How Suite it is, Part I: on the ground


Because of an incredible stroke of luck (and knowing the right people, and taking the opportunity when I could), I was able to get an amazing deal on my round-the-world ticket. And the best flight of the bunch is about to happen in a couple of hours. It is something called “Suites Class“, and I am taking it from Singapore to Mumbai. I think it is safe to say that this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience (at least for me).

Since I had to get some work done today anyway, I thought I would avail myself of the first class lounge at the Singapore airport and spend the day being productive while luxuriating in a lounge I will probably never see the inside of again in my life. I arrived at the airport and they whisked me through to a special check-in area, then through a much speeded-up immigration process, and then into the first class lounge. When the woman guiding me through saw how much time I had, she suggested I head over to Terminal 3 (I am leaving from Terminal 2) where she said I could avail myself of a private room. By that I thought she meant an office space with a closing door so I could work undisturbed. But what she was referring to instead was something they call “The Private Room”, only for Suites customers. The use of feudal terms seems appropriate here: I arrived at the outer part of the lounge after passing the peasants wandering the airport and was greeted by name, then led down a long corridor of twists and turns, first past the vassals of business class and their sad area, and then beyond even the nobles of first class in their slightly more plush digs, and finally to the nicest room of all, the aforementioned Private Room, fit for you guessed it, the king.

Once inside, I set myself up at a table in the dining room, where I was brought pretty much anything I wanted. They had a fantastic menu, and I especially recommend the assorted satay plate, it was super delicious. I have to say, I was pretty productive while being plied with coffee, fresh juices, a foie-gras and egg topped burger, more coffee, water, and all around excellent service. Oh, did I mention the delicious petit-fours?

I made a few forays out of my castle to the general airport and duty free areas to pick up a couple of gifts for my hosts, mixing as best I could with the hoi polloi, not knowing what could we possibly have to say to each other, and trying my best not to look any of them directly in the eye. With most of the day past and my flight leaving in a couple of hours, I decided to head back over to Terminal 2 and the lowly first class lounge to await my flight. As I left The Private Room, the woman at the desk gave me a look of pity and asked if I wouldn’t be more comfortable staying there until my flight, but I put on a brave face and told her with the adventurer’s wink that is my trademark that I was curious to wander over and see the other side.

I am now at a work desk in the decidedly downscale first class lounge area in Terminal 2, writing this blog post and trying to stay strong while I await my flight in utter privation. How do people live like this?