Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class Frankfurt To New York

Filed Under: Singapore
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Over the weekend I asked you guys how I should fly back from Europe to the US, and after reading your feedback went with the majority suggestion, which was Singapore Airlines business class from Frankfurt to New York. I transferred points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to book this ticket.

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Confession time — I came into this flight expecting to be disappointed. For the past five years, all my longhaul travel on Singapore has been in first class. What ultimately makes Singapore Airlines so special is the service, and I figured that there’s no way they could deliver on that with an 86 seat business class cabin. I even selected a seat in the last row of business class, figuring it would give me the slowest service and also a good overview of what can be expected.

Boy, was I wrong. Really, really wrong. This flight was possibly on par, if not better, than most of my Singapore Airlines first class flights.

Singapore Airlines A380

While I’ll have a full review soon, here are my initial thoughts:

Singapore Airlines Business Class Seat

I explained the Singapore Airlines A380 business class configuration in great detail yesterday. The cabin is massive and super sleek, and really the upper deck feels like an all business class jet.

Singapore Airlines A380 business class cabin

I selected seat 96A, located in the last row of the cabin.

Singapore Airlines A380 business class seat

It’s a mini-cabin of sorts, since there’s a partition between it and the forward part of the cabin, due to the emergency exit row.

Singapore Airlines A380 business class partition in front of row 96

I love the bulkhead seats since you have much more room for your legs. That makes it more comfortable both when lounging and sleeping.

Singapore Airlines business class bed

In the bed position, the seat is about as spacious as any first class suite out there.

Singapore Airlines business class bed

In order to put the seat in bed mode you actually fold it over. The one downside is that the configuration isn’t ideal for “lounging.” That’s because the seat only reclines a bit without being flipped into bed more, so there’s not much “middle ground” when it comes to recline.

The other cool thing about the A380 vs. the other aircraft is that you have lockers next to your seat where you can store things. That’s always convenient.

Singapore Airlines A380 business class bin

Singapore Airlines Business Class Food

This flight is one of the earliest transatlantic flight out of Frankfurt, departing at 8:30AM and landing in New York at 11AM. As a result it’s a brunch service after takeoff, with lunch before landing.

I had low expectations for the food, given that I rarely find airline breakfast/brunch to be very good.

The food on this sector was top notch in terms of quality and presentation. As usual on Singapore, you could tell that each course was plated in the galley and not in some catering facility, and the small touches were impressive.

The brunch service began with warm nuts (I of course had champers to accompany them — Bollinger was on offer).

Singapore Airlines business class champagne and warm nuts

Singapore Airlines business class Bollinger champagne

The meal service began with a fruit plate.

Singapore Airlines business class brunch

Then muesli.

Singapore Airlines business class brunch

And then chicken picatta with gnocchi, which was really good. I loved that they had both breakfast and lunch entree options for the service.

Singapore Airlines business class brunch

And then for dessert there was a passion fruit mousse cake.

Singapore Airlines business class brunch

Then for lunch there was parma ham with mozzarella cheese (though on Singapore the show-stopper is always the garlic bread).

Singapore Airlines business class lunch

For the main course I had a grilled fillet of beef.

Singapore Airlines business class lunch

And then for dessert strawberry ice cream with apricot.

Singapore Airlines business class lunch

Then I finished off the meal with a cappuccino.

Singapore Airlines business class cappuccino

Simply two spectacular meals.

Singapore Airlines Business Class Service

I don’t even know how to begin to describe the service. This was hands down the best service I’ve ever received in business class on any airline. Even though the upper deck is huge, they do a good job breaking up flight attendants into sections.

I had leading stewardess Ee, steward Justin, and stewardess Yiwa taking care of me. Ee addressed me by name before I even got to my seat to welcome me aboard, and I was addressed by name by all crew members with just about every interaction.

They really made me feel like I was the only passenger on the plane. I’m used to that in first class on Singapore, but wasn’t expecting that in business class. I think it may have partly been that I felt like I was in my own “cocoon” given how separated my seat was from the rest of the cabin.

