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Old 13th May 2019, 01:06 AM   #1
pokfur
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Default Old is Gold: SQ First Class SIN-MNL

Hello SQ community!

Background
It's been a long looong time since I've last written a trip report, not that I used to post them here actually, since most of my flights used to be non-SQ (BA.. QR.. MH.. basically I was a oneworld fan lol). Over the last few years, things have changed a lot. Nowadays I find myself travelling very frequently regionally, on our good old national carrier. Thankfully most times it's Business Class, and on some occasions I sneak in an upgrade to First just to burn my Krisflyer miles. Manila is a route that I frequent, so if any of you fly that route too, give me a shout out!

Pre-Flight
Whether I upgrade my flight or not tends to depend a lot on my mood. On this occasion I was just a little itchy finger. If you were to look at SQ's upgrade chart, it's actually complete rubbish. It is not worth upgrading your flight, especially if you yourself are paying cash for the base ticket. If your employer's paying, well, fine. But even then, if you were to compare the difference in miles requirement between redeeming an F or J, vs the upgrade chart, you'd see that it's quite ridiculous. For example, a one-way redemption to Europe is 92k in J, 125k in F, which gives you an incremental cost of 33k. However, to upgrade a revenue ticket from J to F, it'd cost you 70.5k! Having said that, in the entire chart, Zone 1 to 3 actually is the least rubbish of all upgrades for J to F.

Regardless, aren't we all irrational sometimes?

And with that, I phoned the Krisflyer hotline 2 days prior to my flight, and even though on the website it showed that an outright redemption would have to be waitlisted, the phone agent was able to confirm my upgrade immediately, which validates the claim that upgrades and redemptions have slightly different inventory. I selected my seat, booked the cook, and was all set!

The Flight
Even though the flight to Manila departs from Terminal 2, it would have been wrong not to squeeze the most out of my ticket. Hence, I got myself dropped off at Terminal 3's dedicated First Class Check in... terminal? I dunno. What would you call that. Building? And of course the reason I came to Terminal 3 was to use The Private Room because wouldn't it be the ultimate crime not to?



Check-in was swift and the staff were chirpy and friendly. They were of course surprised to find me here, but once I explained that I wished to use TPR they completely understood. There was no issue checking my bag in either, just that I would find lots of 'T2' tags stuck on it afterwards lol. I received my red boarding pass, complete with golden SQ sticker, as well as the invitation to TPR. I went through the dedicated and empty First Class immigration and up the escalators.

"Welcome Mr Pokfur. Mr Pokfur, you're aware that your flight departs from Terminal 2 right?" the lounge agent said to me as she guided me in. In dramatic fashion, I was personally escorted through the First Class lounge and into The Private Room, where I was handed over to another lounge agent there. I requested to have breakfast and was led to the dining area, but not before I snapped a pic of the lounge area.


The Private Room

I have to be honest and say that I've been here enough times that I'm not particularly wow-ed by it anymore. I don't think I was wow-ed even the first time, unlike the first time I entered The Pier First lounge in HKG. What it is is that it's definitely much quieter than the regular F lounge, more exclusive, and has a wide selection of food from the ala carte menu. That (sort of) makes the trek later on worth it.


Breakfast menu

At one point the F lounge had kaya butter toast and eggs (basically Set A) and I would always order that. But I was disappointed to hear that it was seasonal (lol?? there's a season for kaya butter toast????) and that it was no longer available. Being carb king I ordered the French toast from the menu, along with a Cappuccino. I know many people moan about the lackluster breakfast menu compared to all the lobster stuff later in the day, but the eggs benedict is also another good option, and of course the roti prata is excellent as well.

One small gripe I have with TPR is that the service is actually not that great. On a few occasions the servers have forgotten my requests, or taken really long to fulfill them (where's that damn glass of Dom? Now Now Now.) Also the food does take some time to be prepared. But finally, everything did arrive!



I think it's adorable that SQ has fairly recently added this flair to its coffees - sprinkling cocoa powder in the shape of an SQ logo. The irony is that TPR does not have a barista but the F lounge does. So any coffee ordered comes from a machine, which tastes questionable at best (and also doesn't have a fancy SQ logo). In this instance I asked specifically for the cappuccino to be made by the barista in the adjacent First Class lounge, and it tasted much better!

