Review: Singapore Airlines Suites Class, Sydney to Singapore

As one of its four daily services between Sydney and Singapore, Singapore Airlines operate its flagship Airbus A380 aircraft between Australia’s largest city and the Lion City. We flew SQ232 in Suites class for this 8-hour journey.

We left Sydney’s SilverKris Lounge (First Class) and made our way to the gate.

Suites and business class passengers, as well as members of the PPS Club (Singapore Airlines’ exclusive frequent flyer recognition programme) board through the same priority lane. When boarding an A380 with up to 98 seats in Suites and business class, it makes for a long line for priority boarding.

It will be interesting how Singapore Airlines decides to handle priority boarding for its new premium economy cabin. At the moment, the economy boarding lane also lists ‘Star Alliance Gold’ (ie no priority boarding) – it is hard to tell if this is petty or a necessary measure given the number of passengers.

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Immediately upon reaching our seat, 3F, we were impressed by the soft colours and high standard of maintenance kept by Singapore Airlines. The seat itself is one of the widest in the sky, bettered only by Cathay Pacific’s first class product.

Singapore Airlines are currently in the process of refreshing their suites and first class cabins, but on the A380 fleet that is little more than a cosmetic upgrade.

To the right of the seat, in the corner of the suite, is a small storage compartment along with ports for headphones, USB and power along with an RCA port for video.

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We can’t stress enough how immaculately kept these suites are. Given they came into service in 2007, this is a testament to Singapore Airlines.

The note from the cleaner is certainly a nice touch. Airlines like Cathay Pacific and Etihad go a step further in first class and provide a personalised welcome note.

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The suites cabin is laid out with 4 seats down each side of the plane and 4 seats in the middle. For solo travellers, the A and F seats are certainly the best selection, offering the most privacy during the flight.

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For passengers travelling together, however, the centre C and D seats are by far the best option (or for sole passengers, when the flight is particularly empty). During the flight, these middle seats can be converted to make a double bed for you and your companion.

Before getting any ideas, the coverings on the door frames are made of incredibly thin material which rolls up into the door frame. The ‘windows’ on the suite roll down from the top and include see-through mesh at the top and bottom.

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We were promptly handed Givenchy-branded pyjamas and an Salvatore Ferragamo-branded amenity kit, as well as a menu.

The menu for our flight is below (use the arrows on the left and right edges of the menu to page through it):

It’s worth mentioning that Singapore Airlines offer a ‘Book the Cook’ service available from most major ports for passengers flying in premium cabins. Meals can be selected from their ‘Manage my Booking’ page. A full list of meal options is available here.

We started with some mixed nuts and a glass of Krug. Krug is one of our favourite champagnes and is served by a number of airlines in first class, along with Qatar Airways in their A380 bar.

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Our first course was a beautifully presented offering of ‘Chilled malossal caviar with melba toast and condiments’. A small glass of vodka accompanied the caviar, making the dish just about perfect.

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Singapore Airlines easily has some of the best garlic bread in the sky, by our standard at least.

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For our main dish we selected a serving of the ‘Seared lamb job with jus, crushed pea, spinach gnocchi, sauteed cavalo nero, baby carrot’, accompanied by a glass of the excellent 2010 Penfolds RWT Shiraz. The gnocchi looked a little odd but tasted excellent, along with the other greens on the plate. The lamb itself was perfectly cooked and could not be faulted. We almost wanted more!

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After our main meal we picked a serving of the ‘Eclair with caramelia chocolate ganache, vanilla ice cream and morello compote’. The ice cream was perfect but the eclair itself was a little underwhelming. Apart from being ice cold, the pastry itself was particularly hard and it took more effort than it should have to break up.

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After our meal, the crew offered to make up a bed for us in another suite. The result was one of the best looking beds we’ve seen on a plane. A mattress and sheet are placed on the seat when laid flat, almost giving the illusion that the bed was there all along!

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Even without sleeping, it’s exceptionally comfortable to lie in your bed whilst watching one of the many pieces of content onboard Singapore Airlines’ in-flight entertainment. With a 23″ HD screen, passengers are provided with one of the best entertainment options currently available in the sky.

