Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. I plan to share a series of flights that came into focus with two objectives, figure out a way to ride in the new Singapore Airlines A380 Suites and take advantage of a soon to be devalued sweet spot in the United Airlines Mileageplus award chart. Let's talk about the Suites first. Singapore Airlines introduced "Suites" class ten years ago when the A380 entered service and it was quite revolutionary and remains a top First Class product. The airline is in the process of returning their initial A380 frames to the lessor and receiving new built frames from Airbus. They took this opportunity to remodel their Suites class and introduce a new product. In July 2017 the word on the internet was SQ would deploy these Suites initially on a SIN-SYD-SIN turn, namely SQ 231/SQ232. With this information I started searching for a saver award on either segment. I located a seat on SQ 232 for May 4th, 2018 and set out to build a trip around this segment. This was the SYD-SIN segment so I started building from SYD back home, ideally staying with Krisflyer as the currency and a single ticket to limit the cost. There was no space on SQ12 (SIN-NRT-LAX) or SQ8 (SIN-ICN-LAX) so I looked to Star Alliance partners for help. In the end I found SQ SIN-HND and NH NRT-LAX. I called Krisflyer and had the ticket booked quickly for 127,500 krisflyer miles and $183.90 SGD in fees. This was before the most recent SQ award chart devaluation. At his point the new A380 had not gone into service so the seating chart was showing the old product. I selected seat 1A as a place holder until more information was divulged about the new Suites configuration.
The second objective involved the excellent redemption value using United Airlines Mileageplus in Thai Airways First Class between HKG and SYD via BKK. Tickled that I finally had a reason to book one of these awesome deals to Sydney I checked the date I needed and the space was there. For 40,000 miles it was too good to be true and they "fixed" the award chart not long after I booked.
If you're keeping score I now have an itinerary that looks like this: HKG-BKK-SYD-SIN-HND; NRT-LAX all in Suites/First for a very reasonable sum of points. The final hole is LAX-HKG. If I have to be in Hong Kong I naturally think of Cathay Pacific as the preferred way of getting there and this case was no different. With low expectations I pulled up the BA Avios search page (a good way to search for Oneworld award availability) and searched LAX-HKG for the exact day I required to meet up this the rest of this trip and by some divine action the space was there. I had some of the Avios needed and transferred the remaining points from AMEX and even took advantage of one of those 40% bonuses that is offered from time to time. I would normally use Alaska Airlines to book CX but my orphan Avios balance, the transfer bonus, and lack of AS miles (or Starpoints to convert) I decided to use BA and pay the outlandish 150k redemption. Feeling quite smug, and with the entire trip booked, all I had to do was wait the excruciating 8+ months until it was time to travel.
Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:
SQ make you feel special right upon arrival at the airport terminal when you make the left turn to the First Class check in facility at T3. About half of the taxi drivers i have encountered know this is here and the other half it is necessary to direct them as you approach the sign. Today was the latter.
I was met at the curb and my roll aboard bag was retrieved from the boot by the SQ porter adn i was welcomed by another agent and she asked me where I was traveling to today. I let her know Haneda on SQ634 and we head inside to a desk. I think they ask you in case you want your driver to take you to T2 should your flight be departing there.
The facility is quiet at this time of day.
I already have a boarding pass but the agent here adds the SQ logo sticker that permits me to use the private immigration lane. I am also issued a formal invite to The Private Room. It's funny that they bother with this step of filling out a card by hand. I guess it adds the pomp and circumstance.
I exit the check in lounge through the back door and proceed to the immigration checkpoint.
T3 is really quite grand and striking.
After the brief immigration formalities you enter the terminal right across from the Silverkris Lounge complex.
I present my boarding pass and start the escorted walk past the Business Class lounge, through the First Class lounge and to The Private Room.
I really enjoy this quiet, elegant, and comfortable space.
I am promptly offered service and presented a menu. I request Perrier and Champagne. They are pouring the Dom Perignon 2009.
The menu is as follows.
To me the best feature of this lounge is the dinning room. It's quite regal and the food and service have always been good. i decide to head over and have a snack.
I request an order of satay and accept an offer to top up the Champagne.
The satay is fantastic with a perfect char and delicious peanut sauce. I have time for a quick espresso before I have to dash to the gate.
