I have always wanted to try Singapore’s fifth freedom route from Frankfurt to New York, and now was my chance on my westwards return from Japan in Summer 2023. This was the third flight of the trip, with my first two being one Vietnam Airlines from Tokyo to Hanoi, then from Hanoi to Frankfurt. I’ve flown this same route on Delta Airlines prior to my journey on Singapore Airlines, and later in 2023 I also flew Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Newark EWR. It’s fun for me to see how different airlines compete and compare on the same route
Considering the long flight sequence, I was exhausted when I got to sample the delights of Singapore Airlines business class. But it was worth the wait. Even though I thought I would get the A380 on this route, Singapore Airlines downgraded this flight to a B777-300ER sometime in Spring 2023.
I can only describe my experience as perfect. The service is extremely polished, personalized, attentive, and well-trained. The difference was immediately apparent to me and very noticeable, coming from my previous Vietnam Airlines flights.
Singapore Airlines dedicates an outsized part of its aircraft to amenities and soft product. The food menu was incredible, and even in Business Class, I felt like the variety of offerings is something I would find on Japan Airlines First Class. There were so many teas and concoctions available it was hard to sample everything during this eight-hour flight.
In addition, the seat was extremely comfortable, the IFE system was one of the most extensive in the skies, and the Wi-Fi was incredibly strong and stable, with an excellent connection throughout my flight.
Booking a Singapore Airlines Business Class Ticket
Interestingly, you can get your hands on this flight for a mere 60,000 Aeroplan points. In total, I paid that plus CAD $250 or roughly USD $180. That is a stunning saving since this flight would cost several thousand dollars otherwise.
I managed to book this flight with plenty of time. In fact, I secured my entire return route about a month before my trip. Interestingly, I learned that this is four-legged flight with four crews. Singapore operates the aircraft from Singapore to Frankfurt, then as a new flight to New York. The aircraft then makes its way back in the reverse route order.
Considering the omnishambles of Wi-Fi on Vietnam Airlines, in retrospect, I did wonder why I didn’t just book Singapore to Frankfurt directly and then onwards to New York.
Singapore Airlines Business Class Check-In
This was not going to be your typical business class check-in. I had my baggage tagged because I wouldn’t be entering Germany and wanted a seamless transfer from Vietnam Airlines.
When I was in the Lounge at Hanoi airport, I used the Singapore Airlines issued email for Mobile Check-In to check in to my flight.
This was easy and seamless, and I completed the Check-In on my phone in several steps, including filling in my passport details. While I did receive some kind of mobile boarding pass, I would still need to pick up a physical boarding pass at the gate in Frankfurt.
Unfortunately, things did not go smoothly since I lost my Vietnam Airlines boarding pass, which had my luggage transfer tags – we’ll get to that in the transit section.
The Ground Experience
Where to Find Singapore Airlines at FRA
Singapore Airlines uses the B Concourse in Frankfurt Terminal 1, which places it alongside fellow Star Alliance carriers Lufthansa, Air Canada, and United.
I didn’t enter Germany, and thus I didn’t see the check-in counter area here.
My aircraft was positioned at Gate B46, on one of the circular wings in the B concourse, next to an Air Canada flight.
Transit At FRA Airport
Truth be told, Frankfurt is probably my favorite transit airport in Europe, if simply for the sheer volume of flights and relative ease of interconnecting between different airlines. Previously, I transferred between Oman Air and Delta in Terminal 2, although this time around, all the action was in Terminal 1. I think one day I will put up a detailed post about the best way to execute transfers at Frankfurt FRA.
We disembarked from the Vietnam Airlines flight at Terminal 1 C Gate 18
I found the area completely deserted, almost like some post-apocalyptic movie opening.
It was a long walk to the next Gate, B46, which I located after checking the first departure board I saw.
I had to take the transfer train from the C concourse to the B concourse; then, I had to proceed and clear another security checkpoint. Unfortunately, this is when things began to unravel a little on this trip.
First, I dropped and broke my main camera. Sadly, there was no saving it; when I went over it in the lounge later, it was totally unusable.
