SQ25 connecting to LH1036
Ok, I will come out and say it. Singapore may have ruined me for other airlines. I had flown them twice before, once medium-haul (Hanoi-Singapore) and once longhaul on the A380 (Singapore-Paris), but this flight has sealed it. Easily one of the top-5 most enjoyable flights I have been on. Bear with me through a lengthy and picture filled expose on this flight. I have read far too many trip reports on flyertalk.com to skimp on the pictures and details.
The ride out to JFK was predictably horrible. Rush hour…summer…disaster. Luckily, I had budgeted plenty of time for the ride and I arrived at the airport with a little less than three hours before departure, right after SQ opens their check-in desks.
There was no line for the First Class check-in, and within minutes, the desk agent had checked my three bags through to Paris and printed my SQ and my LH (Lufthansa) boarding passes. Interlining the bags was a huge plus. If I had to gather my luggage in Frankfurt and re-check it, there would have been two issues. 1, Frankfurt is a nightmare of an airport, and dragging three luggage pieces would have been a nightmare. 2, I shudder to think what fees would have been levied had I tried to check three pieces of luggage on an intra-euro flight, especially a flight I was booked in coach for. It’s fairly safe to say the fees would have cost more than the ticket.
As it were, the bags were checked through, hassle was averted and I paid $0 in fees to transport my life from NYC to Paris.
Singapore First uses the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK. This lounge has none of the bells and whistles of its counterpart at Heathrow. I sipped an Amstel and waited for the minutes until departure to tick down.
The lounge is landside, not airside, so I left 20 minutes before boarding to deal with security. The TSA gave me one last lovely look at American ineptitude and reminded me why I weep for our future. Upon “opening” a new security lane, we were waived over to find the agent had not yet turned the machine on and the operator was not there. I was treated to an obese latina TSA agent swaying back and forth in what I assume was meant to be some sort of dance. When the other two TSA agents turned up and started the machine they first had to spend three minutes flirting while the line grew in length.
Finally, the machine was started and the first passenger went through. I was second in line. As my second carry-on bag interfaced with the machine, it crashed. No urgency from the staff who apparently found this amusing. I tried to grab my bag which had already cleared the x-ray, but had not come all the way down the rollers and was reprimanded by the staff. They told me not to worry, no one was going to miss their flight…no consideration for the fact that we may not like standing in filthy JFK in our stocking feet while they zone out.
It took about twenty minutes to finally clear security. Good riddance America and a giant lol @ the TSA. A GED holder who is drunk with a modicum of power is certainly a thing to behold.
When I got to gate A7, there was still a bit of light, and the 747 really is impressive up close and personal.
We boarded slightly late. SQ boards First Class and Business Class at the same time, which seems a little lousy to me. There were some squirrely businessmen who seemed to be in a race to board first and needed to push through the crowd.
It was a light load in First, with only 5 of 12 seats occupied. Here is a shot of the F cabin (more pictures of the cabin at the end).
Now let’s get to the part I know everyone on flyertalk is most interested in…the meal service
I opted to have a glass of champagne pre-departure, which I often do when flying internationally, or starting a trip. I guess it feels festive? The cabin staff were pouring Dom Perignon 2000 on this flight. The woman seated behind me ordered the same beverage and remarked to me “Hey, for what we’re paying for these tickets, why not!” I shrugged off her pretentious comment and replied “I booked my ticket with miles, I’m not paying anything.” Flummoxed, she muttered something about giving her miles to her kids and trailed off. The first glass wasn’t properly chilled, but by the second pour, the temperature was more appropriate. Not a big deal, and I am certainly not complaining, but a chink in the armor of the legendary SQ service.
Main Meal Service
To start I had the “Chilled malossol caviar with melba toast and condiments.” For those who care, the other option for a starter was:
– Serrano ham with feta stuffed bell peppers, dressed salad and aged balsamic
The soup course was supposed to precede the salad course, but I guess the soup wasn’t ready yet, so salad came out first. It was actually rather good. There was only one option, it was “Caeser Salad, Romaine lettuce with bacon, parmesan cheese, croutons and anchovy garlic dressing.”
For the soup course, I had “New England Clam Chowder.” It was very good. I have heard excellent things about the soups on SQ, but I was skeptical. I am now a believer. The other choice for this course was:
-Chicken Soup with Chinese herbs.
