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Is EWR-SIN On SQ In Raffles Class Bearable?  
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9697 posts, RR: 52
Posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8068 times:

Hello there. I might have the opportunity to go to Singapore next month. Right now I live outside of Chicago and ORD is the most convenient airport. I am wondering what people think about EWR-SIN on Singapore Airlines. The timing of this flight works out the best for my schedule since the plane leaves late at night and arrives early in the morning so that I can have productive days of work on both ends. However there is no first class on the SQA345. Is Raffles Class bearable on that flight? My other option is to fly United via NRT or HKG but the timing is bad. However I could fly in first class on that flight. The advantage with SQ is that it is timed really well and that it is half the price since it is business.

What do you people think? Do you recommend going on SQ? I have never flown them before, but have been to Singapore on United twice. Is the Raffles Class Spacebed very comfortable? I know it is better than the UA business class seat. How does it compare to others like LH? I love flying but 18 hours on a plane makes me nervous as to whether I can handle it.

I looked at this trip report and some pictures.
http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/48912

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Photo © Aaron Liu
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Photo © Phil Derner Jr.
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If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12148 posts, RR: 49
Reply 1, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8045 times:
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From all that I hear, I am pretty sure that Business on SQ beats F on UA hands down.


You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineYOWza From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 4905 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8037 times:

SQ over UA for this trip any day! Simple as that.

YOWza



12A whenever possible.
User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 8031 times:

It's very bearable in Raffles. Indeed, it's quite a pleasant ride (I've flown the route on SQ). However, on any ultra long haul route I highly recommend you plan on staying awake for not more than six hours and sleeping the remainder, if at all possible. I take a prescribed sedative usually about four hours into the flight (after the meal and after I've had time to watch a movie or two and catch up on some work on my laptop). Then, after it kicks in, I sleep the rest of the journey.


My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently offlineGeorgiaAME From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 994 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 7976 times:

My family of 3 flew on the LA-Singapore non stop last summer, in exec-economy, or whatever they call it. One of the easiest flights I have ever been on, bar none. The economy seat is 20" wide, a bit thin, (it is an economy seat after all), the leg support is not a business seat, but very, very comfortable. Hot towels are distributed, amenities kits are provided (never, never shave at 35,000 feet) and the flight attendants get very pale at the thought that you might get hungry. Seems that their mission in life is to force food down your throat. Walk anywhere near a galley, they drop what they are doing, stand up, and try to feed or water you. They were very upset when I took a piece of fruit rather that a baked pork bun. Ask them for a cup of Ramen noodles, and you have made a friend for life. And this is economy, not business. When we got off the plane 16 hours later, my wife, who hates the 4 hour flight from Atlanta to San Francisco ("I hate crossing time zones..."), was astounded that we had been on a non stop flight for that long. It just didn't feel like 16 hours, the flight was that good!

Now, the possible downside of Raffles, not that I wouldn't jump at the chance to fly it. The seat is not much wider than the economy seat. It's a bit thicker, and a bit more comfortable than sitting in the back. It's not a flat bet, and you will slide as you sleep. The aircraft is not any quieter up front than in the back. I suspect the big difference is that rather than having one flight attendant trying to get you to eat the pork buns as you get in econ, there are two making you feel guilty if you don't eat.

In summary: the flight looks horrible on paper. In reality, it is easier than the East Coast to Europe. Singapore has a reputation for a reason. They take their job, their company, and your comfort very seriously. They know they have your money; the difference with American carriers is that they sincerely want your return business.

And once you get there, I recommend the Ritz Carlton, Executive level. A third the price of Raffles, and better service overall. You are making me jealous! Book your flight, and have a ball.



"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero
User currently offlineStar_world From Ireland, joined Jun 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 7887 times:

Quoting GeorgiaAME (Reply 4):

And once you get there, I recommend the Ritz Carlton, Executive level. A third the price of Raffles, and better service overall. You are making me jealous! Book your flight, and have a ball.

I'd definitely second this - one of the best hotels I've stayed at anywhere in the world. Been there about 6 times in the last 18 months and every single time the service has been outstanding.


User currently offlineMarshalN From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2005, 1521 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 7840 times:

It continues to surprise me that flying vets in this forum ask questions about the service of airlines like SQ, CX, etc in comparison with things like UA.... they're really no comparison at all. UA is easily a notch, if not a few notches, down on the service scale.

