Singapore Airlines Suites is an innovative and path-breaking concept, introduced when the airline became the first to fly the gigantic Airbus A380, way back in 2007. While airlines around the world were grappling to keep their First Class products afloat, Singapore Airlines Suites entered with a bang, promising to go way beyond a standard First Class. And they have been more than successful. How did they do this? Well, for starters, this is not your regular flatbed seat. If you’re flying in Singapore Airlines Suites – which, interestingly enough, does not replace, but exists in addition to the standard First Class product – you are entitled to a whole suite. Yes, a suite, with a full-sized drop-down bed, sliding doors for privacy et al. If you are travelling with a significant someone, and are occupying the two seats at the centre of the cabin, your suite can be transformed into a proper double bed. You’ve got to hand it to Singapore Airlines for spoiling its customers silly, even if it means going totally overboard in terms of luxury offering.
So, I was fortunate enough to have tried out the exceptional Singapore Airlines Suites on a short 4.5 hour flight from Mumbai to Singapore. Read on to learn more about what I call, the most luxurious cabin to operate from India.
I arrived at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport two hours before our scheduled departure time of 11.45 pm. As expected, there was a separate check-in queue for Suites.
I’ve noticed that Singapore Airlines is very strong on its branding and aims to constantly showcase its product. The ‘Suites’ branding appears unfailingly at almost every customer touchpoint. Interestingly enough, even the check-in boards at the airport say ‘First to fly the A380 to India’.
A quick visit to the plush albeit common First Class lounge at CSI Airport, Mumbai, to wait for my flight.
Sipping on a glass of Moët & Chandon, before I board.
Finally time to board.
A separate boarding queue, which leads you straight to the Suites, located in the front section of the Airbus A380’s lower deck, right behind the cockpit.
I was finally inside the aircraft and was absolutely stunned to see how luxurious and chic, the cabin looked from the inside. A plush red carpet is very welcome after the generic parquet floors and rough carpets I’ve gotten used to. I absolutely love the whole leather and wood accented theme, along with the muted tones. A very business jet feel, if you ask me!
Singapore Airlines Suites class features 12 self-contained suites. There are four single suites on each side and two double suites at the centre.
That was my suite, 1F, on the right (starboard, in aviation lingo) side of the aircraft. Time for me to settle down…
Getting into my suite to settle down for the rest of the flight.
Stretching out my feet onto the ottoman at the far end of my suite. Admiring the 23-inch entertainment LCD screen in front of me.
I absolutely love the simple, elegant leather seats, which give a truly luxurious feel. I have always preferred these standard, plush leather seats to the more boxy, cramped premium seats I’ve experienced on other carriers. Every seat is hand stitched with leather from Italian leather legends, Poltrona Frau.
I quickly hopped across to the empty middle seats to examine them. I learnt that in case there are single travellers here, the centre divider can be raised for privacy. If not, this transforms into a double bed.
On my way back, I quickly took this picture of the staircase leading to the A380’s upper deck – Business Class and a small section of Economy.
By the time I was back, the crew, who had introduced themselves to me personally had left this set of slippers, socks and an eye mask for me, to get more comfortable for the flight. In addition, I was also offered a Salvatore Ferragamo ‘For Him’ amenity kit, which included a full-sized bottle of cologne and the other essentials.
A pair of noise cancelling headphones – Bose, and no less – left on the wooden counter lining the window in my suite.
I noticed that the ottoman across me had seat belts. As it turns out, a passenger in Suites can invite someone to his/her suite for a meal and they can sit across each other during the flight.
The remote for the entertainment system is discreetly flushed into the wooden seat panels.
Seat controls include lights, dimmer, call button and a do not disturb button, in case you don’t need any service.
The leather bound menu was presented to me with the evening’s food and beverage options.
Remember what I said about the Suites branding?
Passengers in Singapore Airlines Suites can enjoy a menu conceived my leading international chefs. The front page of the menu features the culinary panel with names like Sanjeev Kapoor, Carlo Cracco, Georges Blanc, Sam Leong and a few others.
Poring over the beverage list. I absolutely love the fact that not one but TWO of the world’s best champagnes are served on board this flight. The Dom Pérignon 2004 and a Krug Grande Cuvée.
The cocktails list features the signature Silver Kris Sling, a bubbly reinterpretation, if you would, of the Singapore Sling, which the airline serves across all its classes, even in economy.
In case you were wondering about the spirits.
Shoes off, lights to dim and it’s time for take-off. Incidentally, I must mention that the Airbus A380’s take-off roll is almost inaudible. This is the quietest aircraft I’ve been on.
After take-off, I opted for the Dom Pérignon, which was poured with the finesse and elegance worthy of such an iconic champagne. (On most airlines, I’ve noticed maladroit champagne pouring, even in premium cabins, which is my pet peeve). This airline seems to have got its staff trained right down to the way the final drop of champagne is poured.
For Indian flights, Singapore Airlines Suites passengers are encouraged to enjoy Sanjeev Kapoor’s ‘Shahi Thali’, the Indian version of the French degustation menu, if you will. A spread of small portions is laid out before you to enjoy over multiple courses.
An elegant table laid out for the Shahi Thali – note that I have not let go of my Dom.
Corn patties stuffed with chicken.
The main course portions laid out.
A cup of tea – TWG, my favourite Singaporean tea brand – the Paris-Singapore signature blend, before I turn in for the night.
Now comes the interesting part. The chief stewardess, in the red uniforms, in case you were wondering, offered to set up my bed. Now this is not your regular First Class seat, where at the push of a button, your seat flattens out into a bed. This is serious stuff.
Your seat is folded away and a proper bed is lowered from a wall panel behind you.
The contraption seemed complicated but it was an interesting process to witness.
The bed, after it has been finally made and dressed. Now THIS is what luxury travel is all about!
A back to front view of my suite before I fell asleep.
Four hours later, just before landing into Singapore, I was woken up by the chief stewardess asking me if I wanted a coffee. To which I responded yes, an espresso please. As things would have it, an entire coffee menu was brought to me.
I opted for a single espresso shot as I watched the sun rise over the horizon. Soon I could feel my ears popping. We had begun our descent for Singapore and soon this dream-flight would come to and end. Oh well!
Touchdown Changi. A quick picture of my seat in the daylight, before I left the aircraft.
Finally, what would a Singapore Airlines experience be without the beautiful, iconic sarong-kabaya clad ‘Singapore Girl’. The fashionista in me knows and appreciates that this Pierre Balmain design has remained unchanged since the airline’s inception. Before I stepped off the aircraft, I managed to snapshot the purple uniform (inflight supervisor) and two red uniforms (chief stewardess).
The best and the most luxurious flight experience I have ever had in my long career of flying some of the world’s best carriers. Singapore Airlines Suites truly is the most luxurious cabin operating to India.