Secondly and far more importantly, I also lost my previous boarding pass from the last Vietnam Airlines flight, which must have fallen out just before or during clearing security. This would create an unexpected hurdle for me at the gate since my luggage tags were secured to that boarding pass!
Fortunately, I still had my passport and made my way to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, where I showered and cleaned up and found out my camera was unusable.
The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge & Boarding
I have comprehensively reviewed Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, which is an excellent option if you travel through Frankfurt. Unfortunately, I did not have much time in the lounge. In the end, I only spent about an hour, which was enough to shower, freshen up, and grab a bite to eat.
Interestingly, I also met another travel blogger from Singapore who covers Singapore Airlines flights on YouTube. Once an announcement was made at the lounge, I proceeded to Gate B46 for my flight, which was just a ten minutes’ walk.
Singapore Airlines Business Class Boarding Process
Due to my lost Vietnam Airlines boarding card, boarding got complicated. Unfortunately, they would not load my bags without confirming the tags. So while the rest of First, Business Class, and even Economy were boarding, I was frantically looking through my carry-on luggage and panicking, not knowing if I’d be able to board this flight or if I’d have to leave my checked baggage behind.
I ripped apart everything on the spot and triple-confirmed that my boarding pass and luggage tags were dropped. Now I know that this is more important than I thought, and I would in the future go back and try to look for these. Thankfully, In the end, the gate agents worked around the issue, and I had to identify my luggage visually. I am grateful for their help – I was soon handed a boarding pass. So, in the group, I was one of the last people to board.
However, the agent directly assisted me with boarding, which was nice. I walked over to grab a shot of the plane before boarding here.
Ironically, this process made my boarding less chaotic since the plane was refueling. Despite my best efforts to get a sexy shot of the paint scheme, I would be denied this time!
Upon boarding, I was struck by how much of the forward cabin is dedicated to service space on the aircraft. It’s very different from nearly any other airline I’ve seen.
The Singapore Airlines B777-300ER has a unique business class I haven’t seen on any other airline (yet), maybe because it’s also comparatively older in some regards. And the fact that Singapore Airlines dedicates an outsized part of its plane to service amenity functions, much more so than other carriers. Which is apparent from the moment you walk into the aircraft.
The Singapore Airlines Business Class Cabin and Seats
The crew was smiling upon entry and introduced themselves within a few minutes. I did notice that the flight was packed, although it looked like there were some first-class seats available. I can’t imagine how many points those would set you back.
The First-Class section comes first with a single row of four seats. On this flight, two middle seats were occupied, and two were open.
Then there are two business class cabins.
The first, forward business class cabin, is the one you ideally want to be in. This cabin is smaller, only has three rows, and the same 1-2-1 configuration.
The second business class cabin follows, and is much larger and has ten rows. I found the best seats in both cabins are the front Bulkhead seats, which are the best business class seats on the aircraft – 11A/K and 16A/K.
However I was still fortunate to have Seat 12K, perhaps the aircraft’s third-best in business class.
Singapore Airlines Business Class Restrooms
The restrooms on this aircraft are spacious and very fancy. Despite the plane’s age, they are very advanced and well-maintained.
The restrooms included a fold-down tray table, a make-up mirror with special lighting, and Quercus amenities.
The restroom also included a flower, which made me wonder whether Vietnam Airlines also got the idea from here.
I found the restrooms pristine and impeccably clean and remained so throughout the flight.
Singapore Airlines Business Class Seat 12K
My first impression was, wow, this is a fantastic seat! Is this Business Class or First Class? It offers so much space and is so comfortable. I later learned the seat is made from Scottish leather, and is diamond stitched.
The seat has a ton of storage, including a shoe footwell, some charging and wire storage in the magazine slot, a deep storage well on the window side for larger items, and drinks and headphone storage on the seat side.
The main tray is in another side slot. The table pushes down to release and then pops up, swivels in place. This table has the benefit of being height adjustable, which is a great feature! However, I found it slightly challenging to do laptop work on.
On the left side, there are three different lights—one for bed reading, one for a mid-range light, and one for a far-range light. Also, on the left is a coat hook by the aisle.
On the other side, another main reading light is next to the headphone socket.
The back side has one main power port, one S Video port, one USB port, one USB charging port, and one HDMI input.
