Review of Singapore Airlines flight Hong Kong Singapore in First

Airline Singapore Airlines
Flight SQ861
Class First
Seat 1A
Aircraft Airbus A380-800
Flight time 03:50
Take-off 27 Nov 18, 15:20
Arrival at 27 Nov 18, 19:10
SQ   #2 out of 130 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 536 reviews
Rewardflying
By SILVER 1463
Published on 18th January 2019
What a disappointment.

photo sq861 cover

This trip could be called, "You fell for a sale trip". One morning in October I received an email from Krisflyer stating their new A350 long range flights were on sale. What was normally 88,000 points to the west coast was promoted at 65,000 points. The Newark flight was a little more. I looked at some availability and LA's flight got in too late to fly on to Chicago and Newarks' flight wasn't available for the time I wanted to travel. Then I stumbled upon the inaugural A350 ULR flight to SFO. More digging found Q-Suites to Doha and Q-Suites on the new Qatar A350-1K to Singapore. So with no intention of taking a round the world trip when I awoke that morning, within a couple hours I was booked.

ORD-DOH Qatar Airways B777-300 QSuite Buisness Class - click to view
DOH-SIN Qatar Airways A350-1K Qsuites Business Class - Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge - click to view
SIN-HKG Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class - click to view

HKG-SIN Singapore Airlines A380 New First Class - this report


SIN-SFO Singapore Airlines A350-9 ULR Business Class - to come
SOF-ORD Alaska Airlines A320 First Class - to come

How could anyone be disappointed with that incredible seat on an airplane? Maybe disappointment isn’t the right word. This reaction could have simply resulted from the a long anticipation for the experience and the ensuing letdown. Probably missed opportunity would be a better description of my opinion of Singapore Airlines new Suites class.

But first it’s time to visit SQ’s Hong Kong First Class lounge. Cathay Pacific, you have nothing to worry about. On my way to the lounge… I know Europeans don’t like ice in their drinks but hot?

photo sq861 boarding 1

The Singapore Airlines agent met me at the plane and escorted me to the combined Singapore First and Business class lounge which was across the hall from our arrival gate.

First Class left, Business Class right.

photo sq861 lounge 3photo sq861 lounge 2

None of the above.

photo sq861 lounge 4

Restrooms.

photo sq861 lounge 12

The First Class bar.

photo sq861 lounge 10photo sq861 lounge 11

First Class dining.


I saw the sign on the wall, it said First Class.

photo sq861 lounge 1

I know, given the circumstances I’m lucky to even be in Hong Kong. It wasn’t too soon to go to the gate.

photo sq861 boarding 2
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photo sq861 plane 1

Anticipation time!

photo sq861 boarding 3

Wow, shades of Etihad!

photo sq861 cabin 1

Heading over to my private study.

photo sq861 cabin 0

Unbelievable!

photo sq861 seat 1a
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photo sq861 seat 1b
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photo sq861 seat 1c
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photo sq861 seat 1d

It’s gorgeous, so what’s the problem rewardflying? Let me offer a 360 degree view of disappointments, err, missed opportunities.

The tour begins with the seat control. You can turn your seat to face the large TV, the bed or the window which you can’t see anything but blue sky because they're too far away.

photo sq861 seat 2

This is the seat position in take off and landing position. Notice the controls for power and headsets, behind you.

photo sq861 seat 3

This is looking forward from the takeoff/landing position. Good luck reaching any of this stuff. I don’t know if this suite was broken, but if I wanted to watch the little TV in this view, I had to ask the FA to turn it on, or switch from the large to the small monitor.

photo sq861 seat 4

So you’re cruising along at 38,000 feet and it’s bumpy requiring the seat belt sign to be on and you want to read a magazine or need the barf bag. Sorry, can’t reach them

photo sq861 seat 4a

The tray table is stored in this colossal waste of space.

photo sq861 seat 5a

Wait, I could put my menu there, but I can’t reach it while buckled in.

photo sq861 seat 5b

This is totally unreachable.

photo sq861 seat 5c

A lamp to? Purpose?

photo sq861 seat 5d

Extra coat hook, I think. Actually I’m not sure what this is. If it is a coat hook what about the 2 coat hangers in the closet across from it?

photo sq861 seat 5e

Well documented is eating with your neighbor. And the FA hadn’t had time to switch my TV monitor.

photo sq861 seat 6a

Privacy with the door closed allowing the FAs to view inside.

photo sq861 seat 6b

Similar to many first class suites like Etihad and Asiana to name a couple, is a full length closet to hang your clothes. There is also a mirror in case you get dressed in the aisle.

photo sq861 seat 7aphoto sq861 seat 7b

A huge monitor is behind you and only on when the FA turned it on (in my case).

photo sq861 seat 8b

Swiveling towards the window I have no clue what this for. Sure there is a support for the bed, but the tray?

photo sq861 seat 9a

Controls for everything, which you have to swivel the seat to get to because you can’t reach them in takeoff/landing position.

photo sq861 seat 10a

Thank you for the champagne and nuts, I wish I didn’t have to swivel around (and not see any monitor) to enjoy these. Or I could reach back with my arm and knock the champagne over with my elbow trying to reach the nuts.

