SQ11 Tokyo Narita International (NRT) - Singapore Changi International (SIN)
Tokyo's Narita airport was fairly busy, but the Singapore check-in facility was completely empty and I saw that my boarding card had already been printed out! I was given this and a lounge invite in a lovely dark red Singapore First branded wallet. Immigration and security was dealt with fairly quickly and I was off to ANA's First lounge near the boarding gate 41. This was a good 5 minute walk away.
Due to my arrival at the airport fairly early, it was about 4pm when I entered the lounge - a good three hours before the flight. Unfortunately the lounge had no champagne - so I had a couple of beers and a glass of red wine. The lounge staff brought my beer to me along with a plate of nibbles and I also took some small sandwich bitelets from the small food selection. Later I had a couple of pieces of sushi. The lounge was fairly quiet and I had a lovely seat by the large windows with excellent views over the apron. I also noticed that there was a noodle area serving various forms of udon.
The three hours seemed to go by very quickly and when the announcement came at about 6:25pm I went immediately to the boarding gate and pretty much straight on the aircraft. I was met at the door and escorted to my seat 2A. I was thrilled to at last be in the SQ 747 First cabin! The cabin gradually filled up and ended up being full for this sector to Singapore. The senior cabin crew introduced herself and gave me some information about the flight and I was offered some Dom Perignon 99. I was also given my pyjamas and a wonderful Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit. I changed into my pyjamas fairly much straight away but was interested to note, given this semi-night flight that I was the only person to do so for the whole flight!
We pushed back on time and had a long taxi to the runway where after waiting for a number of take-offs and landings we took to the air in the quiet way that you do when sitting in the nose of a 747! In a foretaste of the flight itself the climb was quite bumpy. Overall the flight was very turbulent, but more on that later! The seat was very comfortable, although I immediately noticed that there is no foot stool of any kind and I actually found this a little frustrating as I love sticking my feet on this when flying with other airlines (e.g. BA, GF) who provide this.
The meal service took an awfully long time to start - presumably because of the full cabin, but I was presented with my pre-ordered Singapore Sling cocktail (one of my favourites) quite quickly - in case you're worrying I only had one and then reverted to Krug champagne after that. Anyway, the menu! I had pre-booked Beef Sukiyaki using SQ's Book The Cook feature. The menu was split into Japanese and International selections and I had the latter, which went something like this:
Dinner from Tokyo to Singapore - International Selection
Satay - with onion, cucumber and spicy peanut sauce
Chilled molossol caviar
Assorted tapas of
duckliver with fig compote, "tataki"
Hamasui - Japanese style clear soup with clams and vegetables
Cream of white asparagus garnished with parmesan crisp
Caesar salad - romaine
lettuce with bacon, Parmesan cheese,
Grilled swordfish served
with lemon caper butter, ragout of
Braised chicken with
ginger and spring onion served
Roasted herb crusted lamb
chops served with pommery
Fettuchine pasta served
with strogonoff style assorted
Haagen Dazs vanilla,
strawberry and chocolate ice cream
Selection of cheeses with garnish
A selection of fresh fruit
To end on a sweet note
Dom Pérignon 1999
Krug Grande Cuvée
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Dr Loosen Urzinger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese 2005
Chateau Cos d-Estournel 1999 Saint-Estephe
Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtess de Lalande 1998 Pauillac
Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Graham's 20 Year Old Tawny Port
What a banquet! The satay was OK, a little tough maybe. I had the caviar as an appetiser, which was lovely. The Japanese soup was again OK, but the Caesar salad was exceptionally good. And talking of exceptional, the main course of Beef Sukiyaki was truly wonderful. It didn't look the best, but the taste and tenderness of the beef was perfect. Easily the best food I've ever had on an airliner. I had both dessert and cheese, but by the time I got to the cheese, I was rather full and the turbulence had got really bad so I only had one piece and left it at that. For the first few courses I stuck with the Krug, but for the main course I switched to the Chateau Pichon-Longueville which was very good.
One of the major benefits of SQ is the wonderful IFE system, which I had previously experienced in economy. In First it is the same system but witha wonderful large screen. I decided to watch an old classic Bond film, Dr. No which was great to see again.
After the meal, I asked the SQ cabin crew to make my bed which they did by putting a mattress on the flat bed seat and giving me a duvet to lie under. I fell asleep quickly and didn't think I slept for long, but I have since worked out that it must have been about three hours! Quite remarkable - the seat is very comfortable in the lie-flat position, but to be absolutely honest not quite as good as Gulf Air's! I "got up" about 1h 30m before arrival and ordered a cup of tea with a custard cake and a banana and changed back into my normal clothes.
As we got closer to Singapore and started our descent, it was obvious that there were quite a lot of thunderstorms in the area. As we descended, we in fact flew directly through the thunderstorm. The turbulence was bad, but not the worst I've experienced, but the flashed of lightning were all around the plane and you could hear the cracks of thunder - quite remarkable sat inside a moving jet plane! Eventually we reached the runway and absolutely slammed down on the deck - must have been some kind of wind shear right over the runway. We taxied for quite a while before reaching the gate.
So in conclusion - how was it? Well, I did anticipate this flight greatly and sometimes that can only lead to disappointment, but I can truly say that this was a wonderful flight on a wonderful airline and it really did live up to my expectations . Singapore Airlines really is a top, top notch airline.
ANA First lounge in Narita
Singapore Airlines First Class (apologies for the blurriness of some of these - caused by cabin lighting and turbulence!)