They were efficient, friendly, and just downright freaking amazing. The meal service was done within 90 minutes of takeoff. Not once was my glass more than half empty — not just during the meal service, but during the flight as a whole.

After the meal service I went to the bathroom for what must have been 60 seconds, and when I returned there was a “coaster” under my drink which wasn’t previously there.

It was dark in the cabin midflight and I took a peek at the menu, since I was curious what the pre-arrival meal was. Ee appears out of nowhere and said “Mr. Schlappig, would you fancy something to eat? Perhaps I could get you something from the brunch menu, or maybe you would like your pre-landing meal now?” HOW DID SHE SEE I WAS LOOKING AT MY MENU?!? I said “no, that’s okay, I was just curious what the pre-arrival meal was.” “Are you sure, Mr. Schlappig? How about a small snack, like some potato chips or cookies?” “That’s very kind, but I’m okay.”

It was literally that level of attention to detail with every single interaction.

When I woke up from a nap, Justin appeared. “Mr. Schlappig, would you care for something to drink? Perhaps another glass of champagne or a cappuccino?”

Guys, this is what puts Singapore in a league of their own. There’s not an airline that’s as proactive and and pays as much attention to detail as Singapore, and I think the above interaction sums that up perfectly.

It would be impressive if Justin noticed that I woke up and offered me a drink. It would also be impressive if I pushed the call button and when he appeared he recalled what I had to drink last time. But when both happen, that’s the “Singapore touch.”

Being Treated Like A Dignified Second Class Citizen

Funny enough I had a blog reader in Suites Class on this sector, and he apparently came by to say hi while I was asleep. As soon as I woke up, Yiwa stopped by to say that “Mr. ___ from Suites Class has visited.” Over the next few minutes all three of the flight attendants serving “my” section informed me of the same, as if I had missed a call from President Obama.

Then when he finally did visit, he was of course escorted by crew, and was invited to sit down across from me. Ee basically acted as the private butler for the next 30 minutes, offering us both drinks, hot towels, etc.

“Mr. ___ and Mr. Schlappig, while you are having your small conversation, may I offer you a light snack?” She then also asked if he wanted to eat a business class meal in addition to the Suites Class meal. It was hilarious.

I’ve never been treated as a second class citizen with such finesse.

Singapore Airlines Business Class Entertainment

Singapore has the KrisWorld entertainment system, which I’d argue is one of the best entertainment systems in the sky. I rarely watch airline entertainment since I bring my own, but Singapore almost always has something I want to watch (and not just the airshow!).

Singapore Airlines airshow

This flight also had wifi, though unfortunately that’s one of the only areas of the Singapore Airlines experience that’s lacking, between the speed and cost.

Singapore Airlines inflight wifi

Singapore Airlines Business Class Amenities

Singapore doesn’t offer amenity kits, but instead offers eye shades and socks, and then has all the traditional amenities in the lavatory. I actually appreciate that since it’s more practical, and from their perspective, less wasteful.

Singapore Airlines business class amenities

Each seat comes with two large pillows and a comfortable blanket. As I mentioned above I don’t like how you have to “flip” the seat over, which makes it tough to lounge, but having two large pillows helps, since it means you can sit up against them fairly comfortably.

Singapore Airlines business class pillows and blanket

Singapore Airlines Business Class Bottom Line

I was blown away by my Singapore Airlines business class experience, and think they may just have my favorite business class product in the world.

All that being said, I do think Suites Class is still worth the premium in miles if available. Between Frankfurt and New York, for example, they charge 48,875 miles in business class or 57,375 miles in Suites Class. Availability permitting, it’s totally worth an 8,500 mile premium for Krug alone, let alone all the other services you get as a first class passenger.

The catch is that in my experience, Singapore releases a lot of last minute business class award space, while they release very little last minute Suites Class award space.

Singapore, you’re a great way to fly!

