Airline: Singapore Airlines | Aircraft: A380-800 | Class: Business | Flight: SQ807 (PEK-SIN)
After spending a week in Beijing (which is currently my favourite city in China at the moment), I made my way back to the Beijing Capital International Airport for my flight back to Singapore. Since my experience at the Air China Business Class Lounge (which I checked out in July 2017) previously has been fairly lacklustre, I have decided to try the Air China First Class Lounge instead - review of this lounge soon to come! It is definitely worth nothing that while the Air China First Class Lounge is reserved to passengers traveling on Air China and Star Alliance partners in First Class only, it is also a Priority Pass Lounge - this means to say that you will be able to access this 'esteemed' lounge if you have a valid Priority Pass membership (there is no reason why you do not have one if you hold any one of these eligible credit cards which give you free lounge access).
I will save my thoughts about the Air China First Class Lounge for the actual lounge review but in general it was fairly unimpressive and therefore, I actually spent most of my time in the KFC downstairs instead. Thankfully for me, I am traveling on Singapore Airlines this time and not on Air China (I had to take a bus to the plane the previous time when I flew from Beijing to Singapore on Air China in Business Class). As such, I could actually board my plane via an aerobridge - three cheers for Singapore Airlines!
I have pre-selected Seat 14K (which is my personal favourite seat on the old Singapore Airlines A380-800 planes) and was therefore shown to my seat by one of the cabin crews. Once I have settled down, I noticed that a pair of slippers and socks were already placed on the seat - no eye shades were provided since this was a daytime flight but I am sure they can be provided should you request for one. One of the friendly cabin crew then made her way through the Business Class cabin to take drink orders which would be served once the plane has taken off and the seatbelt sign has been switched off.
The plane took off at 4:38PM (2 minutes before the scheduled time of departure) and surely enough, once the plane has taken off, I was promptly served a glass of Charles Heidseick Brut Champagne. Having flown Suites from Singapore to Beijing, this Champagne feels like a major step down from the Krug 2004 but still, it is highly drinkable and I am not particularly fussy on a medium-haul flight.
The first course was a canapé of Singapore Chicken and Lamb Satay - as usual this was served before the table was set so no table cloth underneath. The satay was decent but in no way representative for actual satay that you can get on the ground (or onboard Malaysia Airlines' Business Class which I have heard wonderful things about).
The second course of the lunch on the flight back from Beijing to Singapore was the Smoked Duck with Melon Mint Salad. While I generally skip this course of the meal (because who needs salad on a vacation?!), I was tempted to try it since there was smoked duck involved (anything with extra salt and sodium is a huge plus in my book).
When it finally came to selecting breads From the Bakery, I went ahead with the famous garlic bread because I am basic like that. As always, the garlic bread is something to look forward to and it actually goes really well with a glass of Champagne too.
While I did Book the Cook (Kyo Kaiseki!) on my flight from Singapore to Beijing on Suites, I have decided to select a dish from the inflight menu this time from my flight back from Beijing to Singapore. I eventually went with the Braised Sea Bass in Garlic Chili Sauce but other choices include:
* Oven Baked Sesame Chicken
* Stewed Beef Short Rib in Red Wine Sauce
* Pan Fried Pork Piccata with Tomato Basil Sauce
The sea bass itself was delicious but the egg noodles that were served with it were dry and unappetising - perhaps I should have opted for a Book the Cook option instead.
For dessert, I was given the option of having either the Green Tea Tiramisu Cake or the Häagen-Dazs Strawberry Ice-cream. I personally went for the latter as it sounded a lot more appetising than a blend between green tea and tiramisu. Sure, scooping ice-cream into a bowl may not take plenty of skills but it was still a nice treat to have onboard a 6-hour flight.
For the final course, passengers traveling in Business Class had the option of having some cheese and fruits. I went for the creamiest and mildest cheese there was (just camembert on the flight it seems) and have also opted for some fruits like longans and grapes.
Finally, to wash all that food down, I have requested for the Vanilla Bourbon Tea from TWG - this is my favourite caffeine-free tea that you can get on Singapore Airlines flights (Business Class and above). Since I wanted to get an hour or two of sleep, I have decided not to go with a caffeine-laden tea even though I really wanted to try the SevenTea from TWG (created in conjunction with Singapore Airlines 70th birthday) - I will satisfy my curiosity on a later flight this year.
While the beds onboard the existing A380-800 fleet may not be the best to sleep in, having a flat-bed that you can easily convert from a seat into on a 6-hour flight is decent enough. This whole miles-chasing hobby has utterly spoilt me and I am in no way able (or willing) to travel in EY or PEY for flights above 4 hours. For whatever reason, I had trouble stowing away the table in Seat 14K and also, it felt incredibly warm that particular flight in that very same seat. Therefore, I have requested to move over to an unoccupied Seat 12F instead to rest. Even though the seat beside me was not taken, I have been fairly used to sitting on my own and therefore, I had some troubles getting to sleep (I can only sleep in seats ending with A and K on Singapore Airlines' Business Class since they are on their own).
Now that Singapore Airlines has removed the YQ component in award flights, flying from Beijing to Singapore in Business Class only requires 35,000 KrisFlyer Miles one-way and a negligible amount in taxes. I have covered the existing A380 Business Class product on Singapore Airlines on multiple occasions (e.g. HKG-SIN, SIN-PEK and SIN-AKL) and therefore, I have chosen to focus more on just the food instead of the hard product this time. While I do see immense value in redeeming for a flight in Suites (since it is only 15,000 more in terms of KrisFlyer Miles and you actually do get to drink the Krug 2004), flying on Business Class is not a terrible idea as well. Even if you do not spend a lot of money on your credit cards, paying for the annual fee of selected credit cards in Singapore can easily earn you 35,000 KrisFlyer miles each year - you are essentially looking at S$700 to S$800 for a one-way Business Class flight from Beijing to Singapore (or vice versa) if you are 'purchasing' your miles by paying for the annual fees of selected credit cards. While the Business Class product onboard Singapore Airlines' new A380 (operation to and from Sydney will begin soon) look a lot better, the existing Business Class product is still a very solid one and it is definitely a good-enough product for a medium- to long-haul flight.