photo sq861 seat 10b

Next to the chair is this 3 compartment storage with a lit mirror in the middle. Not that you can put your head down to that level to see anything. And mine wouldn’t close. As you can see it’s not lined up with the other two compartment lids. In fact the casing was cracked.

photo sq861 seat 11a

Between the seat and the storage compartment is this useless area that presumably could have been for a laptop bag (way too small) but might work for a small purse.

photo sq861 seat 11b

Seat belt sign up in the corner.

photo sq861 seat 12

Here are the electronics, including a NFC reader.

photo sq861 seat 13a

This is where the electronics are located, behind your elbows when seated facing forward. I had the headphones plugged in and when I swirled the seat the cord came up and wrapped around my neck.

photo sq861 seat 3
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Granted, the Suite is exquisite, certainly beyond any airplane seats I’ve ever seen. The colors blend beautifully, the wall coverings are classy with meticulous design, the carpet is lush and the chair is very comfortable. But the Suite is so poorly designed and has so much wasted space I can’t image how it got approved. There is a saying, “Form follows Function.” Not so much here.

Yet it’s still Singapore Airlines and it’s still an A380, so let’s move on to some of the highlights from this flight. The grand staircase, that really never gets used on any A380.

photo sq861 cabin 2

And whoever designed the washrooms should have designed the suites because the lavs in First Class are like being at a 5-star resort.

photo sq861 lav 1
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photo sq861 lav 2
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photo sq861 lav 3
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photo sq861 lav 6


The new Bang and Olufsen headphones are nice, although I prefer Bose for comfort. No amenity kit in First Class but I received one in Business Class on the way in. Strange…

photo sq861 amenity 1photo sq861 amenity 2

Champagnes and Wines on this flight.

photo sq861 menu wine 2
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photo sq861 menu wine 1
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photo sq861 menu wine 3

All better now, kind of like a pacifier for the cry baby.

photo sq861 food 1

The food menus for this short dinner flight. As a note: I wasn’t able to Book the Cook out of Shanghai because BTC isn’t available from PVG, which was surprising to me given PVG is a premium SQ route.

I am not familiar with Shanghainese cuisine. The name has obvious hints to its origin. Not to disparage because of my unfamiliarity, when reading these course descriptions, I just didn’t get a mouth watering feeling from this menu.

photo sq861 menu food 1

The Western Menu for this flight.

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photo sq861 menu food 3

The Haddock and apple salad was nondescript , similar to the garlic bread without much garlic.

photo sq861 food 2a
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photo sq861 food 2b

On the other hand, the tomato soup was decadent. A savory, hearty, lick the bowl soup that screamed for a toasted cheese sandwich. But cast the prawn overboard.

photo sq861 food 4a
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photo sq861 food 4b

Gotta love the special soup spoon.

photo sq861 food 4c

The salad was also excellent, the photo reflects the freshness of its ingredients.

photo sq861 food 3b
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photo sq861 food 3c

A beef tenderloin is always in best company with a favorite Margaux.

photo sq861 food 5
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photo sq861 food 6a
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photo sq861 food 6b

I passed on cheese and was surprised that dessert was simply ice cream. And I wonder if it came in the cardboard container? I'll never know.

For more ratings on this flight (and a sneak peak at an inaugural flight) click for reward flying

photo sq861 flight path
See more

Verdict

Singapore Airlines

7.5/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering8.0

Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge - First Class Section

3.3/10
Comfort4.0
Meal/catering3.0
Entertainment/wifi3.0
Services3.0

Hong Kong - HKG

5.1/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services5.5
Cleanliness5.0

Singapore - SIN

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Form follows function. Or doesn't. That pretty much sums it up.

It's too bad that they are giving up 6 Suites in First Class for these new ones. Or maybe they will figure out that the older Suites are superior. Wishful thinking.

It's still Singapore First Class. I'll be back.

Information on the route Hong Kong (HKG) Singapore (SIN)

9 Comments

  • Comment 484420 by
    KLMA330 18 Comments

    No offence, but waaay too much complaining for a First Class report, on miles none the less :-)

  • Comment 484421 by
    Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 447 Comments

    No (offense) taken and thanks for reading. You are missing the point. I'm not complaining, I'm objectively giving my opinion on this new Suite as well as comparisons to other first class lounges.

  • Comment 484435 by
    KLMA330 18 Comments

    Fair. it just looks so luxurious and stunning. i wouldn't even notice the things you mention, would just be on cloud 9 just to be there. if you've done it a bunch of times, i guess you start to notice these things.

  • Comment 484588 by
    YGeorgeW 78 Comments

    Thanks for the report Rewardflying!

    “How could anyone be disappointed with that incredible seat on an airplane? Maybe disappointment isn’t the right word. This reaction could have simply resulted from the a long anticipation for the experience and the ensuing letdown. Probably missed opportunity would be a better description of my opinion of Singapore Airlines new Suites class.”
    -I’ve read similar from some travel bloggers as well. I’ve heard that SQ rushed the introduction of the seat and as a result there were quite a few small details that just weren’t as well thought out.

