“Are you on a train?” asked my mum when she saw pictures of Justin and I in our Singapore Airlines Suites. Even I have to admit it felt carriage-like to be travelling in a compartment that had windows (with shutters!) and sliding doors. But this was far better than a train, for in less than 8 hours we were going to be transported from Sydney to Singapore while enjoying fine dining, multiple glasses of Dom Perignon and watching a movie marathon from the comfort of a double bed.
Ordinary travel this is not.
Here’s our Singapore Airlines Suites experience in all its First Class glory.
(PS scroll down to the bottom to find out how we redeemed frequent flyer points for this journey!!)
We travelled from Sydney to Singapore return in Suites Class and you are made to feel pretty special from the moment you check in. Suites Class passengers have their own check in lane and separate aircraft entrance and at both departure points we were escorted to a private lounge exclusively for Suites Class passengers. In Sydney, Singapore Air have a first class lounge with table service and Veuve Clicquot champagne on tap. The service and plush seating were great here and I especially enjoyed the chicken satay and duck wraps – so much so we ordered 2 sets of each.
In Singapore, Suites guests are escorted to the Private Room – an area which is larger than the name suggests. It is elegantly decked out in furnishings fitting of a gentleman’s club and there is a large menu of made to order dishes as well as a buffet in the dining area. I think the lounge was unusually busy during our visit as we struggled to find a seat and were distracted by the rude passengers who has been on our earlier flight from the Maldives. My favourite parts of this lounge though were the shower rooms, with neatly wrapped towels, and the chocolate truffles on the buffet.
As mentioned in the first paragraph the Suite was like nothing else I have seen on an aircraft. The Suites are arranged in a 1-2-1 formation so Justin and I had booked 2 in the middle in order to convert ours into a double bed when it came time to sleep. The seat itself is incredibly wide (35 inches) and the cabin feels roomy as there are no overhead lockers – you simple slide your luggage under the footrest in front of you.
The Suite is incredibly private. Although the walls don’t extend to the ceiling once your doors are shut and shutters drawn you feel like you are in a private room as opposed to a plane cabin. It was a surreal experience to go to the toilet in the night and not see a single other passenger. With all Suites closed you simply walk through a corridor to the galley.
In the Suite the side table and drawers were convenient for propping your phone and never-ending glass of champers on. Even when the seat was converted to a flat bed there was still a handy area near the head with a drinks holder and storage. Each Suite has its own cloakroom (just by the door) where you can hang your clothes and jackets. The only thing the Suite didn’t have was a mirror, which is something I thought was handy in the BA first class seat.
A massive strength of the Suites though are the bed they convert into. When Justin and I gave them the signal 2 air crew converted the seats into our double bed. The whole central console is lowered so that the 2 beds are joined in the middle. They lay a light mattress underneath you and provide 3 fluffy pillows and a duvet each. On the daytime flight I simply lounged on the bed and watched movies but on the night flight home I snuggled in for a truly comfortable sleep next to my new husband. There’s lots of room for a curled-up sleeper like me to bring her knees up and I passed out peacefully for a number of hours. As expected it was the best sleep I’ve ever had on a aircraft. I didn’t need ear plugs or an eye mask as the cabin was so peaceful and subtly lit.
Amenities and In-flight Entertainment
The noise cancelling Bose headphones were fantastic and TV screen bigger than what you get in some hotel rooms. (23-inch to be precise). On our overnight flight back we were given a comfy sleeper suit; plush slippers and socks were provided on both journeys. The in-flight amenity kits are made by Salvatore Feragamo and include a 30ml bottle of perfume, hand cream, lip balm and cleansing towel. Everything else you need (toothbrush, toothpaste etc) is found in the bathroom, which is big enough to easily get changed and take a selfie in!
Where to start? I’ve always thought the food on Singapore Air flights was fantastic but the menu in Suites surpassed my expectations. The outbound flight from Sydney to Singapore was when we got to make the most of the novel-thick menu. After starting our journey sipping Krug and Dom, the meal service commenced a little after take off. (You could pick when you would like to dine).
I started the meal service with caviar (the first time I’ve tried it – and really liked it), which was offered with a shot of vodka that I politely declined with a giggle. Next was the salad course – a refreshing mix of mesclun, cranberry, fennel and parmesan. I skipped the soup (roasted red pepper and tomato or Cantonese beef broth) to make room for my steak – a juicy beef fillet in green peppercorn sauce with seasonal vegetables and gratin potatoes. Dessert was a flourless orange cake with almond ice-cream (which needed a little time to melt) and then a plate of cheese was followed by chocolate truffles (absolutely divine – would love to know who makes them?!) Even though I didn’t think I could fit another thing in I couldn’t resist finishing with a Singapore Sling to toast this excellent journey.
Our night flight back was a little less food-filled – something to bear in mind if you’re thinking of redeeming air miles for this experience! As it was a sleeper service you could choose if you would like a meal before bed or to be woken for breakfast in the morning. As we had used the ‘Book The Cook‘ service to request our meals in advance we had them served soon after take off. Mine was an Angus beef burger, which was very tasty even though the bun was a little chewy. After that I ordered a hot chocolate, which was all I needed to set off to sleep satisfactorily.
In my experience the service is always exemplary on Singapore flights and this was no exception. The staff were discreet yet always on hand to offer more champagne (!) or assistance with any part of the experience. I liked how a little card on the table when we boarded introduced the name of the crew member who would be looking after us. The crew also introduced themselves personally shortly after boarding and took our champagne order right away! On the return journey my seat had a power cut shortly after take off which meant the movie cut out and I couldn’t turn on my reading light. The crew were incredibly apologetic and quickly fixed the TV and then turned on lights for me manually whenever I needed them.
How We Came To Fly First Class
So here’s the crazy bit. This incredible first class suites experience cost Justin and I just $580 (approx £305) return per person. I am very grateful to Justin because he’s the redemption whizz behind this outfit but here’s exactly how we did it for anyone looking to do the same.
Redemption for 2 people to fly Sydney to Singapore return in Suites Class requires 255,000 miles and $1,160 in taxes.
We collected these miles in the following ways:
- I won 250,000 Virgin Velocity points in a blogging competition. I used some for flights to Bali & Brisbane and then transferred 205,200 to Justin who moved them over to his Singapore KrisFlyer account at the rate of 1.35:1. This gave us 152,000.
- Justin and I both fly with Virgin Australia or their partner Singapore Airlines whenever we can in order to build our frequent flyer points. We both have gold status with Virgin Australia which means we earn 75% more points per flight than those without status (on Virgin Australia flights only). By combining these miles Justin’s KrisFlyer balance was 82,000 so this was added to the pot.
- We also have an American Express Platinum Edge Card which allow us to earn KrisFlyer miles. We put our household expenses (including rent) on this card and then pay them off in full every month. (This bit is key – you don’t want to be paying fees to collect miles!) This is how we collected the remaining 21,000 miles needed for the redemption.
- We didn’t have to do it this time but in the past we have purchased any extra miles we needed for a redemption. You can do this with most major airline reward programmes but it only makes sense to do so if you are redeeming for something epic like a Singapore Suite or BA first class experience.
To be entirely honest it was hardly like flying! I genuinely felt like I had lounged in a hotel for a few hours whilst being served fine food and champagne. It was a complete bonus to discover we had travelled a gazillion miles during this time! The food and service is of a similar high standard in Singapore business class but you cannot beat that double bed compartment for couples celebrating a special occasion – like their wedding or honeymoon. The pre-flight experience also makes you feel like a superstar. All in all an incredible experience well worth redeeming for!