How Suite it is, Part II: in the air

8
Jan
2015

So as you probably remember from part one, I was clutching my purse in the recesses of the first class lounge, waiting for my suites class flight to begin. At the appointed time, I made my way to the gate, where they guided me to a special entrance to the plane that was only for the suites passengers. I got to my cabin (it was a little like a mini train cabin or berth) and was a little surprised to discover that there was no great place to put my bags. The under-seat storage was too small, so I wedged it in an area next to my seat that would need to be vacated if I wanted to recline my seat. I didn’t worry overmuch about it though, as each of the staff came up to introduce themselves, addressing me by name and asking if there was anything I needed, anything at all, they would be happy to oblige.

“Anything?”

I was at this point about to ask for perhaps a hand-job by a Brazilian male model or some cocaine, but they were already pouring me a glass of Dom Pérignon, so I made do with that. At first glance the individual cabins were quite impressive, with very comfortable leather seating with a facing seat with its own seatbelt, which I thought a little odd, especially because there was a sign over it saying it was not to be used during takeoff and landing. I guess that seat is just for when you have other well-heeled visitors (they would never allow the commoners in here) coming to chat with you about yachting or trust funds during the flight.

Then the cabin steward came up to inform me of some very upsetting news: Our flight would only be taking 4 hours and 45 minutes to reach Mumbai. I thought I would at least be getting 30 or 45 more minutes of luxury than that, and I have to admit to being a little disappointed. Much of what makes this class of service so special is the privacy and comfort of the cabin while sleeping, but I clearly wasn’t going to make them setup the whole bed thing for a 20 minute nap, even though the harridan in the berth behind me made them do exactly that. The length of the flight set the tone for a number of disappointments actually. It isn’t really worth setting up the bed, as I said, for one. And flights under 7 hours don’t get the super swank toiletries bag with the nice cologne in it. (I had received one on my previous flight, so really what was I going to do with two of them, but still I was crestfallen).

And even though I hadn’t paid full price for this, I imagined what I would be feeling if I had, and I started noticing everything that was wrong with the suite as my native OCD went into overdrive. There was no good place for my bag storage. The suite had a lot of dings and scratches all around, and some parts that didn’t close properly. The media system and control is positively antiquated. You can’t even connect your ipod/iphone to it to play your own music. The user interface is badly designed and clunky, the screen not very high rez. The usb charger stopped charging my phone about 10 times necessitating unplugging and replugging. The curvature and design of the walls of the suite was kinda clumsy (compare to ANA for example which was clean and elegant), and the veneers showing.

The people and the service was something else though. There is absolutely nothing to reproach, they were without fail wonderful, helpful, and kind. I have rarely experienced service this good anywhere. I have absolutely no reservations about the quality of the service I received from the staff on board.

So to sum up everything:

1. I would not bother with this class of service unless you were going to get a full night’s sleep. It is just not worth it for anything under 8 hours. (Then again, if I had more money than god and a strong desire to waste it, as many of the other passengers must, what the hell.)

2. The suite itself is pretty cool but could use a redesign in the areas of media control, luggage storage, and maintenance/upkeep.

3. People service is impeccable with Singapore Air, but is almost as good in plain old cheapskate first class.

Here are a few pics of the entire experience:

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