I am an Avgeek. That is to say, someone who is passionate about everything related to aeronautics. My passion for reward points is somehow related to this: being able to afford things with miles & points that would have been difficult or impossible to get with cash.
Over the years, I have been fortunate to have had some unique experiences with Miles & Points. For example:
- Etihad Airways A380 – First Class Apartment
- Cathay Pacific B777 – First Class
- Emirates B777 – New First Class
- Emirates A380 – First Class
- Lufthansa B747-8 – First Class (as well as A330 and A340)
Over the past few years, I have earned enough HSBC Rewards points to book a ticket in Singapore Airlines’ New First Class – called Suites – on their A380.
I explained all the details in this article (how to get points, what rewards programs are used, what are the interesting flights, etc).
It is clear that the trend is not so good for First Class Travel opportunities (few airlines continue to offer this extraordinary service, preferring to expand their Business Class cabins and/or offer a Premium Economy Class between Economy and Business Class).
Lufthansa, for example, has significantly reduced its First Class footprint: only 19 B747-8s and 5 Airbus A340-600s. Until a few years ago, Lufthansa offered First Class flights to Canada. This is no longer the case.
As for the A380, Airbus no longer produced this aircraft, and many airlines such as Air France decided to part with it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First Class + A380: two concepts on the way out. I did not have the chance to travel on the Concorde. So I try to seize every opportunity that comes my way to quench my Avgeek’s thirst.
So here is my latest experience: a First Class flight aboard a Singapore Airlines A380 from Frankfurt to New York. Booked on points earned with the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®, the best no-FX fee credit card in Canada.
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites
After 1 week in Portugal, I reached Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) to board this flight to New York (JFK).
Once I arrived at the check-in counter, getting my boarding pass with a design reserved for Suites passengers was fast and easy.
This flight from Frankfurt to New York is a 5th freedom flight.
Right granted by one State to another to land and embark, in the territory of the first State, traffic coming from or going to a third State.
Singapore Airlines has obtained the right to operate this flight between Germany and the United States, allowing the aircraft to have a technical stopover. It cannot technically fly directly between Singapore and New York.
Therefore, it’s possible to book only the section between Frankfurt and New York, which is much cheaper in points/cash than the complete Singapore – Frankfurt – New York flight.
Arrived at the boarding gate, many people were lining up.
With a First Class ticket, I boarded simultaneously with business class passengers. First and Business Class passengers are directed to the aircraft’s upper deck (the lower deck containing the Economy and Premium Economy classes).
Warmly welcomed by the Chief of Cabin – who will call me by my last name during the whole flight – I am taken to the Suite I had chosen: 02A.
The Singapore Airlines A380, equipped with the new Suites, can only accommodate 6 passengers in First Class. This compares to the 14 seats offered by Emirates in its A380s. Even Etihad offers three more seats in the same size cabin.
This gives you an idea of the exclusive character of this cabin.
The cabin was flooded with sunlight for the entire flight. Each suite has 2 windows.
The suite is composed of a highly comfortable full-grain leather seat, which turns electrically on itself to offer you either a direct view of the windows, towards the front of the cabin for take-off, or facing the television.
There is a shelf next to the seat and a large removable table for meals.
A large closet is integrated into the sliding door (you can completely close the door). In it, you can store two carry-ons as well as clothes. We find the slippers, a blanket and a large mirror in the door.
The leather amenity kit is composed of exclusive products from Lalique. Including a scented candle.
Several storage spaces are available below the windows. There is also a detachable screen (handy when lying in bed). You can control everything from this screen: lights, TV, call to crew etc.
A high-quality Bang & Olufsen headset is included, offering active noise reduction.
The 32 inches touch-sensitive TV screen is attached to the wall. It moves electrically to give you perfect vision, whether from your bed or seat.
You will find all the latest movies and many series, music and podcasts.
You can recline the seat (45 degrees), and there is a leg rest.
