Airline: Singapore Airlines | Aircraft: A380-800 | Class: Business | Flight: SQ802 (SIN-PEK)
I traveled to Beijing in China for the first time recently and was booked on a codeshare flight on Singapore Airlines (SQ802) from SIN to PEK in Business Class. Since it operated out of Terminal 3 in Changi Airport, I took the opportunity to pick-up a StarHub prepaid card (which is great for roaming overseas for cheap) before heading to the SilverKris Lounge for some breakfast and Champagne (even though it was 7:00AM in the morning).
Mornings are one of the busiest periods in the SilverKris Lounge and if you ever want to come by when it is less crowded, take an afternoon business class flight (e.g. BR226 on EVA Air) out of Singapore instead! I did not bother taking any photos in SilverKris Lounge since it was extremely crowded so I decided to head to the gate slightly earlier to get comfortable before boarding my flight to Beijing.
14K is one of my favourite seats on Singapore Airlines's A380-800 but since it was occupied, I decided to pre-select 14A instead - I also took the opportunity to monitor my preferred seat on ExpertFlyer but I did not get any success this time. I generally prefer the smaller forward cabin because there are less seats here in Business Class and therefore there is a higher chance that the crew-to-passenger ratio is better. With that being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being in the "bigger" Business Class cabin as well since the service onboard Singapore Airlines' Business Cabin tends to be generally quite impressive.
Technically, I was booked on flight CA5284 which is a codeshare flight that is operated by Singapore Airlines. The Fare Class C on Air China got mapped into Fare Class U on Singapore Airlines which gives you 125% of the miles travelled - 3,487 KrisFlyer Miles (these are are elite-qualifying and it counts towards attaining and retaining your KrisFlyer Elite status). Despite being booked as an Air China flight, I was also able to earn PPS Value on this flight since I was traveling on SQ metal (remember you will no longer need to spend S$250,000 in 5 years for the qualification of Solitaire PPS Club Membership from June 2018).
The service onboard Singapore Airlines was a delight as usual. I was addressed by my last name right from the moment I was seated and throughout the flight. Welcome drinks and hot towels were also served while waiting for the flight to take-off. It should be known by now that Singapore Airlines does not provide any Business Class amenities (unlike that super sweet Salvatore Ferragamo Amenity Kit I got on Suites last year) but in celebration of her 70th anniversary, they have partnered up with The Laundress to provide a special anniversary amenity kit for all Business Class (and above) flights exiting-Singapore (except to KUL). I understand that there are two versions (one in black which I got and one in grey) and the alternative version will be given out on a later date instead. The amenity kit came with an in-house branded hand cream and lip balm as well as a Crease Release and Wash & Stain Bar from The Laundress in a nice little pouch.
For all aviation geeks out there, the flight that I was on (9V-SKB was 11 years old and it was generally used for flights between Singapore and Sydney. The Business Cabin was relatively empty and most of the occupied seats were the window seats - the middle seats were mostly empty. This is also another thing that you will notice with Singapore Airlines - it is extremely rare for someone in Economy (or Premium Economy) Class to be bumped up to Business Class even if there are available seats and while I do hold the opinion that Solitaire PPS Club members should be the exception, I strongly respect the airline for having such a dedicated stance. Despite being a daytime flight, some amenities (on top of that anniversary amenity kit) like socks, clippers and a sleep mask was also distributed to Business Class passengers to make the journey more enjoyable.
My last Business Class flight with Singapore Airlines was a couple of months ago and on my flight from Singapore to Bali, Phitek-branded headphones were utilised (much like my flight from Hong Kong to Singapore in Business Class). However, on this flight, I realised that they have been replaced with a Singapore Airlines-branded one that vaguely resembles the QC25 Headphones that I got in Suites Class from Auckland to Singapore (and vice versa). While I did not think the Phitek-branded headphones were bad, these new ones were a lot more comfortable and it even comes with a small volume control on the left side for easy access.