The front of the seat also has an extensive design.
On the upper side, there’s a tray table for drinks, and in front, there’s another large storage compartment above the drinks tray table. Also, a panel slides up to reveal the mirror, which also has lights. Finally, there’s also a coat hook on the aisle side.
The seatwell for sleeping is off to the side; it is worth noting that the Bulkheads have more legroom, and you can lie flat straight ahead.
The seat also comes with a pillow, which is a great touch. It gave the seat an additional “class” factor, along with the headrest cover. It’s these kinds of little details that create the difference between great and spectacular carriers – this level of attention to detail.
My only possible gripe with the seat, which applies only to seat 12K, is that the poor window alignment makes getting great views out of the plane difficult.
I’ve never seen this seat used on another airline – it most reminds me of the product used by Virgin Atlantic on their routes from New York JFK to London Heathrow.
The seat controls can be found on the side of the seat console and feature various seat functions, including reclining and movement.
Seat controls include:
- Upright, Relax, Lounge and Bed.
- Suite Lighting Controls.
- Feature Light.
- Do-Not-Disturb function.
- Flight attendant call and remove-call buttons.
- Ottoman for seat function for leg rest (up and down). This is somewhat manual.
- Suite lighting.
- Overhead lighting.
- TV On/Off buttons.
IFE Screen and impression
There is a large 21” TV in front of the seat, although this is not touchscreen enabled. You also have a pull-out remote for seat controls, games, and TV functions.
The Singapore Airlines Business Class Amenity Kit
The first thing to note is that Singapore Airlines does not distribute Amenity Kits freely. Instead, they must be requested, which I duly did. And while I was doing so, I also asked for some slippers. I also got a folding dual comb and brush. This was probably the most helpful item in my book. It was cool!
One thing worth noting is that the flight attendant came to take the empty bag for the slippers, and I mentioned that I would be taking them home. So, he gave me a whole other pair of slippers to take home anyway. They had tons of stuff to give out if you wanted it – I appreciated the touch. I honestly take home new slippers from flights when I don’t use them, and I use them at home or in hotels.
Amenity Kit Contents
- Face Mist
- Moisturizing Lotion
- Lip balm
- Small plastic bag
- Business Class Amenity Kit Guide.
- Introduction to Penhaligon’s Products (London)
The Inflight Entertainment & Wi-Fi
Due to the lack of Wi-Fi and reduced workload on my previous flights, I ended up working through the whole flight and didn’t really spend much time with the IFE. However, the Entertainment system is through Kris World, which is an amazing suite of products and services!
One thing to note is the TV screen is not a touchscreen, which is pretty old school, and you need to use a remote to control it. That said, the system had many options available, with many American movies, Chinese movies, and international movies. There were also many music options, audiobooks, and more.
There were also games, and I believe you can even connect to the IFE via an S video cable and use it as an extra monitor.
I briefly watched a Hong Kong movie called Project Gutenberg, which is about a criminal heist. The film was in Chinese with English subtitles.
I was also issued Singapore Airlines-branded headphones. These felt really high quality and were very comfortable to wear.
I found them to be fantastic products with excellent audio quality. The aircraft had a very dim sound with headphones on.
Singapore Airlines business class has Gate to Gate Wi-Fi, which is brilliant if you want to work on your flight. The connection was pretty fast and stable and meant I could stay productive for the duration of my journey.
The Wi-Fi is free for Business class and first-class passengers for the duration of the flight. However, things are not so good for economy passengers with a limited 2.5 to 3 hours of connectivity.
To connect, passengers must visit wifi.singaporeair.com.
I had a good view outside, thanks to my window alignment, and noticed we were docked next to an Air Canada B777. Once refueling was complete, we pushed back from the gate and were underway.
I’m always amazed at how fast planes get off the ground in Frankfurt, and it seems to me like all my flights have taken off within 5-7 minutes after leaving the gate. This time around, we took off from Runway 25C to the west, and the takeoff and initial climb were smooth. In a first I hope to do more often, here’s the take-off and landing of this flight!
We had pristine and clear views on the climb out of the city in perfect weather with high cirrus clouds. Looking down, I noticed a massive traffic jam on the highway by the airport. I am so glad I was not stuck in that.
