ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 683
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Shanghai New Year with SQ New A380 Business and Suites

Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:24 pm

Following my Xmas Bali trip, it was not too long before I hopped onto another plane for the wintery weather in Shanghai over the New Year holidays. For this trip, I had booked on SQ's new A380s to experience the New Business Class up and the New Suites back. Shanghai is one of the few destinations served by the 5 new A380s in the new configuration, and there were also plenty of instances when the scheduled new A380s were swapped with the older ones. So fingers crossed that this would not occur for my flights.

Fast forward to the day of departure, check-in was hassle free at the T3 SQ premium counters.

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Harry Porter themed winter décor before immigration.

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Headed to the Silver Kris Lounge for some breakfast. Being a holiday weekend morning, there were minimal business travellers and hence the lounge was not as crowded as usual.

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Buffet station and a 'live' Nasi Lemak kiosk.

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The nasi lemak was not bad, and I added a couple of dim sum from the buffet as well.

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Some tau suan and fruits to finish.

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Headed to the gate B5 where the A380 awaits for the flight to Shanghai. 9V-SKV, would had flown back from ZRH hours earlier, would be operating the flight today.

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29 December 2018
Singapore Airlines
SQ 830
Singapore (SIN) - Shanghai Pudong (PVG)
A380-800
9V-SKV
Business Class
Flight Time: 4H21M



Boarding has already commenced and we proceeded to board immediately via the upper deck.

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Welcomed aboard and stepped into the brand new and beautiful cabin of the New Business Class. The cabin ambience was soothing and modern. Note the very empty cabin and we were actually one of the last to board in Business. The load was probably only a quarter full in Business Class. Guess the holiday season really affects the business travel loads to major business hubs.

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My original seat was 92A at the aft cabin, and on the seat was already placed a pillow, socks, eyeshades, slippers and an amenity kit.

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Taking a look at a pair of center seats. The divider could be totally lowered if required.

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As there was also a family of 4 at the front of the aft cabin, the crew informed that we could shift to any other seats within the aft cabin if we liked as there would be no other passengers! Total pax count in the aft cabin is 6! Hence, I moved to the last row (97A) of the cabin, intending to covert the middle seats at Row 96 to a double bed midflight. The cabin crew happily assisted to shift our stuff to the new seats at the rear.

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Wing view from my seat.

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Exploring the seat features. IFE controller, mirror, seat controls, table release and a foldable armrest. A flaw in the design is the position of the sensitive seat controls, resulting in me (and I heard from others who had flown on the seat as well) accidentally pressing the attendant call button whenever I leaned towards the window.

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USB socket, power socket and NFC card reader.

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Reading light, a beautiful seat mood lighting and headphones.

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Compartment for reading materials and other storage. A large pillow, blanket and bedsheet were stuffed within the footwell. Amusingly, many of them fell out from the seats' footwell (including mine) during takeoff. The crew just stated in a matter of fact "It happens always" when they stuffed the bedding back into the footwells after takeoff.

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The January inflight magazine and IFE guide were already loaded.

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Items in the amenity kit.

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All boarded and crew preparing for departure.

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Due to the very light load, the crew asked for our beverage of choice for pre-takeoff instead of offering pre-poured beverages from a tray. A champagne for me please, thank you. This was poured straight from the bottle at my seat ala First Class style, since the galley was just 3 steps behind.

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Doors closed and safety video played. It would be a rather short 4.5hrs flight to Shanghai today.

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It was only a short taxi to the departure runway Rwy02L. During the morning peak, both runways were used for departures.

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Departure from Rwy02L.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhN39OtD42I

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Flight map info

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Requested if the SQ teddies were available, and the crew kindly found 2 of the A350ULR female bears for us!

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Cruising

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Visit to the lavatory, which was stocked with the usual Business Class amenities. The orchid on the wall has definitely been replaced with a fake. For some reason, the 2 lavatories (went to 2 different ones at mid and aft cabin) visited had a damp and slightly unpleasant odour, though both were clean and dry.

