I check in seamlessly for my flight and make my way to the First Class SilverKris Lounge in Sydney Airport. The lounge offers a limited made to order menu with an extensive buffet and a reasonable selection of wines and spirits. Although I would argue that it’s probably not as premium as it should be for a First Class Lounge, there are private work suites with AC power suitable for those wishing to catch-up on work and beautiful tall luxe chairs with views of the tarmac.
Here is a short video tour of the lounge.
The background tune is “Just for you” by Lionel Ritchie. I do not own the rights to this song.
The First Class product on this aircraft is probably the most exclusive of the major airlines in that there are only four First Class seats and the cabin layout is a 1-2-1 configuration.
The open / semi private suites were designed as a collaboration with BMW and have a beautiful rich dark chocolate colour with a quilted aesthetic which oozes the vibe of an old school club sofa. The seat is very wide (35 inches) with a seat pitch of 71 inches. There is a matching leather pillow and leather foot rest above the storage area.
On the inside edge of the suite, there are key controls for lighting, recline and the flight attendant call button.
Above the controls are a holder for to hang the headset when its not in use and further reading lights for the suite.
There are no overhead lockers in the First Class cabin, but there is storage space underneath the leather footrest opposite the seat and indeed on the footrest itself.
Underneath the screen there is a further set of storage compartments which are substantial enough to store large cameras or handbags.
Here is a little video tour of the suite and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s pretty spacious.
The background tune is “Jubel” by Klingande. I do not own the rights to this song.
The In-Flight Entertainment
Singapore Airlines’ in-flight entertainment system has a huge catalogue of movies, TV shows, documentaries and music – certainly plenty of content to keep you occupied.
The Panasonic in-flight entertainment system has a crisp 24 inch LCD screen which is controlled with a touch-screen handset. Bose Noise controlled headphones are provided (right of the screen) to enjoy the system.
The seat has a elegant and useful LCD remote control to toggle through the options. Singapore does do the IFE better than most other airlines with full seasons of TV shows and a good variety of east and west offerings. I watch a few episodes of Friends which is a favourite sitcom of mine .
The Amenity Kit and Pyjamas
If there is one area of First Class which has been continually downgraded over the years it is the amenity kit. Most airlines have pared back the product in terms of quality and offerings contained within the kits. Singapore steps it up with a collaboration with French luxury brand Lalique and Formia.
The stylish black pouch contains beautiful travel size products from Lalique’s Encre Noire men’s range. This includes a body lotion, aftershave balm, lip balm and fragrance. The products are perfect to freshen up after a long flight and the pouch is just oh so stylish.
The pyjamas are a treat too. They are comfortable and the sizing is perfect (on some airline’s medium sizes are more like an extra large) and there is a beautiful Lalique logo on the front of the top. It would probably be my second favourite set of PJs behind JAL’s Porsche designed version.
As far as Champagne goes, Singapore Airlines offer a choice of either Dom Perignon or Krug.
I am a Blanc de Blanc kinda guy, but if I do have to drink blended champagne, then please pour me a Dom Perignon. The 2006 vintage was a particularly good one.
On the nose, there was the alluring touch of floral blossoms and faint candied fruits with some nutty hints. Not as expressive I initially expected, I have tasted other vintages before (particularly the 1996) and I guess I was expecting a little more in that department.
On the palate there are good citrus notes, a vivacious acidity and a creamy and silky texture which leaves a sensuous impression on the palate and a little tingle down your spine. The finish leaves a hint of salinity and bitter lemon pip which its quite interesting.
The Caviar Course
The caviar course offers a substantial serve of chilled Malossol Caviar with Melba toast and condiments. I am offered some Russian Vodka with the caviar which I decline, as I believe the acidity and zest of the champagne will be a more perfect accompaniment. There is no mother of pearl spoon which was provided on Cathay and JAL, however it is easy with the cutlery provided to scoop the various condiments and caviar to form a nice taste sensation on the palate. The caviar is lovely, with a fresh burst saline minerality and its natural flavour leaving an indelible impression on the palate. The crunch of melba toast adds a lovely contrast of textures and the crispness of the Dom Perignon makes for a perfect pairing for what is quite an exquisite experience.