Although the flight was on time, it was not all smooth sailing. We had turbulence in many parts for several hours, and some were definitively very rough, of no fault of Singapore Airlines, but it created a wild and intense ride for at least ten minutes. As a result, we were stuck in our seats for a large portion of the flight.
The cabin colors were changed to orange and red tones in the middle of the flight.
Fortunately, the Singapore Airlines business class seats offer a lot of privacy to get on with what you need to do.
Singapore Airlines Business Class Meal Service
The crew was highly professional, with excellent communication skills and four flight attendants served me during the flight.
What stood out the most to me were the phrases “Please hold a moment” and “Thank you for waiting.” These were used extensively and repeatedly by the crew during the flight.
The four-fight attendants serving the business class cabin rotated around the cabin frequently. In fact, there were only a few moments where at least one flight attendant wasn’t in the cabin doing something – and I mean the small cabin, not just the large cabin.
The flight attendant levels of training were beyond anything I have seen on other airlines, including big-name carriers like Lufthansa and Air Canada. Their communication skill was exceptional, and they were adept at dealing with any issue thrown their way. It’s one of the most professional crews I’ve seen – the hallmark of a Five Star Airline.
Even though I boarded late, I still got a full selection of pre-departure drink options, which were served individually to each passenger within ten minutes of boarding.
I was offered a warm towel, which I gratefully took, and then the choice of Champagne, Orange Juice, and Water. I opted for some refreshing OJ this time around.
Post Departure Service
The menus were already at the seats, and boy, were they extensive, covering all four sections of the fifth freedom flight from Singapore to Frankfurt to New York, and in reverse. However, this can be slightly confusing since you have to find the sections that apply directly to your specific flight.
What is astounding is the sheer volume of options available to you on the flight. For instance, you can choose from 14 different coffee options. As a coffee fan, I spent a good portion of the flight just sampling different styles of coffee while working.
About ten minutes after take off, the purser came around to take everyone’s order for the main meal, followed by the flight attendant for the post-departure service order. The welcome drink was first served, along with coffee.
One very cool feature of Singapore Airlines is their Non-Alcoholic Beverages mix, which includes five different mocktails. I have to confess I did sample these extensively. First tried the featured drink, the Sunrise Meadow, which is described as “a refreshing concoction of orange and pineapple juices topped with soda water.” I found this so tasty that I ended up getting it multiple times on the flight.
I had quite a chuckle to myself after seeing this drink and service. After seeing this, I understood what Vietnam Airlines was trying to do with their own “Hello Vietnam” welcome drinks and where their inspiration came from!
A small appetizer course was also served consisting of cucumber, onion, and warm and tender Singapore Chicken Satay accompanied by a Spicy Peanut Sauce, which really made this meal delicious!
Singapore Airlines Business Class Primary Meal
First, the wine cart made the rounds, and I was recommended to pair the Medoc wine with my meal.
This was followed by coffee and drinks, which were served straight from the service area to the seat.
This was a fantastic selection and was beautifully presented and included:
- Garlic Bread.
- The dark roll.
- Various types of Olive oil.
- Marinated Cod with Cucumber Salad.
- Tomatoes & Apricot Pear Vinaigrette.
I found the fish to be amazingly fresh and tasty.
Main Course Items
- Slow Braised Short Rib. This was incredibly tender and perfectly cooked. It came off with a slight tug and was perfection.
- Mango Chili Verde Salsa is delicious and made with real mangoes!
- Fine green beans, again, these can often be a little overdone and sad, but they were fresh and tasty.
- Marinated Green Olives. Undoubtedly, some of the best I’ve ever tasted. They were so juicy, and fresh juice just oozed out of them. They have three stunning layers of taste.
The food on Singapore Airlines is awe-inspiring. The quality of food on the flight was stunning and demonstrated that the airline is on top of its game. If I had to compare, the food on this flight was on par with anything I had in the air and, honestly, some of the best food I’ve ever had on a plane.
Dessert and Snacks
Like everything with Singapore Airlines, attention to detail here is really remarkable. A tray was brought covered with desserts, including cake “Black Forest Gateau,” a fruit plate, Movenpick Lemon Lime Sorbet, and a cheese selection with fruits.
