The airline with the best average rating is Singapore Airlines with 8.7/10.
The average flight time is 5 hours and 20 minutes.More information
Greetings Flight Report community and welcome to the third installment of the "Great Swiss First Coup" series. Please feel free to visit the LAX-HKG segment for more detail on how our own Rewardflying contributor worked his magic and turned Swiss F from a dream into a reality.
I made my way on the Skytrain from T2 to T3. I've never checked in for SQ F anywhere other than the segregated check in facility on the far end of the terminal that one would use if arriving by taxi or car. I decided to see what the experience was like at the standard fist class check in queue. Spoiler alert, it was very different. There was no wait so I approached the counter and interrupted the agent from providing her cell phone her undivided attention. With no greeting she hald looked up and said, "Where you going?" I told her Mumbai, among other destination. She took my passport and did some computer typing. "Visa?" I pointed out to her that this is a connecting itinerary and that a Indian visa would not be required. More typing. She then got up and mumbled that the duty manager has to sign off and she disappeared for about 8 minutes. Lovely. She returned and said, "Bags?" I informed her that I had hand carry. The boarding passes to ORD were presented. I asked about the sticker to use the SQ F immigration queue. She said those are only available in the First Class Check In Suite at the end of the terminal. LOL. The whole interaction was so very bizarre and unlike SQ.
I walked down to the First Class Check In Suite and was greeted in a human way and once they knew I was just in search of the sticker they quickly provided it. The agent also summoned a colleague to bring the invitation to The Private Room. I have to assume that these are pre-written for SIN originating passengers as there is no way she could have filled out the details so quickly. SQ first class service standards were restored with this interaction and I was off to the Silverkris lounge via the private immigration desk with no wait.
After the always comical entrance past the J lunge, through the F lounge, then shown to the seat of my choosing I was greeted by Jason, serving TPR guests today. He was welcoming and friendly, offering menus and something to drink. I requested the Dom and a glass of water with ice.
The TV was clearly mal-functioning but no one on the staff noticed as I assume it common when something is always on as background noise in your workplace. I pointed it out to Jason because I thought it was quite humorous given the posh environment otherwise. He had a funny reaction, "Oh, no, that doesn't look good." He was off to locate another staff who brought out he iPad controller and went about correcting it.
Consistent with my past experiences the lounge was nearly vacant. I've always found the space to be pleasant and comfortable. That said I appreciate that they are reinventing the TPR concept with a new space and I'm hopeful that I will get to see it someday.
I perused the menu but let Jason know that I'll take a seat in the dining room when I would like to order something. I mentioned to Jason that I almost never see female staff in TPR. He said there is one but mostly the females can't keep up when it's busy. Such a different culture… Out of curiosity I asked when this "busy" time is and he indicated 6p - 9p and around midnight. I also inquired as to whether they were SQ employees and unsurprisingly they are contracted to SQ via A1 Agency.
I asked Jason about the renovations and he told met he former Gold Lounge had closed as of yesterday and it will become the new TPR space. The space we are in now will become the new Business Lounge and the area by the entrance that is the J lounge will be the First Class lounge. Hearsay of course.
There was a separate "quick bites" menu. Probably just items from the First Class Lounge buffet.
The full menu has a wide range of choices. There is another menu for dinner at 18:30, apparently.
Eventually I took a seat in the dining room to enjoy some of the food offerings. I don't see any power outlets in the dining room which is something the new lounge should address.
While getting situated int he dining room I noticed a text message form Swiss stating that due to a malfunction with seat 2K on my BOM-ZRH flight they had moved my seat assignment to 1K. Still a window so no big deal but a little disappointing having selected the seat almost a year ago.
Onward with the Dom and water duo.
I requested the roti with fish curry. It was very enjoyable with a warmly spiced curry and flay roti.
My desire to stay local led to the chicken rice. It wasn't the best example of the dish that I've experienced with dry chicken and overly gingered rice. The chili condiment served with the dish was for real!
My wish for the new lounge is a proper nap room. On this visit I used one of the private rooms with a lounge chair and ottoman to nap but it was not the most comfortable arrangement.
I left time for a shower before boarding. The shower suites are another area where the new lounge has a lot of room for improvement. The current suites are cramped and hot.
