Singapore Airlines has some weird routes in their system. Sure, anything in or out of their hub at Changi makes sense, but they also fly routes like JFK to Frankfurt, Moscow to Houston and of course Barcelona to Sao Paulo.
This is a feature of Singapore’s location. Since often times the direct flights from Singapore to these locations aren’t feasible, either due to the range limitations of the aircraft in SQ’s fleet, or because flying such long flights simply isn’t economical for the airline. The end result, is that there are many more opportunities to hop an an SQ flight, and there’s usually pretty good award availability on these segments (only using KF Miles of course).
I woke up at around 6am at the Air Rooms, and decided to take a quick shower, since I knew it would be a long time before I’d get the chance again.
I had never unpacked my bags the previous evening, so once I was showered up and dressed, I started to get antsy. It was still more than two hours before my flight, but I figured it would be better to go check-in now, dump my luggage and spend my time in the lounge, than to sit around the Air Rooms.
I threw my bags back onto the luggage cart that was still sitting in my room from the night before, left the Air Rooms, turned left, went upstairs to the Departures level, and sought out the SQ desks.
With my boarding pass in hand, I took off for the border, security and the lounge. SQ doesn’t have their own lounge facility at BCN. What’s worse, is that no Star Alliance partners have a substantial presence at BCN either, so there is no other F lounge for SQ F passengers to use. SQ sends their J and F passengers to a shoddy lounge, that was worse than a domestic United Club. There was almost nothing on offer in the way of food and beverage (not a big deal before being plied with the endless food & bev offerings on an SQ F flight) and there was no wifi. I should say there was no FREE wifi. When trying to login, the option was there to create an account and pay for wifi in hourly increments.
Few things bother me more than when 5-star hotels try to extort $20-30/day for wifi on top of their exorbitant rates, when cheap hotels offer it for free, but this was at least as bad. If you’re already paying for a premium class ticket through cash or miles (or accessing the lounge via other paid memberships, or due to high status accrued through lots of expensive flying), it seems the least they can do is provide free wifi for the hour or so most people spend in the lounge killing time before their flight.
I left my carry-on bags in the lounge and opted to wander around the terminal, and see if there were any souvenirs I should pick up for people back home before leaving Europe (there weren’t).
After, I stopped back in the lounge for a bit, and when “Boarding” started to flash on the monitors, I left and went to the gate. I was looking forward to this flight, as it was the only First Class segment on the entire convoluted itinerary from Paris to NYC.
Once on board, I settled into my seat (1A) and accepted the FA’s offer of some champagne before takeoff. We were provided with menus, PJ’s, kits and all the other usual SWAG.
The main knock on Singapore’s 77W, is that people don’t feel the F product is substantially better than the J product, and thus is not worth paying for. It’s a very reasonable argument. Both F and J are laid out 1-2-1. The seats look very similar and the dimensions are pretty close. As far as I can tell, the only real benefits to F over J on the SQ 77W are 1. Better FA to passenger ratio, 2. Much better food and wine, 3. Slightly larger TV, 4. “Free” PJ’s and other SWAG.
As a result, I would have to agree, that if I were to pay cash, I would opt to buy a J ticket, and not splurge on F as the difference isn’t that great. However, if you are redeeming miles for your ticket, and the difference between a J ticket and an F ticket is maybe 10,000 miles…why not go for broke and enjoy the Pajamas and free flowing Dom…it’s just a few miles.
We were four of eight in the F cabin for this flight to GRU. Since we were heading West, we would be departing Spain around 9am, and arriving in Brazil around 3pm the same day. I do love westbound Trans-Atlantics for that reason. I settled into my comfortable seat as we turned onto the runway and started off for S.America. I remembered at the start of this trip, at CDG, while waiting for my QR flight to Doha, the board showed that a TAM (JJ) flight, was departing for Brazil later that same evening. I thought to myself “cool, those people are going to Brazil, they’re going to have an awesome time,” with a twinge of jealousy, as I set off for the sandbox. Now it was my turn.
Since this flight was leaving at 9am, the first meal service would be breakfast, and a lunch service with caviar and all the other trimmings would be offered a few hours before arrival in Sao Paulo.
12 hours in the pointy end of a Singapore Airlines aircraft is never a bad experience. I queued up the last few unwatched episodes of Breaking Bad to entertain myself as the meal service began.
The breakfast meal service was great. I am a great fan of spicy foods, and so I dumped an entire dish of sliced chilis into the beef noodle soup, thinking that would improve the flavor. It was delicious, but with all those chilis in there, I nearly made it too hot even for myself.
With the meal service over, I went to the lav to change into my PJ’s, and asked the stewardess to please make up my bed.
I tried to watch the “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” from bed, since my parents has recommended it. The movie was fairly entertaining, but I was tired, and it wasn’t entertaining enough to keep me conscious all the way through apparently.
I woke up sometime after the credits had already rolled, switched off the entertainment system, and went back to bed for another few hours.
As you can see in the photo, the bed on SQ’s 77W’s is roughly the width of a proper twin bed. I have heard people complain that the seat isn’t long enough, but I am 6’4” and I had no complaints. Given the size of the bed, it’s perfect for sleeping on your side curled up, or on a bit of an angle. I would rate it amongst the most comfortable airborne seat/beds I have ever experienced, and I got a lot of very good rest on the way down to Brazil. [More seat/cabin photos at the end].
A few hours out, I woke up for good. I put on “The Five Year Engagement,” which turned out to be more entertaining than I expected, and Emily Blunt is hot in an odd, not classically pretty way. Part of the way into this movie, the second, meal service began.
The flight from BCN to GRU with Singapore was great. Don’t get me wrong, SQ always does an excellent job, and their reputation as one of the world’s best airlines is well deserved. However, every time I get off an SQ flight, I can’t help but feel that I must be missing something. They have a great soft product, an amazing hard product and excellent food and wines, but I always feel like something is missing and they aren’t “THE best” airline I’ve flown. I can’t put my finger on it, but I prefer pieces of other airlines offerings, the atmosphere on Thai, the food on Lufthansa, the level of attention on Asiana. None of them are perfect, and SQ is as good as any, but I don’t think they deserve to be put into a tier of their own. ANA, Asiana, Lufthansa, Swiss and any number of other airlines can be just as good if not better when they’re on their game. Not a knock on SQ, just saying.
We got into GRU right on time. I was worried about a long pile up at immigration, but it was a ghost town, and I sailed through the border. The luggage was even delivered in relatively short order and soon I was out front, on a relatively brisk Sao Paulo day hailing a cab.
MORE CABIN/SEAT PHOTOS