Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Posted (7 years 6 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 16772 times:
Long time no reports, but here’s another one. It’s the second part of my HEL-MNL ticket I started last year – I had a 5-month stopover in SIN and bought a separate SK business class ticket to go home to BKK. So, this report covers SK C BKK-SIN, SQ F SIN-FRA and LH C FRA-SIN. I could have easily routed via BKK and avoid that SK ticket, but TG F is so inferior compared to SK that I just decided to take SQ back as well.
10 March 2006
Bangkok Don Muang (BKK/VTBD) – Singapore Changi (SIN/WSSS)
Scandinavian Airlines SK/SAS 973
LN-RKF “Godfred Viking”
1620-1910 – On Time
Business Class, Seat 3A
I still had some last minute gift shopping to be done in Bangkok, so wasn’t able to leave for Don Muang until 2pm. Finding a taxi proved not to be the easiest task as I had five bulky pieces of luggage and two carry-ons. Bangkok taxis with the NGV tanks in the trunk can’t handle such a load but luckily the next car was ok. In hindsight, TG F limousine service would have been a lot less stressful as they also carry your junk to check-in for you.
In one word: disaster. SAS is of course handled by TG, and the difference between their ground and cabin crews is just astonishing. First the very rude lady told me I was 27kg overweight – I politely pointed out that my Gold card gives me 20kg extra. She then refused to through check the stuff to HEL stating flights have to be on the same day. This is also not true as Singapore Changi accepts connecting luggage for up to 24 hours. She was having none of it. Final straw was when she insisted that I MUST leave my Gold card in the booking – but I wanted to credit to UA. I figured I’d deal with that later as she was not aware of any policies really.
I used the bi-level Thai Royal Silk lounge as usual – It’s probably the best lounge at Don Muang at the moment. However, a massage was refused because I was not flying Thai. No problem with this – but please make it clear – half of the time it’s possible half of the time not. In my opinion it’s ridiculous anyway to restrict lounge services for guests that are eligible for access.
Boarding was delayed a bit as the aircraft arrived late from Copenhagen, but with a rather light load, it was completed in no time and we were looking at an on-time departure. I took some newspapers from the rack at the gate (Hello SAS, ever heard of giving them onboard in business??), and changed my FF number to UA. Surprise, surprise – miles never posted. Was greeted by a friendly Danish guy and took my seat 3A onboard SK’s first A340, still fitted with old business class at that time.
Honestly I wasn’t expecting anything from this flight since the SIN-BKK was a complete joke service wise last October. But actually SAS wasn’t bad at all on this flight apart from the meal that wouldn’t be served even in SQ Y class on the same route.
Pre-departure drinks were offered as the doors were closed – water or orange juice in cheap looking plastic cups and just once. In my opinion, proper glasses, offering the drinks earlier and giving refills should all be included in good business class service. But I knew how it would be so I wasn’t too disappointed. We took off from 21R with no delay, and later flew right over my apartment building in central Bangkok.
Service in the air started with drinks, nuts and hot towels – something that was completely skipped on my previous SIN-BKK. Roasted almonds, champagne and water is what I took. They serve the European C class champagne on this flight (Nicolas Feuillatte in small bottles) – rather ridiculous if you ask me. I wouldn’t be too happy flying CPH-SIN and they’d then downgrade the drinks for the second leg (Henriot 1995 on all longhauls). Nothing wrong with the champagne itself, I just find the whole procedure crazy. Other drinks were also very much substandard – JW Red Label and some VS cognac. Finnair serves XO.
Meal was the exact same as SIN-BKK, some salad and a skewer of fish. Rather funny considering the quality of hot meals SQ and TG serve in Y on the same route. However, drink refills were plentiful and service was good. Had plenty of more champagne after the meal, and before landing one of the ladies brought me another unopened bottle and told me to “enjoy it in the hotel if you don’t want to drink it here anymore”. I was seriously impressed. Perhaps the Finnair polo shirt I was wearing did the trick.
