Update 6/26/16: Singapore is ending its Sao Paulo <-> Barcelona route, which is reviewed here in First Class. The last flight is October 20, 2016. Singapore will continue to fly Singapore <-> Barcelona, but that isn’t much consolation, since Sao Paulo <-> Barcelona is specifically such a great deal. Award space is great Barcelona <-> Sao Paulo through October 20.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 7.18.46 PM

————————————————

Singapore Airlines Flight 67
Sao Paulo (GRU) – Barcelona (BCN)
Depart: 5:50 PM on Monday May 16, 2016
Arrive: 9:25 AM next day
Duration: 10 hours, 35 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777
Seat: 1A (First Class)

A few weeks ago, I booked myself 10+ hours of Singapore First Class for 58,225 Singapore miles + $37 to get from Brazil, where I spent a week and a half to close out the South American summer, to Spain where I was kicking off the European summer.

The Anatomy of an Award post explains why the award was so cheap, so check that out now if you’re blown away by the price. The flight flew a Singapore 777, which features on several major Singapore routes including those to San Francisco and Houston.

I had an amazing flight!

I woke up the morning of my flight in Sao Paulo to an earlier alarm than I had been using. My plan was to get onboard a little sleep deprived because otherwise I would never sleep from 5:50 PM to 4:25 AM, the Brazil times of departure and arrival. I had to vacate my Airbnb by 1:45 PM, so I took an Uber to the airport, arriving at 2:30 PM, more than three hours before the flight.

Luckily check in was already available, and the dedicated line for First Class was empty.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.52.41 PM

Fifteen minutes later I was through security and immigration and on my way to the Star Alliance lounge (separate trip report forthcoming.)

Before Take Off

I got to the gate at 5:30 PM when boarding was in full swing. There was a separate line for premium passengers, and First and Business Class even boarded through a separate door, so I was quickly onto the plane. At the front door, several flight attendants waited to greet us. Business Class passengers were greeted and pointed to their seat. First Class passengers were greeted and escorted to their seat, which is a nice touch.

First Class on the Singapore 777 is two rows of four seats each, arranged 1-2-1. I had seat 1A.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.05 PM

The only other passengers in First Class for my flight were in the middle two seats of row 2.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.13 PM

A window seat is the obvious choice if flying solo. The middle seats are the obvious choice if traveling with a companion, although unfortunately there is a barrier between the two middle seats, so they cannot be combined into a double bed like on the Singapore A380.

I seemed pretty intent on putting my bags away–there are no overhead bins, storage is under the ottoman in your suite–and taking pictures, so the flight attendant said he would give me a minute and return for my drink order.

A minute later he returned and I ordered water and champagne. I was informed with what I can only describe as a mixture of horror and contrition that the “only” champagne available on the ground was Dom Perignon, which retails for about $180 per bottle. Imagine my disappointment. 😉

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.45 PM

The bubbly was quickly brought to my seat and poured.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.54.08 PM

And just as quickly drunk.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.55.32 PM
Next I was brought a hot towel, the first of about 10 on the flight. A newspaper selection quickly followed, and I went with the New York Times and Financial Times.

While a few flight attendants kept very busy with pre-flight service, the inflight supervisor came by and personally introduced himself to the three First Class passengers.

Next came the magazine selection, and I snagged the Economist and National Geographic. At this point in the flight–negative 30 minutes in, since take off would be slightly delayed–I’d already gotten more than the $37 I paid for the ticket between the glass of wine, newspapers, and magazines.

Next I was brought pajamas (called a “sleeper suit” by the flight attendant) and my amenity kit. The pajamas were comfortable, and I wore them for most of the flight. You’ll see photographs of them throughout the trip report. The amenity kit was a little perplexing.

It was fancy enough–Salvatore Ferragamo branded.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.13 PM

And it had nice travel sized bottles of lotion, cologne, and lip balm.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.24 PMBut it didn’t have ear plugs, an eye mask, toothbrush, or toothpaste, which I think are essentials in an amenity kit. (I travel with all of them any way.) A flight attendant gave me an eye mask after take off; I am not sure if the rest were available upon request or not.