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  1. Great write up! This and your A380 seating post were/are very helpful.

    One question. You say “While I’ll have a full review soon, here are my initial thoughts:” What could you possibly add to the above detail?

  2. @ C Diddy — 50 more pictures of the toilet and hot towels, more details on the service, etc. πŸ˜‰

  3. “Champers”? Ugh, is there a more cringe-esque bougie wannabe-phrase?

    Glad you enjoyed the product overall. The service on their long haul in business seems to be miles better than the short haul/inter-Asian business class service. Their service here seems so warm and personal, whereas within Asian, it can be rather…robotic.

  4. @ James — Yep, have found longhaul service to be much more sincere and personalized than shorthaul service as well.

    And hey, if you can only pick apart one word in my 1,500+ word report, I’ll take it. πŸ˜€

  5. I am so glad you had such a wonderful experience. I wonder if the crew might have been tipped off that you were a travel blogger? I have flown SQ business on the same route a few times and NEVER experienced that kind of service. It was good, but no where near what you are describing. I will be in Suites in December. Looking forward to that…

  6. Quick question about your seat in particular. Was yours the only exit seat to have a smaller head compartment because of the exit positioning? It appears that the seat photo above does not have that much space removed.

  7. “Singapore, you’re a great way to fly”

    But LH is the best way to fly, right? Which is better in terms of only the onboard product (hard and soft, but don’t factor in the FCT): LH F or SQ C? Again, only think about the hard and soft products of each.


  8. Lucky,

    Here is a question for you. Not sure if you covered it in the past:

    You’ve been writing this a long time, and this is a very popular blog with wire circulation, and that we know that airlines take action based on what you write here (China Southen incident, for example).

    Now, not that I doubt SQ has amazing service, but I can’t help but wonder: Any chance that the various airlines have a notation in your passenger record that says “Ben Schlappig is a travel writer, pay extra attention to him” the same way that well known food critics gets pampered on at restaurants?

  9. Couldn’t agree with you more Ben about SQ J. Even their service on SINHKG is quite impressive and really shows you how they are a step ahead of the competition both in their onboard offerings and the finesse of the crew. My last SINHKG crew was superb and at the end of the day it wasn’t so bad that my body said 6AM flight is not happening today on UA πŸ™‚

  10. Sounds like a phenomenal experience.

    I too have found that where SQ ultimately has the edge over just about every other airline is the quality of the flight attendants.

  11. for what it’s worth, i will add my 2 cents on the whole recognition thing. i was at an up and coming, modern restaurant a few nights ago on a reservation in my name and i thought the service was markedly different from what others were getting around me. being a writer who has done travel and dining work before, i suspected i was googled at some point and thus, received what in the restaurant industry is called PX designation… similar to VIP.

    sure enough, towards the end of the meal one of the staff asked me how everything stacked up to back home in new york. “how did you know i was from new york?” i asked, smiling. they immediately blushed.

    i have several friends in the restaurant biz working as hosts and let me assure you, at the top places, they know who you are well before you’ve sat down. i wouldn’t be surprised if the same was true for premium cabins… but i’d like to think this was just SQ being SQ.

  12. @ Ben — The ticket wasn’t booked out of my KrisFlyer account and I booked it the day before. Not saying it isn’t possible in theory if I booked further out, but booking the day before departure out of another account, I doubt it.

  13. “Singapore releases a lot of last minute business class award space, while they release very little last minute Suites Class award space”

    for the bookings far ahead in the future, it seems to be the opposite, they do release two suite seats per flight but very few biz class seats… I guess they are waiting to sell those. not that I am complaining…

    so overall, would you rate this higher than F on same carriers? Thai, Qantas, Malaysia, BA perhaps? or others?

  14. I’m curious if there is any difference in the taxes/fuel surcharges you pay in Suites vs. Business. Is it any more to book in first?

  15. @Lucky, In the 5th picture there is a huge bump out by the pillow. However, in the third picture that bump doesn’t appear to be present. Is it there in every seat when reclined or just in your bulkhead seat.