Clear Chicken Soup
The dish is a clear chicken soup with oyster mushrooms. It’s rich in unami with the strength of the salinity in the chicken flowing through in the midst of the earthiness of the mushroom. A simple but very satisfying dish.
I take this opportunity to switch wines and enjoy the Château Cos d’Estournel (2006). This is a beautiful wine. I always love a good rich full bodied Bordeaux wine. On the nose, the wine is very expressive. There are aromas of rich red fruits, herbs, spice and some light touch of olive and tobacco. On the palate, there’s a good dose of red fruit and savoury spice flavours. It’s age has let in some light bitterness, charcoal and earthy notes, while some beautiful grainy tannins support the wine.
I must say full marks to Singapore Airlines for choosing this amazing wine. Most airlines have a good focus on champagne but place mediocre reds on the menu, this wine was a cut above the rest.
Salad of Romaine Lettuce with a Cabernet Sauce
I am not really a fan of the salad. I do force myself to eat as much as I can (mum always told me to eat my veggies) and the Cabernet sauce probably wasn’t the right touch. I think it’s more my preference that I don’t like leafy salads. I do tend prefer salads with a mix croutons and creme sauce to add a variety of textures and striking flavours.
The true differentiation of Singapore Airlines is the fact you can view the menu online prior to departure and book premium dishes made to order via their Book the Cook option. Today I chose their famous Lobster Thermidor with saffron rice and asparagus. I have heard instances of this dish being overcooked, however I did want to try it myself.
The dish was executed very well on this flight, especially given the inherent difficulty of doing seafood onboard. The lobster was succulent and the sauce delectably rich and creamy. The asparagus added a nice crunch with the saffron rice proved a lovely side to mop up some of that extra sauce. The Dom Perignon worked harmoniously with the dish to complete the experience.
The beautiful buttery pastry oozing with sweet syrupy rum basting with berries on the side. I focus just on the pastry and avoid the ice-cream given I have had a full lunch. It proves to a epitome of comfort dining in the sky. I end the meal truly satisfied.
Some lovely chocolates are offered as a post dessert treat, beautifully plated with rose petals.
Eventually I decide to have a nap before landing in Singapore. The crew make the bed, which is super comfortable with wonderful duvet and mattress and a little cute teddy bear is provide for a nice touch. I drift off to sleep and wake-up just before the plane begins its descent into Singapore. I decide to skip the breakfast offering onboard and dine at the Private Room in Changi Airport before my next flight to London.
An enjoyable flight it was; here is a short video clip of the opening champagne, the dining experience and the bed.
The background tune is “Open Your Eyes” by Snow Patrol. I do not own the rights to this song.
Overall I would say the Singapore Airlines 777 of all the open suite first class products is comparable to what’s offered on Cathay, JAL, Qantas, Qatar and British Airways. It’s clearly not in the same league as Singapore’s new or legacy A380 Suites product.
The four seats make the cabin very private and the level of service offered is highly personalised and attentive. It’s spacious, the seat is perfect for lounging when it’s in the upright position. The seats recline is not quite as good as that on some of the other carriers. The IFE remote control is amazing and better than most of the other airlines I have traveled with and is probably par with JAL’s control system.
The food and wine selection is quite amazing. On the champagne stakes, its well ahead of most carriers with its offering of Krug and Dom Perignon except for JAL which offered Salon (now downgraded to Cristal) and Qantas’ offering of Taittinger Comtes de Champagne. The wine list offered a good range of Australian and European wines and what I particularly adore is the older vintages. Château Cos d’Estournel (2006) proved to be a fantastic drop.
The Book the Cook feature is a great touch to the experience and gives you a sense of control over your dining options. A little known fact is when you check the “manage your booking” section of the SQ website closer to date of departure, the full menu is uploaded for your review. It allows you to see what else is on offer and you can make an informed decision on whether to dine with Book the Cook or order from the menu.
Noting that Singapore Airlines has a great Business Class product, the caviar course offered a touch of luxury that’s a clear difference to the Business Class product. There are little touches which I think make Singapore’s First product a market leader – leather bound menus and all meals are served on bone china by Wedgwood and the cutlery and glassware were all extremely luxe.