While I was not sure whether the headphones were noise-cancelling (I would imagine them to be), the cushioned ear pads were a lot more comfortable than the previous ones that they used in Business Class. I also like the general build of this headphone and like I have mentioned previously, they really do resemble the QC25s which I am not sure whether it is deliberate or not. In any case, I wanted to use them to watch a movie on the flight but ended up having a conversation with a friend whom I have not seen for a while over plenty of Champagne (and that's the best way to spend 6 hours in the air).
The flight departed slightly late at 8:55AM (STD: 8:30AM) but of course this didn't matter when you are getting all comfortable in your seat. Brunch service consisted of seven-courses but I actually skipped a number of them so you will actually only see five. The first thing you will probably notice is this: where is the white table cloth that is placed on the table in Business Class during meal service?! I am certain this is not the new standard and it is probably a catering problem but my meal service on-board SQ802 to Beijing did not come a white table cloth during meal service. I started with a plate of fresh fruits, a croissant (which was nice and hot) as well as a double espresso on the side.
Once I was done, I was offered some cereal and yoghurt but I decided to skip the cereal and go for the yoghurt instead. Despite being a Brunch service, cereals (which are typically associated to Breakfast) were served - this was not the case during my flight from Singapore to Denpasar (Bali) in Business Class.
Once I was done with my yoghurt, I was asked whether I would like my main course to be served. I did not actually Book The Cook (BTC) on this flight and it is definitely worth noting that if you are traveling in a codeshare flight on SQ Metal, you will not be able to select your BTC meals online but you can definitely do it by calling up the KrisFlyer Membership Services over the phone. You will also not be able to pre-select your seat online but you can do the same via the aforementioned method. Of course, if you have booked your flight directly with Singapore Airlines, you will not have to bother about that as you will be able to perform these tasks effortlessly online. The following items were offered as a main course during my flight:
- Selection of Dim Sum - Steamed fun quin with char siew, spareribs with black beans, har kow and pork siew mai
- Singapore Laksa - Popular local fare of rice noodles in spicy coconut milk gravy, garnished with sliced fish cake, prawns, bean sprout, bean curd puff and egg
- Cheese Omelette - With chicken sausage, mushroom, roasted tomato and rosti potatoes
Since the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3 of Changi Airport was serving Mee Rebus during my visit and I did not get my favourite Laksa from there, I decided to have it onboard the flight instead (also because dim sum is a BTC dish in PEY!). While it is definitely not a fair comparison to put it against famous names like 328 Katong Laksa in Singapore, the gravy was actually quite satisfying (especially when you are having this 39,000 ft in the air) and it was definitely what I needed to start my trip right.
As part of Singapore Airlines' 70th Anniversary, specially-created desserts were also served on the flight and I decided to try the Seventy Surprise which is essentially a Nanyang coffee mousse with chocolate cake, evaporated milk Chantilly and caramel cream. The flavours were pronounced and I love how defined the coffee taste was but it was slightly too sweet for my liking so I decided not to finish it in the end. I was also offered coffee and tea at the end of the brunch service but I decided that it would be a great time to start with Champagne now considering how I have had four espressos by now.
I did not take too many photos of the seats and cabin this time since I have previously covered the Business Class Cabin on Singapore AIrlines' A380-800 on my flight from Hong Kong to Singapore but one thing that I do appreciate a lot with all Singapore Airlines flight is the number of USB ports for charging - this is especially great for people like me who are constantly glued to their mobile phones (even on the plane!). WiFi was also available on the flight for a ridiculous amount of money (US$19.99 for 50MB) and I generally do not like volume-based plans since I use quite a bit.
Once again the cabin crew onboard was amazing and they have been very proactive in topping up my Champagne flute throughout the flight. Between my friend and I, we probably have had 10 glasses to drink. While the oversight on the white table cloth was definitely not intentional, it is interesting to know that this can actually happen (my first time encountering it!) but other than that, I thought that the flight was great as usual - the flight touched down in PEK at 2:45PM (STA: 2:40PM) which is only five minutes behind of schedule. I am definitely interested to see what Singapore Airlines is going to do with the new Business Class and Suites when they unveil their new product later this year (fingers-crossed!).