This post and review is really an homage to Singapore Airlines’ first generation Suites, which has since been discontinued in the fleet. At present, all A380s operated by the airline feature the latest Suites, down from 12 seats to only six.
Once upon a time, Singapore Airlines also deployed this aircraft to certain destinations on a seasonal basis. One such city was Osaka.
For this trip, we snagged seats that were quite readily available from the inventory at the time of booking. Flight SQ618 would depart Singapore at just past midnight, to arrive in Osaka just after sunrise, perfect for visitors who wish to hit the ground running.
I have reviewed the Suites/First Class check-in before, so I shan’t focus too much on it for this review. That being said, it was really great to have a private check-in area and a dedicated immigration channel too.
Regarding lounge access, passengers travelling in Suites and First Class on Singapore Airlines will have access to The Private Room, which has also since been renovated and reopened to travellers. But let’s take a walk down memory lane and reminisce the ambience and offerings from the previous lounge.
In fact, the main entrance to the SilverKris Lounge now looks so much more beautiful with the batik motif. But for those who can remember, this was how it looked like not too long ago.
The A380 is a huge aircraft, but with 3 aerobridges to board passengers, it is still quite possible to board everyone within 30-35 minutes. The boarding process on Singapore Airlines flights is always orderly, starting with Suites passengers for this flight. Before the current Suites cabin was moved to the upper deck, Suites passengers had a “dedicated” aerobridge to board the aircraft via door 1L.
We were ushered to our seats 3C/D in the middle of the cabin, an obvious choice as the seats were able to be configured to a double bed.
As we settled down, we were served some champagne for our pre-departure beverage.
While nothing compared to the new Suites, these seats were revolutionary for its time. In fact, the original Suites made its debut on the very first A380 commercial service, with Singapore Airlines being the launch customer for the aircraft. Between 2008 until the original Suites was retired from the fleet, the cabins were very well maintained, with only one refurbishment needed over the span of 10 years, which was essentially only a cabin refresh.
The leather and wood surfaces exude timeless elegance, which eventually gave way to a more contemporary look to the current Suites cabin.
The leather armchair was comfortable, with just the right firmness. The recline function was also available by means of buttons located on the armrest. Don’t you miss the beautiful stitch work?
In the previous Suites cabin, with seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, solo travellers would have strived to snag a window seat as much as possible. But for solo travellers who end up in the middle seats in a crowded cabin, it was possible to have a privacy screen lowered.
Also along the centre console, you’d find some storage space for your personal belongings.
There was also an international power socket and a couple of USB ports to charge your devices.
On the console aisle-side, you’d find the attendant call buttons, reading light switches, the “do not disturb” button, and the IFE handset.
A literature pocket and receptacle for a water bottle can also be found along the side.
At the front of the seat, there was also an ottoman, which could be used as a buddy seat for meals. Note the huge space under the ottoman which could fit a regular cabin bag easily.
Just as we were about to push back from the gate, the cabin crew also came around to offer some Lalique pyjamas, and the amenity kit, together with some slippers.
Each Suite also has a mini closet for your coat and clothing.
As this was a sleeper service, we could either dine just after take-off, or before landing. Also, as we were flying to a Japanese destination, the menu featured the popular kyo kaiseki dining experience. We elected to have our meal just before landing, so that we could get some sleep after take-off first.
On the way to the runway, I settled in and got started with the IFE. The Bang & Olufsen noise cancelling headphones were excellent!
The moment the seat belt sign was switched off, the cabin crew got cracking at converting our seats to a spacious double bed. While they were doing so, we headed to the lavatory to change into our comfortable Lalique pyjamas.
In the original Suites, seats 2C/D and 3C/D could be converted to double beds. Now that’s four out of 12 seats. But in the new Suites, seats 1A/2A and 1F/2F can be converted to double beds, and that’s four out of six seats. You could say that the new Suites are more couple-friendly it seems.
We had a solid couple of hours of sleep, before we woke up for our meal before arrival. Everything in the kyo kaiseki menu was served like edible art. Beautifully plated, the food was also full of flavour and texture.
At the top of descent, the captain chimed in on the PA system to update us on the latest arrival information, such as the time and weather. The cabin soon began raising the window shades, revealing daylight as we arrived in the land of the rising sun!
For those who experienced the older Suites, you’d agree that there was just something special about it. Singapore Airlines was the first to offer enclosed suites with double beds in the skies, in what was called “A Class Beyond First”. Of course, this has given way to the next generation Suites to keep up with the times, and to appeal to a new generation of travellers. But we will always remember these Suites that set the industry standard over a decade ago.