Seat 1A has a little more room due to the forward recess. On the other hand, it is not possible to look through the window once seated in the seat in the takeoff or landing position, unlike seat 2A.
That’s why I didn’t choose it at first.
Thanks to the forward recess, seat 1F also seems to have a bit more room. And it is a little better positioned to see through the windows during takeoff and landing.
If you’re travelling with a baby, you have to choose this seat as there are wall hooks for the bassinet.
Double bed (combined suites)
But what makes the Singapore Airlines A380 Suites special is the possibility of combining two suites into one large one!
Please note that only 1A/2A and 1F/2F suites can be combined. Suites 3A and 3F are designed for passengers travelling alone.
The partition separating the two suites can therefore be lowered. But to get from one suite to the other when the beds are not raised, you will have to either step over this partition or go through the aisle.
Once the wall is down, the impression of space is absolutely incredible. As many have said in my Instagram stories: better than a private jet!
And the brightness entering the suites combined in this way is also incredible.
The crew takes care of setting up the beds. Once raised, they form a queen bed (the two single beds are still separated in the middle by the space for the wall).
As for the comfort of the mattress, it is on the hard side (appreciated by Asian customers). To be honest, I wouldn’t have said no to a mattress topper.
Once the windows are closed (with electric curtains), we appreciate the interior lights of the suite. Very cosy!
The First Class cabin has two bathrooms. Here, unlike Emirates or Etihad, no shower.
On the other hand, there is ample space for changing (women will appreciate the powder/ make-up remover and its chair).
In the drawers, you will find many care products: face cream, hand cream, shaving set, toothbrush set, etc.
A First Class trip is also a First Class service.
It is the opportunity to taste divine dishes and drink bottles that one would only offer for special occasions: Dom Pérignon Vintage 2008 Champagne before take-off, Krug Grande Cuvée 167th edition Champagne throughout the flight, Cognac Hennessy, etc.!
The service by the Singapore Airlines crew is simply excellent and on par with the best airlines worldwide.
As an appetizer, I naturally opted for Caviar with Vodka.
Followed by various Asian dishes accompanied by an excellent French red wine: 2007 Château Léoville Poyferré Saint-Julien.
And what about the chocolate desserts (having loved the first dessert, the crew also brought me the other option: chocolate ice cream)!
What better way to end this feast than with a glass of Hennessy Cognac while watching the clouds.
Shortly before landing, a new service is offered. Here is the configuration if you travel with two people allowing you to eat face to face.
Here, I found the dishes a little less successful. And no sweet option was offered (maybe I had already burned my cartridge by choosing two desserts during the meal)!
I could not conclude this review without talking about the crew of this SQ26 flight (April 4, 2022) between Frankfurt and New York. Simply exceptional:
- Don Tan
- IFM Sunny
- LS Randall Kok
- LSS Lay Yin
It should be noted that over the past two years, Singapore has implemented very significant restrictions isolating the City-State from the world. And depriving a good part of the Singapore Airlines crews of their flights (and work).
As they explained to me, most of them had to transition into small/part-time jobs. And it is only recently that international flights have resumed.
The crew was delighted to be on this flight, one of the first to reach New York with an A380 in over two years!
It was great to talk with them about their job and their life during the two past years. And to learn a little more about Singapore Airlines, like their outfits: did you know that the colour of ties for men and dresses for women depended on the level of seniority of the crew?
If it is possible to find the four colours on a flight on the men’s side, it will be rarer to have a woman in purple (the highest level of seniority). And as you can see, the hostesses naturally arranged themselves according to their seniority level!
Just like that: even if you are an Avgeek, you will learn something new every day!
No mistake: this is the best First Class flight I’ve had in my life as an Avgeek and loyalty points collector.
The quality of the cabin (hard product) and the service (soft product) exceed, in my opinion, what you can find on the side of Lufthansa and Emirates. In future reviews, I just have to compare this to Air France, ANA, and Qatar Airways.
If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend this experience! Here’s how to do it with HSBC Rewards.