Flights KrisFlyer Reviews Singapore Airlines VTL

Review: Singapore Airlines First Class on the inaugural Germany – Singapore VTL flight

How's the experience in First Class on a Singapore Airlines 'Vaccinated Travel Lane' flight during COVID-19?

After 18 months without travelling, Advantage award rates weren’t going to put us off jumping on the inaugural Germany – Singapore VTL flight in early September, especially with our favourite First Class cabin on offer.

Here’s how the experience and service compares to pre-COVID times.

Flight details

  • Flight: SQ325 Frankfurt T1 to Singapore Changi T3
  • Class: First
  • Seats: 1C & 1D
  • Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-300ER
  • Aircraft Registration: 9V-SWU
  • Aircraft Age: 8.3 years
  • Date: September 2021
  • Departure / Arrival: 22:00 / 16:25
  • Flight Time: 12h 25m
  • Cost: 220,000 KrisFlyer miles + S$164 per person
Welcome back! (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Seat selection

If you’re flying in First Class on a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER, it’s not a complicated decision where to sit.

The intimate single-row cabin has only four seats in a 1-2-1 layout, with the window options 1A and 1F ideal for solo travellers, and the middle pair 1C and 1D better for couples.

Even if you are travelling alone in this cabin and only a middle option is available, privacy is still ensured with an extendable divider screen between the two 1C and 1D seats.

For this trip, we managed to secure 1C and 1D.

Our full review

In mid-2018 we concluded our round-the-world trip in First Class on SQ1 from San Francisco to Singapore via Hong Kong in the 2013 First Class cabin, and had the chance to thoroughly review it including both a long-haul and short-haul experience across the two stages of the journey.

ADVERTISEMENT

Don’t miss that review for an in-depth look at the hard product itself, which obviously hasn’t changed since then and we won’t look at in detail in this article, which focuses more on the COVID-19 food and service differences.

Check-in

Singapore Airlines normally opens its check-in desks at Frankfurt 3 hours prior to the scheduled flight departure time. We arrived early at 6.15pm, 3 hours 45 minutes before departure time, and the desks were already open.

Check-in desks were open around 3 hours 45 minutes before departure time. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

We’re not sure if this is a new policy or just a one-off due to the inaugural VTL service.

The additional document checks meant it took around 25 minutes to complete the check-in process, including a lot of checking, double-checking and triple-checking along the way!

If you still have any questions about the VTL process, you can check out our full guide here, and also follow through our Germany – Singapore experience at the following links:

Lounge

Singapore Airlines First Class passengers departing from Frankfurt are invited to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge at the B gates.

It’s good, but not great, so there’s no big rush to arrive early in our opinion.

During our visit the food selection was significantly restricted due to COVID-19, so luckily we were waiting until we were on board to dine in any significant way.

On the plus side – the showers were great.

Media event

Since this was the inaugural Vaccinated Travel Lane flight to Singapore, while we sipped Riesling in the lounge the media were invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony, with the airline’s local station manager lauding the benefits of the new VTL arrangement.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Photo: Andreas Spaeth)
Speeches. (Photo: Dasschoenespiel)

The SQ326 crew then watched on as 9V-SWU, the aircraft operating this service, arrived as SQ325 from Singapore at around 8pm.

9V-SWU arriving as SQ326, with the inaugural crew watching on. (Photo: Frankfurt Airport)

Boarding

We made the short walk from the lounge to the boarding gate at around 9.15pm. Boarding had not yet commenced, but the Frankfurt Airport social media team was keeping us updated on progress behind the scenes.

SQ325 inaugural VTL crew boarding the aircraft. (Photo: Frankfurt Airport)

Meanwhile we had a good view of the aircraft outside as the crew prepared.

9V-SWU at the departure gate. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Boarding was called at 9.25pm, with a separate lane for First and Business Class passengers.

Priority boarding. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Apart from the usual passport and boarding card checks, no further document verification for VTL flight eligibility was conducted at this stage.

We’ve heard that Lufthansa repeats the entire document check (vaccination, PCR test, VTP, etc…) at the gate on its VTL flights, having already done so at the check-in desk.

This particular aircraft, 9V-SWU, was stored at Changi for nearly a year, from 30th April 2020 until 11th April 2021, but the cabin was still in perfect condition. It just goes to show if the storage is done correctly it isn’t a significant issue, even in humid environments like Singapore.

The perfect solo travel option? Seat 1A. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Everything seemed spotlessly clean, which is reassuring especially during COVID-19 times.

Settling in

On our outbound trip from Singapore to Frankfurt the previous week in Business Class, boarding Champagne was available but was on request, rather than proactively offered.

No need to ask in First Class of course, with a glass of Champagne suggested by the crew almost the moment we stepped aboard.