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First up was the satay service, which I enjoyed with a Darjeeling. The crew also confirmed our lunch orders, and as the flight was so empty, asked for our preferred dining time. Dine-on-demand just like in First Class! Haha, the perks of a lightly loaded flight.

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We were each provided a bottle of water next.

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Views of the empty cabin midflight.

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Middle seats with the dividers fully up.

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My window seat in the lounging and fully-reclined mode. My thoughts on the new seat: It was more functional than the previous generation seats, with all the nooks and crannies well thought out. IFE is definitely superior with touchscreen high resolution monitors. Also, I liked the cosiness of the seat compared to the more open seats on the older A380s. For those who preferred the width of the older seats, the new ones might be a bit of a squeeze. It is either you love it or hate it, and for me, I loved it (though I know people who are not fans of the new seats).

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Trying out the pseudo double-bed at Row 96 middle seats. It is not a full double-bed as there is still a divider along 1/3 of the seat length.

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Another view of the Business double bed with the SQ teddies. The sleep pillow was plushy but the bed was a tad hard. It would be good if SQ could supply soft mattress a well.

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Being at the bulkhead, I could stretch out forward. For the rest of the seats, the legs would need to be angled into the foot well even though the beds could also be joined to be a double. Watched Venom in bed.

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At our earlier stipulated time of 1130am for lunch to the crew, the crew asked if we were ready for lunch. Yes, we were, but lets peruse the menu first.

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Lunch offering for this SIN-PVG sector.

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And for the return SQ833 sector.

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Wines and other beverages

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Hot beverages. The Mao Feng tea which is supposed to be available on China flights, was not stocked on this flight, and I heard from the crew nor in Suites as well after they rummaged through the galleys. Overlooked by the catering department I guess.

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I had pre-selected the Shi Quan Wei Mei cuisine for lunch. First up was the starter course of Golden Melon and Poached Yellow Croaker roll, along with a NZ Sauvignon Blanc. The sliced melon dish was fine but I am not a fan of the Yellow Croaker which was a bit too fishy for me.

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Main course was next, which was a Braised Beef Shortribs with Broccoli and rice. This was very tasty, which flavourful and tender ribs. Rice was a bit dry, but I actually preferred dry rice.

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For dessert, I was offered both the Western and Asian desserts. The western dessert was an Apricot sorbet, and no, I am not a fan of sourish sorbets. Give me a vanilla or chocolate anytime.

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The Asian dessert of Chilled Papaya and Snow Fungus soup was comparatively better.

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Cheese and fruit. I passed on the Blue.

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Ending with a Guatemala coffee and pralines. It was a satisfactory meal.

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My travel partner has pre-ordered from the Book-the-cook menu. The starter was the International selection of Smoked Duck Breast.

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The Book-the-cook main of Grilled Chilean Seabass on New England style clam and mussel chowder, served with ciabatta crouton, was very tasty.

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Less than 1.5hrs to go after lunch service was wrapped up. Back to the bed to try to grab a short nap.

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Soon, we started our descent and cabin was prepped for landing. The pilot also announced that descent would be fast as the ATC had requested for us to expedite the approach, and we would be arriving way ahead of schedule.

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Landing on Pudong's Rwy34R about 30min ahead of schedule.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqSCX1o9xI8

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Passing a sister B77W heading back to SIN.

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Yes, we are in Shanghai alright.

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Parked at the gate.

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Disembarking from the still as clean and tidy as before departure Business Class cabin.

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The flight in the New Business Class seat was excellent (some may prefer the older seats due to the narrower seat width of the new seats), with comfortable seating and First Class-level of personalised service, which undoubtedly was helped by the very empty cabin. With the option of a double bed and a separate seat, it certainly felt more First Class than Business.
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 683
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: Shanghai New Year with SQ New A380 Business and Suites

Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:02 pm

Just a short walk to immigration, and foreigners would need to do a self-registration of fingerprints before the immigration counters. As it was not busy, process was fast and immigration did not take too long as well.