  16. @ Lantean — Agreed, lots of Suites/First space in advance and not much close to departure, and opposite is true for business.

    It’s a really, really solid product. Yes, possibly on par with many first class products…

  17. @ Heather — Ah, whoops. No the bump is present in all seats, and only appears when you flip over the seat to turn it into a bed. Otherwise it’s “hidden” behind the seat in the upright position.

  18. SQ is my favourite longhaul airline to SEAsia.

    I try to fly SQ FRA – SEAsia whenever possible, even though work only pays for economy, they are still waayyy better than LH any day of the week. Love their IFE, always has the newest movies loaded.

    Got upgraded a few times, loved the wide seat, service was good, not great, nowhere near what you described.

  19. My only experience with SQ C was JFK-FRA-JFK back when it was a 747, and I have to say, the service came close to what Mr. Schlappig describes. Maybe not to the extent that I felt fawned over, but the crew on both flights definitely addressed me by name, were proactive in offering me things, and were generally extremely pleasant and on-point. Despite the angled-flat seats, it was a delightful experience, probably the best business class service I’ve had on any of many C class flights. And I’m not a travel writer of any sort.

  20. “Don’t make me choose between my favorites β€” please! They’re both great!’

    Oh c’mon Lucky…they might be comparable in FC…but in BC, Lufthansa is a few steps behind SQ. At best.

  21. My goodness, i thought business class in Cathay was fantastic. This makes Cathay’s biz class seem down right like short haul american first class. Will have to try this one day.

  22. Ben —

    You mentioned that Singapore doesn’t offer amenity kits — but that’s not true. I believe the reason why you did not receive one was because it was a flight below 8 hours and it was a day flight. If it was a night flight you would have probably received one and if it was above 8 hours too. They had Givenchy amenity kits for JCL 3 years back. It may have changed since my days as a steward with SQ πŸ™‚

    And for the other readers — there really isn’t something special noted for bloggers that board our planes. For the most part we are only informed of SQ Executives on board (yes, we try to impress our own executives more!), Air marshals, Royalties, and VVIPs. Sometimes some IFS(Inflight Supervisors/Pursers) even restrict crew from entering PCL for no good reason or restrict us from walking on one side of the aisle.

    So glad you flew with SQ πŸ™‚ Woot woot. (We’re Singapore Airlines, Singapore Airlines)


  23. Well i’m guessing that they are doing such a good job before one of your blog reader told them who you are, and try to do better since after πŸ™‚

  24. I enjoy your write-ups and read you daily, but surely SQ knew who you were before boarding. After all, the crew addressed you BY NAME as you boarded. A quick Google search of F and Biz passengers could yield results the moment the manifest was generated.
    All that said, I’m certain the service would be excellent be you a blogger or not.
    Now I’m envious, My Dash 8 to CLT tomorrow is light years away from anything like this…………..

  25. It is, indeed, the flight attendants which make Singapore business class far superior to their competitors.

    Well, that and the lobster thermidor (which you missed out on)…

  26. @ Geoff — To clarify, I was addressed by name as I got to seat 96A. I hadn’t yet sat down, but was story my things. I was the only person in that section, for what it’s worth.

  27. In the photo of your bed, was the blue blanket covering a hole?
    Also, how did your blog reader know you were on that flight??? Did you tweet something beforhand or did you tell us when you were going to take this flight?
    So glad you finally flew SQ J on the A380!

  28. @ Joey — Yep, there is a slight “gap” there, but it’s barely noticeable given how much space there is. The blog reader recognized me in the gate area — not sure how!

  29. I took SQ business SIN-SFO earlier this year and I received very similar, exemplary service. It was amazing. What I didn’t love was the lack of recline. I think bulkhead makes a world of difference.

    Is the recline in business the same as first? Or is it a little more in first? I’m considering a SQ F trip next year.

