Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by. I was about 13 years old when I flew in International Business Class for the first time. It was 1987 and it was an L-1011-250 flying from ATL-LGW. My memory of the cabin is somewhat faded but I think it was a 2x4x2 and only slightly more pitch and recline than Y. I remember the amenity kit rather well, a brown leatherette pouch, since I had never seen such a thing before. I remember collecting a few that were left behind by other passengers. The reason I mention this 30+ year old memory is that travel in Business Class has come a LONG way since then. That brings me to the nexus for this adventure. Qatar Airways is a renowned carrier for excellence in Business Class. The latest generation of their J product, known as the Q-Suite, is a evolution in terms of space, privacy, comfort, and entertainment. The goal of this trip was to take a Q-Suite on a test drive. American Advantage is a great program for redeeming miles for QR Business Class so that's where I went. Long story short I booked the round-the-world adventure on 3 tickets, 70k AA miles for LAX-IAH-DOH in QR J, 50k miles for DOH-SIN-KUL-NRT in QR J, MH J, and MH F, and finally 87, 520 Lifemiles for NRT-SFO-SNA in NH F and UA Y.
Carrier, route, equipment, class, lounge, and procurement method:
I had about 3 hours this evening for my connection on account of a slightly early arrival from DOH. Evening is key as the Oneworld lounge options are only open afternoon and evening to correspond with QF and BA departures. The catch, if there is one, would be the MH operation out of T2 and the Qantas and British Airways lounges residing in T1. The result of MH being sequestered from their Oneworld peers means as an MH J passenger you're invited to the SATS lounge in T2. No thanks, I'll take the train.
The Qantas Singapore Lounge would be my first target as as BA opens the doors at 15:00 and I was a few minutes early. I was welcomed into the lounge and reminded that my flight would depart from T2. There was a sign indicating that a lounge addition was in the works. I've only had the pleasure of visiting in off hours when the lounge was quite empty but that must not be the case later in the evening.
Barely open for 30 minutes the lounge was quite empty on this visit. The lounge is a collection of several large rooms without much in the way of segmentation or privacy. I find the materials, textures, and colors to all be of high quality and exude an air of comfortable sophistication.
It has been minutes since I've eaten so I had better peruse the food and beverage offerings. Qantas does a brilliant job of presentation in their lounges. The salads are always colorful and look fresh and bright. There is also a dessert table and hot food area.
The lounge also features two made to order dishes from the open kitchen. I requested the Sichuan minced pork with noodles and cucumber and it was brought to my seat by a server. It was a small dish but packed with flavor and some texture with the addition of the fried shallots and crunchy cucumbers. It was completely enjoyable. The tabel service is a nice touch too. I don't know if that's the standard or if it was because I was one of 5 people in the entire lounge at the time.
I enjoyed some lemon water from the self serve jug.
On the whole the Qantas Lounge Singapore is a very solid experience. The vast array of comfortable seating, interesting and healthy food options, and a solid drink selection makes for a well thought out lounge. The only deficit is the lack of outside views and preferably ramp or runway vistas. It amuses me that I have I spent a good amount of time in Qantas lounges, mostly LAX but also SIN and HKG, and I have never flown with the airline. If they do inflight as well as lounges I think I would be pleasantly surprised.
Enough with the penal colony and on to the homeland.
The BA lounge opens at 15.00 so it too was deserted. I was warmly welcomed by three jovial lounge attendants. My boarding pass was scanned and the disclaimer about the different terminal was presented. I was also informed that the main food offering would be presented at 17:00 and that drinks and snacks were available until that time. Fair enough. Let's have a look around.
I counted two guests that arrived before I did, myself making the third. I had to pause and wonder why they were in the BA Lounge at all. I would imagine most of the folks in any Oneworld lounge are gaining access based on Oneworld status and then by flying J or F. That would make the Qantas lounge, a mere 50 meters away, also available. I surmised that they valued the quiet seclusion over the superior food and beverage, and arguably comfort, offered by the neighbors. As I wondered I noticed the female guest was on face timing and the male appeared to be working on his laptop so this was in fact the better location for them.
