Nearly a decade ago, the A380 began commercial service, and with it the possibility of innovative air products that would push the limits of luxury commercial aviation.
One of the most exciting new concepts was the Singapore Airlines’ new first class product, which featured the world’s first privately enclosed suite flanked by lofty walls and a separate lie flat bed.
By far the most incredible feature on board was the full double sized bed, which combined two adjoining suites in the middle of cabin, allowing couples to sleep together at 40,000 feet.
Over time, other airlines such as Emirates and Etihad have launched other innovative first class suites of their own. However, over 10 years later Singapore Airline is still the only airline to have a double bed in the sky.
Singapore Airlines also use to charge a hefty amount of miles for redeeming rewards in Suites, with redemptions costing upward of 1,000,000 miles, but in recent years has vastly reduced the number of miles needed to a more reasonable rate.
I ended up redeeming 119,000 KrisFlyer miles + $480 for my first class ticket from Los Angeles to Sydney.
Even better, I was able to have multiple day stopovers in Tokyo and Singapore, which meant I got to visit three separate places for the price of only one award ticket!
The retail cost of these flights booked separately would have been over $16,000.
While my first two flights were absolutely fantastic, perhaps nothing can top the flight I took on Christmas Eve from Singapore to Sydney.
From a Christmas themed lobster and champagne dinner in Singapore Airlines’ exclusive private room, to a surprise mid-air present of sleeping solo on a double bed at 40,000 feet, chasing Santa has never been so fun.
After my wonderful stay in Singapore, I took a taxi and headed to Singapore’s Changi Airport. We pulled up into Singapore Airlines’ exclusive drop off and check in area for first class passengers.
A bell hop offered to take my bags, and I was escorted into a check in area reserved solely for first class passengers, complete with tables, plush sofas, and even a fully decked out Christmas tree.
The place was so big you could easily mistake it for a lounge.
Considering the check in process took less than 5 minutes, the entire place was way over the top. I was handed my golden suites ticket and headed to the first class lounge. Instead of mingling with the masses, Singapore Airlines first class passengers have their very own private security line and immigration checkpoint.
Feeling like George Clooney, I breezed through security and immigration in less than a minute and found myself directly across from the escalator taking me up to the Singapore Airlines lounge.
A lounge agent warmly greeted me and upon seeing my golden ticket, escorted me to my seat.
We first walked by the relatively crowded business class lounge where a lounge attendant wearing a Santa hat was cheerfully serving Christmas themed meals and headed to the first class lounge guarded by a separate lounge agent who waived us through.
The first class lounge looked like part of the Gatsby set with its modern and spacious design.
But this wasn’t our final stop as we talked by another lounge checkpoint and through a frosted double pane door into the Private Room, perhaps the world’s most exclusive lounge.
While the business and first class lounge can be accessed by passengers flying on partner airlines, the Private Room is only open to passengers flying on Singapore Airline’s first class cabin. The result was an eerily quiet lounge filled with less than a handful of passengers in the middle of one of the world’s busiest airports.
At entrance of the Private Room was a huge lit up Christmas tree surround with various paintings drawn by young Singaporean students.
The main lounge area consists of various leather chairs, mostly in a throne level type seating surrounded by small partitions.
In the rare chance there’s another passenger in the near vicinity, you can drink your champagne in peace.
Combined with relatively dim lighting and various abstract art pieces lined the lounging area, it was clear that Singapore Airlines was aiming for a muted classic look.
By far the highlight of the Private Room was the dining area decorated with large plush leather seating and intricate wooden flooring giving an “old money” feeling. The whole place looked like a Mad Men-ish private supper club, where business deals would be made over hushed whispers.
After being seated, I was promptly served a glass of Piper Heidsieck Rare Millesime 2002.
I was handed an extensive dinner menu containing both Western and Asian dishes. Since it was Christmas Eve, the staff had prepared an additional special Christmas dinner menu with stuffed roasted turkey, lamb, and beef sirloin.
I decided to try the roasted lamb, which came with a handful of veggies.
Afterwards, I took a quick shower in a marble lined bathroom, and headed back to the dining room to order a second round of food.
I started with a US Prime Beef Burger topped off in Foie Gras and a fried quail egg. The first bite into my millionaire’s burger was pure heaven, and I can say without a doubt this was the best burger I had the pleasure of eating in my life.
I followed up my burger made in heaven with sautéed lobster along with another glass of champagne. The lobster was amazingly tender and could have been served at any five star restaurant in the world.
The service was polished, yet subtle. Singapore Airlines trains its staff to stay in the background and only serve its guests when called upon.
After my amazing meal, I took a quick nap in one of three small private relaxation rooms at the back of the lounge. Pillows and blankets were provided, along with some champagne.
Adjacent to the small rooms was a bigger family waiting room and two workstations.
I woke up as the flight boarding, wished the wonderful a staff a happy holidays, and headed down the king of jets, the A380.
After my amazing time at Singapore Airlines’ Private Room, it was time to fly to Sydney. Instead of boarding with masses, I was told to board via a separate jet bridge for suites passengers, where an agent stood guarding the entrance from any potential trespassers.