Finally before take off, menus were distributed. The menu books were huge, since they also contained the menu from Barcelona to Singapore.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.55.42 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.56.19 PM

At this point, we should have been pushing back, but the captain came on to inform us that weather was delaying our departure, and that he’d have an update in 15 minutes. I was very happy to hear I’d get an extra 15 minutes in First Class since the flights never seem long enough in the front. I ordered another glass of Dom and was quite disappointed that we pushed back at 6:06 PM, just 15 minutes late.

Dinner

We took off at 6:32 PM, but turbulence delayed the start of the service.

When flight attendants could finally get up half an hour later, they distributed slippers, socks, and eye masks. Then the dinner service began.

I had ordered caviar, chicken broth, and beef fillet, which were served as part of an eight course meal.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.56.29 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.57.10 PMFirst came a canape of two chicken satay skewers and one lamb satay skewers, served with a peanut sauce. Chicken satay is one of my favorite foods, and I thought this was star of the meal. I even ate the lamb, which I normally avoid. Maybe my palate is maturing…

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.59.18 PM

This was served with a glass of $200-a-bottle Krug.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.59.06 PM

Next came the fancy place setting, the bread basket, and the caviar.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.59.52 PM

The warm bread basket was incredible. You cannot mess up garlic bread, and the hot pretzel roll was incredible with butter.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.00.10 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.00.25 PM

The caviar was, well, caviar. It was served with a shot of vodka.

As I finished each course, it was cleared quite quickly for the next one. With the same number of flight attendants and passengers up front, the service was very personalized.

The third course was soup.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.00.42 PMI ordered the chicken broth.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.00.52 PM

The fourth course was a very simple salad. Freshly ground pepper was added at my seat.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.01.18 PM

Finally it was time for the main course. I had a hard time deciding, but eventually went with the beef filet because I was intrigued by one side in particular: yukon gold potato blue cheese croquettes. That was probably a silly reason to decide, since I bet I could have had that side with any main course.

The steak was plated elegantly and was cooked medium as I had hoped–that’s usually a gamble on planes since the steak is cooked on the ground. I was offered two mustards for the steak. The croquettes were potatoey, cheesey, and gooey and met my expectations.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.01.32 PM

After the main course, I was stuffed, so I skipped dessert, fruit, and pralines, instead opting just for a cheese plate. I wish I had snapped a photo of the cheese platter that was brought to my seat from which I could select cheeses. I asked a for a slice of each one, and it was served moments later with crackers, dried apricots, walnuts, and grapes.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.02.18 PM

Although it was only about 8:20 PM in Brazil when I finished eating, I was exhausted, so I decided to try to sleep.

Seat/Bed

The seat is a throne. It is wide enough for two or three people to sit comfortably.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.13 PM

It can recline to comfortable positions for working, reading, or watching TV and is controlled by an intuitive system of three buttons next to the seat.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.58.33 PMThere is a large ottoman in front of the seat to rest your feet and a large television above the ottoman.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.53.28 PM
There are storage cabinets beside the seat for things you want at hand, though the main storage is under the ottoman.

A very large table slides out from under the television for meal services.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.04.33 PMThe seat can fold into a fully flat bed. After dinner, I asked the flight attendant to make the middle seat next to me into a bed, so I could have a separate seat and bed. She happily obliged.

To make the seat into a bed, a mattress pad, blankets, and pillows are added.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.02.46 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.02.33 PM
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.16 PMThe bed is perfect if you are 6’2″ or shorter. It is very comfortable, very wide, has nice pillows, and–if you’re that height–is plenty long. Unfortunately I am 6’4″, and my feet were up against the wall under the television. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but two extra inches would have been nice.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.00 PM

I was able, with the help of melatonin, to sleep about five hours. I woke up with a sore throat that had been lingering for a few days, feeling very hot. I am not sure if that was just being sick or whether the cabin/blanket/pajamas were hot.

I stumbled over to my seat and started watching TV.