Immigration took about a quarter of a minute and baggage came out in a few minutes – I can only hope Suvarnabhumi will be as efficient as Changi is. But thanks to TG ground staff incompetence, I had a nice stroll to T2 ahead of me with all the luggage. Overall, Not many complaints about SK this time, but the BKK-SIN-BKK business class product was really low end towards the end of the route. Alas, the extension has now been dropped, and passengers can enjoy equally bad catering on LX instead with whom SK codeshares.
Some points that didn’t meet my expectations if we talk about international business class in Asia:
- Newspapers at gate, not offered onboard
- Pre-departure drinks in plastic cups, served only once after pushback, no champagne
- SK serving Euro C champagne on a longhaul flight extension, low end scotch and VS cognac
- Meal is a complete joke – come on, no hot food?
But with the excellent service the flight was enjoyable, and the check-in fiasco I’ll just shrug off as“This is Thailand” incompetence.
SIA First Class Early Check-In
As soon as I turned even slightly towards the SIA First Class check-in lobby, a porter literally ran to me and asked “May I take care of your bags, sir?” Heck, I looked like a sweating pig after struggling to T2 with all the luggage – I probably would have had a hard time convincing somebody I was flying F with some other airlines! Boarding passes issued, luggage checked to HEL and Book the Cook meals confirmed, I headed to the Singapore Marriott for the night.
11 March 2006
Singapore Changi (SIN/WSSS) – Frankfurt Main (FRA/EDDF)
Singapore Airlines SQ/SIA 326
1345-2045 – On Time
First Class, Seat 2F
As I had checked in the night before, I went directly to one of the top airline lounges in the world – SilverKris First Lounge. The décor might not be the best and it’s a bit dark, but I was a happy camper after plenty of Dom Perignon as well as Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Didn’t partake in the breakfast buffet as I had 12 hours of daylight First Class in front of me.
Boarding was slightly delayed as the aircraft had arrived slightly late from Jakarta CGK. Probably an aircraft substitution as I thought all SIN-CGK rotations were scheduled as 772/773/345s. But apparently 744s still appear regularly. Anyway, after five minutes I was the first one to board the now nameless “Megatop”, and a LSS immediately escorted me to seat 2F and helped me to stow my bags. The usual goodies appeared before the doors were closed – a pile of newspapers and magazines, Bvlgari amenity kit, Givenchy pajamas as well as menu and drink list in the leather holder that is. Not to forget good old Dom, hot nuts and hot towels either. Meal choices were confirmed as well while on the ground.
This was going to be my first daylight longhaul in First, and I was obviously very much looking forward to it. Unfortunately “Mike Zulu” doesn’t have the internet yet, but of course Wisemen 3000 AVOD is available. Pushback was about 5 minutes late, and we took off shortly thereafter.
Service started with the usual – more nuts were offered as well as drinks, and that of course means more Dom for me. I guess I could have taken Krug as well, but I prefer the slightly lighter taste of Dom Perignon. Instead of more nuts, SQ should consider offering canapés after takeoff since nuts are offered on the ground already. Next, the tables were set up, and what SQ calls light meal was served. I suppose it was rather light indeed for First, but matched perfectly my taste preferences. Here’s the menu for SQ 326.
Light Meal from Singapore to Frankfurt
Pave of Balik salmon Slab of classic Russian cold-smoked
salmon with asparagus and crème fraiche
Nage of beef shin with spring vegetables in broth with carrot, asparagus and peas
Roast Muscovy duck with black cherries, grilled vegetables and new potatoes
Wok fried scallops in Oriental XO sauce with seasonal vegetables and ee-fu noodles
Warm mango and almond gratin
From the Bakery
Oven fresh rolls With choice of extra virgin olive oil or butter
Freshly brewed coffee
Espresso or cappuccino
Selection of tea
Fancy a snack? Simply take your pick from our range of delectable snacks and make your selection known to our cabin crew.