As I walked down the jet bridge, I greeted midway by the chief first class flight attendant, who escorted me down the walkway.
Another flight attendant greeted me as I passed the aircraft door, followed by a third attendant who showed me to my seat.
The leather creamed finished suite, designed by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste, looks much taller and spacious up close.
Since we were still on the ground, the windows were drawn up and doors left open. A flight attendant quickly introduced himself and asked whether I wanted a glass of Champagne.
Singapore Airlines is the only airline that serves both Krug and Don Perignon for first class passengers. In fact, Singapore Airlines offers a champagne tasting in which you can try both and see which high end champagne is “right for you”.
Having done the taste test on a previous flight, I started with a glass of Krug.
Interestingly, the flight attendant poured the champagne into glass while holding onto a tray, before settling the glass on my seat. He later told me this was to “minimize discomfort to our passengers”, which I thought was an extremely nice small touch.
I was then handed a Ferragamo amenity kit, along with a pair of slippers and pajamas.
For this Christmas flight, Singapore Airlines really went all out and decorated the cabin with various Holiday wreaths and even had a special Christmas menu.
Before takeoff, they played a special Christmas night poem on the suite’s electronic display, which I thought was a nice special holiday touch.
We soon took off as gentle roar of the surprisingly quiet four engines on the A380 came to life. Christmas themed dinner menus were soon handed out and another glass of Krug champagne was served.
I decided to start with chilled caviar along with garlic toast.
This was tailed by seared tuna, which was fresh and quite delightful.
For my main entrée, I’d preordered an 8 oz rib eye steak through Singapore Airline’s unique “Book the Cook”, an online service that allows you to choose from over 20+ gourmet meals.
Having already ordered the lobster on my previous flights, I decided to roll dice and book the US grilled beef fillet.
Usually steaks reheated in the air are too dry and well done, but since Singapore Airlines’ A380 has a steam oven, the steak still retained its moisture and was by far the best steak I’ve tasted on a plane.
Following my sumptuous steak, I finished with desert which was a hazelnut crepe with vanilla ice cream.
Overall, the food on this flight was spectacular and I’d have to rate it among the top three airlines meals I’ve ever eaten. Afterwards, my flight attendant asked if I would like my suite to be prepared for napping.
Feeling in the cheeky Christmas spirit and having had quite few glasses of champagne, I asked if it would be possible for me to try out the world famous double bed suite.
Usually, the double bed is only available for passengers traveling together. However, if the cabin is relatively empty and the seats are unoccupied, exceptions can sometimes be made for solo travelers.
With only four passengers in Suites class, the chances of scoring a double looked good, but the flight attendant said she would have to check with the chief stewardess.
My Christmas wish came true when the purser came back and informed me since the pair of seats in the first row was unoccupied, they’d be happy to make a double bed for me!
Feeling like on cloud nine, I grabbed another glass of Krug celebrate and thanks Santa for putting me on his “good list”.
Unlike other airlines which merely lay down your seat and put a small padding on top, Singapore Airlines uses a separate mattress which is folded up into the wall directly behind each seat.
To make the bed, the seat is pushed down and the mattress is lowered from above.
For a double bed, the middle partition is lowered and a Givenchy branded duvet is placed on top of the partition to bridge the two single beds together.
The result is a bed that is unparalleled in comfort and size at 40,000 feet and comes even with a Singapore Airlines teddy bear.
The suite is incredibly private with the highest doors and walls of any first class product.
While other airlines such as Etihad and Emirates also had fully enclosed suites, they were always a little cramped with the walls low enough that anyone walking through the aisle could easily peak over. I really felt like I was in my own exclusive room, with my own private server only one button call away.
I decided to order a glass of Johnny Walker Blue, and within seconds a flight attendant discretely opened the door and gently placed a whiskey glass without causing nary a disturbance.
I quickly settled into my double bed, which by far was the most comfortable bed I’ve slept on at 40,000 feet. I quickly dozed off as the clock turned past midnight.
A few hours later, I was woke up as we flew over Australia and decided to play around with the entertainment system. All suites come with a 23” inch TV and Boise noise canceling headphones.
Before long it was time for breakfast, and I quickly switched out of my pajamas in Singapore’s first class bathroom.
As the Christmas sun began rising in the horizon, I decided celebrate the holiday spirit by ordering the special Christmas entrée of roasted turkey with stuffing.
To top it all off, the crew gave me a small slice of Christmas cake along with another glass of Champagne.
We soon started our descent and flew along the beautiful Australian coast as the Christmas morning sun shined on Sydney.
Overall, my Christmas flight exceeded all expectations, with the nice holiday surprise of being able to sleep in the double bed making the flight one of my most memorable ever.
I found the flight crew to be one of the best crew I’ve had the pleasure of being served by. The chief first class attendant was such a pleasure to talk to, and he gave me quite a few tips of what to see in Sydney. The Singapore lady stewardess also working the first class cabin was elegant, classy, and charming.
My only wish was my flight could be a bit longer, but I took solace that in a few days I would be able to experience one of the world’s most famous New Year’s Eve celebrations.