DAY 142: Many of those who know us know that Jeni and I have been anticipating the journey from Delhi to Auckland. For one, we both love New Zealand and have been thinking about our return trip ever since we last left NZ over 20 years ago (at which time one of us was named Jeni Paukert).
For another… we were looking forward to our flight on Singapore Airline.
Knowing that the flight from DEL to AKL consisted of two nights, 16+ hours in a plane, and a long layover in Singapore, this was the perfect time to splurge on an airline experience that I’ve read about many times since I started following travel and credit card reward blogs such as The Points Guy and One Mile at a Time.
Jeni and I really wanted to try to fly in one of the Singapore Airlines Suites, especially knowing that these suites could be blocked off from the other compartments and that a bed would be made for the sleeping portion of the flight (instead of the seat just converting to a lie-flat mode).
But more on that part of the flight later…
In addition to the awesome flying compartment while in the air, the Suite class passengers have access to a separate part of the First Class lounge during the Singapore airport layover. So we decide to burn a few hundred-thousand credit card points in order to try this fabled product.
In anticipation for this Round-The-World trip, I had been working to maximize the reward points earned through various credit cards. This included applying for new credit cards in order to gain sign-up bonuses. While this approach may not be for everyone, juggling credit cards and applying for the best credit cards for sign-up bonuses played (and still plays) a big part of making the most of this RTW trip!
The first step was checking the Singapore Airlines website daily until the seats became available. Obviously there are limited number of reward seats available and I need to find the best date to fly. Additionally, my kiddos were going to fly business class for this leg as well so I needed to find flights with award seats in both the Suite and Business class sections. This required us to modify our travel plans, but it worked none the less. At about 8-months out, I was able to use the 300,000 KrisFlyer miles (the Singapore Airlines rewards currency) I had acquired to book the four one-way flights.
Even though the Bepkos planned many awesome events on this trip, this flight always ranked up in the top 5 things we were looking forward to the most… ranking up there with our Kenyan safari, day visit to Machu Picchu, and the Nile cruise!
Finally, the day arrived for our trip! The family was ready to trade the big-city confines of Delhi for the blue skies of Auckland. We had a really nice SUV from the Le Meridien hotel drive us to the airport – it was so nice riding in traffic while being in the biggest car around!
The Singapore Airlines lounge in DEL was nothing to write home about… hence the absence of photos from the blog post. The sparkling wine was too sweet and Jeni and I were avoiding the food because we didn’t want to spoil our appetite for the actual flight. A little before leaving the lounge, Jeni and I were informed that we were the only two passengers in the Suite section and the lounge staff moved our seat to a more desirable location. As soon as we could board the place, we left the lounge for the boarding gate.
The Suites had their own entrance on the bottom level at the front of the A380 aircraft. All of the flight staff were waiting to greet us as Jeni and I boarded. E & S also boarded with us so they could look at our seats and so we could introduce them to our flight crew.
I’m sure the SA flight staff get it all the time, but Jeni and I spent the first few minutes just taking photos of the area – especially once we were told that due to Indian customs’ rules we would have to wait until take-off to experience our champagne taste test.
We couldn’t believe how large the compartments were. And we couldn’t believe that we had all 3 flight staff to ourselves for the 6-hour flight to Singapore!
There was plenty of room in the cabin that the both of us could fit comfortably into just my seat area.
Before take off, we also went upstairs to ensure that E & S were set-up in their seats. I keep telling our kiddos that their parent’s first non-coach flight wasn’t until we were married adults. And this flight was the kiddos’ 6th flight in Business class…
We were also excited because Ricardo – the chief steward – was one of Singapore Airlines’ experienced Air Sommelier. These staff members acquire (on their own) a Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits from the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and then complete a 9-month training program through Singapore Airlines. Ricardo was determined to ensure we tasted all the wines during the multi-course meal!
But first… the moment of truth. The Dom Perignon 2006 versus Krug Grande Cuvee taste test.
Dom has always played a special role in our lives. We enjoyed our first bottle of Dom Perignon on October 18th, 1997 – the date of our hush-hush marriage. Since this was a low-key affair designed for us to have official “married” status before the upcoming Air Force assignment cycle, it was just Jeni, myself and our parents. I had purchased the most expensive bottle of champagne at the Pick Six (the name of all on-base liquor stores) and it turned out to be Dom Perignon. Never in my life had I tasted a drink so tasty. And it became a tradition to drink a bottle of Dom on our Anniversary Day.