Fish ball broth with kway teow or bee hoon noodles
Vegetarian and non-vegetarian instant noodles
Chicken satay in plain ciabatta
Beef pastrami with gherkins in foccaccia bun
Mozzarella with roast capsicum in onion ciabatta
Cashew, almond or macadamia nuts
Famous Amos chocolate chip
Real McCoy potato chips “Smokey BBQ”
A selection from the fruit basket
Assorted Walkers biscuits
Dinner from Singapore to Frankfurt
Satay With onion, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce
Chilled malossol caviar With melba toast and condiments
Gooseliver with mesclun salad and fruits in season Walnut oil and xeres vinegar dressing
Chicken consommé with quail egg and borlotto beans
Oriental minced beef and spinach soup
Fine field greens Balsamic and extra virgin olive oil dressing
Singapore dressing infused in shallot oil with sambal, lime and honey
Cod fillet with curry sauce, endive fondue, baby carrots and steamed potatoes
Braised pork shank in port wine sage, sauerkraut with bacon and onion, mesclun
Corn-fed chicken in white wine with braised lentil and mesclun in olive oil dressing
Braised beef cheeks with fish tripe, emperor greens and fried rice
Salad of puy lentil with haricot vert, cherry tomato confit, roasted parsnip, globe artichoke and quail eggs, hazelnut oil-forvm vinegar dressing
Selection of cheese with garnishes
Selection of fresh fruit
Choice of apple tart with vanilla ice cream and passionfruit coulis
From the Bakery
Oven fresh rolls With choice of extra virgin olive oil or butter
Freshly brewed coffee
Espresso or cappuccino
Selection of tea
To end on a sweet note
Champagne Classic Choice
Dom Perignon 1998
Krug Grande Cuvee
The salmon was excellent, and I had ordered the Book the Cook lobster thermidor for main course. Excellent as usual, but I’d say it was even tastier than ex-Frankfurt. The dessert was good as well, and my Dom glass was topped up regularly of course. Service was exemplary, not that I’d expect anything else in Singapore First.
I then watched a couple of movies while sipping more Dom, and eventually requested the turndown service and slept an hour or two. The SkySuite with the mattress was very comfortable, and the duvet and oversized pillows are excellent as well. Food is served whenever one requests it, I decided to have dinner some 3 hours out of Frankfurt.
After the satay, I chose the caviar and oriental soup as starters. Huge portion of caviar, chilled vodka to go with it, followed by the soup which was a bit tasteless. The salad was decent, nothing special. I had the roasted rack of lamb ordered this time, and it didn’t disappoint. Being completely stuffed at this point, I had just some strawberries from the fruit basket, a small selection of cheeses and of course the dessert which was very good.
All too soon, descent to Frankfurt Main started, and we touched down on schedule on what I believe was runway 07R. Docked at the B gates, I said my goodbyes to the excellent crew who wished to see me again soon (so do I!), and a LH guy was pointing passengers to the right gates for connections. No surprises there, I had a marathon in front of me to gate A33 or something similar – in any case at the end of the A pier.
No time to visit lounges, I was just lucky to make it to the gate. Picked up some Baileys for my mum at one of the Travel Value shops and got a nice surprise there. The cashier told me she definitely needs to freshen up me for my next flight, and proceeded to spray some stuff on my face and drying it off. I must say it was refreshing indeed – but this was quite unexpected at FRA really. Perhaps she was impressed to see my Raffles Class stock boarding pass.
Boarding started about a minute after I made it to the gate, no pro-boarding for C or elites as usual. Was greeted by a friendly guy at the door and took my seat 1A. 1C remained empty for this evening flight to Helsinki.
This flight was the usual standard LH European business class, with full hot meal service with two choices. The appetizer salad with some prawns was nice, I have no clue what I chose for the main course. In any case, I didn’t finish much of it having just eaten that SQ dinner. Nevertheless, it was much better than AY or BA European C meals, and service was good with a few drink refills. Slept for the rest of the flight in the rather uncomfortable LH B737 leather seat. That’s no SkySuite for sure.