For whatever reason I took my time leaving the lounge and making my way to the gate. I arrived just in time.
I was greeted at the door by a host of smiling faces. Parom, the Chief Steward (IFSM?) and Aziz, one of the FAs in first. I was shown to 1F by Lucy the primary FA serving F today. She was a lovely woman and full of energy. She later told me she is half Indian and half Straits Chinese heritage.
I'm still not used to the single row F cabin on the 777s. It's a lovely space however and the passage behind the seats is a nice feature.
When I booked this amazing experience this flight was scheduled to be on the A380-800. In fact the switch to A380 was to occur on 8/1, the date of this flight. I was notified by email about a month ago that the aircraft was switched to 777-300ER. A tinge of disappointment, no doubt, but still a fine way to travel. Let's have a look at the 777 seat.
Okay, still pretty nice.
Seat controls, reading light (not right where your head would rest) touch screen IFE controller, and headphone hanger.
Storage on the right side along with USB and serial inputs as well as another reading ight.
View from the window.
Aziz was prompt with the refreshment of my choosing served with nuts and cold towel.
We pushed back form gate A14 exactly 1 minute early and began the taxi.
Golden hour departure.
Slippers on, always after takeoff.
SQ have switched to B&O along with AA.
A trip ot eh lav to freshen up and make some room for more Champagne.
I opted for the Dom Perignon 2009 after takeoff. Aziz asked which I preferred the Krug or Dom. I didn't have a very good answer so he brought a glass of the Krug so that I may ponder the issue.
The dinner service starts with the wonderful chicken and lamb satay with peanut sauce.
The menu is overwhelming and too much to publish here. I opted to "Book the Cook" and pre-ordered a lamb shank curry and selected other courses form the menu.
Lucy laid the table and Aziz passed the bread basket. I opted for a seeded roll.
For the appetizer I selected the marinated lobster and celeriac apple remoulade. The texture of the lobster was a bit chewy but he dish overall had nice subtle falvors and was light and refreshing.
I selected the lovely 2017 Domaine Laroche Chablis to enjoy with the first courses.
I opted for the spicy Indian style carrot soup. The cuisine masters extracting full flavor from vegetarian ingredients.
A salad was presented next with "Singapore" dressing on the side.
The lamb shank curry was very flavorful and delightful to enjoy with the 2008 Chateau Rauzan-Segla Margaux.
After dinner I opted to grab a couple hours of sleep in hopes that I could be more alert to enjoy the Swiss flight later that night. Lucy made up the spacious bed and I took advantage of the opportunity to sleep.
I was awakened as the cabin was being prepared for arrival.
Our arrival was not exactly smooth. Once at the gate there were "administrative" issues (diplomatically stated by the SQ captain) preventing us from having the jet way hooked up, so we waited for about 15 minutes. The arrival was more complicated as there was an airline representative holding a sign with several names on it, mine included. He said he would be my escort thought he transit process. Fine, but we had to wait for most of the airplane to disembark before we could leave and the idle time there was frustrating. In the end it was all completed in a hap-hazard, nonsensical, and cumbersome manner I've come to expect transiting BOM.
The Ground Service: Pretty lousy at the regular first class check in station. Only when I relocated to the first/suites check in lounge did I receive kind attentive service that I become accustomed.
The Lounge: Pros and cons to TPR: Pros include very private and exclusive access, the dining and drinks are of good quality, and the seating is comfortable and varied, Cons include lack of nap rooms, cramped shower facilities, and lack of any spa services. Perhaps the new facility will address some of these perceived shortcomings.
The Cabin: An intimate single row cabin with plush finishes is very inviting. The seat itself suffers from limited recline and excessive width. There is a square pillow that can be used to fill some of the space. When converted to a bed the seat is very spacious albeit very firm, which I prefer.
The Crew: The impeccable blend of precision, personality, and generosity that I have come to expect form SQ first/suites. They know how to read a guest and provide a service to match the guest's preferences. The ultimate in service culture.
The Food and Beverage: Wines are excellent in selection and quality. The food was very nice with the satay and the lamb shank standing out as something I would eat any time it's offered.
Overall: A lovely flight with SQ as I have come to expect. It's a distinct pleasure to fly with them and the experience is unique among top tier airlines.