I generally try to plan our flight redemptions for the annual summer holidays in Europe about 10 months in advance. This allows enough time to explore plenty of 'creative' options to get there.
This time around, planning was relatively straightforward. Singapore Airlines had announced their first routes for the new A380 on which I snagged a seat in first class for new years day (you can check my review of the seat here). It was already leaked that Singapore would be launching the second A380 with the new first and business class cabins on the London route. Of course, there was no availability for my dates so I speculatively booked 2 seats to Zurich (ZRH) in the hope this old A380 route would get swapped to the new one come August.
Luck was on my side and a few months before our scheduled departure, my aircraft change alert set up in Expert Flyer (one of my favourite tools for finding reward seats and alerting me to availability) pinged me with the good news!
You can get a free trial for this tool here.
As soon as I received the alert I called the always helpful Singapore Airlines call centre and requested my seats to be swapped to 1F and 2F. Pro tip; bulkhead seats on SQ are usually bassinet seats, but you can request them by calling up as they are blocked for online selection.
1F / 2F and 1A 2A are linked together with a divider which comes down to make way for a double bed; the ultimate aviation geek's dream.
How I booked this ticket
Our itinerary was for 2 people flying Perth – Singapore – Zurich; since there is no first class out of Perth, Singapore Airlines allows mixed redemptions.
The price is 128,000 Kris Flyer points (per person, one way) for a business class flight to Singapore and then a first class flight for the 12h trek to Europe.
The taxes on this itinerary were only SG $94.80. It's one of the big reasons I love the Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer program.
Mixed class awards aren't bookable online so you will need to call up and book over the phone. Researching each individual flight segment and noting it down will help you in the booking process.
Trip Report Singapore – Zurich
Considering I already review the new Singapore Airlines seat in depth here, I will focus more on the double suite (which I didn't get to experience last time).
After spending the day in Singapore (we arrived at 11:30AM), it was time to head back to the airport.
Singapore Airlines First Class Terminal T3
One of the many reasons Singapore Changi Airport is the best in the world (IMO) is the dedicated first class terminal which is on the left-hand side before you arrive at the main T3 terminal.
As we pulled up in our discount taxi, the first class porters were ready and waiting to assist with the luggage. Safely inside the air-conditioned first class terminal, it was only a matter of minutes before we were checked in and through the dedicated immigration checkpoint.
After the immigration clearance, we found ourselves in front of the escalator to the Singapore Airlines lounges.
Singapore Airlines The Private Room
There are 4 lounges available to guests; the lowest tier is the Gold lounge which is for those with KrisFlyer status or Star Alliance gold or higher, and the SilverKris lounge; for those flying business class with SQ or a Star Alliance partner. Within the SilverKris lounge, there's a checkpoint which leads to the first class lounge and from there, there's an additional checkpoint before you get to The Private Room which is only accessible for those flying with Singapore Airlines in first class (check out my review of the private room here).
After sampling a few negronis and some Dom Pérignon I figured it would be rude not to try some of the famous Singapore Airlines satay followed by half a lobster; delicious as always.
If you ever get bored of the Dom served in The Private Room, you can make a quick dash into the first class lounge which serves the Piper Heidsieck Rare Vintage 2002; it's a fantastic drop and possibly better than Dom.
As soon as the boarding gate opened we headed down to get to our double suite.
New First Class Suite A380
The new Singapore Airlines A380 first class cabin consists of 6 huge suites (the largest first class suite in the sky right now!), and as I mentioned before 2 pairs are inter-connectable (sort of) as the divider can be lowered down to about knee level. When the divider is down, the already expansive suite becomes even more spacious, or at least it feels that way.
Even though the actual seat still reminds me of a dental chair, the rest of the cabin is stunning and feel luxurious.
The swivel chair can be rotated around, and in takeoff position, it faces forward. 1F and 1A both have an extra monitor built in so you can keep watching movies on both takeoff and landing.
There's no shortage of storage space in the suite and a spacious wardrobe can fit both your carry on suitcase + jackets.
Considering our flight departed past midnight, the dining menu is a little bit more limited and doesn't include the full caviar service.
The drinks however pour freely on Singapore Airlines and this time around I couldn't say no to the Krug 2004 vintage champagne.
Singapore Airlines Double Bed
After a light-ish dinner, it was time for some sleep. This is where the Singapore airlines first class seats shine; especially when you have 2 connected suites! The bed on each side of the wall was folded down and turned into a comfortable double bed.
Even though the single bed is already spacious, when both beds are connected it is so much better. Even when sharing with another person.
The bed linen and mattress padding are very comfortable although I did think the linen on Etihad first class was more comfortable (probably due to the SQ linen being so new).
Even if it was a daytime flight I would get the bed made, there is nothing more comfortable than watching movies from your bed at 43,000ft.
The large TV monitors turn any direction you want, and there's 2 so each person can watch what they want.
The whole situation is controllable via the detachable iPad like monitor/tablet and of course, noise cancelling headphones are on offer.
Around 3 hours before our arrival into Zurich, breakfast was served.
The first class cabin was full (yes people still pay for first class) and it turned out that I missed out on the serving of pancakes…
Instead, I opted for the eggs which were also tasty and probably a healthier option anyway.
First Class Amenities
Regarding amenities, Singapore Airlines offers a full kit by Lalique to first class passengers. There's all the usual stuff: moisturiser, lip balm, perfume and… a candle.
There's also a set of well-fitting pyjamas (most airline pyjamas are way to baggy for my liking) which have a bit of a rough feel to them but are excellent after a few washes, and I wear them around the house a lot.
Getting changed isn't a matter of a matter of squeezing yourself into a tiny aircraft toilet on the Singapore Airlines A380; both bathrooms are very spacious (they really should have included a shower) and rather beautiful. I'm not a fan of taking bathroom photos usually but I make an exception for Singapore Airlines.
The Singapore Crew
One of the most consistent things about Singapore Airlines apart from their Dom Pérignon and Krug, are the crew. In my 'humble' opinion, they are probably the best out there (and unfortunately I don't get paid to say that). Whichever class you're travelling in, they always seem to genuinely care, have a sense of humour all while staying professional and remembering everyone's name. The same can't be said about other airlines…
Singapore to Zurich Conclusion
Unfortunately, we landed way too soon, and the 12h journey had literally flown past. However, there are worse places to spend a day than Zurich in summer, which brings me to another point/tip when it comes to booking reward seats: don't be too stubborn about your final destination!
Whenever I hear people complaining about award space availability it's usually because they're only searching for one place; typically the end destination. In Europe especially, everything is close by. If there's no availability to London, try any of the other hubs… maybe stay over for a day. It's what we usually do before catching a dirt cheap EasyJet/Ryan Air flight to where we want to go; it's the perfect way to snap back to reality after Singapore Airlines first class.