    “This is looking forward from the takeoff/landing position. Good luck reaching any of this stuff. I don’t know if this suite was broken, but if I wanted to watch the little TV in this view, I had to ask the FA to turn it on, or switch from the large to the small monitor.”
    -What a letdown for such a new product!

    “So you’re cruising along at 38,000 feet and it’s bumpy requiring the seat belt sign to be on and you want to read a magazine or need the barf bag. Sorry, can’t reach them”
    -I think this is another example of one of the details that

    “The tray table is stored in this colossal waste of space.”
    -Could you reach it while seated? Was it at least a useful space to put things on during flight?

    “Wait, I could put my menu there, but I can’t reach it while buckled in.”
    -That answers my question.

    “Similar to many first class suites like Etihad and Asiana to name a couple, is a full length closet to hang your clothes. There is also a mirror in case you get dressed in the aisle.”
    -I actually laughed out loud at reading this.

    “In fact the casing was cracked.”
    -How is it already damaged for such a new product!

    “I am not familiar with Shanghainese cuisine. The name has obvious hints to its origin. Not to disparage because of my unfamiliarity, when reading these course descriptions, I just didn’t get a mouth watering feeling from this menu.”
    -Being Chinese myself, I’ve always felt Shanghainese cuisine to be very overrated.

    Overall the suite looked stunning as expected. The functionality is very dissappointing though and about what I expected given what I had read about it before. It's less of an issue of complaining about the experience and more of an issue that SQ truly had a chance to blow the competition out of the water like they did about a decade ago and fell quite a bit short of the mark.

    Thanks again!

    • Comment 484607 by
      Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 447 Comments

      Hi YGeorgeY. I think readers probably got the wrong impression of my overview of the flight. It's SQ First Class and not only am I lucky to fly it, SQ FC is consistently one of the best experiences in the sky, as was the case on this flight. I had no complaints about flying SQ in First. The lounge was more of a surprise than a disappointment. Thanks for your comments, and thanks for reading!

  • Comment 484603 by
    hometoyyz SILVER 498 Comments

    “What a disappointment.”
    - Welllllll, we’re off to a good start here. Oh well, at least I guess I know going in that I’m not expecting all sunshine and puppies here. Still, it’s a disappointment that such a hyped product apparently has some major deficiencies. Although I also know you’re a pretty tough grader. ?

    “I know Europeans don’t like ice in their drinks but hot?”
    Welcome to China!

    First Class bar looks half-decent. Other than that, the SQ HKG F lounge definitely looks like a significant step down from TPR, to put it mildly.

    Glad to see that at least the wow factor is there. At first blush, it looks like a magnificent product.

    But then the little complaints and oversights start showing up. The forward-facing positon’s lack of controls definitely seems like a big one someone should have flagged.

    “There is also a mirror in case you get dressed in the aisle.”
    Ooooo, dinner AND a show!

    “There is also a mirror in case you get dressed in the aisle.”
    Not a good sign on so new a product.

    “But the Suite is so poorly designed and has so much wasted space I can’t image how it got approved. There is a saying, “Form follows Function.” Not so much here.”
    What a disappointment indeed. Perhaps SQ’s designers got too caught up in the F suite arms race, and put together the best-looking thing they could as quickly as they could. We’ll figure the rest out with 2.0, as the developers say.

    “And whoever designed the washrooms should have designed the suites because the lavs in First Class are like being at a 5-star resort.”
    Clearly a different team behind this one. Although both look very good. But it sounds like the lav is functional, too.

    “On the other hand, the tomato soup was decadent. A savory, hearty, lick the bowl soup that screamed for a toasted cheese sandwich.”
    Soup on a plane. It’s the best, and from your description, this sounds like the best of the best.

    The salad also looks surprisingly lovely.

    Too bad this left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, but the criticism seems well-founded. A bit of a swing and a miss, but at least the soft product was mostly the SQ good stuff.

    Thanks for sharing, and hoping the next segment generates better feelings.

  • Comment 484614 by
    Rewardflying SILVER AUTHOR 447 Comments

    Hello HometoYYZ!

    Although I also know you’re a pretty tough grader.

    -Based on the number of likes I'm getting on this report maybe too tough!

    Glad to see that at least the wow factor is there. At first blush, it looks like a magnificent product.

    -The suite is stunning. Devil in the details.

    We’ll figure the rest out with 2.0, as the developers say.

    -I sure hope they address these issues. It would be a shame to install these in all their 380's.

    Also, from the perspective of a points enthusiast, SQ reducing the number of seats down to 6 from 12 on this aircraft is disappointing in itself as few seats, fewer award tickets. Then to see they could have easily put in 2, maybe 4 more suites utilizing the space better made this product more disappointing.

    Anyway, yes the ULR is up next, spoiler alert, it was a great flight, except for..

    Thanks again for your comments!

  • Comment 484821 by
    socalnow GOLD 851 Comments

    How dare you? I feel like you just called one of my children dumb. Or worse, unattractive.

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