***This is part 2 of my “Plane-cation” trip report detailing a recent trip from San Francisco to New York, via Hong Kong***
2. Singapore Airlines First Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
3. Cathay Pacific First Class Lounges: The Pier and The Wing
4. Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong to New York
5. Eating NYC – Bouley, Donuts, and Pizza
6. JetBlue Mint Class New York to San Francisco
7. First Class Showdown: Singapore Airlines vs. Cathay Pacific
While the San Francisco to Hong Kong flight is usually scheduled to leave around midnight, the time change from the archaic daylight savings time system pushed the departure time out to 1:15AM. The benefit of the super late-night departure time was that it allowed me to wrap up a full day of work, come home for dinner, and even take my time packing. By 11PM I had run out of things to do at home and was itching to go.
Without any traffic I was at SFO airport by 11:15PM, and in the Singapore Airlines Krisflyer lounge 15 minutes later. After double-checking that I had reviewed this lounge before, I gave myself the evening off to relax and to sneak in some final email and internet time before logging off for the next 14 hours.
I headed over to gate 98 where boarding was just about to begin. While I’d flown Singapore Airlines First Class three times before, most recently to Singapore, the fourth time proved to be the charm and I was thrilled to finally see the newly refurbished First Class cabin.
While new is usually better, for the most part these seats are structured in exactly the same way as the prior version, but are equipped with updated technology and upholstered in a much sexier, dark-colored leather. Another thing that hadn’t changed was the seat width, and at a whopping 35-inches it’s essentially wide enough for two people to sit next to each other.
There were a couple additional enhancements which included an in-seat mirror as well as a storage cabinet for small personal items.
Singapore Airlines is one of the few airlines that actually has two different versions of its latest First Class product. Its Suites Class feature closed suites with doors, while the standard First Class seats have an open design. However, the open version still offers a good amount of privacy since you are well out of eyesight from your neighbors while seated.
There was plenty of room in front of my seat for my backpack and carry-on suitcase. Some of my larger carry-ons won’t fit in this space, and I’ve had to use empty seats in the cabin as storage as there are no overhead bins. That would have been fine on today’s flight which was at just six of eight capacity.
The technology updates included a new 24-inch TV which had excellent quality and resolution.
This handheld device was used to control the in-flight entertainment system, and prominently displayed the remaining travel time throughout the flight.
Each passeger was given Bose QuietComfort 15 noise-cancelling headphones to use during the flight, and the seat even had a headphone holder that came in handy.
The seat controls had also been updated, and were as self-explanatory as you could want.
Amenity kits were distributed and were Ferragamo-branded, and included full-size lotions and cologne. Pajamas were also handed out and I changed into mine before takeoff.
I had eaten a light dinner at home and had done my best to avoid overeating in the lounge, so I was chomping at the bit for tonight’s supper. Given the late hour, the flight attendants were extremely efficient so that people could eat and then sleep as soon as possible. About 30 minutes after takeoff it was showtime.
Dinner service started with candied walnuts and cashews.
I opted for a mix of Western and Asian dishes, starting with the caviar and scallop appetizer. Singapore Airlines doesn’t offer full caviar service as part of its Supper meal, but this was a nice compromise. While the caviar was good, the scallops tasted like rubber. So far, not off to a very strong start.
But the Chinese snow fungus soup was delicious, and restored my faith in Singapore’s catering as we headed into the main course.
I had taken advantage of the Book the Cook option and pre-ordered the Boston Lobster Thermidor for my main course. Typically this has been one of my favorite dishes on Singapore Airlines, I mean, what could go wrong with lobster smothered in butter and cheese?
Well, something has really off about today’s offering. Each piece of “lobster” was the same exact shape and looked like they had come out of a tube or can. I was already suspicious based on the look of the dish, and after a couple of bites, judging by the rubbery texture I was almost 100% positive that this was not real seafood.
Even though I was disappointed with the lobster, the cheese course and the coconut panna cotta were great and a nice finish to the meal.
At this point we were about two hours into the flight, which meant that it was 3AM local time I was only two-thirds of the way through The Hateful Eight. I realized that I had no shot of finishing the movie before I fell asleep, so I decided to hit pause and head to bed.
The flight attendants flipped the seat over to form the bed, and set up the linens. The bed was really comfortable and without any turbulence at all, I slept like a baby for the next nine hours.
After waking up there was just three hours of flight time remaining, which left no time for snacking.
Instead, I put in my breakfast order.
Breakfast started with a fresh cappuccino.
Followed by a fresh fruit plate and bircher muesli.
And as usual I ordered the dim sum plate, but consistent with the last meal, this dish was mediocre at best.
I wrapped up my movie, but with just an hour and a half left afterwards it didn’t leave enough time for another. Thankfully, I had self-catered my own entertainment and fired up Catastrophe season 2 on my iPad.
Overall, this was another solid flight on Singapore Airlines, highlighted by the new First Class seat and the superb service that you’d expect from a world-class Asian airline. However, while Singapore Airlines’ food has traditionally been reliably good, for once it left me bit disappointed on this otherwise great flight.