After running around in Hong Kong International Airport paying a visit to all the Star Alliance first class lounges, I left the Singapore KrisFlyer lounge at 10:50pm (which is close to gate 15) and proceeded to gate 18 to board my flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco.
Singapore Airlines First class boarding pass
Sep 13, 2016
Singapore Airlines – SQ2
Hong Kong (HKG) to San Francisco (SFO)
Boarding time: 11:00pm
Departure time: 11:30pm scheduled / 11:35pm actual
Arrival time: 9:15pm scheduled / 8:20 actual
At 11:00pm, boarding promptly began. I was the second person in line and boarded through the priority lane.
Hong Kong International Airport Gate 18 boarding area
Hong Kong International Airport Gate 18 priority lane
As a side note, for flight departing for the US, Hong Kong International Airport normally does a quick security screen at the gate after scanning your boarding pass. Liquids are not allowed and will be asked to be discarded prior to boarding.
The cabin has a total of 8 seats, 5 of which were occupied this evening. I quickly got seated at window seat 1A.
My seat WAS VERY SPACIOUS.
Singapore Airlines First class seat map
Singapore Airlines First class cabin
Singapore Airlines First class seat 1A (71” pitch x 35” width)
Cabin mood lighting
I settled in and put my overweight carry-on luggage underneath the “ottoman”, as first class does not use overhead compartment, and started looking around my seat.
Underneath the screen is a table, which can be pulled out and adjusted for height by pushing down a button.
Singapore Airlines First class seat storage
23” In-flight entertainment screen
The panel on the side has a dozen buttons to turn off the main screen, indicate “Do not disturb”, ask for cabin crew, control reading/TV panel lights and adjust seat inclination.
Seat side control panel
Additional reading lamp (3 brightness settings)
Storage with Bose headphone
Bose noise-cancellation headphone with Wall Street Journal
I really like the remote control (offered in every seat on the plane). The buttons, along with the touch screen, allows you to easily navigate the in-flight entertainment system, browse through music/movie library and play games. I love that you can read reviews on the next movie and quickly check flight status without interrupting the current movie!
IFE remote control
Andy, the lead steward, came by and asked if I wanted a pre-departure drink. I gladly picked a glass of Krug champagne, with which somehow the departure safety video suddenly became very interesting.
Boarding was very efficient. Cabin doors were closed at 11:20pm and the plane promptly pushed back and took off at 11:30pm, as scheduled. As we were moving away from the gate, Ryvel, the lead stewardess, came by with the food & beverage menu, and asked me to think about which appetizers I would like for my supper.
I was too busy reading the menu so I wasn’t able to finish my champagne. Andy smiled and said he would offer me another once we were up in the air.
Singapore Airlines First class supper menu
Once we were airborne, Ryvel distributed amenity kits (branded by Salvatore Ferragamo), which include socks, eye mask, cologne, lip balm and after shave balm, as well as pajamas and slippers for the flight.
Singapore Airlines First Class amenity kits
I then went into the bathroom and got changed. While the small size pajamas fit my body very well, the sleeves were slightly short since I have longer limbs. I didn’t bother to change as it was too comfortable.
The bathroom was stocked with the same lotion and eau de toilette in the amenity kit, as well as toiletry such as tooth brush set, mouth wash, shaving gel, razor and cotton.
At this point, Andy brought me another Krug champagne as promised, along with warm nuts, which were delicious.
I started playing with the entertainment system, and settled on watching Race, a 2016 drama film about the story of Jesse Owens, an African American track-and-field athlete who competed in the Berlin Olympics in 1926, which I enjoyed.
As the movie began, cabin crew began towel service and set up table cloth for supper.
For appetizer, I picked Malossol caviar and tuna tataki, with wasabi mayo and mesclun. While the caviar was quite flavorful (first time in my life), I can’t imagine under any circumstances in my life where I would pay $300 per ounce for this stuff… I later read that caviar is so expensive because the roe used for caviar comes from beluga sturgeon (found in the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea), which takes up to two decades to reach its maximum adult size.
Appetizer with my forth glass of champagne (Dom Perignon this time)
For my soup, I picked chilled almond gazpacho soup with Alaskan crabmeat. Let’s just say the soup was interesting but wasn’t that good.
For my entree, I used Singapore Airline’s “Book the Cook” option, which allows you to pre-select entree of your choice online up until 48 hours prior to departure. “Book the Cook” is offered to First Class, Business Class as well as Premium Economy.
I did consider getting the lobster thermidor, but ended up picking panfried lamb rack as I think the seafood option would not be as fresh when served on the plane.
The panfried lamb, topped with mustard rosemary sauce, very tasty. I was glad that the substantial portion of meat was balanced with mixed vegetables and mushroom.
After the entree, Andy brought a cup of tiaguanyin, one of my favorite kind of Chinese oolong tea as I wrapped up my entree and moved on to dessert — chocolate ice paddle pop, with chocolate crumble, hazelnut and chocolate graze.
Shortly after supper, I started to get sleepy. Ryvel came by and asked if I would like my bed made — perfect timing!
On Singapore Airlines, you can’t simply push the button to fully recline the seat. A cabin crew will, upon request, set up your bed by flipping down the chair and lay out pillows, mattress pad and comforter.
I sat up and finished the remaining 20 minutes of my movie, read a bit on my Kindle and went to bed. It was nice to be able to lie down and fully stretch out my legs. Part of me wanted to stay awake to enjoy the flight, but isn’t sleeping on a plane the best way to get comfortable? What a dilemma…
Anyhow, I was able to get 4.5 hours of sleep with probably the best quality I’ve ever had on the plane (I’m generally a light sleeper).
I woke up over somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.
I quickly used the bathroom to freshen up, and was delighted to see that the bed has been converted back to a normal seat.
Sitting up again!
To wake up myself up, I logically asked for a glass of Riesling as I watched my second movie (yes, Kung Fu Panda 3 as it is funny) and worked a bit on my laptop.
Champagne and wine selection
Playing with my laptop on the plane
Realizing Riesling isn’t exactly caffeinated, I did a little tea tasting and sampled the Jiuquhongmei, Maofung and oolong tea.
As I appeared pretty awake at this point, Ryvel asked if I would like to have breakfast.
And I was shocked to find out there were only 2.5 hours left on the flight!
After towel service, breakfast started with a selection of kiwi, cantaloupe, raspberry, blueberry and figs, and a small yogurt.
Andy came by with a selection of warm bread, so I took a croissant and a mini bonne maman strawberry jam.
I didn’t use pre-select my main dish in advance, so I went with the fresh scrambled eggs with smoked salmon.
After meal service, I chatted with a few members of the cabin crew. The charming Indian chief steward (forgot his name, unfortunately) chatted with me for 15 minutes, and my holding of a Portuguese passport (with a totally Asian name and appearance) to be quite interesting…
All good things must come to an end. Soon enough we were on descent approaching San Francisco International Airport, and uneventfully landed at 8:20pm, almost an hour earlier than scheduled.
I thanked the cabin crew and was then on my way home!
Getting ready to go home
Picture with cabin crew
Back to San Francisco!
Simply put, this was probably my best flying experience ever. With its awesomely spacious seat which can be converted into a comfortable bed, and amazing service, Singapore Airlines did not disappoint with this First class experience.
The cabin crew was thoughtful and caring, and service was smooth and coordinated. It was obvious that their goal is to strike a wonderful balance with being present and attentive at the right moments, while providing the appropriate amount of space for passengers to enjoy meals/entertainment without unnecessary interruption.
Looking forward to the next SQ flight, no matter what the class is!