Review: Singapore A380 Suites Los Angeles to Tokyo

Introduction/Booking
New LAX Star Alliance Lounge/Tom Bradley International Terminal
Singapore A380 Suites, Los Angeles to Tokyo-Narita
ANA Suite Lounge (Satellite 4) and United Club, Tokyo-Narita
Singapore A380 Suites, Tokyo-Narita to Singapore
Singapore Changi Ambassador Transit Hotel, Terminal 3
Singapore Airlines Private Room (and a day in Singapore)
Singapore Airlines NEW Boeing 777-300ER First Class, Singapore to Mumbai


Singapore Airlines #11
Los Angeles (LAX) – Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
2:15pm – 6:20pm (+1) : 11 hours, 05 minutes
Airbus A380-800: Suite 3F (Suites Class)

I walked down the jetway to Door M1L, reserved for Suites passengers. One of the flight attendants came just outside the doorway to greet me and escorted me to my seat 3F.  Row 3 is the only row that has 3 windows in it.  Row 1 and 2 are more private, but they have a staircase to the upper deck right next to them.  Row 4 is closer to the galley.  I preferred my Row 3 selection (although I am a big window seat guy, so having 3 windows was a big positive).

Making my way to my suite

Making my way to my suite

Suite 3F

3 windows for row 3!

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Lots of pillows

View from Suite 3F

View from Suite 3F

Suite 3F

Suite 3F

The most comfortable dentist chair I've sat in

The most comfortable dentist chair I’ve sat in

Seat controls

Seat controls

Handset and suite controls

Handset and suite controls

Storage area

Power outlet, entertainment outlets, and storage area

I began snapping photos of the suite, while flight attendants came by with pajamas, amenity kits, menu, and champagne.  One of the flight attendants was extremely apologetic that the First Class slippers hadn’t been loaded in LAX and offered the business class “slippers” instead, apologizing profusely.

Bose headphones

Bose headphones

Givenchy blanket

Givenchy blanket

Lotions in amenity kit

Lotions in amenity kit

Socks, eyeshade, and (business class) "slippers"

Socks, eyeshade, and (business class) “slippers”

"I have many leather bound menus ... I'm kind of a big deal."

“I have many leather bound menus … I’m kind of a big deal.”

Suites Class menu cover

Suites Class menu cover

Menu intro

Menu intro

Alfred's Choice set menu selection

Alfred’s Choice set menu selection

Kyo-kaiseki menu

Kyo-kaiseki menu

Dinner menu LAX-NRT

Dinner menu LAX-NRT

Dinner menu LAX-NRT

Dinner dessert menu LAX-NRT

Light bites menu LAX-NRT

Light bites menu LAX-NRT

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Light meal selection

Japanese light meal

Japanese light meal

Champagne/Wine selection

Champagne/Wine selection

Red wines

Red wines

Dessert Wine/Port

Dessert Wine/Port

Spirits/Beers

Spirits/Beers

Cocktails/Apertifs

Cocktails/Apertifs

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Coffee selection

Coffee selection

Tea selection

Tea selection

The champagne uncorked on the ground was Dom Perignon 2003, a vintage that didn’t have such high marks (especially when I tried it on Emirates a couple years ago).  I asked if the 2004 was available since it was on the menu but a flight attendant told me “no.”  Damn, that sucks.   It wasn’t until later that I realized that the 2004 would be available in the air, just not on the ground.

As nice as I can make Dom 2003 look

As nice as I can make Dom 2003 look

I only had about 2 glasses of champagne as I sent some quick texts and emails to friends and family before being without wifi (wifi was advertised on the flight, but as I expected, it didn’t work).  The Inflight Supervisor came by to introduce himself and notified me of a 10h40m journey to Tokyo Narita once we took off, as well as answered any questions about the suite.

One thing about cabins like this is that there are no overhead bins, which is where I usually keep my carryons – a 22″ roller and a backpack that holds my laptop/iPad/things I need quickly in reach.  I could only put my roller under the bench across the seat, while my backpack was temporarily placed in a storage closet for takeoff (and brought back to me immediately without having to ask for it).

22" roller fits under the bench

22″ roller fits under the bench

One thing I love about LAX is just how many different types of airlines fly out of here, and departing Tom Bradley, I was treated to quite an array of liveries.  This was my first time departing LAX on an A380, so I was confused about our police escort to the runway, until I realized it was probably because of how large our jet was.

