Whoa, this is going to be a long series of reports, here’s the first one which includes the first segment of my Singapore Airlines first class trip to Bali last month.
Now, I had already posted an entry right after my flight titled, SQ First-Class Disappointment? Broken TVs & Seats, Hair in Food, & Very Sick Passengers, as there were some unexpected blunders, but there were also some amazing surprises. This was my first Singapore First Class experience, though I had flown with them before and had an excellent experience on their direct and all Business Class Newark – Singapore flight.
This ticket was booked during the UA website glitch and ensuing Singapore First Class booking extravaganza back in early July. It cost me 70,000 UA MP miles and $32 USD in taxes. I later changed my departure flight from LGA to EWR so that I could sample UA’s 767-300, which also resulted in a $2 credit in taxes.
United Club – IAH Terminal E
Singapore Airlines has no SilverKris lounge in Houston, so upon arrival from Newark I made my way to the United Club at Terminal E. The Terminal E United Club is the largest United Club location and spans three full floors. It’s quite impressive for a US carrier based lounge and has all the regulars amenities including a concierge desk, baggage storage, complimentary snacks, and multiple bars with house and premium beverages. The lounge also features a family room, iPads loaded with the United App, and showers.
At the top of the escalator is the second floor and it seems like everyone settles there instead of walking up the staircase to the 3rd floor. Big mistake, the second floor was packed while the third floor was quiet. If you don’t have a gigantic carry-on, do yourself a favor and walk up to the third floor. There’s another bar and the snacks are all the same. The wifi was fast and each seat had multiple outlets to charge your devices.
Snacks are basic and include carrot sticks, fruit, chocolate covered pretzels, milano cookies, biscuits, and cheese and crackers.
I was able to meet up with four Point Me to the Plane readers who happened to be on the same IAH-DME-SIN flight and we had a great time waiting out the connection talking miles and points. About 35 minutes prior to departure we headed back to terminal D to board the flight. The flight boarded very early and we were the only ones remaining, meaning we were able to board immediately.
Upon boarding, I was warmly welcomed by name and escorted directly to my seat. While one flight attendant was taking my coat, another one was already bringing me a glass of 2003 Dom Perignon champagne. As I took my seat, a first class leather bound menu, Givenchy pajamas, and a Kiehl’s toiletry bag were all presented.
The PJs were soft and included a lightweight zip-up and drawstring pants. The Kiehl’s bag included ultra facial cleanser, calendula herbal-extract toner, ultra facial cream, lip balm, and ultimate strength hand salve. Here’s a closer look at the PJs and amenity bag…
I thought the PJs were really nice, until receiving my Cathay Pacific Shanghai Tang PJs on the return trip. Though, I did like that the Singapore zip-up included a Silver Kris zipper. It was soon time to depart the gate and the flight time was just under 11 hours to Moscow.
The seats were very nice and wide, at 35-inches, each seat is leather upholstered with mahogany wood trimming. It was the widest seat I had ever encountered, again until my return flight in the 36-inch wide Cathay Pacific open suite. For comparison sake:
ANA 777-300ER – 33.0″
BA 777-300 - 32.0″
LH A380/747-8i - 31.5″
Emirates A380 – 23.0″
Qantas A380 – 29.0″
Qatar A330/777300ER – 22.0″
Swiss A330/A340 – 22.0″
Thai 777-300 – 35.0″
The seats also include a 23-inch LCD screen with great resolution and a gigantic selection of movies and shows. The noise-canceling headphones were less impressive and seem to be the same ones that Delta provides in their BusinessElite cabins, no Bose products here. There was both in-seat power and 2 USB ports which allowed me to charge multiple devices at the same time.
There is a removal cushion (note the pen stain) that hides the seat controls and TV remote.
Once we hit 10,000 feet, the lead flight attendant came by to introduce herself and asked if there was anything I needed at that point. A few minutes later another flight attendant came by to take my dinner order, of course both addressed me by name without having to read it.
Here are the full menus for the IAH-DME leg, including Dinner, Light Bites, Breakfast, and Wine & Cocktails…did you every think you would see Doritos Nacho Cheese on a Singapore menu???
Everything sounded great and I decided to go with the warm clams and pesto sauce, chicken broth, salad, and beef filet. Overall, dinner was awesome and the portions were very generous. Unfortunately, there was one problem with my baked claims appetizer…a nice long piece of hair was added for extra flavoring. The flight attendant was extremely embarrassed and said she would have a brand new dish for me in a couple of minutes.
Clams with hair
The second dish of baked clams, the roasted pumpkin salad, and the chicken broth were my favorites from dinner. The fillet was kind of dry and well-done, though the potato definitely helped (I recently had an excellent medium-rare filet on a Swiss flight…trip report soon). Even after dinner service, the flight attendants were in the aisles at least every 10 minutes to check if there was anything we needed and to refill water and drinks. The service was outstanding. After finishing the movie Ted (excellent by the way), I headed to the bathroom to change into the PJs while a flight attendant converted my seat into a bed. The bathroom was actually quite nice, with automated sinks and toilets, fresh flowers, and a foot pedal for the garbage disposal…you didn’t have to touch anything (important to reader ‘mando)!
As someone who is rarely able to sleep on flights (no matter how long or comfortable they are), I was shocked to wake up and find that I slept for almost 3 1/2 hours. I loved the bed, each time I would get up to go to the bathroom, someone would come by and re-make the entire bed. It was very comfortable and large enough to fully spread-out. While the bed had three different pillows, I really liked the normal size pillow and was able to grab another one from an empty seat across from me. In-flight KrisWorld entertainment was quick, responsive, and had great selection of new releases and all time favorite movies and tv shows. Unfortunately though, after watching three more movies (Pitch Perfect, Arbitrage, and Taken), my TV suddenly stopped working. The crew reset my unit three times and then tried resetting the entire system with no luck. The system came back on but would play everything in slow motion with no sound. Luckily, I was moved to the one remaining first class seat which had a working unit. I was able to leave my belongings at my original seat, though the flight attendants were more than willing to help me move everything over. The lead flight attendant approached me to apologize and said that they had already informed the Moscow gate of the service problem and that I should receive a new boarding pass and seat number when I re-boarded for the Singapore flight.
I didn’t have many snacks in-flight as I was full from dinner, but I did munch on a snickers bar and some fruit. Soon it was time for breakfast and though I wanted to have my first ever fresh eggs prepared on-board, I instead went for the warm belgium waffles with strawberries, blueberry and maple syrup as it was 2pm and I figured I’d sample the eggs on the DME-SIN flight. Also included was a fresh fruit plate, a choice of yogurts, and a croissant or danish. The waffles were excellent!
Overall, it was an excellent flight with a few hiccups. The staff were truly incredible. My glass of sparkling water was refilled every few minutes. You could tell that the staff really took an interest in each passenger and knew everyone’s name immediately. As someone who redeemed miles for the flight, it still was over and beyond my expectations. If I had paid $8000+ each way(IAH-SIN), I may have been upset with hair in my food, a broken TV, and a broken seat (yes, the replacement seat was broken…coming up in the DME-SIN trip report). I’ll cover Singapore’s reaction to the problems in that report as well. Based on this flight and the continuation flight to Singapore, I unexpectedly preferred my Cathay Pacific first class experience on the 777-300ER more so than my Singapore experience on the same aircraft. My preference might change though when I sample the Singapore Airlines A380 First Suite experience later this week (which was also part of the UA website glitch and ensuing Singapore First Class booking extravaganza).
Up next, DME-SIN in first…