Pick the SQ, especially since you get Star Alliance miles anyway  Smile

As for surviving 18 hours... it's a long flight, but since you're flying in Raffles, at least a good chunk of it should be spent sleeping. Between that, watching some movies, and eating, you don't have THAT much time left. Taking the sedative is one way, as someone suggested, although I always find myself feeling slightly uncomfortable after doing that, so I avoid it these days. I usually try to get a bad night's sleep beforehand to mimic the same effect  Smile


User currently offlineExpressjetphx From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 7692 times:

I have a similar situation this spring, with two consecutive long-hauls (BA0288 PHX-LHR, BA LHR-HKG, return), in Club World. I don't know how I'll do it (granted, a six-hour break at the Molton Brown Travel Spa at Heathrow may help), but I would much rather take the longer routing and sit in Club World for free (albeit, at the cost of 180,000 AmWest Miles), than pay $1200+ to sit in the back of a Cathay 744 for 14 hours with no special amenities.

User currently offlinePieinthesky From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 392 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7560 times:

Quoting GeorgiaAME (Reply 4):
Now, the possible downside of Raffles, not that I wouldn't jump at the chance to fly it. The seat is not much wider than the economy seat. It's a bit thicker, and a bit more comfortable than sitting in the back.

I am sorry my friend but the Spacebed is MUCH wider than the economy seat, the width is the main benefit of a Spacebed.

As for someone asking is flying in Raffles class 'bearable'...in comparison to UA.. rotfl 


User currently offlineBoysteve From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 951 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 7504 times:

Having just spent 14 hours in an economy SQ seat (SIN-MAN) without any problems I'm sure I could manage 18 hours in Raffles!

User currently offlineIntothinair From Germany, joined Mar 2005, 392 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 7380 times:

Go for SQ. The pitch is 64 inches, and the width is 22, yes 22 inches, and that in c class, not F. Compare that with UA F class. That's only got 20.5 inch width, however 70 inch pitch, but personally 2 inch more width makes a MUCH bigger difference than 6 inch more space to stretch you're legs, because after all, with 64 inch pitch it is already easily possible to fully stretch you're legs, no matter how tall you are.
As well as that, the IFE is just awesome on SQ, as well as the service. Highly recommendable.

Cheers, Konstantin G.


User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9697 posts, RR: 52
Reply 11, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 7332 times:

Thanks guys for the responses. I am quite surprised at how every person believes that business class on Singapore Airlines is better than first class on United. The United seat is a fully flat seat while the Singapore seat is angled down. But the width does look appealing however the armrest on United's seat folds down too which makes that a comfortable seat as well.

I would definitely choose SQ business over UA business any day. Especially because it is $1000 cheaper in this case than UA business and 5000 cheaper than UA first. But I am still a little on the edge about 18 hours and the quality of sleep you get on a slant compared to first class. As for the new lie flat seats, I have only flown on LH's and didn't sleep that great. Is SQ's lie flat really good compared to others? (I am looking forward to trying the VS seat when I fly LAX-AKL on NZ in December). I just want to make sure that you can sleep well in the Spacebed since once I get to Singapore early in the morning I would have a full day of stuff to do and wouldn't get to go to a hotel to freshen up for a few hours. My time is limited, so I want the best flying experience (in addition to having fun Smile!)

[Edited 2005-09-07 14:51:53]


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineMarshalN From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2005, 1521 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7288 times:

I guess 10 a.net members can be wrong, but I think the concensus here is that if it's a choice between something like SQ and UA -- with roughly comparable classes -- SQ is almost always preferable. Speaks volumes about the differences in quality of service.

User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3713 posts, RR: 28
Reply 13, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7280 times:

Personally, I am going to buck the trend....If it were comparable cabins I'd be on SQ in a shot.....however, on a flight this long personal space and a flat bed count for a lot so I'd probably opt for UA F. While I haven't directly sampled SQ's J product or UA's longhaul F suite product I have done slidey J seats and flat beds in F. I just don't get along with the 'fairground slide' tilted seats.


"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineUAalltheway From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7266 times:

I, also, have heard quite mixed reviews on the spacebed. Honestly, if I were you I would go with UA F... flat bed instead of slanted.


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User currently offlinePieinthesky From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 392 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 7247 times:

The Spacebed is fine for sleeping in, providing you don't extend it fully flat. Just bringing it back slightly to make a 'kink' in the seat is the most comfortable. It's main plus is it's so wide.

I am another who would much rather fly SQ in Raffles than UA in FIRST. At least you'll actually get a service between meals, and an excellent one at that. The UA long haul grannies have a habit of disappearing almost immediately after meal service to reappear only for the next meal service.