Breakfast

A few minutes later, a flight attendant brought me a snack basket, but I declined. Beyond the chips and cookies, I could have also ordered from the snack menu.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.57.50 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.57.43 PM

About 15 minutes later, at 2:15 AM in Brazil, the sun rose. During this period, I really got to see the service during non-meal periods. Every few minutes a flight attendant would walk down the aisle. She wouldn’t say anything, but she was ready to take any order. You could, of course, use the flight attendant call button, but Singapore is pro-active with service and is constantly in the cabin to be ready for your order. Some other airlines basically have the flight attendants hide in the galley and wait for your call. I don’t have a preference one way or the other.

At 2:42 AM Brazil/7:42 AM Spain, the flight attendant asked if I would like breakfast. She had asked me before I went to bed for my order and had asked whether I wanted to be woken for it (I didn’t) at the time.

For breakfast, I had ordered both the braised beef brisket with noodles and warm Belgian waffles.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.57.58 PMFirst I was served a fruit plate and my choice of beverage, water.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.42 PM

Then I had my pick of a bakery basket, though it wasn’t as good as the dinner options.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.03.52 PMFinally I got both main courses simultaneously. The beef and noodles really hit the spot. I like my breakfasts with some protein instead of just carbs, carbs, carbs.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.04.26 PMThe waffle looked amazing when it came out. I thought I had lucked into a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Then I took a bite and realized it was the far less delicious, mascarpone cream. Why anyone would want that much is beyond me. I ditched the cream and enjoyed the waffle, syrup, and strawberries.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.04.06 PM

Entertainment

During the flight I watched The Big Short and several episodes of Modern Family. The large television had a standard selection of movies and television programs, which is more than enough for any flight. It was controlled by a remote next to the seat.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.58.41 PMBose noise-canceling headphones were provided.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.58.20 PM

If you bring your own entertainment, there is a universal outlet built into every First Class seat to charge your devices.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.58.08 PM

Service

Service in Singapore First Class is amazing, and it is really the main thing that separates the product from Singapore Business Class, which is a nearly identical seat/bed.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.07 PM

I’ve already mentioned being escorted to my seat, being personally greeted by the inflight supervisor, and the constant walking of the aisles.

Whether this is worth a premium over Business Class depends on your preferences. For me, it was worth the premium from Sao Paulo to Barcelona because that premium is only about 8,000 Singapore miles. On other routes, it may not be worth the premium.

Bottom Line

Bed

Very tall people will be cramped, but overall it is very comfortable and wide flat bed, unlike the coffins you often find in Business Classes.

Entertainment

Large selection of movies and TV shows on demand. Noise-canceling headphones.

Service

Friendly, service-oriented flight attendants who are almost always visible and take pride in delivering a great experience.

Food

Delicious, plentiful, on demand, and, dare I say, gourmet.

 

Overall

This flight is an amazing value for 58,225 Singapore miles + $37 in First Class. (Economy is 25k miles.)

How to Book Yourself Singapore First Class

Award space is WIDE OPEN and Singapore miles are the world’s easiest to get since they partner with every program. Here’s how I booked my ticket.

Getting Singapore Miles

You need Singapore miles to book Singapore First Class, Suites Class, and Business Class on longhaul flights. Singapore protects the cabins by not releasing award space in them to partners. Luckily Singapore miles are easy to get.

Singapore is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Points. Plus 20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 Singapore miles.

The best cards to get Singapore miles are the Citi Prestige® Card, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Plus.

The Citi Prestige® Card comes with 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

My review of the Citi Prestige Card explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the best personal credit cards on the market. It offers:

  • 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first three months
  • 5,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards for adding an authorized user
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • no annual fee the first year and $95 thereafter

While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

The Ink Plus is easily the best business card on the market. It offers:

  • 60,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • 5 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services
  • 2 Ultimate Rewards per dollar at gas stations and hotel accommodations
  • 1 Ultimate Reward per dollar on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

While I can not directly link to the current Ink Plus offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

Other Menus

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.06.24 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.06.16 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.06.07 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.56 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.46 PM
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 11.05.28 PM















a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.