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We rode the subway to the city center, where for the first 3 nights, we stayed at the Yangtze Boutique Hotel, just at the exit of People's Square metro station. The art-deco hotel, with history dating back to the 1930s, had very big rooms and comfortable bed, though there is no good view from my room. A very cosy stay.

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Dinner was had at XuYe Chilli Fish at a nearby mall. Do not be alarmed by the amount of chilli, it was not as spicy as I though it would be. The fish was delicious and fresh, accompanied by the garlicy and spicy soya sauce, a very satisfying meal.

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Night scenes along Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street.

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Heading towards the Bund, with beautifully lit-up buildings.

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The famous Shanghai night view across the Bund.

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The next morning, we tried the famous Xiao Yang fried dumplings at one of the chain stores nearby. The fried dumplings were amazing!! Crispy on the outside and still bursting with juice on the inside.

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Visited TianZiFang, which is one of the hippiest place to visit in Shanghai now. It is a touristic arts and crafts enclave that has developed from a renovated traditional residential area in the French Concession area of Shanghai. It is now home to boutique shops, bars and restaurants, and very crowded on the day we went. Not to mention, it started snowing when we were there! Snow in Shanghai? It is certainly a rarity!

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Snowfall getting heavier.

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Next stop was the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which is also the world's largest Starbucks store.

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The tiramisu was heavenly. Other pastries were good too.

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View of the roastery at nightfall.

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The snow had gotten heavier.

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And we had a light dinner at BiFengTang restaurant in a shopping mall.

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Starting the eve of New Year with a Starbucks. There are so many Starbucks outlets in Shanghai that I suspect there is an outlet every 200m or less in the city!

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The eve of New Year was spent at the happiest place on earth, aka Disneyland Shanghai.

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As expected for a national holiday (China declared a long weekend holiday from 30Dec-01Jan), it was rather crowded at Disney and queues for the popular rides were very long.

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Tea with the Mad Hatter?

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A pretty good lunch of roast meats at a Chinese restaurant in the park.

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People people everywhere.

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More rides.

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Live performance with audience participation.

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The most popular, thrilling and longest queue ride of all, TRON! The 2.5hrs wait for the 1+min unique roller-coaster ride was definitely worth it! According to many, this is also the best ride that Disney offered in all its theme parks!

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When evening falls, the lights came on.

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The highlight of Disneyland Shanghai is the nightly fireworks show. For Shanghai residents, this is the only place within Shanghai city to watch fireworks as fireworks are banned in Shanghai.

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Leaving Disneyland after the finale fireworks.

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New Year light-ups. Back to People's Square, which was incredibly crowded with new year revellers. Police and soldiers were all out doing a great job at crowd control.

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Last meal of 2018 was supper at Chen Dacheng eatery.

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A peaceful countdown into 2019 back at the hotel away from the maddening crowds, and the first meal of 2019 was more fish! For Chinese, this also symbolises prosperity in the new year.

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On the last day, we moved to the nearby GuXiang Hotel for a night. Offered a complimentary upgrade to a suite compliments of by Expedia Gold membership. The room was huge and offered a great view of the Nanjing Pedestrian Street. However, the bed was not as comfy as the previous Yangtze hotel.

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Nanjing cuisine for dinner at Nanjing Impressions, a popular restaurant. Also just found out they have a branch in Singapore too!

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On our final day in Shanghai, we had breakfast at the place with to-die-for dumplings, Jia Jia Soup dumplings. We had given the place a miss on the day before due to very long queues, but on this weekday, the queue was much more reasonable though there was still a wait of about 30min for the piping hot made-on-the-spot xiaolongbaos to be served. Easily one of the best, if the not best, I have ever eaten!

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Scenes of a weekday in Shanghai.