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The doors of the suite close for privacy, but as mentioned earlier the ‘windows’ to the suite are quite thin and offer just enough viewing capability for anyone walking past to peek in and check on you. Singapore Airlines and Emirates pioneered the enclosed suite in first class and have been followed by a number of airlines including Asiana, Etihad, Garuda and Jet Airways. A number of airlines have gone the other way and offer an open suite, such as Japan Airlines and Lufthansa.

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Before arrival into Singapore we were offered something from the ‘Light Bites’ menu. We went with the ‘Grilled Wagyu sirloin with salad greens in walnut oil-sherry vinegar dressing’. Suffice to say this was excellent, easily one of the best steaks we’ve had onboard a plane.

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The steak was perfectly prepared and full of flavour. We’ve certainly had enough occasions flying with other airlines that serve a steak about as dry as a summer’s day.

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In what felt like no time at all, we were landing in Singapore.

We seem to do this flight often, and so have reviewed SQ232 on another occasion. We find it useful to report back on the consistency of airlines from flight to flight. The verdict? Very consistent.

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The key thing to take away here is that if you have the opportunity to fly suites class with Singapore Airlines, do it. This is certainly one of the premier offerings in the sky today. Exceptional crew, catering and seating make this an unforgettable experience.

Furthermore, since award space is restricted to members of Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program, it is not to difficult to find availability to fly this cabin on redemption if you’re flexible. Virgin Australia Velocity points convert into the KrisFlyer program at a 1.35 to 1 ratio. It’s worth noting that fuel surcharges are payable on KrisFlyer redemptions (except those originating in Manila).

7 Comments on "Review: Singapore Airlines Suites Class, Sydney to Singapore"

  1. Rightly or wrongly, SQ’s Suite annoys me. I find those mesh windows rather cheap and nasty and ruin any feeling of privacy (I’d either prefer Emirates low but solid doors, or Etihad’s diamond punched tall door, as both provide far more privacy while still allowing for discreet checks). I didn’t like that the Suite seat is rather limited in adjustment compared to other seats. I didn’t find that pull-out bed very comfortable. The PJs are too heavy (especially since SQ like a warm cabin). I was luke warm on the toiletry kit.

    If SQ could fix these issues I’d be a real fanboy but it sort of kills any enthusiasm as it stands (plus The Private Room feels a bit flat compared to some other offerings). Plus dealing with SQ via their call centre is typically terrible.

    • Thanks Kieran,
      All very valid points. As we said in our first review of Suites Class, the bed is a bit of missed opportunity.

      On the comment about SQ’s call centres, doesn’t that apply to all airlines these days? Air New Zealand’s ‘premium team’ used to be be good a few years ago, but we haven’t had good experiences of late. Virgin Australia’s Australian call centres are variable and we’ve had similar experiences with Qantas (it’s like rolling the dice as to what you get). Even the American Airlines Executive Platinum line (which used to be the shining example of excellent telephone service) has gone downhill lately.

      • Sadly MDU, you are right in saying that most airline call centres – even premium lines for their own elites (outside the top 1% tiers, like say Platinum One/Chairman’s Lounge for Qantas) – are frequently unpleasant to deal with. However, SQ’s call centre has fallen further than most (at least going off my most recent experiences), and deserves special criticism.

        I try and avoid dealing with airline call centres where-ever possible, but sometimes it’s just unavoidable.

        It’s a great review nonetheless MDU, I guess I just wanted to express my disappointment that SQ could have, with some small fixes, vastly improve the Suites experience.

  2. I flew on an SQ232 flight out of Sydney just two days ago and the Star Alliance Gold priority had been incorporated into the ‘Premium Economy’ lane which had it’s own board and signage. Funnily enough I guess the premium economy line would be the shortest now anyway right?

    • That makes a lot of sense following Singapore Airlines’ introduction of Premium Economy on some Sydney flights from 9 August 2015.

      Which line is longer would all depend on how many Star Alliance Gold members are flying economy. One of the new four class configuration A380s will have as low as 72 seats in Suites/Business and 38 in Premium Economy.

  3. Strange about the Priority Boarding situation; we flew this flight last December, as Suites passengers, and were escorted past the queues waiting for Economy!

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