The lounge has recently undergone a renovation to bring it up to the new BA lounge concept/standard. The lounge is a perfect rectangle and like the ginger step child Qantas, there are no ramp/tarmac/outside views.
As you enter there is a very handsome tile edifice and to the left are the restrooms and shower rooms and to the right is the First Class section aka Concord Bar.
Then a variety of seating with both high back chairs and communal tables.
The center third of the lounge is the food and beverage offering. Again only snacks and drinks at this hour.
Finally the back third of the lounge is more seating and work area.
I would say it's a functional and comfortable looking space. They use the BA color palate well. It does seem a bit formal aesthetically, but that fits with proper British manners. My boarding time was approaching, and I still have to clear security at the gate, so I only had time for a quick cuppa…which is the feeling this lounge evokes.
I leave enough time to walk to T2 and clear security just as boarding was commencing.
Boarding a narrow body jet presents a challenge for the crew in providing service and meeting the needs of those int he front. The crew did manage to slip in between ebbs and flows and offer a welcome drink of orange juice or water.
I was initially seated in 4A but as boarding wrapped up I noticed 3 A and B empty so I relocated for the additional space and access. I know, silly for a 40 minute ride but it's a reflex at this point. Maximize, maximize, maximize. It's a detrimental stratagem at times.
The seats are an enhanced version of an F seat you would find int he USA. Slightly more pitch and a leg-rest are the differentiation. Rather shabby pillows and blankets were provisioned on every seat. It's a nice touch but you have to wonder what the cleaning schedule in for these amenities.
Ready for taxi and take off after a 25 minute delay. I imagine flying back and forth between KUL and SIN all day causes even a small delay to creep up with each rotation.
I spot LH in the new colors, SQ in their timeless colors, KL in their new colors, and the Swiss, Aussies, and British.
Shooting down 02C and cutting through the thick tropical air.
The crew on this short flight were all business. There were no nicities and I'm not sure I even saw a smile or eye contact. They weren't fully rude but certainly there to meet the minimums and get down in KUL.
The cart was in the aisle quickly and there was a choice of a sweet potato cake or a tuna sandwich for a snack. Water, juice and hot drinks were also available. I opted for the tuna and some water with ice. The snack was served on a tray with a cloth napkin, metal cutlery, a chocolate, and a toothpick. I managed a bite but nothing more. It was dry and the bread was leaning towards stale.
I enjoyed my direct aisle access.
We managed FL240 for a very short time before T/D. I enjoyed great views from the window the rest of the way but being ont he sunset side of the aircraft there was a strong glare that ruined most photographic attempts.
The crew came through the cabin and sprayed us with pesticide shortly before landing. No extra charge. Landing was smooth and the long taxi took us to the main terminal.
One last look at 3A on the way out.
A view of the operating aircraft and her siblings from the Golden Lounge.
Singapore - SIN
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
The Ground Service: N/A.
The Lounge(s): The lounges were the highlight of this flight experience. I am drawn to the Qantas lounge in preference but both offer a refreshed, clean look, and comfortable seating. I can't fully assess the food offering of BA so my ratings are for the Qantas lounge.
The Cabin:A modern Boeing Sly Interior 737-800 is appreciated with huge bins and good lighting. Seat back IFE is a great standard along with moving map. MH uses these aircraft for trips up to 6 hours so they are configured accordingly. We benefit from that on these 40 minute hops.
The Crew: It's such a short flight with a lot of duties compressed into a small service delivery window. That said it wouldn't hurt to make eye contact and smile occasionally.
The Food and Beverage: They live up to low expectations of a short flight. I'm not sure they bother with the snack and it certainly has been scaled back over the years. It used to be a beer and satay service for me on this flight but no more.
Overall: This mediocre experience is a foreshadow for things to come. Can we change their IATA code from MH to Meh?
Thank you for reading and happy flying.
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