Next came my French toast.



I really enjoyed this and had to stop myself from eating all 4 pieces lest I had no space left for my lobster thermidor later on

I know it was a crime but I did not have any Dom because it was simply too early and I was not in the mood for alcohol. In any case, time was running out as I had only arrived 1.5h before my flight was due to depart. It was time to go!

So out of the lounge I went. Into the F lounge. Out of the F lounge. Down the escalators. Turned right towards the sky train. Onto the sky train. Off the sky train. And a long trek (probably) to my gate. Honestly can't remember which gate. But anyway.


There's my ride! The weather had taken a turn...
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Old 13th May 2019, 01:06 AM   #2
pokfur
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I have a habit of boarding the aircraft as late as possible. And today was no different. As such, there was no wait at security. Swiftly done, down the aerobridge I went, turning left towards Door 1.

"Welcome back on board, Mr pokfur!" the Inflight Manager (IFM) greeted me once he glanced at my boarding pass. Standing behind him were the Leading Stewardess (LSS) and Leading Steward (LS) who would be serving me today. The LSS guided me to my seat 1F.

"Oh gosh Mr pokfur! You're so young! Too young to be a Solitaire!"

My goodness was she trying to make me blush? Hehe! I didn't think I looked thaaaaat young did I???

I told her in all honesty that I had just qualified about a week ago and we had a short chat about my frequency of flying and the usual destinations I had to fly to.

The LS appeared briefly at this point-:

"Mr pokfur, would you like your usual selection of magazines for this flight? Or have you already read them all?" he chuckled. Indeed as it was the end of the month, I had already read most of them.. so I just asked for the day's newspaper.

"Mr pokfur, have a look at the menu for today and I'll come back to take your order. I understand you have booked the Boston Lobster Thermidor as well, right?" the LSS asked.

I gave her the affirmative, and she left me to settle in, returning briefly to hand me a set of slippers and socks, as well as eyeshades.


First Class Seat 1F

Today I was on board one of SQ's five Boeing 777-300. Not to be confused with the 777-300ER, the standard -300 has the 2006 F seat while all the -300ERs have been refurbished to the 2013 products. While more than a decade old, the seat was holding up extremely well. Functionality wise I would say both seats are actually pretty similar, but the 2006 F obviously has a more classic look and feel to it to it, and I also feel that the overall fit and finish is actually better, allowing it to last for so long in good condition. The 2013 seat is more private, but today in a cabin of 2/8, I didn't quite need it much.

"Mr pokfur, can I get you a drink before take-off?" the LS appeared a few seconds later.

I ordered the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee to which he replied "that's the best way to start the day!"



As promised, the LSS soon returned to take my meal order. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the menu, but for a short sector of 3 hours, there was nothing fancy, meaning no caviar or satay (is satay fancy??). In fact, since it was a breakfast flight, the offering was largely similar to Business Class. Fruits, followed by yogurt/granola/cereal/muesli, main course, dessert. Of course one would expect the offerings and quality to be better, but whether it actually was is debatable...

Both the LS and LSS were fantastic. They had just the right balance of being professional yet personal in their service. I knew it was going to be a great flight.


Next door, a brother with bigger guns i.e. GE90s

We soon pushed back on schedule and made our way to the runway for take off. During this time the LSS asked if I'd like to have a drink after take off, and finally I relented and said I'd have champagne

"Certainly Mr pokfur. We know it's your favourite! And I know you like it with Macadamia nuts!" she winked cheekily.

Whaat?? You mean someone put that into my profile?!

Off the ground our 773 went, in a northerly direction.


The future of Tekong


Ah... memories...

During this short 'alone' time as the plane ascended, I took my shoes off, and slipped into the comfortable Lalique slippers, and savored the quietness, calm, and exclusivity that only First Class brings. People always ask me why I like to splash out miles to upgrade to First on such a short flight. Well, especially when compared to the 2-2-2 regional Business class, First still exudes a whole different level of luxury, of privacy, and of being cocooned in your own little world, but above all is the non-stop pampering by the cabin crew.

"Ding!" I was jolted out of my daydreams of fluffy clouds and free flow champagne. Speaking of champagne...


The moment everyone's been waiting for!

