Hi and welcome to my end of the year trip to Asia which has finally arrived. This trip was in the works for several months and originally I intended to try BR's Premium Economy product. I was watching the fares closely and then I found a RT on SQ's PEY for USD 1,280 (approx. EUR 1091.00). The convenience of a nonstop flying on a such a reputable carrier were enough to sway me in favor of SQ and I purchased the fare without hesitation.
Below is my schedule for this trip:
SFO-HKG on SQ Premium Economy - you are here HKG-BKK on TG Business click here BKK-HKG on TG Business click here HKG-SFO on SQ Premium Economy - click here
My dept. is at 12:05A and I arrive at the airport a few minutes before 22:00. The airport was buzzing with travelers checking in for their Asian flights and I made my way to the SQ counter which was surprisingly quiet. I checked the loads a few nights ago and it appeared that my flight was going to be full in all cabins.
Arriving at the airport.
At the SQ counter, pax on PEY use the *A Gold line.
There was a passenger being helped in front of me and upon seeing me the check-in agent at the empty J counter motioned me to go over her. She was smiling, efficient but strict. My carry on exceeded the limit by a couple of kgs and and I was asked to check it in. My boarding pass was printed and I was giving a note stating that the UA Club at the intl terminal was being renovated and showing which alternate UA Clubs i could use. I thanked her and was on my way to the UA Club by gate 80.
It's official - SQ has joined the number of airlines issuing boring and plain boarding passes.
The TSA Pre-check line moved quickly and within 5 min. I was at the other side. I headed to the UA Club at the domestic terminal and stopped by the UA display to look at some nostalgic memorabilia. When it comes to art exhibition, SFO is pretty hard to beat among U.S. airports.
The early years
The jet age.
Her majesty's presence is "de rigueur".
The range of chinaware through the ages.
Playing cards - remember those? It appears that now only Asian carriers give them out.
New Polaris - hit or miss?
UA Club (domestic terminal by gate 80)
Crowded and with limited catering. As a matter of fact I noticed that for dessert they only had cookies & fruits. What happened to the lemon bars or brownies? A subtle cost cutting measure? But this lounge has character and that is what sets it apart.
I did not linger for long and after about 20 min. was on my way to the gate. I caught the SQ girls (and boys) in front of me.
Impossible to get a good pic of the plane from this area.
Boarding started at 30 min. before dept. and was strictly enforced. Wheelchair pax and family children were given priority to board a few minutes earlier. At the entrance of the plane there was a cart set up with periodicals and earphones.
I was warmly greeted by the FA's and walked towards the Premium Economy cabin. The cabin looked elegant with touches of warm tones.
But the seat felt narrow for a PEY product. My flight was a 777-300ER and I was aware that the width of the PEY seats was 18.5 in. ( 46.99 cm.) vs. 19.5 in. ( 49.53 cm.) on the A380. This was the first disappointment that I encountered with this seat. Aesthetically it is gorgeous, but I expected a wider seat for this type of cabin.
On the seat there were already a blanket and a soft pillow. Inside the seat pocket you could find the noise cancelling headphones inside a pouch and a printed menu.
Let's take a look at the menu.
FA's distributed thick hot towels while we were still on the ground. These were really thick and of decent size similar to what competitors would offer in business cabins. Kudos to SQ for providing this small touch to pax in Y. It's a nice gesture that makes a lasting impression.
A few minutes later the door closed and we taxied away for take off. Once we leveled off the FA's distributed the amenity kit. The ones for PEY had a different design from the ones in Y, which were a solid color without any graphics. The content was similar with a dental set and socks.
WC's were spacious and well stocked. PEY pax do not have their own WC's and need to use the ones for regular Y cabin.
One thing that I noticed going back is that the aisle bulkhead seat in Y tends to protrude into the aisle and people can easily bump into whoever occupies the aisle seat in that row if they are not careful. Also, the curtains separating PEY from Y were never closed and remained opened throughout the flight. This cabin is not as exclusive as one might have led to believe.
About 2 hrs after departure the service commenced and a FA offered champagne from a tray to those who wanted a sip before the meal service.
FA's were trying to identify those pax who requested special meals by asking them and placing a sticker on the seats. Special meals were handed first followed by a cart with the regular meals and choice of beverages.
From SFO-HKG and vv. SQ offers 3 choices for the main meal with one of them being Indian. i chose this option and it was decent meal with a good portion.
Metal utensils were used, but the little glass for the drinks was not on my tray while I saw it on the other meal choices.
The dessert was a chocolate brownie that was hard and dry.
Coffee and tea were offered afterwards. After the meal service the lights were turned off and FA's made frequent passes with water and snacks. I asked for some nuts which were not on the basket when the FA offered me the snacks from my seat and a few minutes later she returned with a few packets.
Mid-flight snack - vegetarian wrap and Sun Chips. A basket set up was also available in the galley with fruits, chips, chocolate bars, nuts, sandwiches and wraps. I applaud SQ for offering a good assortment of snacks after the meal service, unlike some carriers that only offer the leftovers after the meal service.
Service was great with thoughtful gestures like opening the door when the FA saw you entering the WC or pulling the curtain when going back to your seat after visiting the galley.
The IFE was pretty responsive to one's touch and the selection of movies was extensive. After a couple of movies we were ready for the second meal service and I think that SQ really started this service early at 3 hrs. before arrival. I had the Chinese noodles which was tasty. This time the breakfast tray had the small glass and it was filled with orange juice.
Bonus : Click here displayhide
After going through immigration and Customs I took the Airport Express train to Kowloon where I jumped on the free shuttle to the Intercontinental Grand Stanford to join my family for breakfast at the Club Lounge.
Intercontinental Grand Stanford
This property has become one of my favorite places to stay in HK. it is not as big as its sister but I really like the intimate ambiance, especially at the Club. The staff there are top notch and go out of their way to be accommodating.
View from my room.
United Club - 3
San Francisco - SFO
Hong Kong - HKG
It was great to experience SQ's PEY product at a good price and take a nonstop flight. Service was excellent as expected from an airline with such a distinguished reputation but the hard product does not quite convince me.
The seats were definitely more comfortable and featured more legroom than those found in regular economy, but for a premium economy product I was expecting a wider seat that did not feel so "tight". In addition, I think that there is little storage space with the exception of the seat pockets in front. Another minus is that I would have preferred to see the curtains closed between PEY and Y for more privacy and WC's being more accessible.
Catering is the same as in Y except for champagne and "Book the Cook". i think this is marginally better but SQ should have placed more emphasis in differentiating the meals with perhaps an upgraded main dish.
Although the amenity kit design is different from Y, I feel that the contents are just "too basic" and a more generous set with moisturizers and eye shades should be included. Granted, one could ask for the shades or earplugs from the crew, but when you are paying a bit more for a better product, these should be automatically included. TK's kit in Y is more generous in comparison.
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