Lufthansa 747-8 (surprisingly a tougher First Class redemption than Singapore Suites)

Lufthansa 747-8 (surprisingly a tougher First Class redemption than Singapore Suites) with an Emirates A380 behind

Air France A380

Air France A380

EVA Air 777-300ER

EVA Air 777-300ER

Malaysia Airlines 777-200 (which will stop LAX service soon)

Malaysia Airlines 777-200 (which will stop LAX service soon)

Aeroflot A330

Aeroflot A330

Transaero

Transaero Boeing 767

Air New Zealand 777-300ER in Hobbit livery

Air New Zealand 777-300ER in Hobbit livery

Virgin Atlantic A340

Virgin Atlantic A340

Police escort all the way to the runway

Police escort all the way to the runway

We took off on the “In’n’Out runway” (I guess 24R? That’s how I distinguish runways at LAX – whether they’re next to In’n’Out or not) and climbed west until the turn north along the California coast.  Row 3 has an excellent view of the engines and wing.

Takeoff over Marina del Rey

Takeoff over Marina del Rey

Lookin' like a great day to fly

Lookin’ like a great day to fly

View flying up the California coast

View flying up the California coast

I had ordered a Singapore Sling as my “drink after takeoff” because I was under the assumption that the Dom onboard was the 2003 (plus when else am I going to order a Sling?!).  However, one of the crew members informed me that the 2004 vintage was available in the air and asked if I wanted that or the Krug.  I responded, “I don’t know,” as I hadn’t tried the 2004. The flight attendant began to redeem himself, responding, “why don’t I bring you both to allow you to taste them?” SQ flight attendants are the best.  An in-flight champagne tasting, at their suggestion? This is definitely the Good Life – yes, Kanye, I have popped champagne on a plane.

Singapore Sling and macadamia nuts

Singapore Sling and macadamia nuts

Dom '04 v. Krug tasting

Krug v. Dom ’04 tasting

The 2004 Dom was the eventual winner.  A few more flights were poured in its honor.  I shut the two window shades in the suite that face the aisle, as the rear one blocked my view of the two seats in the middle, as well as the doors and pumped up my iPod.

Dom 2004 and more nuts

Dom 2004 and more nuts

Chillin'

Chillin’

About 1h45m into the flight, dinner was served. I posted earlier that it’s possible to request your menu in advance, so I didn’t need to peruse the menu too much. I had ordered a Book the Cook order of Lobster Thermidor and kept with that, opting for the caviar and pork soup as my starters.

Table setting

Table setting

DSC01129

Pretended like I knew how to eat this

Soup - wasn't as good as I thought it'd be

Spicy pork rib soup – wasn’t as good as I thought it’d be

Lobster Thermidor - a solid choice

Lobster Thermidor – a solid choice

Not a bad way to enjoy a meal

Not a bad way to enjoy a meal

Dessert - heavenly

Chocolate pudding and mint ice cream – heavenly

Cheese plate

Cheese plate

I could get used to this

I could get used to this

After each course, a flight attendant would knock on the suite door to clear any dishes.  Their timing was always impeccable, though I later realized that the suite’s window shades have a mesh at the bottom that allows those in the aisle to peek in. (No hanky-panky in the doubles suites yo!).

See-through shades

See-through shades

After dinner, I reclined the seat back and watched a couple of movies, one of them being Fast & Furious 6 (every time someone mentioned the character “Dom”, I took a swig of champagne.  My glass was kept topped off and I soon lost track of the plot, if there was one).  Halfway through the movie, I decided to switch to bed mode.

Seat reclined - not bad, though I wouldn't want to lounge in it for a long time

Seat reclined – not bad, though I wouldn’t want to lounge in it for a long time

A380 Suites lavatory (the left/port side is bigger than the right/starboard side)

A380 Suites lavatory (FYI – the left/port side lav is larger than the right/starboard side)

Singapore A380 Suites lavatory

Singapore A380 Suites lavatory

Wardrobe outside the suite

Wardrobe outside the suite

I'm about 5'10" -- I could barely see above the walls of the suite.

I could barely see above the walls of the suite.

Bed with lights on

Bed with lights on

Panorama

Panorama – you can turn the lights above the TV and bed on/off

Suite controls in bed mode + place to keep headphones

Suite controls in bed mode + place to keep headphones

Side table next to bed.

Side table next to bed.

Place to keep a laptop/tablet -- just don't forget it once the flight attendants turn it back to seat mode like I almost did!

Place to keep a laptop/tablet — just don’t forget it once the flight attendants turn it back to seat mode like I almost did!

I changed into my pajamas while my bed was made and slept for about 4.5 hours, waking up with 2.5 hours remaining in-flight. I don’t know how SQ flight attendants do it, because within a minute of waking up (and not opening the suite doors), I had a Singapore Girl asking if I wanted anything. A donut from Randy’s sounds good. “And would you like more champagne?” Well if you insist.

