Review: Singapore Airlines First Class Singapore to Seoul Incheon

Introduction
ANA First Class Chicago to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Narita
Thai Airways First Class Tokyo Narita to Bangkok
Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Bangkok
Singapore Airlines Business Class Bangkok to Singapore
W Sentosa Cove Singapore
Hilton Singapore
Singapore Airlines The Private Room
Singapore Airlines First Class Singapore to Seoul Incheon
Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Seoul Incheon
Singapore Airlines First Class Seoul Incheon to San Francisco


Singapore 16
Singapore (SIN) – Seoul (ICN)
Sunday, August 18
Depart: 9:25AM
Arrive: 4:45PM
Duration: 6hr20min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 2A (First Class)

Once aboard we were pointed to our seats, 1A and 2A. I was in 2A, which is one of Singapore’s standard first class seats. The funny thing about their “new” first and business class product is that the hard products are actually very similar. Both are in a 1-2-1 configuration, with more width than necessary. Actually, when the seats first rolled out people complained they were too wide, so Singapore added a pillow/pad to the side of the seat.

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My seat, 2A

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View across cabin

The cabin doesn’t have any overhead bins, so all bags need to be stored underneath the seats. I had a rollaboard, a laptop bag, and a duty free bag, so I ended up storing my rollaboard underneath the seat across the aisle from me, which was the only other empty seat in the first class cabin.

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Footrest and storage

In terms of the seat, the entertainment remote and seat controls are located to the right side of the seat.

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Entertainment and seat controls

There’s also a reading light and the headphone jack above them.

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Reading light and headphone jack

To the left of the seat is plenty of storage and the in-seat power supply, as well as a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones. It’s great that they added these to the new product, since the old headphones were pretty horrible.

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Headphones and storage

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Headphones

Once settled in the leading steward offered me a pre-departure beverage. But he didn’t ask what I wanted to drink, but instead asked if I might like something to drink, like a water or orange juice. Seriously?! That’s the first time I’ve been in Singapore first class where they’ve suggested anything other than Dom or Krug. I asked for a glass of Krug, which the leading steward served me a few minutes later.

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Pre-departure Krug

Shortly thereafter I was presented with the menu, which was in a leather case.

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Menu folder

Usually the crew also distributes other amenities while on the ground, though I didn’t see much of this crew prior to departure. There were no introductions by the inflight supervisor, leading steward, or leading stewardess, which is unusual for Singapore.

Shortly before pushback the captain came on the PA to inform us of our flight time of 6hr15min, which was longer than usual and he anticipated would put us into Incheon a bit behind schedule.

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View prior to pushback

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First class cabin

We pushed back on schedule, though unfortunately were taking off on the other side of the airport, on runway 20C. So our taxi took about 20 minutes, though at least the scenery was nice.

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China Eastern A330

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A380 landing

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Tarmac views

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Air Hongkong 747

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Anyone know what that is?

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KLM Cargo 747

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LAN A340 (anyone know what it’s doing here?)

Once at runway 20C we were number one for takeoff, and were airborne within a few minutes.

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Getting into position runway 20C

Our climb out was smooth and steep, and once we passed through 15,000 feet the seatbelt sign was turned off.

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View on climb out

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View on climb out

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View on climb out

As soon as the seatbelt sign was turned off the crew closed the curtains between the galley and first class and also the curtains between first and business class. They started the service by distributing socks, slippers, and eyeshades.

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Amenities

I asked if they had pajamas and an amenity kit, as I was hoping to change into the pajamas immediately given the 20 hour journey ahead of us. They informed me that they had only had pajamas on the sector to San Francisco, which was disappointing.

As the leading stewardess walked by she asked if I wanted my bed made. I found that a bit odd, since the meal service didn’t even begin yet.  The only explanation I can come up with is that she wanted to knock me out before the meal service so she wouldn’t have to serve me.

At that point the meal service began. The lunch menu read as follows:

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And the wine, drink, coffee, and tea list read as follows:

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Once we leveled off the leading stewardess came around the cabin to take meal orders. Rather than asking when I’d like to eat, she suggested I eat at 11:30AM Singapore time. Again, without knowing if/when I had eaten that day, not sure why she’d tell me when to eat vs. ask when I’d like to eat, but it was pretty clear at this point that this was a sub-par crew. Actually, I realized that long before we even took off.

So I decided to browse the entertainment selection and decided to watch a couple of episodes of Two Broke Girls.

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Entertainment selection

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Airshow

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Airshow

Eventually the meal service began, starting with satay, probably my favorite dish on Singapore. In this case they had chicken and lamb satay, which was excellent.

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Satay!

Then for the appetizer I selected the poached lobster, which was great. The leading steward came around with a selection from the bread basket, and I chose some garlic and focaccia bread.

