‘A room is still a room . . .’, unless it’s the new First Suites on a Singapore Airlines A380
OK – its the First Suites that are causing all the headlines with the launch of this new product. The consensus is they look more like hotel rooms, rather than the traditional airline ‘suites’. Forget the fact that only 6 people out of an aircraft capacity of 471 will actually get to travel in this cabin (a reduction from 12 in the old configuration).
Its ‘aspirational’, right?
We all want to know that we could travel in one. Most of us won’t, but we could – with the right acquisition and expenditure of points – travel in the space, luxury, and comfort of the very pointy upper deck cabin.
Here is my assessment of the new First Class Suites based only on photographs, press releases, a promo video, and the images taken by other airline obsessed bloggers of a couple of mock-ups set up in an exhibition venue in Singapore last week. I point out, that nobody has reviewed the actual experience of travelling in these suites yet. We will have to wait until the launch of the first route (Singapore – Sydney) in December. I also point out that I am not above accepting lucrative invitations to sample new airline products, and brag about them, but no one thinks I’m currently enough of an influencer to do that. YOU could help change that of course.
Hotel Room or Airline Cabin ?
OK, first up – is that really a double bed, or is it the same as in the current suites where it is actually two single beds pushed together with a dirty great sunken divider below it, and a double doona (duvet/comforter) thrown over the top? I think we know the answer.
Next up – how on earth are you going to get to intimately dine together like you can in the current suites, hmmmm? It’s an odd thing, but in my limited experience of First Class – dining together, while facing each other is one of the little luxuries that you don’t even think of valuing until you do it several thousand feet in the air. The caviar service helps of course.
Enough from me – here is some puffery from Singapore Airlines PR:
‘Behind its artistically-designed sliding door lies a personal oasis complete with lavish furnishing and finishes. Each Suite is furnished with a separate full-flat bed with adjustable recline and plush leather chair, enabling customers to lounge comfortably in the chair or rest in bed without the need to convert the bed from a sitting position. For couples travelling together, the beds in the first two Suites of each aisle can be converted to form a double bed. When not in use, the bed can be stowed completely, creating even more personal space within each Suite.’
The way they make this look – you would have to shout ‘KOOOEEEEEE’ to communicate across that gap once the bed is ‘stowed’.
The seat is upholstered in leather by Poltrona Frau, (mind you they haven’t bothered to update their website!) and it swivels and reclines. They claim that this adds to the flexibility for dining and relaxation, but I still can’t see how you can dine a deux. They also provide some nicely padded stowage, and a little area for your Birkin!
The new monitors are huge at 32 inches, plus they swivel, and the suites have wardrobes and a bunch of other storage
As well they have two toilets up front, (without showers) – one small, and . . .
. . . and the larger one with a makeup/shaving mirror. . .
The Soft Product
Of course you will get bedding, pillows, and a cotton duvet – they don’t say who provides them, but Lalique provide the embroidery! You will also get JimJams – again no brand named, as well as eyeshades and socks. On some flights (‘selected’) suites travellers will get either a ‘his’, or a ‘hers’ (no gender fluidity here!) amenity kit co-branded Lalique/Singapore Airlines. For some reason, men will not get (ladies) moisturiser and hand cream, although they do score body lotion and aftershave balm.
Passengers will also score a Lalique candle, soap, lip balm and body lotion in a ‘unisex kit containing lifestyle items … designed as a collectible item’, and if you are really lucky you get ‘a miniature ornamental crystal fish from Lalique’. They promise that all three of these kits will be changed (‘refreshed’) regularly.
Ooohhhh and in the bathrooms, you get ‘a special citrus-scented facial mist, body lotion and fragrance by Lalique.’
The dinner service will come from Wedgewood, with glassware, by … wait for it … Lalique! No mention of on-demand dining though.
The entertainment system has been upgraded. It will now be able to remember your preferences and recommend things based on that. Bookmarking, and resuming content will also be available on the newly titled myKrisWorld – and available across flights, which frankly sounds creepy.
Well, I think these look swell. I look forward to expending vast quantities of frequent flyer points to travel in one. I can see that they will be fantastic for solo travellers – lots of room, and of course that Singapore service. As for couples? Well, the thing I value most in a suite is the ability to dine with your companion, and I just can’t see how you can do that intimately in this cabin. The ‘double bed’ thing is nice – but in my opinion over-rated. It’s not really a double bed, and I’m not entirely convinced it is desirable to sleep next to your companion on a plane.
I doubt that I will be the first to review them – but I look forward to trying these rooms out – sometime in the future. And when that happens – you’ll hear about it.
But in the words of Burt Bacharach and Hal David: ‘But a room is not a house and a house is not a home.’