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My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81
 
directorguy
Posts: 1316
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:58 am

Re: Shanghai New Year with SQ New A380 Business and Suites

Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:32 am

Love your trip report!
I literally arrived back from Shanghai this morning (1st visit). Your experience looks amazing-you seem to know where to go for great food! Unfortunately being a 1st timer/solo traveler/non-Mandarin speaker I was clueless on what to do. I wish I'd read your trip report literally 4 days ago. Guess there's always a next time!
 
User avatar
evangrady64
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 7:54 am

Re: Shanghai New Year with SQ New A380 Business and Suites

Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:56 pm

Very nice and detailed report. It seems that you really enjoy your time in Shanghai and great experience onboard the A380. By the way, I've only flown with the SQ A380 on a round trip flight from Singapore to Zurich.
 
ycp81
Topic Author
Posts: 683
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:07 pm

Re: Shanghai New Year with SQ New A380 Business and Suites

Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:28 pm

After checking out of the hotel, we proceeded to Pudong Terminal 2 for our flight back to Singapore. The flight back would be the highlight of the trip!

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At the departure kerb side.

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Prior to the aircraft's departure, I was pretty nervous as SQ had sent the old A380 on the flight rather regularly. Hence, it was a relief that the new A380 took off for Shanghai in the morning, and it would also be the exact same aircraft I flew on into Shanghai. According to the check-in staff, the load in Suites was 3/6 today.

Checking in at the SQ counters and Golden boarding pass received!

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Immigration and security was fast as there were not many departing travellers. Soon we were in the departure hall, and spotted our A380 which had arrived early and being serviced.

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Up a level to the Air China First Class Lounge. Not sure of the lounge policy of other SQ/Star Alliance lounges, but each Suite passenger was allowed to guest in 1 guest into the First Class lounge.

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The First Class lounge was pretty empty with lots of seating areas.

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Restrooms were individual cubicles, and was cleaned by attendants after every use.

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The dining area consisted of a simple buffet selection.

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Bar area

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An ala-carte menu was also offered.

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Placed our ala-carte orders, which needed some preparation time, and grabbed some bites from the buffet and an Air China signature cocktail from the bar to start.

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Shanghainese Xiaolongbao and Iced Tremella soup

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Salmon fillet, fried rice and Shanghainese wanton soup.

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Left the lounge and headed to the gate, where boarding has just begun.

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02 January 2019
Singapore Airlines
SQ 833
Shanghai Pudong (PVG) - Singapore (SIN)
A380-800
9V-SKV
Suites
Flight Time: 5H29M



Boarding the whale.

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And welcomed into the brand new Suites cabin! First impression: Stunning! As someone who has never flown First and only once in the old Suites, the New Suites certainly did not felt like an aircraft seat. It was more of a cabin on its own! Amazing! I would be in 2A this evening.

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After welcoming us onboard, the crew in Suites introduced themselves. The leading stewardess also gave as a brief on the features of the Suite. At the suite entrance, there is a personal closet large enough to store carry-ons and hang your coats. Slippers, socks and eyeshades were also placed in the closet. No amenity kits and PJs provided on this mid-haul flight.

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Huge TV monitor with great resolution.

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Simple IFE controller and seat/monitor controls. As others have reviewed, you can swirl the armchair round and round for your own amusement.

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B&O headphones already placed at the seat.

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Suites guide in the literature pocket.

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Welcome beverages offered. A Dom for me please.

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As well as a selection of warmed nuts. Mix of everything please.

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More storage compartments, wireless controller, window shades/lighting controls and call buttons.

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A peek into Suite 1F, which remained empty for the flight.

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In the midst of being overwhelmed with the seat and space, the captain informed that due to a tropical depression, the flight would be longer than usual due to a rerouting required to avoid the bad weather. Estimated flight time of 5h30m. Yess!

Pushed back on schedule.

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Safety video was played, followed by an introduction video to the New Suites.

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The awkward moments of being able to see your fellow Suites passenger across the aisle, with a vase of decorative fake orchids. This was made worse inflight during dining when the armchair needs to be angled towards the suite door.

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Taxied to the runway Rwy34L for departure.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbHwdHBGqSs


More champagne after takeoff? Sure, Krug please.

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A leather-bounded menu was presented, meal choices confirmed and preferred dining time noted. We decided to have dinner 1.5hrs after takeoff.

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Satay was served shortly after departure.

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Another serving of mixed nuts with a refill of Krug offered.

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Setting sun

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The wireless touchscreen IFE controller was easy to use, but required a restart by the crew as the IFE system hanged on me.

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Popped into the XL-sized lavatory, which was so huge that one can do yoga in it.

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Suite 1A with the divider down. You don't need to be a crazy rich Asian to fly in one of these luxurious suites haha.

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We requested to lunch to be served at 6pm local time, which is about 1.5hrs after departure. But first, lets take a look at the menu.

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Beverages selection. For unknown reasons, none of the Chinese teas were stocked on this flight again, similar to the previous SIN-PVG sector.

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Dinner service commenced, with the dinner table nicely set up with a selection of breads. Oh, the awkwardness of staring straight at your fellow passenger while dining. Luckily, the crew discreetly asked the passenger across if he would preferred the suite door to be closed, and proceeded to close it between serving of courses.

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For the starter, I chose the oven-baked lobster, which was presented in the most crazy way with a huge standing lobster head. Taste-wise, it was a bit dried out but still acceptable.

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Next was the soup, which I had the oriental Double-boiled duck with pork soup.

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The soup was rather flavourful.

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Grilled asparagus salad. The asparagus were still crisp and had a nice grilled aftertaste.

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For the main, I had pre-ordered the Chicken Ballotine stuffed with Foie gras, spinach and mushroom. Not sure if it was a China catering issue, but it was too salty for my liking.

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The dessert of Passionfruit mousse cake with vanilla ice-cream was very good.

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We were just off the coast of Philippines at this time. A detour away from the usual flight path to avoid weather.

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Cheeses and fruits to end.

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And a Blue mountain to wash it all down.

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My friend has the Shi Quan Shi Mei cuisine, which he felt was very average. The assortment of starters.

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Shi Quan Shi Mei main course.

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Warm creamy walnut soup for dessert.

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After the dinner service, the crew offered to set-up the beds.

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Double bed all made! The bed was certainly very comfortable, though I thought was slightly harder than on the old Suites.

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Its was lights out for the next couple of hours till we were nearing Singapore. Visited the other lavatory, which was still big but not crazily so as the one on the right.

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Crew offered more drinks prior to descent and I had a chamomile tea.

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Nearing the end of the Suite life.

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Landing into Changi Rwy02L right on schedule.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErEHQKDwZy4


Taxied to Terminal 3.

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Last look (and more pictures) of the amazing Suites before disembarking.

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A narrower stairway down to steerage on the new A380s, with a lovely crew posing for me haha.

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I must say that it was a privilege to be able to experience SQ's New Suites on the A380. This is definitely a new level of luxury and space for First Class travel. The hard product was amazing by all means, though the gadgets on the seats took some time to get used to (eg. no full recline of the armchair possible when facing ahead, with only full recline enabled when angled for dining and watching the IFE. We discovered this after tinkering around the armchair, including resetting it, with the crew, thinking that the armchair was faulty). There were minor inconveniences which were also stated by others who flown it, such as staring into neighbouring passengers across the aisle while dining. The service was excellent as always on SQ premium cabins, though it felt a bit too scripted on this flight. Nothing bad, just a personal preference. Catering was the weakest link for this Suites product, though it could be an overseas station catering issue. Overall, an overwhelming experience of the pinnacle of air-travel.

Now, all that is missing is a shower haha.

Thanks for reading!
My past and future travels - http://www.ba97.com/ba97/calendar/report.asp?handle=ycp81

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