The Singapore Airlines Private Room.

My flight from Hong Kong arrived around 23.00 into terminal 2 at Changi airport.  At the time, I wasn’t too familiar with the airport, however it’s shaped like a large U with terminals 2 and 3 being opposite each other.  That meant taking the little train from terminal 2 over to terminal 3 where the main Singapore Airlines lounge complex was.

Changi is a pretty large airport and while there is a train and lots of moving walkways, having been sat down for many hours generally preferred to walk.

Singapore Airlines has the concept of a lounge, within a lounge, within a lounge in the main complex at terminal 3.  The entrance is the main SilverKris lounge for business class passengers.  Within that lounge, there’s the First Class lounge which is for passengers travelling First Class on other Star Alliance carriers and their PPS Club members.  Finally, within the First Class section is the Private Room, which is only for passengers travelling First or Suites class with Singapore Airlines.  As I was arriving in First on Singapore Airlines, and connecting to Business, I was still eligible to use the Private Room.

At the entrance to the main lounge complex, I was greeted by a member of staff, and showed him both boarding passes.  I was whisked through, and onwards to the First Class section, and then on again in to the Private Room.  I actually had a fairly rubbish connection in that my onward flight to Sydney didn’t depart until the next morning at 07.05.  By this time it was around 23.15 so had a while to wait.

I had debated booking one of the rooms at either the Crowne Plaza or the Transit Hotel at the airport, but figured that my body clock would be saying it was the middle of the day (which it was back in the UK), so I wouldn’t really sleep and it would be a bit of a waste for such a short layover.  That was the theory anyway.

Upon entering the lounge, the staff explained that the Private Room would close at 02.30 and re-open at 05.30 but the business and first class sections were open 24 hours and I could remain there.  Good to know.

The lounge was essentially divided into two sections, a bunch of places to sit down and relax, including funnily enough a couple of Private Rooms.  Inception by lounge?

There was also a dining area to get some food.

And, er, that was it.

There were lots of staff milling around to help take orders for food and drinks, but that was all.  Around 01.00 in the morning the lounge started to empty out, so asked if there was anywhere I could lie down and have a bit of a nap.  The staff led me to a section of the business class lounge which was the only place where there were bench / sofa style area and you could lie down fully.  Neither the Private Room nor First Class section had any type of nap room.  However the did kindly provide both a pillow and blanket.

Well as I suspected I wasn’t actually that tired anyway, so wandered back into the First Class section and caught up on some movies on my laptop.

Which led me to the next revelation – the WiFi was rubbish and kept on dropping out.  Even in a near deserted lounge complex, it didn’t work reliably and so Netflix just about stuttered along.

Being somewhat bored I decided to take a few photos of the First Class section which was totally empty given it was as good an opportunity as ever.

It’s certainly a nice space with areas to relax and work, plus a great bar, selection of drinks and food.  However at the same time oddly impractical as there were no sofas anywhere.

Exactly at 05.30 one of the members of staff noticed me and invited me back into the Private Room where I was starting to feel a little peckish.  Breakfast was on offer so opted for a glass of the Dom, some orange juice and the eggs Benedict.

It was certainly very good and a great breakfast, but was certainly a little underwhelmed.

Thoughts

I was actually really disappointed with the whole experience. Singapore Airlines has always been a world leader in premium service.  Their Suites class with the launch of the A380 was revolutionary and the re-invention of it recently was also incredible.  Whatever you may think of the concept of the Singapore Girl, they are very highly trained and offer amazing service.

I suspect that I was somewhat of an edge case in that I stayed over-night in the lounge, but if you look at nearly every airport in the world, you’ll have people with over-night connections.  Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are at their busiest in the small hours of the mornings.

So to have no facilities such as a nap room, which even British Airways is capable of providing with their Cabanas in the Concorde Room, is pretty inexcusable for a top-tier global carrier such as Singapore Airlines.

The food and drinks were very nice, but not amazing.  Adding the unreliable wifi to the mix really didn’t help either.

Overall, it’s a good place to come for some food and a sit down whilst waiting for your flight, but that’s about it.  I’d probably put it on a par with the Concorde Room in Terminal 5, if not somewhere below that.

I do find it really strange that they have invested so much in the on-board experience and almost forgotten the ground one.  If you’re passing through, then I certainly wouldn’t figure spending more than a couple of hours here.

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