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Poached lobster appetizer

Meanwhile my friend ordered the parma ham appetizer.

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Parma ham appetizer

While I skipped the soup, I did have the red and yellow chicory, rucola, and roasted pumpkin salad with tomato dressing, which was quite good.

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Salad with tomato dressing

Then for the main course I had “Booked The Cook” and ordered the lobster thermidor, which I have to say was mediocre at best.

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Lobster thermidor from Book the Cook menu

For dessert I had the moist bitter chocolate tart with passion fruit sorbet, which was spectacular.

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Chocolate tart

Lastly, to finish off the meal I had a cappuccino, which was served with some pralines.

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Cappuccino

Once the meal service was complete I was also given a bottle of water.

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Bottled water

The issue with Singapore’s first class seats is that they’re not very comfortable for “lounging.” In order to turn the seat into a bed you have to “flip” the seatback over, so the seat only reclined a little bit without going into the bed position. So as a result when flying Singapore first class I almost always turn the seat into a bed even if I don’t intend to sleep, so that I can lounge that way. So I requested for the seat to be turned into a bed, which was promptly taken care of.

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Turndown service

I decided to watch a few episodes of Two and a Half Men. Shockingly enough they were episodes I hadn’t seen before.

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Two and a Half Men

I don’t think the crew appeared in the cabin once after the meal service, which is incredibly uncharacteristic of Singapore (while it would be the norm on Cathay Pacific, but by design). So I had to push my call button whenever I wanted anything. After finishing the bottle of water I had to push the call button for more water, and you’d think maybe 10 minutes after they served that they’d check back to see if I wanted a refill, but that never happened.

My only interaction with the inflight supervisor was when I went to the lavatory and talked to him briefly. The extent of our conversation was him asking “did you stay at the casino hotel in Singapore? You people always seem to stay there.”

I don’t think I have to say anything else about the crew…

Anyway, 30 minutes out we began our descent, which was smooth.

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Airshow

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Airshow

On approach there was limited visibility, and we touched down at about 4:55PM, and only made it to the gate at around 5:05PM, 20 minutes behind schedule.

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Views on taxi

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Views on taxi

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Tarmac views

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Emirates A380

We parked next to a Qatar Airways 777.

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Qatar 777

Upon deplaning we were handed transit cards and headed for security and then the Silver Kris Lounge given our delayed departure.

On the whole this was the most disappointing flight I’ve had in Singapore Airlines first class. While the food was actually great overall, the crew was indifferent at best.

Fortunately the next flight would be a stark contrast, given who was working it…

Comments

  1. James says

    The LAN machine might be SAS future A340. SAS uses regularly SIN as a maintenance / retrofitting base. I insist on the MIGHT be.

  2. Ralfinho says

    Wow, I think you mixed up German with English when you described having rucola, didn’t you?
    It indeed looks like rucola, but I think you people ;-) always call it arugula.
    Anyway, a nice report as usual, and almost unbelievable how the crew was working this flight.

  3. JH says

    Hope some personnel from SQ will read this and make some changes to their “well-known” high class service.

    Just wondering, if you will jump to ICN-SFO review, which I think the most high anticipated reading by your readers… or post it at the same time.

    Thanks for your review

  4. Boraxo says

    Why not fly UA? The F seats are far more comfortable for a daytime flight and FA’s in F are usually stellar. Do you value the Krug and lobster that much? Personally I agree with Gary – it’s all about the seat.

  5. Nick says

    For Boraxo: People still fly UA? The Easyjet of Legacy carriers? I was hoping the CO crew would improve it but from the last dozen flights I’ve flown on them I’d have to say I think UA seems un-fixable.

  6. Stephan says

    Wow, are you sure that wasn’t a UA flight you were on? That has to be the worst SQ crew ever…did you get their names and complain about the service?

  7. wwk5d says

    Interesting that on your Thai flight on the A380, which is a similar flight time/length wise, they served a pre-arrival snack (ok, granted, it was still ice cream, but still). No pre-arrival snack flight here?

  8. 02nz says

    That first map has Nanjing off by about 1000 km – it’s where Chongqing is! SQ should know where Nanjing is, since they flew SIN-NKG not too long ago.

  9. lucky says

    @ wwk5d — Agree it’s surprising/disappointing. On many flights Singapore’s catering is just SO weak. For example, on a Singapore to Tokyo redeye they only serve breakfast, while on a Bangkok to Tokyo redeye (which is shorter) they serve a midnight snack and breakfast.

  10. Tyler says

    I wish you did more First Class flight reviews!!…… said no one ever.

    You are addicted and I’m starting to feel bad for you. You know, you could give up renting a place and use that for flights.. maybe you could be the first person to live on an airplane!