It's a bit of a walk to gate B9. I spot the progress on the "Jewel" structure set to open in early 2019.
In perfect timing I make it to the gate and through security moments before boarding starts.
I am among the first to board as I happen to be walking in the direction of the door when boarding is called.
I am greeted at the door by name and shown to seat 2F by Angela the leading stewardess. I was somewhat surprised to see the previous generation F seats on this aircraft. I had assumed that all of the 777-300ERs had been changed to the new F. I know the 777-300 have not. The last time I flew this route it was on an 8 F seat 777-300ER so i guess that is what I was expecting. This is still a very spacious and comfortable seat, it's just dated in appearance.
A peek into the mini J cabin. Also a spacious product.
Daryl, the lead steward, came by with the offer of something to drink. I requested the Krug.
Angela offered me a menu and said she would return for my preferences. These menus are massive volumes.
Boarding was complete and the doors were closed. I spied the sights from the window as we pushed back and make our way to 20C.
It's a long tumultuous roll ans we're up with great views as we leave the island.
After the 10,000 feet chime Angela and Daryl spring into action. First Angela delivers slippers, removing the packaging and placing them on the floor.
She also bring the amenity kit and lounge wear along with eye shade and socks.
I accepted the lounge wear but ended up changing into the Lalique set from the day before. The F lav is well appointed as always.
Daryl was prompt in serving the 2004 Krug with a sweet nut mix.
I opted to take the meal service straight away in hopes of a nap before arrival. In predictable fashion I opted for the "Western" meal starting with the lobster/prawn/scallop cups. They were served with a dollop of caviar. I was skeptical of this arrangement but have to admit it was a flavorful bite with nice contrasting textures.
The butternut squash soup with sage crouton was next. It was perfectly good but not necessarily seasonal for a flight to the northern hemisphere. The garlic bread is, you know.
Some salad greens next. Honey mustard dressing. I'm surprised they don't offer a protein with the salad. It's so very plain. Contrasted with Cathay Pacific and huge lobster hunks on the salad.
Veal for the main dish along side the 2006 Chateau Rauzan-Segla Margaux. It was such a tender example of veal, perfectly braised.
The strudel complemented the German theme to the main dish.
Finally the cheese including a Tête de Moine. So fantastic with the Margaux and a lovely finish to a very nice presentation.
Dinner wrapped up over the South China Sea.
I asked for a glass of the Macallan Lumina however it wasn't catered or could not be located. Angela was kind enough to procure the Business Class single malt. It was fine but not my preference.
Twilight view heading north over the Philippines.
I was fortunate to have a vacant seat next to me so my bed was configured there. It's a spacious bed with excellent bedding.
I was down for the count and roused when we were approaching Tokyo Bay.
Angela allowed for a Blue Mountain espresso prior to touch down.
Approach and landing.
Tokyo Sights and Bites
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Quick through immigration tonight. There is no priority queue.
I noticed a new transit ticket 500 Yen for the monorail and any stop on the Yamanote Line. I used this ticket to get to Okachimachi except I used the Keihin-Tōhoku Line as the train turned up first.
Walking around Ueno and snacking.
Ipad ordering is helpful for non-Japanese speakers/readers.
Anderson Bakery in JR Ueno Station.
It's hard to choose.
Walking through Ameyokocho.
Keisei Skyliner to NRT.
Singapore Airlines Private Room
Singapore - SIN
Tokyo - HND
The Ground Service: The First Class check in lounge and private immigration queue is a nice perk. There is never any waiting and you enter the air side terminal right by the lounge.
The Lounge: Great food and wine in The Private Room as always. Service was friendly and prompt.
The Cabin: It's a previous generation of product and is looking dated. That said everything functioned perfectly and the bed is very wide and comfortable.
The Crew: A very friendly and engaging crew today. Angela provided fantastic service in a most friendly and welcome manner.
The Food and Beverage: 2004 Krug and 2006 Margaux were the wine headliners. The veal knuckle was tender and very flavorful. It was a well rounded meal presentation.
Overall: A very luxurious manner in which to travel from Singapore to Tokyo. I like the timing of the flight as I'm awake to enjoy the meal with a nice morning in SIN and fun evening in TYO.
Thank you for reading and happy flying.
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