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As I took off on my whirlwind trip to Seoul and China, I got to experience one of the most sought-after experiences in the skies: Singapore Airlines first class on its Boeing 777-300ER. Last week I joked that US airlines were better, but in reality flying Singapore First Class is a truly exceptional experience. Here are the eight things that I liked the most about my first time in Singapore First—and considering my flight didn’t include the Suites class, I can’t wait for my next experience in Singapore First!
1. You get a choice of Krug AND Dom Perignon Champagnes. If you love Champagne like I love Champagne, you’ll be glad to know that in Singapore’s first class, pre-departure you’ll be offered one of the best bubblies in the world—Dom Perignon. Then once you’re in the air, you’ll get a free-flowing choice of Dom and Krug. I wish every decision in my life could be like this.
2. First class is featured on many routes—with more to come. While many airlines are shifting away from first class—Lufthansa is busy culling theirs, while Delta doesn’t even have first class on their long-haul flights—Singapore is committing to it. The airline is now installing all-new first class seats on their new 777-300ERs, and is retrofitting its existing fleet of 777-300ERs and 777-300s with the new cabins through 2016. You’ll find the new first class on routes that include Singapore to London, Tokyo, Sydney and Melbourne, and the airline is steadily increasing the number of routes flown on its A380, which include its First Suites.
3. “Book the Cook” and chef specialities. Hungry? Good, because when you’re a first class passenger on Singapore, the airline’s “Book the Cook Service” amenity lets you pre-order from a menu of over 60 dishes created by a “Culinary Panel” of celebrity chefs—and what you choose will be served to you on Givenchy china. Aside from Champagne (did I mention the Champagne?), the extensive wine list focuses on French selections from regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux.
4. The first class seat is gigantic—and the First Suite is even better. Configured in a 1 x 2 x 1 layout, Singapore’s new first class seats are a whopping 35 inches wide, with 71 inches of pitch and 82 inches of bed length. Only Cathay Pacific’s first class seats are wider at 36 inches, and only Asiana’s bed length is longer at 84 inches. However, Lufthansa’s 90 inches of first-class pitch are far more impressive, and Singapore’s also stuck behind the pitch on Emirates (86″), Asiana (84″), Korean (83″), Cathay Pacific (81″), Qantas (79″) and even British Airways (78″).
Still, these buttery-leather-upholstered seats look and feel so roomy that they made me feel like a little boy—though, granted, a little boy with a lot of Champagne. They’re not enclosed like the First Suites, but the fixed-back shells and slightly curved walls manage to make them seem pretty private.
5. Chic amenity kits. Filled with Ferragamo products, these amenity kits are real showstoppers—and useful, too. Women get an award-winning black-and-white clutch that includes (among other goodies) a one-ounce bottle of Signorina eau de toilette, and I was happy to find a men’s black PVC bag stocked with ACQUA Essenziale cologne, moisturizer, and lip balm. Now that’s an amenity kit that keeps on giving.
6. It’s easily bookable with miles. As you’ll see in this post on booking Singapore first class awards, you’ll often find decent award availability in first class—and you can you get a 15% mileage discount by booking on singaporeair.com. In case you’re light on KrisFlyer miles, though, keep in mind that KrisFlyer is 1:1 transfer partner of four lucrative points programs that offer several of my favorite travel rewards credit cards:
American Express Membership Rewards—Amex EveryDay Preferred Card, the Platinum Card, etc.
Chase Ultimate Rewards—Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Ink Plus Business, etc.
Citi ThankYou Rewards—Citi ThankYou Premier and Prestige, etc.
Starwood Preferred Guest—SPG American Express, personal card, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express and business card, the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express
7. Incredible attention to detail by flight attendants. Instead of following the example of some U.S. flight attendants, who tend to go missing for large chunks of time, Singapore Airlines’ flight attendants truly take pride in their work—and are easy to find. Their English is pretty good, as opposed to some Asian carriers (e.g., JAL, Asiana, Korean, etc.) that have impressive products, but attendants’ whose poor English sometimes makes it very difficult to communicate.
8. Huge TVs and great entertainment options. The screen at the first class seat is a gargantuan 24 inches—an inch larger than the one you get in the First Suite—and you can watch more than 80 movies, a slew of TV shows, or listen to tons of music. You’ll get Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling headphones, there are power ports at the seat for using/charging all your devices, and you can get WiFi access for roughly $11.95 an hour. All of a sudden, 12-hour flights seem like a short hop from New York to Miami! While Citi announced some negative changes to this card back in July — including a lower sign-up bonus, the elimination of Admirals Club access and the end of the free rounds of golf benefit — one of its most valuable perks still remains, which is the 4th Night Free perk. This benefit alone can save you thousands of dollars a year if you use it to its full advantage.
While Citi announced some negative changes to this card back in July — including a lower sign-up bonus, the elimination of Admirals Club access and the end of the free rounds of golf benefit — one of its most valuable perks still remains, which is the 4th Night Free perk. This benefit alone can save you thousands of dollars a year if you use it to its full advantage.