Although we were both likely influenced by our past history, the Dom won! However, for scientific purposes only, we vowed to conduct another taste test on our upcoming SIN-AKL leg just to be sure.
With the taste test complete, we waited for the dinner service to start. We decided to take a quick photo of our goodie bags. Was hoping for a Givenchy bag (based on prior reviews of this service) but I guess SA recently switched to Salvatore Ferrigno products. I was a little disappointed but I’ll still be using the after-shave lotion and travel size cologne.
The meal – with wine pairing – was next. Although this was not the Book-The-Cook flight (that would be the SIN-AKL portion of the trip), the food wasn’t bad.
I won’t go through the specifics, other than posting a photo of the Lobster Thermadore which was my meal on the second leg of the journey. Although I am not a huge lobster fan, I felt I just needed to get the lobster dish just to have lobster on an airplane once in my life.
Of course, the whole time I was eating this meal I was thinking about this…
That’s actually the main reason I ordered this dish. I wanted to be like Batman!
Below is the wine list for the flight – I know there are a few wine snobs/foodies who will be reading this.
After a glass of Dow’s 20-year old Port to wash down the cheese pairing and dessert, it was time to check out the movie list. Got to admit, with 105 movies to chose from there is something for everyone.
Finally, it was time to get about 2.5 hours of shut-eye before arriving in Singapore. There was no breakfast service for this flight… so once we awoke it was time to change our of our pajamas and get ready for landing.
The kiddos were able to come up and sit with us for the landing. S forgot to change out of his pajamas. Looks like he will be walking to the lounge looking like this!
After landing, we headed to the KrisFlyer lounge for a little breakfast and nap.
The kiddos were allowed in the First Class lounge with us (instead of just the Business Class lounge), but only Jeni and I could enter the Suites Lounge which is pictured below.
The Suite Lounge was essentially empty, served Dom 2006, and had a made to order lunch or dinner. After our little jaunt into the city, Jeni and I split a few dishes and really enjoyed eating a nice burger paired with Dom 2006. But first, we all needed to get a little bit more shut-eye before heading into the city.
After the nap and a shower – I’d never had a shower in an airport before but it was a nice set up – it was time for the Bepkos to head into the city for a bespoke fitting for kiddo and I.
After we were rested and clean, we packed up our carryon luggage in the airport and headed out through Customs and Immigrations. It was the perfect time to leave the airport as Customs was totally empty. Within 5 minutes were were through and in the cab headed for downtown.
Bepko White Cloud again strikes at Customs and Immigrations!
This is a VERY efficient airport. There is even a tour of the city which leaves from the airport. Since we had an appointment to make we decided to hoof it on our own, plus we wanted to be back at the airport for time in the lounge and for time to explore the airport. We just traveled into the city for a fitting at The Bespoke Club. Since we will visit Singapore three different times during our trip, we picked this place for a custom jacket as there are frequently a few fitting required to get the jacket just right!
We returned to the airport and spent some time in the First Class lounge because we were getting tired of drinking Dom Perignon, GASP! #firstworldproblems
They served Piper-Heidsieck 2002 in the First Class lounge. We were glad to have a glass or three while waiting for the second flight.
Finally, it was time to make our way to the gate for boarding. It was a mistake to leave the lounge so early because the flight ended up boarding late… and the gate was ridiculously crowded.
Finally we were able to board. And while this flight was almost full in the Suites section, the longer flight meant we had more time to relax and enjoy the envornment.
All in all, we had an incredible time on this flight. However, I would be hard pressed to spend this amount of points/miles on a similar flight again. Business class hospitality would be fine for a flight of this duration (and in fact, Jeni and I will try out the Singapore Airlines Business product on our return to Singapore from Sydney). However, we will probably try another first class product in the future… maybe for our next planned RTW trip circe 2024.
Until then, its time to break out the credit cards and re-earn all those points and miles!
TOTAL MILES TRAVELLED TO DATE – 35,951 miles