What It’s like to Fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class
Originally posted at: dereklow.co
In 2008, Singapore Airlines introduced their Suites Class, the most luxurious class of flying that is commercially available.
The Suites were exclusive to their flagship Airbus A380, and they go beyond flat beds by offering enclosed private cabins with sliding doors that cocoon you in your own little lap of luxury. The interior was designed by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste and comes along with a plush soft leather armchair hand-stitched by the Italian master craftsmen Poltrona Frau. Perhaps most well-known of all, Singapore Airlines became the first and only commercial airline with a double bed in the sky.
However, the experience came with a hefty price tag. With round-trip tickets costing up to S$23,000 (or US$18,400), it was completely unattainable for most people.
Formerly, the only way for an average person to fly in the Suites was to take out a bank loan. And then I remembered that most of my personal net worth exists in frequent flier miles rather than cash.
I arrived at Singapore Changi Airport and proceeded to the Singapore Airlines counters for check-in.
A sudden realization hit me and I went “OH NOPE SORRY” and briskly walked away, leaving the lady astonished.
I had almost forgotten that Changi had a luxurious check-in lounge specially for First Class and Suites passengers.
Flying in the Suites also includes an invitation to The Private Room, which the staff was proud to say that it was “higher than first class”.
I arrived at the lounge and was approached by an attendant. “May I escort you to The Private Room?” she asked.
I followed her past what seemed to be 50–60 people in the Business Class lounge. She walked noticeably fast, seemingly afraid that I would be disgusted by the presence of the working class. Here I was transferred to another attendant who walked me through the First Class lounge, and then through a set of automatic sliding double doors before being transferred to yet another attendant.
Finally, after 10 miles of secret passageways and being escorted by 3000 people, I arrived at The Private Room.
Entering the confines of The Private Room, the staff greeted me by name. It’s like they all already knew me before even meeting me.
I wasn’t hungry but I’ve heard rave reviews about the dining room. So I sat down and ordered a glass of champagne and had the Chicken and Mutton Satay plate.
…and also the U.S. Prime Beef Burger with Foie Gras, Rocket Leaf and Fried Quail Egg. Oh, and a Mango Smoothie too.
There was a dedicated jet bridge solely for Suites passengers. Standing at the end of the bridge was a flight attendant ready to greet me.
I realized that they would address me by whatever title I chose in my Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer profile. I instantly regretted not going with President Low or Princess Derek.
“Would you like a glass of Dom Pérignon, sir?” And I replied the only acceptable response to such a question: Yes.
At this point, the crew members came out to personally introduce themselves to me. Among them was Zaf, who was the Chief Steward of the flight.
Zaf told me that there were only 3 passengers in the 12 Suites, and joked that I could have a bedroom, dining room and living room if I wanted.
I took this time to check out what was provided onboard the flight. Headphones from Bose, for example.
Seeing that it was almost 1 AM and I was just beginning to indulge in the whole suite experience, I decided to order coffee to stay up.
I don’t know much about coffee, but I do know the Jamaican Blue Mountain costs a ton. A pound of the Blue Mountain beans sells for $120 at Philz Coffee.
So I ordered the Blue Mountain, and was complimented by Zaf. “You have very good taste in coffee, sir.”
Zaf returns with the coffee and tells me about their selection of gourmet coffee, and how the Blue Mountain was “by far the most outstanding”.
I unglamorously gulped down the entire cup at once, while pretending to appreciate the finely-balanced traits of the Blue Mountain.
And then he knelt down next to me as I sampled the tea. He told me about the high quality tea leaves. He told me about the hand-sewn cotton teabags. He told me about the fragant cherry blossoms and red fruits infused into the tea. Somewhere in between, he might have mentioned about the history of coffee trade and the East India Company, but I can’t be sure.
He says that he has been with the airline for 19 years. Within the past 2 or 3 years, he has served Leonardo DiCaprio and Morgan Freeman flying in Suites Class.
I figured since Zaf was so available to recommend me coffee and tea, I asked him, “can you recommend me a movie?”
He picked The Grand Budapest Hotel, a fantastic movie which I thoroughly enjoyed. Off his head, he could name me the actors and talk about how brilliant their performances were in the movie.
Having stuffed myself with three entrées back in the lounge, I wasn’t particularly hungry so I settled for a 5-course supper.
For appetizer I had the Malossol Caviar with Lobster-Fennel Salad. And after clearing the plate in three bites, I asked for a second plate.
On to my third appetizer, I had the Duck Foie Gras with Shaved Fennel-Orange Salad, Beetroot and Mizuna.
After supper, I decided to burn off the calories by walking around the plane. I asked the crew if they could give me a guided tour of the A380 and they willingly obliged.
We walked up the front stairs to Business Class, down the length of the upper deck, and back down a spiral staircase to Economy Class. Zaf said he’d love to take me to see the pilots’ cockpit, but the airline has stopped allowing that in recent years due to security concerns.
In the Suites, you don’t just lie on a seat that has gone flat. Instead, you step aside while the Singapore Airlines flight attendants transform your Suite into a bedroom, with a plush mattress on top of a full-sized bed. When the adjacent suite is empty, the dividing partition can be brought down to create a double bed.
And while you’re doing stupid things like that in the Suite, you can use the ‘Do Not Disturb’ button for privacy.
Through the entire flight, the attendants check on you almost every 3 minutes without being intrusive or annoying. They would just briskly walk past you with quick glance.
When I woke up, I saw the clock and my heart sank. A little over 3 hours to Frankfurt. I’d slept for 6 hours, or $6,000 worth of the flight.
We landed at Frankfurt for a two hour layover, and the three of us in Suites Class were escorted to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge which had a spa and hot shower.
It allows you to pre-order a specific meal before the flight, which is then specially put onboard the flight for you.
I had the Lobster Thermidor with Buttered Asparagus, Slow-roasted Vine-ripened Tomato, and Saffron rice.
When it was time to nap, I didn’t want to trouble the crew for a full double bed, so I opted for a single bed instead.
As we finally landed at New York, a huge problem presented itself — I didn’t want to leave the plane.
I have to say, after being served Dom Pérignon in a double-suite bedroom at 36,000 feet, I’m not sure flying experiences get any better than this.
Originally posted at: dereklow.co
Derek is an engineer and entrepreneur. He created the Berkeley Ridiculously Automated Dorm (BRAD), a viral YouTube hit which actually has less views than 10 Cutest Cat Moments. He has been featured in TIME, Forbes, CNN, The Guardian and TechCrunch. He knows how stupid writing a third-person bio of himself can be.