The perfect way to start a First Class flight. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

A choice between Krug and Dom Pérignon vintage 2008 was available. We both opted for a glass of Krug to kick off the journey home.

Champagne and nuts while settling in. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The usual literature selection has been removed, so you’ll only find a safety card and airsickness bag in the pouch alongside your seat for the time being.

ADVERTISEMENT

A ‘Care Kit’ is also provided, comprising hand sanitiser, masks and wipes. These are common between SIA and Scoot.

A rather empty literature pocket. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The Captain announced that our flight time would be around an hour longer than planned at 13 hours 20 minutes. This is a common scenario on Singapore – Europe flights at the moment due to the need to avoid Afghanistan airspace, necessitating longer routings.

SQ325’s route from Frankfurt to Singapore. (Image: Flightradar24)

We understand SIA was already deviating around Iran and Syria airspace prior to the latest troubles, adding to the route length.

(Photo: MainlyMiles)

We had no plans after landing into Singapore, since self-isolation is required anyway on arrival back home until the Changi Airport PCR test result clears, so an extra hour in this fantastic seat was welcome news.

9V-SWU just before pushback on our inaugural VTL flight. (Photo: Frankfurt Airport)

The usual pair of Bang and Olufsen headphones was waiting at each seat, alongside the large 24″ in-flight entertainment screen, which was promising a much quicker flight than the Captain had predicted!

Headphones. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The seat

We’ve flown in the 2013 First Class seat now fitted to all of SIA’s Boeing 777-300ERs a few times over the years, and we can happily report nothing about the hard product has changed, except that the Bose headphones were swapped for these Bang & Olufsen models in late 2018.

The 2013 First Class seat, still looking sharp in October 2019. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If the seat’s features aren’t familiar to you, however, here’s a guide covering each aspect from our full 2019 review (click to expand each section).

Storage options

There are no overhead lockers in this First Class cabin. This gives a nice open and airy feel to this section despite it being quite small. Luggage storage is therefore primarily under the footrest.

Foot Rest.jpg
The large footrest itself is primarily designed to provide additional bed space. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The storage space is an extensive area that would comfortably house even the largest carry-on bags without intruding into the remaining seat space. Excess cabin baggage can be stored by the crew in the galley should the situation arise.

Storage Below.jpg
Luggage storage is under the footrest. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

That also means your bags are within easy reach throughout the flight.

Additional storage and a vanity mirror are provided next to the TV, behind a panel with integrated lighting when opened.

Vanity Mirror.jpg
Vanity mirror. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

It's here you'll find your headphones, and there is ample space for several other personal items or devices you might need easy access to during the flight.

Storage Fwd.jpg
Storage compartment. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Alongside the seat just below the armrest furthest from the aisle there is also an additional storage compartment behind a sliding door.

Storage Side Closed.jpg
Storage compartment closed. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Again this is illuminated when opened and is ideal for your mobile phone, passport and boarding pass etc. A USB charging socket is also located here.

Storage Side.jpg
Storage compartment open. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Along the side of each seat is a large literature pocket. This is a great place to store your leather-bound menu (in the old days!) and any other reading materials, though we also find it handy for keeping tablets and smaller laptops within easy reach.

Literature Pocket.jpg
Literature pocket. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Power sockets

Beneath the TV there is a multi-standard 110V AC power socket, which supports Australian, Japanese, UK/Hong Kong/Singapore Type G, US 2/3-pin and European 2-pin plugs.

Power Sockets
Multi-standard power socket. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Along this side of the seat there is also a shelf for your smaller devices to rest while charging. The power socket remains accessible when the seat is in bed mode.

Table and workspace

A sturdy table extends from below the IFE screen. It is adjustable in a forwards and backwards direction and also in height, so you can find your perfect position.

Table Release
Table adjustment. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The movement of the table allows you to temporarily gain access to or from your seat during a meal if required, simply by sliding it towards the IFE screen.

Seat controls

There is an easy to access panel of seat controls at shoulder height on the privacy lip curving in towards the seat.

Seat Controls
Seat controls. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This allows you to adjust the seat recline, leg rest angle and leg rest extension. There are also lighting, cabin attendant call and do not disturb functions, and a master on/off switch for the IFE screen.

DND.jpg
The 'Do Not Disturb' function changes the backlit seat number indicator from white to red. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

We both found these controls well placed and easy to use.

Amenity kit and PJs

The crew came round with a Lalique amenity kit and asked what size pyjamas we would like.

Lalique First Class amenity kit contents. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The amenity kit contents are from Lalique’s Neroli Casablanca range:

  • Scented Candle (75g). Not to be used onboard for obvious reasons.
  • Lip Balm (8ml)
  • Body Lotion (30ml)
  • Soap (50g)
Amenity kit contents. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Unfortunately amenity kits no longer include the limited-time special gift, which was a small version of Lalique’s iconic crystal fish sculpture.