I had the “Gaeng Masaman Neau” as my main course. It was described as “Thai style masaman curry beef, seasonal vegetables and steamed rice.” Now, perhaps I have been eating at the wrong thai restaurants in NYC, but this dish equalled or surpassed any thai food I have had on the ground. For starters the beef was much higher quality than the cast off nonsense you find at most thai or chinese restaurants in their beef dishes. The dish had a good amount of spice, but it wasn’t overpowering. A very solid meal by any standards and outstanding by airline food standards. The other options were:
-Roasted Maine Lobster with lobster sauce, fava beans, corn kernels and chanterelle mushrooms
-Singapore Style sliced halibut, beancurd, tomato, preserved vegetables in light fish soup served with steamed rice
-Cold linguine tossed with rocket leaves, cherry tomato confit in extra-virgin olive oil-lime dressing and roasted red capsicum pesto.
For dessert, I had “Warm pear and almond tart, yoghurt ice cream and fruit compote.” It wasn’t very good and I was very full, so I took one bite and let them wrap up the service. The other option was:
-Panna Cotta, cream timbale with berries.
After these five courses, I couldn’t take anymore, so I passed on the cheese and fruit. For the sake of being thorough, the options were…
Old chatham hudson valley camembert, tomme idyllic putney vermont blue and croutin du chavignol. Served with fruit paste, grapes, walnut and biscuit.
Fresh fruits in season.
now…back to the flight. As I mentioned, the first class cabin was more than half empty, so towards the end of the meal service, I asked one of the “Singapore Girls” if she could make up seat 1B as a bed, and when I finished with the meal service and movie, I would move to that seat to sleep. As Singapore bends over backwards for its passengers and they let first class passengers do pretty much whatever they want, within minutes turndown service was taking place on seat 1B.
I watched The Tourist with my meal. KrisWorld IFE is a little dated on the 747. They still have a large selection of movies, but there was nothing I hadn’t seen that looked any good. I expected The Tourist to be absolutely one of the worst movies ever made, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t quite that bad. Angelina Jolie is getting old though, time to hit the chop shop babes.
With the movie wrapped up, I unplugged the noise canceling headphones SQ provides and moved from my “living room” seat to my “bedroom seat.” The seat goes 180 degrees flat and they make it up with linens, pillows and blankets. It’s basically a twin bed in the sky. SQ’s beds in particular are some of the most comfortable out there. The 747 has the SkySuite product. Below are some pictures of the seat made up as a bed. They are from the morning though, so it’s a bit messed up. I didn’t want to disturb anyone by taking a flash photo at night after the cabin lights had been doused.
I asked them not to wake me for breakfast. When I came to we were around 20 minutes from landing at Frankfurt.
After a smooth touchdown, we taxi’d past “Lufthansa land,” widebody long-haul aircraft as far as the eye could see. I counted three or four A380’s at the terminal and scores of 747’s, A340’s and A330’s. After arriving at the gate, First Class deplaned first (except for the same nervous business guy who exclaimed something about needing to catch a plane and pushed past everyone).
Overall, this was an excellent flight…but wait, there’s more. In addition to stuffing us with food on-board, SQ also provides first class passengers with a bunch of free stuff.
After all this pampering in SQ F, it was back to reality. I made my way through customs and then had a long walk to the A terminal. I stopped by the Lufthansa transit desk to verify my bags had indeed been checked through to CDG. The agent informed me all three pieces would make it to CDG no problem and printed up my new LH boarding pass (I had switched seats online after the SQ agent printed my boarding pass at JFK).
I killed the next few hours between the Lufthansa Business lounge and the Lufthansa SEN lounge by the A-gates. Neither of them were any good. I was too tired to ask the agent for the WiFi key, so I just read my kindle.
Gate A-16, Lufthansa Flight LH1036 with service from Frankfurt to Paris.
The aircraft was leaving from an apron position which meant we had to pile on to a bus and be driven over. No one ever likes to leave from an apron position (unless you are traveling LH International F…then they chauffeur you to the apron position in a Benz). The aircraft was a 737-300. Most U.S. airlines have phased out the -300, so I suppose it was nice to fly a slightly different type.
Flight time to CDG was less than an hour and it was pretty much an up and down flight. Despite a flight time of less than 60 minutes, LH served a meal and a drink to those of us back in coach. Can you imagine a U.S. airline doing that? I’m not sure they even serve meals on Transcontinental flights in coach anymore.
It was an uneventful flight and I fell in and out of consciousness. After wheels down in CDG, I was pleasantly surprised to find all three of my bags made the turn in FRA. I met Patrice my driver and was on my way home to unpack and settle in. All in all, a fun day of flying.
ADDITIONAL FIRST CABIN PICTURES: