Flight Review

Review: Singapore Airlines B777-300ER New First Class, Hong Kong to San Francisco

I arrived at Hong Kong one day earlier solely for my flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco. Most of the reviews and blog post about Hong Kong in-town check-in is at Hong Kong (Airport Express) Station. Therefore, I decided to be adventurous and go to Kowloon station for my in-town check-in. 

It was entirely under construction on my way of a taxi to Kowloon station, and it was slightly desolate. But when I arrived at the lobby of Kowloon station, there were barely any travelers. It WAS depressing. 

Singapore Airlines does not have its check-in clerk in Kowloon station; the service was integrated with other airlines instead..

Singapore Airlines does not have its check-in clerking Hong Kong airport; the service was integrated with other airlines instead. I took the Airport Express right after my in-town check-in, hopped on the train with barely any other passengers. 

Airport Express Kowloon station platform, with few passengers.

Check-In for Singapore Airlines First Class

I went for the check-in clerk directly once I arrived at the airport. Ambitious enough, I planned to review all three Star Alliance airport lounges in Hong Kong Airport, so I entered four hours early just in case I could not finish my documenting and reviewing.

Besides the regular route of Hong Kong to San Francisco at terminal 5, there are still a few flights to Singapore. It might be the timing when I arrived, but there was only one open clerk, so there was no choice for priority boarding. And it was slow; it took five minutes for me to check-in. In this regard, due to the lack of manpower at other country’s airport, the First Class’s boarding service cannot be as glorious as its counterpart at the home country Singapore.

Singapore Airlines does not have its own check-in clerks in Hong Kong Airport.

Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge

Check-in and passing the security in Hong Kong were smooth. On your right hand side is the renovated lounge of Singapore Airlines, and it has received a lot of praises from cantonese stars. I rarely have the chance to be at Hong Kong Airport with a First Class boarding pass in my hand, definitely gonna seize the opportunity to visit all three Lounges at the airpot, including United Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways. Thai Airways and United Airlines are located at the other end of the airport. It was so far that I had to take a shuttle train to get there. The funny thing was that there was no shuttle service for return when I finished visiting the two lounges, so I walked all the way across Terminal 1 to get back. Each of the lounges has its own pros and cons, and there are a lot to be discussed. We will get back to them once we have the chance, stay tuned.

Let’s jump to conclusion shortly. Presume that you only want to go to one Lounge with Star Alliance membership, choose Singapore Airlines, they win the game with the capital.

Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge at Hong Kong Airport. Newly renovated, comfortable and luxurious. Qualify to compare with its counterpart in Singapore.

Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge at Hong Kong Airport. Newly renovated, comfortable and luxurious. Qualify to compare with its counterpart in home country, Singapore. 

The flight which transfers to Hong Kong from Singapore delayed when arrived, so the boarding time was delayed as well.

Newly renovated 777-300ER for SQ2

There are four line up arrays in front of the gate, First Class, Business Class, Gold membership, and priority boarding for the rear of the plane respectively. This manner differs from American and Taiwanese Airlines, which categorize and board passengers by zones. I rushed to the line, as usual, to get a perfect, without human shot of the First Class. 

First Class, Business Class, Gold membership, and priority boarding for rear of the plane respectively

Singapore Airlines First Class Cabin

However, it was a tremendous disappointment that greeted me once I boarded. There was a family on the plane already as they departed from Singapore. Special thanks to the family that assisted me in getting the shot by keeping their heads low kindly.

The newest 777-300ER First Class of Singapore Airlines, eight seats in total.

It is just a tasteful First Class cabin. Singapore Airlines’ official website stated that this cabin is co-designed with BMW’s American design team. I had a sneak peek at the business cabins behind us, and it was a 1-2-1 layout with ample space. I thought the business cabin was First Class cabin on the first glance. Comparing to the 1-1-1 layout of Cathay’s First Class cabin, Singapore Airlines, Japanese Airlines, and Air China do share a lot in common in their 1-2-1 layout, standard 777-300ER First Class cabin design. However, Singapore Airlines’s First Class cabin is somewhat smaller than its counterpart at Japanese Airlines. The main reason is that they put the TV screen at the front end of the table, instead of the rear end, so the TV is closer to the passenger. With its 24 inches screen, it is seemingly massive.

I have to re-emphasize that Singapore Airlines First Class Cabin IS REALLY TASTEFUL, low-profile, luxuriously comfy. With the atmospheric lighting, it is more high-class than its counterpart at Cathay and Japanese Airlines. The ceiling does not have a storage area, which is similar to Cathay Airlines. So the ample spatial experience is calming and delightful.

Singapore Airlines 777-300ER First Class Cabin

As always, I choose my seat at 2A/2K, and these are the best seats for First Class flights, based on my frequent flying experience. The chair space seemed generous and tasteful, but I noticed that it is much smaller than the First Class at Japanese Airlines when I took the picture. Absolutely small, later that I found out.

Amenities for Singapore Airlines First Class

First thing I do on a flight: taking some pictures when the light is still on. Then I would get change, into my First Class uniform (pajamas.) Singapore Airlines’ amenity kit is co-branded with Salvatore Ferragamo. Consistently tasteful, especially a full glass of perfume, we can see how sincere Singapore Airlines treats their customers.

Singapore Airlines’ amenity kit, co-branded with Salvatore Ferragamo, entirely glassed perfume for male.

Singapore Airlines First Class Seat

Consistently tasteful. Although the room arrangement is similar to Japanese Airlines, the devil is in the details. For example, the plane tray can be pulled out, vertically and horizontally adjustable, so passengers can have their breakfast without any difficulties even when the bed is not folded up. Also, there is a micro storage area at the front of the seat with a mirror above. The lighting of the space is more than sufficient: two sources of light on each end and two other controllable light on top. The most significant benefit of this adequate lighting is that I don’t have to flashlight my meals when taking pictures. For a travel blogger/photographer like me, no blind spot, no problem.

Singapore Airlines’ plane tray at the New First Class cabin is adjustable horizontally and vertically, with HDMI and multinational power source aside.
A micro storage area next to the plane tray for your gadgets like camera. A mirror next to the TV screen for brush up.
The control panel is on the aisle side of the seat, as well as a handhold, mobile device sized remote controller. However, the TV is not touch screen.

Other amenities, including BOSE’s noise cancellation headphone, are similar to the majority of other airlines. What surprised me was the leather-covered menu. With this menu in hand, I practically felt like having a high-class meal at a luxurious restaurant. 

Similar to many airlines, Singapore Airlines chooses BOSE for their noise cancellation headphones.
This leather binder is truly the meal menu on plane. Rather than printing the dishes on a high quality paper, this measure provides a better atmosphere of a luxurious restaurant.

Dinner on Singapore Airlines First Class

Travelers who enjoy a glass of champagne in the air wouldn’t miss this one. Singapore Airlines provides two kinds of champagne, Dom Perignon, and Krug Grand Cuve’e respectively. Indeed a pleasure that should be merited more than one flight, but fortunately, you can have it all here. Enjoyable, but it lacks a sense of comprehension for a champagne newbie like me.

Singapore Airlines First Class Cabin provides world known Dom Perignon, and vintage Krug Grand Cuve’e.

I had been served by mainly two flight attendants during my time in the air. One gentleman and one lady who speaks Cantonese. I have heard that Singapore Airlines’ First Class Cabin is filled with male attendants and this is my turn to see. It is my first time being served by a male flight attendant in a First Class cabin, and the experience is reasonably distinctive. Particularly when a suited up gentleman serves my meal sharply, I frankly felt like I was in a Michelin Restaurant. Unfortunately, the female attendant was in her traditional Singaporean clothing rather than a set of formal dress, or I would have a diverse experience.

I chose a lobster salad and corn soup recommended by an Aussie chief, fair amount, and it tasted on point.

Singapore Airlines First Class Cabin – Appetizer, lobster salad.
Singapore Airlines First Class Cabin – Appetizer, corn soup.

The main course is a set of grilled lobster pre-ordered at Book to Cook online. I have always fancied having a decent meal on a plane. By this chance, I can finally check off “having lobster at 30,000 miles” on my bucket list. The choices of Singapore Airlines’s Book to Cook is genuinely wide, but not the case when a traveler departs from Hong Kong. I appreciate my lobster meal on flight this time, for sure.

Singapore Airlines First Class Cabin – main course, grilled lobster.

Irrelevant fact: I am a sucker for dessert, so I had both kinds of dessert prepared by the flight attendant. One is the Tremella syrup soup, local, old schooled, canto style. The other is the beautifully decorated parfait.

Singapore Airlines First Class Cabin – dessert, Tremella syrup soup, distinguished canto style.
Singapore Airlines First Class Cabin – dessert, Australian chief recommended parfait.

I had the chance to wander around after the meal and saw a flight attendant preparing a fruit plate for the business class. As I grabbed a wax apple to my mouth, “should have taken some fruit after my meal.” The thought came to my mind.

The fruit plate at the Business Class Gallery.

I then returned to my seat. My bed has been made. Have to mention, for the first time, I can’t get my legs straight.

Singapore Airlines’ official site has stated that the New First Class is 35 inches wide and 82 inches long, is one of the most spacious First Class in the world. But it is just not big enough. I am not THAT tall, and I don’t have the same concern when taking First Class with Japanese Airlines and Cathay Airlines, FYI.

I had a chat with the flight attendant for this regard. The attendant told me that the A380 First Class is still their top-notch, and 777-300ER can’t win at its comfort and privacy level. But it’s ok. There is always next time.

Singapore Airlines New First Class – Night time service.

Because I need to have my reviews delivered, it is quite stressful for me to sleep on First Class flights. Keep flipping over you know; I don’t want a full night sleep after all. (Un)Fortunately, the toddler next to me hit the hay once he boarded, so he woke up in the middle of the flight, and me too. Luckily, I took the chance and ordered a late night meal, chicken noodle soup. Fair enough, but I miss my Thai Airways meal more. Oops.

Singapore Airlines New First Class – late night meal, chicken noodle soup.

Lavatory on Singapore Airlines First Class

After the meal, I took a look at the lavatory before hitting back to hay. 

Singapore Airlines New First Class – Lavatory amenities.

Breakfast on Singapore Airlines First Class

I woke up to breakfast and I saw the passenger in front of me having his meal without the bed folded, so I figured might as well give it a shot. As the plane tray is adjustable, I can have my breakfast comfortably even without lowering the plate, this is undoubtedly a plus. My meal was chicken seafood scallops porridge, pre-ordered on Book to Cook as well.

Singapore Airlines New First Class – Breakfast, fruit plate.
Singapore Airlines New First Class – Breakfast, chicken seafood scallops porridge.

The sky turned dark after breakfast, as we were arriving in San Francisco. I hurried to take a shot with the flight attendants, got changed, adjusted my seat, and landed. The entire SQ2 flight is mostly daytime, so it turns dark when we arrive in San Fran.

The entire SQ2 flight is mostly daytime, so it turns dark when we arrive in San Fran.

Bottom Line

This First Class Flight with Singapore Airlines is entirely different from my previous experience with Japanese Airlines. The overall service quality can be described as “just right.” On the other hand, what Japanese Airline did was a bit too much in relativity. Singapore Airlines gives their passengers a lot of personal space, rather than its counterpart at Japanese Airline, which is almost watching passengers 24/7 looking to serve. Book to Cook with a wide range of options is unquestionably a plus, and the dining experience is more than a first class meal for sure. It is more of a luxurious restaurant dining experience.

Cut to the point, flying first class is different from business flying; it is more than a way of traffic. Instead, first class flying is an attraction when traveling. Utilizing your points to arrange your trip, as well as booking a First Class flight provides an alternative way of enjoyment. Bon Voyage, fellow travelers!

AwardTravel Protip 1
AwardTravel Trivia for Star Alliance Gold Membership:

The requirement of each airline in the Star Alliance to accumulate for gold membership varies. For example, United Airlines requires 50k miles or 60 flights (as well as consumption of $6,000 US dollar) to obtain a Star Alliance Gold membership. However, Turkish Airlines only requires 40k miles to receive the membership, and 25k miles a year to maintain (as long as you are not a Turkish resident).

AwardTravel Protip 2

Singapore Airline is the only aero carrier in the world that provides the rare yet favorite Grand Crured Burgundy, world known Dom Perignon, and vintage Krug Grand Cuve’e at the same time.

AwardTravel Protip 3

Generally speaking, in the starting and ending points of a flight tour, one of the points must be at the airport whose nationality is consistent to the airlines. Otherwise, the carriers must apply for 5th freedom of the air (the right to fly between two countries on a flight originating or ending in one’s own country).