User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4903 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 7203 times:

Roseflyer,

it's a great flight, even in SQ's premium economy. Some basic points:

1. On an 18-hour flight, don't expect to be sleeping 18 hours! Most people confuse jet-lag with lack of sleep, and think oversleep will correct it. Granted, though, jet-lag is awful enough without being sleep deprived.

2. If you are not going to be sleeping for 18 hours, then you need to be comfortable for the rest of the time in the non-flat seat position, so that's also an issue. Most J class seats compared to F are a compromise for ultra longhaul flights.

3. Get passive and enjoy the ride. On long flights, you get lulled into another state (Alpha?) and you won't feel the passing of time so much. Groove on the cabin activity, the scenery outside and so on. Remember, you are in a cocoon, being totally looked after, and have no cares in the world for the next 18 hours!

4. Get to sleep later than earlier. Enjoy the luxury your employer is paying for (about the price of a small car!) Why spend all this money for great service and then sleep through it? It would be like going to a four-star restaurant and saying, 'No thanks, I think I'll sleep through my Meal'.

5. Don't kid yourself about getting in a full day's work the first day. Only investment bankers enjoy the 'dare' of getting off a 20-hour flight and going straight to a meeting. For those of us making less than $5M/year, I would strongly suggest getting in a night sooner, rehydrate, sleep on a real bed, get up on local time and get to work with a smile.

6. Your pattern would probably be something like this - H0 - H1: take off, champagne etc; H2- H3 Meal; H4 Reading/IFE; H5 light snack; H6-H11 Sleep; H12 Refresh/Meal, H13-H15 Daydream leading to Nap; H16-H17 IFE, H18 Snack, Prepare to Land. Wasn't that easy?

It'll be interesting to hear about you trip when you return - Bon Voyage!


User currently offlineMarshalN From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2005, 1521 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 7192 times:

Quoting Comorin (Reply 16):
1. On an 18-hour flight, don't expect to be sleeping 18 hours! Most people confuse jet-lag with lack of sleep, and think oversleep will correct it. Granted, though, jet-lag is awful enough without being sleep deprived.

Very true, although being a veteran of these super long hauls, I do envy the select few (there are some on every flight) who seem to be able to doze off for the entire duration save for meal service. I don't know how they do it, but I know they do. Some pop the pills, the other.... they're just good sleepers!


User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9697 posts, RR: 52
Reply 18, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7148 times:

Well folks, I just got my tickets for ORD-EWR on United connecting to EWR-SIN on Singapore Airlines. I have 2hrs 30min connecting time in EWR to get to the SQ flight, which should be enough even if there is some weather or delays in either city.

Coming back I have 1hr 55min between my SQ flight from SIN to get to my UA flight to ORD. Is this adequate time? I am Premier Executive if that helps with lines at EWR. Is customs and immigration bad there? Will there be many other flights arriving around 5pm? I have heard that the SQ flights can get in really early. I have never flown through EWR before (I have only been to LGA). Are UA and SQ in the same terminal, or close together? Should I worry about that connection? I am booked on the last UA flight out in the day.

Thanks for your input and suggestions. More are welcome! I am really excited to see SQ as I have never flown them and the A345 is a new airplane for me. Part of me wishes there was a first class cabin on the plane, but Raffles certainly will be very nice. I am a pretty seasoned traveler, but to go on the longest flight in the world is a real opportunity. I will be sure to write a trip report with as much documentation that I can provide for all of you.

Thanks for the flight plan Comorin. Is that for the EWR to SIN leg that leaves at 11pm? I have a feeling that the return flight that leaves at 11am will be worse since I won't be tired for much of the flight.

[Edited 2005-09-13 04:38:35]


If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineMarshalN From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2005, 1521 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 7138 times:

I don't think US immigration recognizes whether you're frequent flyer or not. 2 hours should be enough for your transfer, I think, especially as you already noted those flights tend to be ontime, if not slightly early. Since you're leaving the plane first on Raffles (and I do hope you're a US citizen) you should get in line first, which would make the immigration lines easier to deal with.

Comorin's suggestions are pretty good. I've never flown EWR-SIN before, but have done EWR-HKG quite a few times, and I'd say after a certain point, all you really want to do is nothing... your mind gets numbed after being on the plane for 12-13 hours, and the rest of the flight can get a little dreary. Look out the window if they let you open it, as you might be flying through China (I'm not sure about this) and if the sky is relatively clear, you can see some interesting cities/plains/whatever. And yeah, don't book your first day too full. By 3pm you'll be dead tired unless you're a good sleeper on the plane.


User currently offlineSthPacific787 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (9 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 7135 times:

I just arrived back from Singapore (to Sydney) on SQ Raffles Class. It's so good I was almost disappointed to end the flight (7.5 hours). Even the flight to Shanghai from Sing return on a SQ772 was good despite it being the old non-bed seat.