I liken the MNL sector to a 'budget First'. Mainly because they don't offer Krug on this sector which is a minor annoyance for me because it is my preferred champagne. But Dom shall do. Also because the meal service isn't largely different from Business Class.. It's basically the same courses just with different options, but of course, way more fancy compared to the tray service in Business. For the relatively low miles requirement and the other luxuries as mentioned before, I think it's still worth it.

Unfortunately I was actually very tired. So I requested for my meal to be served nearing to landing, and the bed to be made up.

"Mr pokfur, shall we set it up in 1D for you so you can move back to your seat anytime?" the LSS asked kindly. I happily agreed.


Voila!

Now didn't that look absolutely inviting? Despite the seat being more than a decade old, SQ has also introduced the Lalique bedding, duvet, and pillows which were introduced with the latest Suites on the A380. These have vastly improved the whole experience. The pillows are just so fluffy and the duvet is thick and cushy but not overly warm. I honestly couldn't care if this wasn't the 2013 F. The bed was probably just as comfortable!!
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Old 13th May 2019, 01:07 AM   #3
pokfur
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I tucked myself into bed and fell into a light sleep. Interestingly, the cabin crew kept the lights off, which isn't the norm. I suppose they did it just for me. The other passenger kept his window open, while all other windows were closed by the cabin crew.

I awoke about an hour later feeling slightly more refreshed. Rubbing my eyes I swung my feet off the bed, and was pleasantly surprised to find that someone had turned my slippers around to face me so that I could slip them on easily. How was that for attention to detail??

And as if the cabin crew had the 6th sense, both the LS and LSS appeared with huge smiles on their faces.

"Had a good sleep Mr pokfur?" the LSS chimed. Yes of course I did! And I was all ready for my lunch too!

My table was set up, and the first course of fruit was served.


Fruit.

For the first time ever, SQ served me a fruit plate where I liked every single fruit. Whoo! Normally there's the dreaded papaya which conveniently contaminates the fruits adjacent to it. Ew.

While laying the table, I was bemused when the LS placed the water glass, followed by my cup of coffee very deliberately on the right side, and also turned the handle to the right side.

"Wow! Lots of attention to detail, LS!" I chuckled. (by the way I actually knew their names so I was addressing them by name, not, like, "Leading Steward" lmao)

"Yes Mr pokfur, we will notice whether passengers are left-handed or right-handed and place the drinks and the handles accordingly." he replied smiling.



Oh sorry. I was totally wrong! Hidden in the middle of the plate was a bunch of pomelo which I dislike. LOL. Guess I've never finished my fruit plate on SQ before then!

Next up, came the Boston Lobster Thermidor which is basically what everyone wants to try when flying SQ First. And it was yuuuuuuuuge!



I wouldn't say that SQ gets the lobster right every single time. I've completely give up on the Business Class one, but today's First version (which uses the word Boston lobster instead of Classic lobster in the menu) was on point. Not too salty, not too dry, it tasted great. And did I already say it was huge???!

Unfortunately just as they served the lobster, the seat belt signs ping-ed on and turbulence came fast and furious. As you can see in the picture my coffee spilt all over the table cloth so it was rather bad. Once the seat belt sign was turned off, the LSS and LS came over to see if everything was alright and were dismayed to see the mess. Since I had already stuffed finish my face anyway, the LSS cleared my plate, while the LS reappeared with a brand new linen and proceeded to re-lay the table.

Lately I've started to notice that the cabin crew in First would make small talk with passengers, and today was no different.

"Mr pokfur, are you fly to Manila for work today?" the LS asked while laying my table for the second time. And so we entered into a brief conversation about the work I do blah blah blah boring stuff. Thank you, next.

Being greedy me I had totally asked if the pancakes were available as well. And well they were!


Apple Pancakes with sausage, accompanied by sparkling water and TWG 1837 Black Tea

Unfortunately, the pancakes were quite dry and.. yeah. Dry. I wouldn't have been very pleased with this main course to be honest. Which is again why I would call this a 'budget' F because the on board food offerings are not great at all, so, thankfully there's the Book the Cook option.

By this time we actually had less than an hour to go to Manila, so it was time for the dessert.



Which was heavenly. It was an apple tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a classic can't-go-wrong dessert and they got it right. It was gobbled down within a few minutes. Yummy. I totally would've considered asking for a second helping if not for the fact that I was stuffed to the brim by now.

