoever. If you wish, you can dine with another person sitting across from you at you’re table but since we were both sharing a suite that seemed a bit ridiculous and unnecessary so we just dined in our own seats.
After scanning through the menu, I decided on the chicken and to try caviar for the first time. (You can check out their menu here).
Before appetizers we had our canapé, which consisted of lamb and chicken with a spicy peanut sauce. For a canapé, this was actually pretty filling and could have almost taken place of a main dish. The lamb and chicken all were very satisfying.
We were in the mood to try something besides Dom so the staff brought out some Krug Grande Cuvée, which they actually recommended over the Dom Perignon. I preferred the Dom but can’t say bad things about the Krug.
Next, the caviar came out in a beautiful dish. I first tried the caviar all by itself (liquid courage to blame, perhaps?) but it was way too fishy and salty for me. So I then spread a small amount on the bread crackers and mixed in a little bit of all of the side ingredients and topped it with a squeeze of lemon juice. The result? Delicious!
I skipped on the soup and salad since I wasn’t very hungry and didn’t want dinner to be a 2 hour affair, but Brad did try out the soup, which consisted of oriental broth and crabmeat. Brad loved it and I had a quick taste of it and liked it as well.
Next came the main course, which they seasoned to taste. The dish was a wok-fried sliced chicken in black peppercorn sauce with rice. I stayed away from the mushrooms but ate up the chicken and rice. The chicken had a nice little kick to it and although the rice could’ve used a bit more flavoring, overall I enjoyed the meal.
And then, it was time for dessert. I chose the gianduja chocolate cream with sable crumbs with vanilla ice cream and rose jelly, without any idea of what half of that was. But man, was it delicious. It came in a beautifully presented with floral garnish and raspberries. With the ice cream, crumbs, and jelly (jello), there were many different textures going on at once but the flavors were excellent and satisfied my sweet-tooth.
Brad went with the crème brûlée, which while tasty, didn’t compare to the gianduja chocolate dish.
Turn down service
After our meal it was time for turn down service. The staff came in quickly started to assemble the double bed. If you don’t know, the beds come out from the back wall after your seat is folded down. It’s an interesting way of doing things and Singapore business class seats work the same way as well.
I’d written to Singapore Airlines before our trip to request some kind of a nice touch to our flying experience and so they prepared our beds with a dozen roses and two stuffed teddy bears.
The bed’s not ultra-soft but it certainly does the trick and is on par for what you’d expect on a plane in any event. Plus, with the 3 pillows and soft blankets (all of which are also designed by Givenchy), you’ll have plenty of cushion to keep you comfortable.
They even brought us our own champagne stash.
And plate of chocolates…
Suffice it to say, I was on cloud nine.
Once the beds are set up you’re still about as far back as you were with your seat so you still have a perfectly good view of your television.
Eventually, the purple ambient lighting kicked on in the cabin and really changed the atmosphere to a more relaxing vibe. At that point, we drew down our shades and closed the doors to our suites for maximum privacy.
On this flight, I would sleep like a baby which is a rarity for me. I’ve only been able to sleep well a few times on a plane and this experience along with the Etihad Apartment were two of those times. Noise from the nearby galley was not an issue for me.
The only complaint I’d have with my Singapore Suites experience is the temperature. It was just too warm for my liking (and I’ve read about others saying the same thing). If they could just drop the degrees just a tad, it’d be a lot easier to get comfortable under the covers and with the thicker pajamas and get to sleep.
Aside from that complaint, however, there’s really nothing negative to say about Singapore Suites…. Okay, so maybe they could use a shower or bar area like Emirates and Etihad but we’ll see what the future holds.
Singapore Suites offers a world-class flying experience that can compete with the best of them. I think the biggest factors that stood out to me were the full-sized double bed and the unrivaled privacy that comes with the cabins, the dining options, and the service. This is definitely one of the flying experiences where I feel like I could spend a couple of days up in the air and be totally okay with that. It’s an awesome experience and hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy it at some point, if you haven’t already.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.