My review of Singapore Airlines’ new First Class seat on a recent flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong.
“How was your flight?” It’s a pretty standard question that you get asked after arriving at your destination. But in this case, I wasn’t really sure how to answer it. Forthis particular trip from San Francisco to New York, I decided to take the scenic route. Well that’s probably a huge understatement, since I literally flew halfway across the world on my 40-hour journey.
Between the negative reviews of British Airways’ Business Class product on Flyertalk and the fact that they made me pay to select seats in advance, I didn’t have high expectations for my flights to Zurich. The final verdict after my round-trip? I really, really liked my flights, and it was all because of the seat, which was so comfortable that I was able to sleep like a baby for 7-8 hours each way. That simply does not happen for a light-sleeping insomniac like myself.
Thanksgiving is my favorite time of the year to travel for a couple reasons. Firstly, while other holidays rotate around, there’s no guessing which days you’ll have off for Thanksgiving – it’s a 4-day weekend every single year. Secondly, while domestic travel during Thanksgiving week can be a nightmare, it’s the perfect time to travel internationally. As an added bonus, you can essentially bank on the fact that there will be a premium cabin sales each year which means that you can fly in style, most often to Europe, for a fraction of the normal price.
As I wrote about here, it seems like I was the only person in the frequent flyer community that was actually excited for this flight. On the plus side, because I’d heard so many negative comments, the bar had been set really, really low. After a few final stretching exercises in the Etihad US Premium Lounge, we headed over to the gate and on-board our 16-hour flight back home to San Francisco. It was well past midnight and I was half-asleep, so I remember having to do a double-take when I saw the exterior of the plane showing the Jet Airways livery.
Even on partner mileage redemptions, Etihad provides chauffeur service for premium cabin passengers and this made for a relaxing start to our 24-hour journey home. Pick-up from our hotel was scheduled in advance, and I was very impressed with the logistics. Not only did we receive an email and phone call the day before to confirm, we also received about 2-3 text messages the day-of with updates on when the driver was expected to arrive. We jumped into the sleek Mercedes S-Class, which definitely stood out like a sore thumb as we drove through the streets of Hyderabad on the way to the airport.
Our flight wasn’t scheduled until 8P, so even with a late check-out time of 3PM, it still left several hours to kill. We mulled over the various options, but ultimately decided to just head over to the airport early. Besides, if you had to spend time at an airport, Changi is probably the best place to do that. We had about an hour left and had exhausted all of the options in that terminal, so we decided to hop into the Premier Lounge to relax. This lounge was part of the Lounge Club network, and I used my two free passes that come with the Chase Ink card since they were about to expire.
Even though we’d be taking the same plane and even sitting in the same seats from Seoul to Singapore, there’s no way to simply stay on the plane during the layover. Believe me, I tried my best to convince the crew that they could just leave a bottle of Dom and I would be more than happy to entertain myself for the next hour.
This flight brought on a bit of nostalgia, as these were the exact same seats on the same type of plane that we had on our very first longhaul international First Class flight back in 2012. Since then we’ve tried dozens of premium cabin products, but I’ll aways have a soft spot for this particular one.
In recent years I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to the Maldives and the Seychelles. But while the Maldives and Seychelles provide ultra-exclusive island getaways, they also have the price tag to match, and are a 24+ hour journey each way from the USA. As beautiful and amazing as those destinations were, as I reflect on those trips, what I really walk away with is a renewed appreciation for just how lucky I am to have Hawaii in my backyard. From the West Coast it’s less than a 5 hour direct flight to the Hawaiian islands, and they are chock full of mainstream chain hotels to use points at. Also, since you’re still in the USA, it’s easy to drive around and there’s worrying about cell phone service.