Not from this flight, but the meal service was similar:
I was rather surprised to see all of my junk appearing on the baggage belt rather quickly, I was expecting it would never make the 40-minute connection at Frankfurt. Customs asked a few question about my pile of bags, but even when I declared the value of the stuff to be 60 EUR more than what’s allowed, he just waved me through.
Overall, SAS was a bit disappointing, SQ was fantastic and LH was the standard European fare. SQ F product remains the best out there for me. TG may have their limo service, LH their F terminal, but overall SQ is unbeatable.
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 16531 times:
Quoting Zrs70 (Reply 2): I prefer newspapers at the gate. It gives an opportnity to really choose at leisure.
That's fine for me too, but a few times I didn't pick up any as I thought they'd offer them onboard too. None to be had there. And if you stay in the lounge until boarding calls are made, Y class pax have most likely emptied the shelf of the better ones.
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 5, posted (7 years 6 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 16118 times:
Well Chris, I have many OW carriers planned - just don't know where. BA is 140K (w/CX) BKK-HKG-LHR-MRU rt - looks VERY tempting.... But then again I have my pregnant wife... So it looks like my next F will be HKG-SYD-HKG on CX. Should be fantastic.
Fuffla From Australia, joined Feb 2004, 399 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 14610 times:
"Overall, SAS was a bit disappointing, SQ was fantastic and LH was the standard European fare. SQ F product remains the best out there for me. TG may have their limo service, LH their F terminal, but overall SQ is unbeatable. "
Obviously not what the voting public on Skytrax think!
BA, then QF, then TG, then SQ!
I flew SYD-BKK-SYD in TG F, experienced both the new and new old seats, and it was fantastic. I know that their old seats are not exactly up to scratch, but their service is fantastic, all meals are fantastic, and I thought the ground crew were fantastic
That was the biggest joke I've seen for a long time when I saw it on Flyertalk a few days ago. BA sure is good overall, and QF F looks very nice, but TG being ahead of SQ and CX, even MH to some extent - give me a break.
Quoting Fuffla (Reply 9): their service is fantastic, all meals are fantastic, and I thought the ground crew were fantastic
Usually yes. Too much on stake with TG's famous staff and aircraft roulette though, so I'll take SQ anyday if that's a possibility. Crews have been really hit or miss lately on TG on my experience - way too much inconsistency. Sure, the new suites and a nice crew - the product is way up there with the rest. Now that the 7441 config is gone though, at least they can't put you info flying museum nowadays.
Even by CX? I'd be interested to know what "little things" make SQ better as I have only flown CX F. Never had the chance to try the product up front on SQ though. However from business class experience, I may actually give the "best" title to Malaysian.
I just became a oneworld Elite this past week. Maybe my goal of flying CX again one day soon will happen. Till I have enough miles to do that trip, I am going to have to stick to NW/CO.
Lufthansa747 From Philippines, joined May 1999, 3201 posts, RR: 45 Reply 12, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 14394 times:
Thanks for the comments.
Quoting SR 103 (Reply 11): Even by CX? I'd be interested to know what "little things" make SQ better as I have only flown CX F.
I won't be able to say much about CX at the moment. I had only one (upgraded) CX F flight BKK-SIN where 11 of 12 pax were upgraded, and it was terrible (for obvious reasons I guess - it was booked 4/38 in J, 1 F the night before). Wrong menus, serving business drinks, crew forgot about pre-ordered duty free etc etc. Had much better in J before. Also refused F lounge access with that red CX boarding pass which I thought was absolutely ridiculous considering the difference with their BKK lounges (i.e. about none). IMHO, if you choose the upgrade route (Y->J and J->F on CX seems to happen all the time vs. SQ), please provide the whole experience.
But I'm sure CX will be up there with SQ when I finally get to burn the Asiamiles for HKG-SYD-HKG - should be sometime this autumn.