After a quick security experience thanks to the dedicated lane for first and business class passengers, I made my way to gate A6 at the end of the concourse. It was already packed with passengers and agents were setting up the stanchions and signage for the boarding process to identify which door should be used based on seat assignment and class of service.
Shortly, what seemed like 50 flight attendants made their way up the concourse and boarded the aircraft. It’s just amazing how many there are for this behemoth of a plane and I’m certain Singapore staffs more than the required minimum. As boarding time approached, the ‘gate lice’ syndrome was in full effect with hordes of people standing about anxious to get onboard (yes, I was one of them).
Singapore boards families with small children first along with any Suites passengers that might be standing about and then they called business class. At this particular gate there is no jet bridge that extends to the upper deck, so I boarded at door 1L, was very pleasantly greeted by two flight attendants and directed up the ridiculously wide staircase. At the top of the stairs, another flight attendant pointed me in the direction of my seat, 14A.
My apologies in advance as the seat pictures didn’t come out all that great. My return trip shots are much, much better. The video I’ll eventually compile does have better images, too.
The seat is the widest business class seat in the sky and it actually feels awkwardly so. There’s no fold-down armrest similar to what Cathay Pacific’s extra-wide first class seat provides. Instead, Singapore supplies a small pillow and sturdy arm cushion. It doesn’t really do the trick if you want to rest both elbows at equal height, but who am I to complain.
After settling in, a flight attendant came by offering a pre-departure beverage and later confirmed my ‘Book the Cook’ meal of pan-fried chicken in green peppercorn sauce prior to pushback. Had I not pre-booked my meal, the dinner menu was already in the seat pocket.
We pushed back a minute or two ahead of schedule and surprisingly, were airborne in another five minutes – something rare for JFK, in my opinion. As with most foreign carriers, the seat belt sign was off very quickly while still climbing to our cruising altitude. Flight attendants went into action immediately, first distributing eyeshades and slippers. Other individual amenities were available in the lavatories and shown below.
While I have to say it’s probably more cost-effective and efficient, I very much miss having an actual amenity kit in international premium cabins. Before dinner service got underway, I was eager to check out the lavatory. It’s definitely spacious in a rectangular kind of way and I loved the little foot pedal for the trash receptacle, as well as cloth vs. paper towels.
Back at my seat, dinner service got underway while I plugged in my headphones and began scanning through the fantastic amount of video selections.
I have to say, this was the best business class meal I’ve ever had and it’s really on par with what you’d find in first class internationally. The chicken, in particular, surprised me at how moist and delicious it was. While I’m not much of a dessert person to begin with, I skipped it since I wanted to get as much sleep as possible. I hate East coast to Europe flights for just this reason – there’s very little time to get a decent amount of sleep between the post-departure meal and arrival.
Putting the seat into bed mode requires you to stand up, release a handle and fold down the seat back, which then reveals a full-sized pillow, blanket and very thin mattress pad already in place. While it is lie-flat, you are ever so slightly head-high when horizontal. I was exhausted by this point, so pressed the ‘Do Not Disturb’ button and snuggled in for a solid sleep. So solid, in fact, I slept right through the light breakfast.
I woke with just enough time to get my seat back into regular mode and freshen up in the lavatory. While waiting for the lav, I stood there at the top of the stairs looking down thinking, “This can’t be an airplane.” It feels more like a cruise ship.
As far as service, I have to say it was good- to- excellent. It seemed like I had a different flight attendant for each portion of service, whether it was serving the appetizer, main course, refreshing my beverage or clearing my table. A bit impersonal, but what can you expect for such a large plane. I’m sure Suites class is a totally different experience.
My overall impression of the A380: Too big, but fun to fly. It’s quiet and spacious (in business class), though. I don’t think I’d like to fly it in economy.
Up next: Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport