Singapore Airlines First Class ICN-SIN (SQ 15)

This was such a long flight, I figured I may as well break it down into two or three posts covering each segment as well as the first class menu. Here’s the report on our second segment from Seoul to Singapore, including our visit to the Asiana First Class Lounge.
Other posts in this series:

We cleared security in Seoul and headed upstairs to take a look around. Our flight arrived a bit early, so we had just over 2 hours to kill. It was pretty dead, but Megan appreciated the neat rows of flowers at every gate, some varieties of which she’d never seen before.

picture of flowers in airport

After walking halfway down the pier, we doubled back to the central shopping area where the Asiana lounge was located. I didn’t even know they had a first class lounge at this airport, but we were directed that way after showing our boarding passes for the next flight.

picture of Asiana first class lounge

This currently ranks as my favorite lounge, even when compared to the Private Room at the Singapore SilverKris lounge. Part of that is we were there all by ourselves, unattended. Another part is they had self-serve Haagen-Dazs and Johnnie Walker Blue.

picture of lounge self-serve bar

picture of ice cream treats in freezer

The only reason I didn’t abuse these was because I had already stuffed myself full on the way over here. That must be the logic they rely upon when they design these clubs. Also, I don’t understand their liquor selection. Most of those are $10-20 bottles, and then they throw in the Blue Label. Are they just showing off? @bnickeson, international man of mystery and connoisseur of fine spirits, suggested I empty a water bottle and fill it back up, but I didn’t go quite that far ;)

Another reason this lounge is great is that it has one of the best setups for plane spotting. You can’t see it here, but it is possible to watch planes take off and land. There are chaise lounges set up along this big window looking across the tarmac to the other terminal.

picture of view from airport window

There was also a variety of other cold and hot food. Again, I was too full to bother. I did check out the restrooms. There were no shower facilities at SFO, I didn’t look at SIN, and the one I found at HKG was basic at best. But these were pretty nice. I didn’t bother with a shower because we still had five or six hours ahead of us.

picture of airport lounge bathroom

There was even a fancy Asian toilet with 50 dozen buttons to make you breakfast, sing you a lullaby, and make a tiny origami crane. I’ll spare you the toilet photo. Soon enough, it was time to go back to the plane. We were fortunate to have an Emirates A380 next door. Those things are big!

picture of Emirates A380 airplane

This flight had a new crew, and I actually think the service was better overall even though I didn’t care for my meal. I started with the grilled octopus tapas, which was okay but too chewy. Everything else on the plate was fine.

picture of appetizer plate

This was followed by Singapore’s trademark satay, salad, and soup. I passed on the salad because I was getting really full, but I did try the sweetcorn soup. Okay, but nothing special. Certainly not tomato soup. ;) Perhaps part of the problem was my lack of appetite. Food, any food, will taste better when you are actually hungry.

picture of soup, salad and chicken satay

picture of soup

For my main, I did not Book the Cook, and the flight attendant recommended I try the sam gye tang, a Korean-style stuffed chicken with rice in broth. Since we were in Korea, she promised it would be tasty and authentic. Authentic maybe, but definitely not tasty. I probably just didn’t know what to do with it. Megan was smart. She got the fillet.

picture of sam gye tang

I was presented with a small skinless and boiled chicken in a bowl of hot broth. That alone worries me on an airplane that might experience turbulence at any moment. It certainly didn’t look appetizing. Then consider that it was still tied up with a ball of rice inside, and all I had to eat this thing was a pair of chopsticks. For a while I stared at it, wondering if I should just poke it with a stick and try eating it off the bone like a popsicle. Even if I started by drinking the broth, how do I carve a chicken with chopsticks? :( I apologize if the photo above looks bad, but believe me, there was no way to make this look good.

I managed to poke my way in and ate some of the chicken and rice. But it tasted about as good as it looked. I passed on cheese and fruit again, just getting a scoop of chocolate ice cream. This was pretty bad ice cream. Although it tasted good, it was very icy and much too hard to eat, almost like it had melted and been refrozen with dry ice.

Since I wasn’t sleeping well, I had a cappuccino and a praline before turning the seat back into a bed and watching a movie for the rest of the flight. Megan and I were beginning to worry about the in flight entertainment. With only a dozen or so Hollywood movies, and most of them not very good, we’d already seen almost anything worth watching.

Soapbox Warning: This is partly Hollywood’s fault; I gave up after 10 minutes of forcing myself to watch Battleships. However, United’s new international IFE has far more variety, including a lot of classic films and television shows from earlier decades when original, well-made films were more important than international distribution and cross merchandising. I think my favorite film on KrisWorld was Father of Invention, a film I’d never heard about featuring a washed up seen-on-TV inventor played by Kevin Spacey. My second favorite film was Moonrise Kingdom, one I’d already seen but watched again, in which the best scene is a shirtless Bill Murray going out back to drink a bottle of wine and chop wood. Maybe I would watch Battleships if it had Bill Murray or Kevin Spacey. Or Bruce Willis. I’m off to see Looper today. It’s a fitting movie. All the good actors are getting old.

I will compliment the flight attendant for noticing I was still warm on this flight and offering to turn down the cabin temperature. It didn’t help much, but it was better than the first leg of our trip. As it was a much shorter flight we were soon descending into Singapore.

What are all my friends doing eating dinner without me?
Are You Going to the Star MegaDO with Randy Petersen?

Scott created Travel Codex after learning how to travel better on a budget during grad school. He now flies over 150,000 miles every year.
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  • Nybanker

    Remy XO is a $150 bottle, too.

    • Scottrick

      Bacardi is definitely not. 10 Cane Rum or better is along the lines of what I expected.

  • Cl

    Do you get a new first class amenity kit?

    • Scottrick

      Maybe if I had asked. But it was not offered. I was fine with the one I already had. I don’t think there were any new passengers (some got off in Seoul) but if there were they probably would have gotten one.

  • Blaine

    Woohoo! I’m famous! I’m “One follower on Twitter”!

    • Scottrick

      Haha! Sorry Blaine. I should make a better habit of going back to check my Twitter messages. I’ll update the post.

      • Blaine

        Now THAT’S an update!

  • Jimgotkp

    Scott, just so you know sam gye tang is a very popular dish in Korea especially during the summer months. They put a lot of herbs into the broth but take it out when serving it. The way I eat it is by taking the meat off the chicken and leaving it in the broth. Then I scoop out the rice and mix it in the broth with the chicken so it looks like a chicken and rice soup. From there, I get some salt and black pepper along with some sliced green peppers and put it into the soup. From there, you can mix it around then eat :) It’s a long process but some people just eat the chicken then scoop the rice out and eat it with the soup. You should try it if you ever go to Seoul…

    • Scottrick

      I’m sure I screwed it up somehow. They would not intentionally serve bad food in first class. But I was very dumbfounded. For example, you still mention taking the meat off the chicken. How do I do that with chopsticks? I’m a dumb white kid who grew up in the suburbs.

      I need to go to Seoul rather than trying to travel the world through an in-flight meal. ;)

      • Jimgotkp

        Practice chopsticks by eating at Din Tai Fung in Bellevue everyday. ;) I would mention Wild Ginger but my experience there was not great…

        • Scottrick

          We think alike. I still have a $50 gift card I’ll probably end up using at the Triple Door instead.

          • Jimgotkp

            Never heard of it. Please let us know how it is?

          • Scottrick

            It’s a live music venue in the basement of Wild Ginger downtown. Mostly the same food, but since I don’t care for the decor or service at the restaurant, I may as well eat the food in a different location.

      • shay peleg

        You mean you were a dumb white kid now you are a churner

  • bradR

    re the soapbox – an airline is going to cater to the people they fly the most, and americans aren’t the primary for sq. when compared to all of the destinations sq serves, asia-heavy and non-US content is going to be the norm. less to do with international distribution. if you want US content, fly a US airline :)

    • Scottrick

      I agree with you. My soapbox was aimed at Hollywood, not the airline. I actually appreciated how much effort Singapore put into tailoring its service toward people with a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, not just in its IFE but also menus, signs, staff, etc.

      But if SQ only has 12 slots for American movies (and 12 is a fine number) then the least America can do is provide 12 decent movies. United’s selection of current movies isn’t much better, but one of the benefits of flying United is that they have enough space for classics, back when America produced more movies worth watching.

  • dj

    scott i enjoyed this series of post:-) i am asian and that’s a very wide range of cultures & culinary varieties. i can understand your point about the chicken soup. there are things on menu (even tho they are asain) I am not used to and would rather go for the ‘safe’ items but it’s nothing against anything. once my friend’s kid (also chinese) went to a chinese new year feast and got a plate with a cooked chicken head on it, kids here probably thot that only exists in picture book.

    • Scottrick

      I’m glad for that. In the future, I’ll need to be more proactive about asking the FA for help. Looking back, the dish now reminds me of Pho, which I like very much.

  • Karen

    Scott,
    I am especially enjoying this trip report as we have just returned home yesterday from the nearly identical trip. We loved the Hyatt and the St Regis even more. A belated Happy Birthday. Karen

  • dj

    hey scott can you please put a link on each of the articles in this series to point to the previous and next article? it will be much easier to trace the whole trip that way. thanks. btw nice info & enjoy the site.