  11. Jorge says

    Thanks for your unbiased report. I truly appreciate these reports ( like the LH business, EVA business etc) that inform me of choices available for future travels.

    Sometimes I feel that you are treated “differently” by the airlines, once they spot your name on the passenger list, since you are a well-known blogger. But I see that is not true.

    I am not a seasoned traveler, as you are, and am shocked to hear this crew’s behavior. Were they Singapore nationals?

    Anyway, can’t wait to read the ICN-SFO sector report. I guess Janesis must be a heck of a flight attendant, that can make any flight a dream come true !

  12. Alan says

    Definitely doesn’t sound like a first class experience on this one. Re the offer to make your bed, surely that was because you’d just asked for pyjamas, implying you were wanting to get some sleep??

  13. Aeroman380 says

    It seems like with SQ and TG (and maybe others) that intra-Asian flights don’t have stellar service as much as longer haul flights. It seems, as I recall, that your flight from SIN to DPS wasn’t too great either, non?

  14. lucky says

    @ Aeroman380 — Except this was a longhaul crew. They would be working ICN-SFO the following day.

  15. Gerald says

    Lucky… i think your being a little bit too sensitive. I don’t think she was trying to knock you out… i think she was thinking that you may be tired and wanna go to sleep early.

    However, ” you people always seem to stay there” is a nonono for singapore airlines.

  16. Justin says

    The asking if you want your bed made up is a great example of how first impressions make such a big difference in a service industry.

    If the crew had been on point up until then, you probably would’ve thought she was sorry she didn’t have PJs and was trying to anticipate your needs, but because they stunk/were indifferent, you assumed the worst. Customer service 101, SQ!!

  17. Bgriff says

    It does sound like this crew was quite sub-par, but as for the not coming around the cabin, there is a chance there could be some design to that. I have read that Singapore trains its crews to respond to different cultures, and Americans are particularly averse to pushing the FA call button (probably because we know we would get barked at by FAs if we did it on a domestic flight at home) so they are especially proactive on flights to the US, whereas they are more discreet on flights to Asian destinations where wandering around the cabin constantly would be considered more of an intrusion.

    Though, if this was the flight specifically intended as part of the SIN-ICN-SFO service, you would think they would be in the American service mode anyway.

  18. Ivan Y says

    “You people”??? That’s rather tact-less (let alone, not politically correct). Imagine what would happen if a FA on a US airline used that comment.

    Sometimes these things happen due to language differences but if the crew was going to work a flight to the US, you’d think their English would be good.

  19. What a Turd says

    @Lucky said, “The extent of our conversation was him asking ‘did you stay at the casino hotel in Singapore? You people always seem to stay there.’” I don’t think I have to say anything else about the crew…”

    So, you’re complaining that a Singapore flight attendant who generalized about Europeans who visit Singapore? Serious? ROFLMAO. But that’s what you do?! I’ve noticed countless travel reports where YOU have done the same exact thing – make sweeping generalizations about other cultures (especially those of East and Southeast Asia). When someone else does it, it’s not okay? But when you do it, it’s fine? That’s a very typical white American response – we can do it but not you.

    As for complaining about the FAs not coming around to refill your water, it’s by design. The call button is there for a reason. Know the culture first before complaining about it like a typical naive foreigner.

  20. says

    @ What a Turd – You live by your username. The problem with the generalised statement is that that the SQ flight attendant is generalising that all Americans/Europeans go to the casino. And you’d better give me a link of where Lucky does that.

  21. carol says

    Hi,

    i have a question not related to redemption, but for earning miles. I am going to take SQ first class suite on revenue ticket (fare code R), which mean i will be eligible to earn 300% of the distance flown and as a krisflyer PPS member, i would get addition 25% of the overall miles earned. This is for Sydney-Singapore (3912 base mile), Singapore- JFK (via frankfurt, 9533 base mile). So that’s a whooping 50,418 miles earned if i credit it into my krisflyer PPS account.

    However, i live in US and i been united 1K member for the last 3years, so i am not too sure too if i should clock this to my united account instead. If i clocked them into united, it will be 20,167 miles earned (150% of base mile flown) and 13,445 PQM.

    As of today, i have 56,043 PQM in my united mileage plus. Really uncertain about my travels for the rest of the year…

    any advise?

  22. says

    @ carol — That’s a toughie. If you’re concerned about requalifying for status with United and value it highly I would probably credit there. Otherwise I would definitely credit to Singapore KrisFlyer.

  23. carol says

    Thanks.. Well the trip is happening in May…and my company just switched our corporate preferred airline from united to delta as delta giving us deep discount.. Totally messed up my plan! Lol. I will give this a deep thought! Thank you!

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