I chose the healthy fruit plate, and I must say I was more than happy with the selection and presentation.
By the looks of things, the Sorbet was also looking delicious.
Mid Flight Snack
I have to hold my hand up and confess that I definitely got a little greedy here. However, in my defense, there were so many compelling choices, and the flight attendants downright encouraged me to indulge.
In the end, I sampled a wide range of concoctions, teas, and coffees, and they were all delicious.
About 1h45m before landing, it was time for a quick refreshment service. This was made up of Fried Rice Vermicelli with Marinated Chicken, Chinese Mushroom, and Leafy Greens.
This was incredibly delicious and served with exquisite attention to detail regarding silverware and serving. However, it did end up coming with noodles instead of fried rice.
As this was my last bit of food on Singapore Airlines for now, I can honestly say the food service on Singapore Airlines excels. I asked for tons and received plenty.
Arrival at JFK
Unfortunately, no sooner did I start enjoying this flight than the journey had to come to an end. Landing was announced with about 25 minutes to go. We descended into New York through dense, thick fog, meandering our way to Runway 22L from the NorthEast.
Once at the gate, there was a massive rush for everyone to deplane through only the center door and a single jet bridge.
Interestingly, while we all congregated in the center service corridor area, one of the flight attendants cleaning my seat noticed I left my cable there. It was then passed to me relay style over passengers and crew, with smiles!
I got some crappy views of the beautiful plane walking to immigration at Terminal 4.
Unfortunately, immigration and customs took a while, which put a damper on my mood. I was utterly exhausted after being in the air for over 24 hours!
This was one of the most incredible journeys back home to New York from Asia that I’ve experienced. In total, I spent nearly 38 hours on consecutive transit and flights from Hokkaido, Japan, to Tokyo, to Hanoi, to Frankfurt, and finally home to New York City!
That said, even with the tiredness on the last leg, this experience on Singapore Airlines will become one of my 2023 flights of the year. At a minimum, I think I’ll see it in the top five flights of the year by the time it ends.
I had never flown Singapore Airlines before and didn’t understand the hype, but I do now. Needless to say, Singapore Airlines literally delivered a perfect flight! That they can do this consistently with multiple crews on a fifth freedom route is even more impressive, to say the least. Every major airline company can learn a lot from Singapore Airlines.
One thing worth mentioning is I’ve seen some reviews on the web complaining about Singapore Airlines. I’m sorry, it’s tough for me to see what there is to complain about unless you’re being critical for the sake of being critical.
I’m honestly grateful I was able to get this experience again. When I was growing up in Pakistan, Singapore Airlines was one of the first airlines I ever flew to Singapore and then Los Angeles, and I have memories of their B747 from long ago. My experience on Singapore Airlines brings me back to the era of “travel romance.”
- Excellent Check-in and Customer Service experience at the Gate despite my lost boarding pass and luggage tags.
- The service is extremely polished, personalized, attentive, and well-trained. The difference was immediately apparent to me and very noticeable, coming from my previous Vietnam Airlines flights.
- Great communication from the crew! And they were smiling and in high spirits for the entire flight.
- Singapore Airlines dedicates an outsized part of its aircraft to amenities and the soft product offering, which is evident from the moment you walk on the plane.
- The food and drink menu selection was incredible, and even in Business Class, I felt like the variety of offerings is something I would find on Japan Airlines First Class.
- So many coffees, teas, and concoctions were available – it was hard to sample everything during this eight-hour flight.
- Gate to gate WiFi! Great for working, I could stay productive the whole time. The WiFi was stable, and I was able to work smoothly.
- The IFE system is extensive.
- The seat is really comfortable, but definitely “old school” for 2023.
- Seat is a bit “old school” for 2023 and is dated in some regards. For example, the IFE is not a touchscreen. In the scheme of the experience, I think this is minor.
- I’m not sure if I like how the table works – it was great for dining and enjoying the food, but it make it hard for me to use my laptop, mouse, and second display. The table isn’t the most conducive to working efficiently, but I like how it lifts.
Verdict: 10/10 – Perfect Flight