Flight path after waking up

Flight path after waking up

Don't judge me.

Don’t judge me.

I decided to stay in bed while watching “The Butler,” a great film.  About 90 minutes outside of Tokyo, the light meal was served.

Table setting (and garlic bread!)

Table setting (and garlic bread!)

Gravadlax - always a favorite of mine on Singapore Airlines

Gravadlax – always a favorite of mine on Singapore Airlines

BTC Chicken

BTC Kow Pao Chicken

Dessert

Tart and yoghurt ice cream

I also asked for some pralines from the previous meal service

I also asked for some pralines from the previous meal service

And with about 25 minutes to landing, preparations for arrival began.

Landing at Narita

Landing at Narita

It's weird to see a regular livery Air New Zealand plane, since we usually get special liveries at LAX

It’s weird to see a regular livery Air New Zealand plane, since we usually get special liveries at LAX

Upon arrival at the gate, 3 jetways met our A380, but Suites passengers were given more time to disembark and hit transit security first.  I could tell because as I exited our A380, I was greeted by another SQ A380 at the neighboring gate, operating SQ 12 in the other direction.  I stayed back to take photos but no other passengers exited the plane for several minutes.  It made getting through transit security very easy.

Other A380 operating SQ12 SIN-NRT-LAX

Other A380 operating SQ12 SIN-NRT-LAX

View of my A380 getting ready for the 2nd leg to SIN

View of my A380 getting ready for the 2nd leg to SIN

To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by the service on the flight.  I think Singapore Airlines’ First Class service has been played up so much that I had high expectations, and the crew had to deal with a full 12/12 Suites Class on this flight.  Every time I tried to engage them in conversation, they respond with a couple sentences and would disappear.  That isn’t to say they weren’t great compared to other airlines – every time I pushed the call button (which was at most 3 times maybe), I had someone within 5 seconds.  It’s just I had better interactions with the crew on my subsequent Thai and Lufthansa flights.

Still, the hard product on this plane is fantastic.  Since Suites is on the main deck, it gives a much roomier feel than similar A380 First products on the top deck (like Emirates).  I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to try the full double bed since Suites was full on both legs, but even the single side was more than enough.

About 

Amol (@PointsToPointB) joined HMT in 2012 and posts his thoughts on mileage earning and burning. An ardent manufactured spender, he's an American Executive Platinum, Delta Platinum, and United Platinum.
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  • Mitch

    Wonderful report! I’m glad you’re posting this this week, as I’m off to SIN on Sunday, taking NH F IAD-NRT (UA F onward) and SQ 12 back in Suites all the way to LAX. (Then AA F home to IAD on a cash ticket upgraded with a kind FTer’s soon-to-expire eVIP. So glad I don’t have to slum it in Y as a nobody on AA, as domestic F will be a huge enough letdown.)

    • Amol

      Nice! Enjoy!

  • James Merrill

    Great report Amol. I took the same flight a week later.The load for mine was 6/12. I think the service was a bit more interactive on mine it sounds. Sadly I slept until the announcement of final descent and missed the light meal. I guess I will have to do it again.

    • Amol

      Did you get the double bed!??

  • Chris

    Really looking forward to your 777-300ER New First review. I have the option of flying A380 Suites or New First SIN-LHR and can’t make up my mind (the 777 timing is better, but is the seat not as good)?

    • Amol

      While the new 77W seat is nice, it’s still the regular First product. The in flight entertainment system/console and having wifi made that flight better, but the Suites hard product is still a level above regular First.

      • Chris

        Decision made – Suites it is! Thanks for the advice.

  • Josh

    What do you use to take the panorama shots?

    • Amol

      iPhone 5S.

  • Michael

    Color me confused: I dont see either the lobster thermidor or the chicken kow pao that you evidently were seved on any of your excellent menu pictures?

    • Amol

      That’s because I “Booked the Cook” – https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/flying-with-us/bookthecooklanding/

      Singapore allows you to select a meal online before your flight. In most cases it’s a good idea since you can always choose to keep your meal or have something from the menu.

      • Michael

        Of course, forgot about “Book the Cook”. Thx. Great TR.

  • Kyle

    Little late to the party, just booked SQ R/F LAX-MEL and was looking through BTC and was actually very curious about the Kung Pao, was it good? I have flown SQ 12 going the opposite direction in R and after looking at your menu on this flight, it looked very good…sometimes BTC isn’t the best option.

  • Dharmawan

    What Is your aircaft registration number