While it would be too much to remember or even type here, throughout the meal both the LSS and LS were absolutely charming. My glass was never empty, nothing was ever out of place (the LS would obsessively turn my coffee cup handle to face the right way) and it was just genuinely fun to be chatting with them and also learning more about them and their careers in SQ.

The other outstanding thing was just how alert the both of them were. I went to the toilet perhaps at least 5 times?? (thanks Dom) and each time I returned to find my seat in this state:



My blanket was always neatly folded and anything out of place (cables.. wires.. seatbelt.. ) would be placed aside properly. And yes, it would happen even if I disappeared for just 1 minute. I would say this happens fairly often in First to make it an SOP, but not every crew is alert enough or (frankly), free enough to be able to catch whenever a passenger leaves his/her seat. So kudos to the crew once again!

By this time, we were well into our descent and it was time for the cabin crew to prepare for arrival. I also prepared for arrival by filling up the arrival form and changing my SIM card to a local one. As I picked my bag up, I was surprised to find this below it:



Sometime during my sleep, a dustbag had been neatly folded and placed under my bag! If this was not the ultimate attention to detail and TLC to everything that belonged to the passenger, then I don't know what is. I really had to give the thumbs up to this great pair of Leading crew who did a wonderful job today.

As we descended into Manila, the cabin crew came round a final time and I thanked them for such an enjoyable flight. I also insisted on taking a picture with them, because I like to be able to remember the faces of good cabin crew. We had a good laugh because the LSS kept insisting she didn't look good, and so we had to retake the picture a couple of times till she was happy. Lol. Personally I thought she looked the same in all of them I ain't posting the pic here though hehe!
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Old 13th May 2019, 01:07 AM   #4
pokfur
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Our triple 7 touched down gently onto the runway. Unfortunately we were greeted by this semi-eerie sight under ominous skies.



Yes, it's the XiamenAir 737 which crashed landed in Manila during heavy rain in August 2018. Thankfully, no lives were lost. However, not exactly very nice of them to leave the aircraft right next to the runway lol!

We soon reached our gate, and as I disembarked, the crew thanked me for flying with Singapore Airlines and I thanked them again for this wonderful flight. I told them I wished I'd see them again, but I knew that despite the frequencies of my travel, the chances were slim. I hardly ever meet the same crew again, and sometimes it's many months or even years apart. To them I'd be a fresh new face.

So hopefully, one day I'll meet this pair of Leading crew again and whip out those few pictures I took with them!

The End

I hope all of you who have read this to the end have enjoyed my trip report! Leave a comment or a question if you have any and Iíll answer them for sure! Unfortunately nowadays I post most of my flights as instastories on Instagram, but I hope to be able to get back into writing more in the future. Feel free to PM me if you wish to know my IG handle
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Old 13th May 2019, 11:19 AM   #5
loldude333
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Very nice TR, pokfur! SQ First is always a pleasure to fly, i remember my last F flights to LHR and back on the 77Ws very very fondly.

Also, GE90ssssss!
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Old 13th May 2019, 10:37 PM   #6
yflyer
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Great TR, pokfur! Nothing quite like SQ F when it all comes together, is there! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 17th May 2019, 02:08 PM   #7
b777jubilee
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Interesting I don’t fly as much as you do (no status) but I have bump into same crew a few times. I probably fly twice a year on Sq and for the last 6 years, I bump into a crew who serve me before at least 6 times?
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Old 19th May 2019, 01:17 PM   #8
HUGE AL
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This read like an old school TR.
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Old 19th May 2019, 03:53 PM   #9
mr_botak
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Huge thanks - nicely done and a nice flight!
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Old 20th May 2019, 06:28 PM   #10
SQ002
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That’s a great report! I really appreciate how you detail document your interactions with the crews, and share especially the extra mile they go for, the attentions to detail. It’s very inspiring to read and know what separates SQ apart
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Old 21st May 2019, 12:05 AM   #11
SQueeze
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Good to see you back. Awesome read as always.
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Old 21st May 2019, 01:11 PM   #12
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Enjoyed your TR, pokfur. I could tell you had a very enjoyable flight on SQ's 2006 F.
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Old 22nd May 2019, 06:08 PM   #13
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Gonna try First Class one of these days. So far its mostly Business Class for me.
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