Airline: Singapore Airlines | Aircraft: A380-800 | Class: Business | Flight: SQ863 (HKG-SIN)
Flying from Hong Kong to Singapore (or vice versa) is the cheapest Suite Class flight on Singapore Airlines that you can take on miles. It is also not terrible on Business Class as the applicable taxes are significantly lower than most redemption around the region. On my way back to Singapore from Hong Kong, I decided to check out the Singapore Airline's Airbus A380 on Business which at the time of writing, just costs 23,375 KrisFlyer Miles before applicable taxes.
Since I did not want to deal with the whole taxi situation in Hong Kong, I decided to arrange for an Airport Transfer on a Tesla S via Klook. If you have not tried out Klook before, do feel free to sign-up using my referral link which will give you S$4.60 of credit (I will also get the same once you have made an eligible booking). Upon arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport, I made my way directly to the Business Class check-in counter and since I had a connecting flight from Singapore to Auckland, I managed to get my boarding pass for the second leg as well (so there is no need to go through immigration in Singapore!).
Since I had some time before the scheduled flight's departure, I checked out the SIlverKris Lounge in Hong Kong International Airport which re-opened in late 2014 (sometime in November if my memory serves me correctly). Similar to the SilverKris Lounge in the Changi Airport in Singapore, this lounge has a dedicated First Class section that is cordoned off to Business Class passengers - unfortunately I did not get to check that out this time.
The SilverKris Lounge was actually quite busy when I visited so I did not end up taking many photos but honestly, it was probably one of my least favourite lounges. There was no natural lighting at all and the entire place feels dark and gloomy (which is quite the opposite of how the airport feels in general). I did like these private pods where you can focus on work though - these are also available at the SilverKris Lounge in Sydney. On a side note, I have also reorganised my flight reviews and trip reports so please do refer to the new landing page on The Shutterwhale to find them more easily!
The flight from Hong Kong to Singapore (SQ863) was on the Airbus A380-800 and it was scheduled to depart at 2:10PM. For those of you who may not already know this, the Airbus A380-800 on Singapore Airlines features 60 flat bed Business Class seats and since I was not able to get seats in the mini-cabin at the front, I ended up in the main Business Cabin which had possibly eleven to twelve rows of business class seats. The business seats do look a little similar to the older 777-300ER planes but they actually come with a lot more storage space. I always try to opt for the mini-cabins on Business Class as much as possible - while the A380-800 planes on Singapore Airlines do not have one like the 777-300ER (check out my experience from Sydney and Singapore respectively!) with only two rows, they do have a small cabin in rows 11 to 16. Unfortunately, I was stuck in the main Business cabin as I was not able to get the seats I want so Seat 21K it is.
The main business cabin has 42 seats with a 1-2-1 configuration and since there is a small economy cabin on the upper deck towards the tail of the plane, boarding the plane can get quite busy so make sure you make use of the priority boarding privilege. The seats in Business come with a pitch of 55 and a width of 30 which is more than sufficient to spend 4 hours in - in fact, I like to think that the Singapore Airlines has got one of the best business cabins around that will be comfortable enough for any duration of flight. Since this was not a bulkhead seat, the leg rest was quite tiny but at the same time, very ample for a mid to long-haul flight. The seats also convert into a flatbed but I did not utilise it considering how short the duration of flight is.
I was offered a choice of various juices (I guess they don't immediately assume passengers want to drink Champagne in the morning) but decided to go with water instead to save some liver quota and stomach space for a few glasses of the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Champagne instead. I also got a pack of mixed nuts with my glass of water (strangely it was served in a nicer bowl when I flew from Sydney to Singapore - perhaps it was due to an aircraft difference?).
Since it was a relatively short flight (approximately four hours), lunch service began shortly and as I flipped through the pages of the menu, I noticed that there were dishes from the latest partnership with Ming Court (Michelin 2-star restaurant) in Hong Kong - of course I had to try those! Lunch service started with an appetiser of Truffle Marinated Roast Duck with Cordycep Flower and Mushroom Salad (created by Ming Court). I always find it hard to judge food (especially when it comes from a Michelin-star restaurant) on-board a flight because there are always all these expectations that come with it - I know I should not expect much since it is served 40,000 ft in the air but I cannot help myself. This dish was actually pretty decent if you throw the whole Michelin-star glory out of the window - the duck was a tad dry but the cordycep flower and mushroom salad was pretty delicious.
As the air stewardess went around the Business Cabin with the bread basket, I opted for the famous Garlic Bread (of course!). At this stage I noticed the stark difference between traveling in the Business mini-cabin versus the main Business cabin - the air stewardess will probably only address you as a generic "Sir" for the rest of your flight. I know it isn't Suites and I should not expect the person serving me to know my last name but I have gotten better treatment in the mini-cabin. This is simply an observation and I guess you can probably treat it as a tip but it is not a complain of any kind. From my understanding, passengers in Business Class should be greeted by their last name at least once in the flight (usually when they show you to your seat).
For the main course served during lunch service, I was given a choice of four different mains:
- Iberico Pork with Shanxi Aged Vinegar and Enoki Mushrooms Ee Fu Noodles
- Pan Fried Cod Fillet
- Soya Sauce Chicken
- Grilled Beef Fillet
Since I was fairly interested to see what Ming Court has up their sleeves, I opted for the Iberico Pork with Shanxi Aged Vinegar and Enoki Mushrooms Ee Fu Noodles instead. Do note that Book The Cook (BTC) service is available on this flight but the menu isn't particularly exciting so I have decided to go with what was available in the cabin instead. While the name of the dish sounded pretty impressive, the food did not look or taste as good. Vegetables were overdone, the ee fu noodles were mildly-flavoured and the Iberico Pork was pretty dry to say the least - this was perhaps the most disastrous dish I have ever had on-board Singapore Airlines.
For dessert, a mighty scoop of Haagen Dazs Tiramisu Ice Cream was served with some raspberry coulis and I opted to have a glass of white wine to go with it - Strawberry Crumble Flan was also served as an alternative. Honestly, I don't even like desserts but having a scoop of ice cream on-board the plane is just such a fascinating experience (also kudos to Singapore Airlines for having the tastiest Salt Pistachio Praline Ice Cream!).
The final course during lunch service was a selection of cheeses - unfortunately I was given an entire plate before I could even say "no blue".
Since I had a connecting flight to Auckland from Singapore, I decided to go easy on the Champagne on-board and opted for a cup of freshly-extracted illy coffee instead. More importantly, since the flight to Auckland was on Suites, I knew I had to leave ample stomach space to check out the food at The Private Room (check out my experience HERE!) and the 10 hour flight to Auckland. Since I did not want to go through immigration upon reaching Singapore, I actually managed to get my boarding pass from Singapore to Auckland issued in Hong Kong.
Headphones that are provided in Business Class are Phitek-branded - these are also the exact same ones that you get in Premium Economy class. They are definitely a step up from the regular ones in Economy class but honestly, there is nothing to shout about. With that being said, they are sufficient and quite comfortable for use during a short and mid-haul flight. Considering how the flight time from Hong Kong to Singapore is only approximately 4 hours, I would say these headphones are pretty decent.
Singapore Airlines continues to impress me with their Business cabin product - the seats are comfortable, the food is generally quite good and the service is definitely on the better end of the service scale. Redemption on miles from Hong Kong or to Hong Kong is ridiculously low and the applicable taxes are insignificant so I would definitely recommend for anyone who is interested in the business product to try this route out.