Next month, I planned to take my first international trip in months and fulfill a bucket-list item: fly Singapore Airlines in the new A380 Suites Class. For better or for worse, Singapore Airlines just cancelled my flight. I’m actually relieved.
Singapore Airlines New A380 Suites Class
I flew the Singapore Airlines A380 in the older Suites Class many years ago. It was one of the best flights of my life, not the least because my uncle and I had the entire cabin to ourselves.
But the new A380 Suites Class replaces 12 suites with only six, providing more space and more comfort. I’ve reviewed most of the world’s top first class products and this product represents a glaring hole.
Earlier this year I saw some saver space from London (LHR) to Singapore (SIN)…125K KrisFlyer miles is hardly a steal, but there’s no fuel surcharge and it beats the usual 220K price. I grabbed it with a connection to Jakarta (CGK). The plan was to review the A380 in Suites Class, the 777 in first class (I’ve done that before, but it was no additional miles for the extra segment), stay at the new Park Hyatt in Jakarta, and then take Garuda Indonesia to Tokyo on the A330neo in business class. From Tokyo I hoped to fly ANA or JAL in business class back to Los Angeles. I had hoped to fly Virgin Atlantic to London on the A350.
A lot of moving parts, right?
Well, any hope that international travel would broadly resume by July was woefully optimistic.
Virgin Atlantic won’t start flying until late July. Transiting through London and Singapore would not be a problem but Indonesia does not currently allow it and I’m not even clear about whether Japan does. The Park Hyatt opening has been pushed back to the end of the year.
Now I could have salvaged the trip and taken British Airways to London, another product I’ve wanted to review, then ditch the Singapore – Jakarta leg and just fly back to San Francisco on United or back to Los Angeles nonstop on Singapore to try the A350.
But there was something else that bothered me, namely the soft product cutbacks onboard.
The Premium Cabin Dilemma
Premium cabin travel bloggers face a dilemma in the coming months, as routes begin to re-open. Even with routes resuming, how valuable is a review of a product in which the soft product (meals, blankets, pillows, amenities) is drastically scaled back (hopefully on a temporary basis). If single-tray service in first class becomes the new norm, then maybe such a review is helpful. If not, the review has a very short shelf life.
For flights where meal services are provided, First and Business Class meals are to be served as a one-tray offering, as per Singapore’s regulations. This will consist of an appetiser, a main course and a dessert. We have also adjusted the alcohol offerings in all classes. Satay, cheese and fruit services have also been suspended in First and Business Class.
That doesn’t sound like fun for a 13-hour flight…
Honestly, one reason I’m relieved about this flight being cancelled is that I don’t have to justify taking a purely discretionary trip. It is bound to happen one day…we must slowly get back to work, myself included, but I am happy to suspend this trip to a later date.
Do you have any international July trips you are still planning on taking?