Totally recommend Singapore's Business Class offering. If you want to appreciate it more, try Qantas first. - they have the worst service!


User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9697 posts, RR: 52
Reply 21, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7087 times:

Quoting MarshalN (Reply 19):
And yeah, don't book your first day too full. By 3pm you'll be dead tired unless you're a good sleeper on the plane.

I tend to be a pretty good sleeper on planes, but no matter what I crash around dinner time due to the jetlag regardless of which direction I am flying if the time change is over 6 hours, or if it was a red eye, or a day flight. I am hoping that the extra long flight will give enough to get a good meal, get a 8-10 hours of sleep and then refresh in the morning and get another full meal in. Transatlantic flights are too short, and Transpacific flights are often timed awkwardly.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4903 posts, RR: 16
Reply 22, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7069 times:

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 18):
Is that for the EWR to SIN leg that leaves at 11pm

Affirmative, though I might want to go to bed a little sooner, before daybreak outside. Hope you enjoy your flight, will definitely look forward to your trip report!


User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (9 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 7064 times:

Quoting GeorgiaAME (Reply 4):
The aircraft is not any quieter up front than in the back.

I have to disagree. Behind the enines is always louder....

I'm not a massive fan of "sorta flat bed" seats...but that said, they aren't terrible. I never use them in the flat mode; just in the cradle, but that's me.

I'd take the flight just because, well, why not?

That said, beyond the novelty, I can't see the advantage of flying ORD-EWR-SIN over ORD-NRT-SIN.

And beyond the novelty of "fly SQ J at least once in your life" I think I'd take UA F.

Steve


User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9697 posts, RR: 52
Reply 24, posted (9 years 2 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 6985 times:

Quoting Sllevin (Reply 23):
beyond the novelty, I can't see the advantage of flying ORD-EWR-SIN over ORD-NRT-SIN

First off, sorry for taking a while to respond. The reason why ORD-EWR-SIN is more advantageous is the timing. The EWR-SIN flight leaves at 11:00pm meaning that I can get a full day of work in before flying out that night. If I wanted to go on UA's ORD-HKG-SIN or ORD-NRT-SIN, I would have to leave at 12:30pm or 1:10pm, which means that I miss a full day of work the day that I am departing. The EWR-SIN flight arrives at 5:30am, and the UA flight arrives at 11:45pm, so the advantage isn't there for UA unless you want to go relax in a hotel once you arrive in SIN (which is a nice option).

The EWR-SIN (and LAX-SIN) nonstops are just timed better since you don't leave in the middle of the day. I find international redeyes more appealing than day flights. The returning SIN-ORD (with connections) flights all depart in the morning in SIN and arrive in the late afternoon/evening in the states, so there isn't a scheduling benefit either way.

Quoting Sllevin (Reply 23):
And beyond the novelty of "fly SQ J at least once in your life" I think I'd take UA F.

I think I would prefer the UA first class suite that is fully flat over a business class product, but the timing makes up for the loss in comfort and the price is influential too. What I would really like would be for Singapore Airlines to put a first class cabin for their super long range flights. I don't understand why they didn't because I presume that LAX-SIN and EWR-SIN are some of their highest yielding flights since they are nonstop and very convenient.

But the novelty of going SQ Raffles class for the first time as well as taking the longest flight in the world and getting on an A340-500 which is now and most likely forever will be a rare airplane is appealing. I will be sure to write a trip report to tell you guys if it is worth it!



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
25 Post contains images ZKEOJ : Some people have problems.... Many many A-netters (and others) would DIE to fly in Raffles! And yes, even for business I am sitting in the back for fl
26 RoseFlyer : I definitely understand what you are saying. I feel very privelaged to even get to go to SIN at all. The extra luxury of being able to go in business
27 Fbgdavidson : I think it was said that they can't put F on the route because the SkySuites are too heavy! One of the reasons why economy has an enhanced pitch. Les
28 MarshalN : I have to say I disagree, maybe because you do fly J/F longhaul. I only fly J/F on longhaul once in a while (most of the flying I do are for 10+ hour
29 RoseFlyer : Well guys (and gals) I am off on my trip. I will be headed out ORD-EWR-SIN tomorrow and return a week later. I will of course write a trip report and
30 Amirs : I recently flew on El AL's 4x - ELS, which is a 744 with SQ's old interior. The seats in the upper class are the old raffles class. I slept the whole
31 DeltaGator : You already read my TR about this flight but that time should be fine unless the immigration computers fail like they did when I came through. I had
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