  30. SIA probably has a picture of you circulating on all their flights with special “Mr Lucky Handling Procedures”!

  31. Give me a lounge full of Marines dropping F-bombs any day over listening to some pretentious little twit in business class requesting “champers”!!!

  32. I’ve flown SQ 4 x A380 Y, 2 x A330 J, 1 x 77-300 J and 1 x 77W J and they really are my favourite airline. The crew have this calming professionalism that makes you feel instantly welcome, safe and happy. I can’t put my finger on what it is, they just know what they’re doing and they do it very, very well. SIN is a great place to transit – always buzzing without being packed. They are everything an airline should be.

  33. “Confession time β€” I came into this flight expecting to be disappointed. For the past five years, all my longhaul travel on Singapore has been in first class.”

    Why would you come to the flight with such negative expectations? Because you’re slumming it in Business instead of First which you’re accustomed to? You already know service on Singapore Airlines is generally top-notch. Or did you think that was somehow reserved only for passengers travelling in First/Suites? I’ve flown Singapore Airlines on all their classes and can readily say service has always been consistently good throughout, yet one of the best interactions I’ve had with the cabin crew has been in Economy.

    A good review as usual but it’s statements like the above that conveys an air of general douchebaggery that prevails sometimes on your blog.

  34. @ Al — Correct. I wasn’t expecting service in an 86 seat cabin to be as good as service in an 8-12 seat cabin. Sorry if that makes me a douche.

  35. Lcuky, I think you’re a great guy and a wonderful blogger, but I worry you’re venturing in to willful ignorance when asked about recognition as a blogger. Setting aside airlines reading your blog, you have a pretty recognizable name. Is it really so far fetched that some white collar Singapore staffer runs a database query periodically for a handful of names, and if they find a match they fire off a quick ‘make sure to treat the guy in seat X well’ email?

    Maybe that happens and maybe it doesn’t, but in 2014 ‘booked close to departure and didn’t use my mileage account’ hardly seems like definitive proof you went unnoticed.

  36. @ Sunrise089 — Again, in general I don’t disagree, but I booked this ticket a day in advance. In this case I’m 100% sure that wasn’t the case.

  37. Great impressions! Glad to see what the bed looked like as I didn’t have the opportunity to use it on my two SQ day flights (no amenity kits on those flights either, which made me sad as I love the toiletries). My service in business out of Seoul and Singapore was very good although not to the level you seem to have had or that my elite travelers seem to regularly experience – for me it comes down to the crews – some work well and some don’t

    As for “did they know you were a blogger” unless you reported on the service attention given to others around you, we really don’t know if your treatment was extraordinary or standard for this crew. Am sure all of the photos you took may have alerted them that you weren’t a regular passenger.

    Either way, great trip report and now I’m going to look at that “open biz class” award space as I have some United miles to use

  38. Didn’t experience nearly the attentiveness in SQ J SIN-PVG. Pretty good, but far from best in class.

  39. I just did the JFK->FRA leg and can definitely say it was by far the best business class flight I had – even up there with the best first class flight I had. Crew were amazing and made me feel like I was the only person on the flight. Thanks for the seat tip btw.

  40. @ Lucky – how soon until we see an article from that other blog that claims Singapore J is worse than Southwest Y and that OMAAT is actually a deep-cover PR operation ran by SQ & LH? πŸ˜‰

    Re: preferential treatment — unless some of the crew are familiar with this blog, I can’t imagine they had time to find background info on all J pax (much more plausible with F). But, yeah, perhaps one way Lucky can take his reviews to another level is by going all-Jason Bourne and having a dozen of different passports from different countries with different names. I suggest “Boris Shlapigov” as a Russian cover ID πŸ˜›

  41. Glad you were impressed because I sure wasn’t in June on the same flight. As you mentioned, seat size and cabin are impressive but I found the seat in the bed position extremely uncomfortable due to a ridge right at the upper part of my back. Food was nothing special either on my flight even though the flight attendants were great. I complained to Singapore and have yet to get a reply from them other than a “we need more time to evaluate your comments” email I got the day after the complaint. It’s now 3 months later and nothing has comeas a follow-up.

