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: 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
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 1: Getting a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test
- 2: The departure airport process
- 3: The Changi Airport arrival process
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.
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 SQ326 crew then watched on as 9V-SWU, the aircraft operating this service, arrived as SQ325 from Singapore at around 8pm.
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.
Meanwhile we had a good view of the aircraft outside as the crew prepared.
Boarding was called at 9.25pm, with a separate lane for First and Business Class passengers.
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.
Everything seemed spotlessly clean, which is reassuring especially during COVID-19 times.
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.
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.
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.