  42. Great review, Ben – I agree this was just excellent SQ service rather than something special because they recognised who you were. I’m in Suites in a couple of months then Business early next year, glad to hear it won’t be too much of a step down πŸ˜‰

    Handy to know re reasonable last minute availability.

  43. By the way, I flew SIN-LHR-SIN on SQ and both flights had WiFi, tho the outbound was operated with one of their new 777-300ERs which had WiFi similar to Etihad – $22 for the 24hr pass I believe, while the A380 on the return had the OnAir WiFi, the per MB type.

  44. @ w — Interesting to know that wifi price isn’t based on usage on the 777 — thanks for the heads up!

  45. Do they release seats at the “saver’ fare on this route? I’ve been searching and get no availability at all.

  46. Ideally on the week of January 19. However I’ve been looking almost all dates from Nov 1st to January 31st and haven’t seen anything open under the saver fare.

  47. But what is really infringing me is LIFEMILES! They seem to be blocking all seats in J class on both LX and OS. Do you know anything about it?

  48. @ Lucas — Singapore tends to release a lot more space in business class as the departure date approaches, so I would recommend continuing to monitor.

  49. Yes, that’s what I figured out. In other hand, as I said, what is really intriguing me is LifeMiles. They seem to be blocking all J spaces on LX and OS. Do you know anything about it?
    Thanks once more!

  50. @ Lucas — Yes, they are indeed blocking that, along with Lufthansa first class. Wouldn’t expect that to change, unfortunately.

  51. That’s sadly unbelievable! I really hope they change that after the coming devaluation on october 15.

  52. Wow, warm nuts! Had no idea that was a thing. Do you think each nut is warmed individually? πŸ˜‰

    Looking at SQ for Australia to London next year. Thanks for the great seat review. I’d been seeing a lot of quite grizzly comments about it, eg, it’s too firm, too wide, but it looks pretty good to me !

  53. I actually found reasonable fares between NRT and LAX for business class, RT for about 2200 USD on Singapore Airlines on J, really cheap if you ask me.

  54. I just had the pleasure of flying on SQ11(LAX-NRT) & SQ12(NRT-LAX) and all that was written in the review, I experienced myself. From walking you to your seat, although we were served Taittinger champagne, instead of Bollinger. To addressing you by your name, the service was highly exceptional. @Lucky, were you served the chicken and beef satay canapΓ©? At any rate, this will be my regular airline to fly from LAX-NRT from hereon. And the SQ girls are all so beautiful!!!

  55. Gentlemen,

    It thrills me so much to read about others experiences on SQ in Business Class !

    I give my vote to SQ for the coming 100 years to come as the BEST that the Airline Business has ever seen .Nobody comes close to SQ service on board ,even my other favorites like Cathay Pacific ,Swiss and Austrian .
    What Ben has experienced in Business Class is pretty true and I have had with them similar experiences .Even more ,on my last SINHKG flight on the A380 in Premium Economy ,I was called by my name during the meal service and was offered drinks and other amenities during the flight regularly .
    As a token of appreciation and to make things even brighter ,I was offered a SQ bag full of goodies ( giveaways ,etc ) and SQ Marketing material upon disembarkation !!!!

  56. Very nice report. It inspired me to select this very same seat on an upcoming flight this coming January (SIN -LHR). You mentioned the handy side bins next to the windows for storage. But what about overhead bins? Is there one above this seat? And can I store a small roll-on in front of me (under the foot-rest) during take-off and landing?

  57. @Shaun, you won’t be able to store anything in front of you as it is a bulkhead seat. But you get more foot/leg space when lounging or with the bed folded out. As for the side Bins, you could store a laptop or small bag in the side bins. There aren’t any overhead bins over the window seats. They do have the overhead bins in throughout the center aisle. This is due to the curvature of the A380’s second floor. Hope that helps and safe travels!

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