Tag Archives: singapore

Around the World in 100 Hours: Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour

Introduction
United Club San Francisco, International Terminal
United Business Class San Francisco to Seoul
Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge Seoul
Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul
Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore
Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore
Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour
Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Transiting Colombo
Lotus and Araliya Lounges Colombo
Qatar Airways Business Class Colombo to Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries First Lounge and Club World Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to San Francisco


If you have a layover of 5 hours or more at Changi Airport, you can partake in a free tour of Singapore. Since I had a layover of 8 hours and it was pouring rain when I arrived, I decided to sign up for the tour rather than brave the weather by myself.

They offer five tours per day, although the times are a little misleading since you’re supposed to be ready to go about an hour before the stated time. So although the tour I signed up for was supposed to be from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, I was told to be at the booth at 5:25pm.

Once at the booth, they handed out numbered stickers that we were supposed to wear, and then we headed off to Terminal 2, to pick up the other people signed up for the tour. Then, as a giant group, we made our way through immigration. Even though they had two immigration officers dedicated to the tour group, it was a very slow process.

After immigration, we boarded a bus for the tour. We were told that we weren’t allowed to take pictures in the bus, unless we were shooting things outside. I’m not sure why this was.

I was expecting more of a guided tour where we would go from touristy place to touristy place and our guide would tell us interesting facts. It was more like we drove directly from the airport to a singe drop-off location, got the chance to walk around for 15 minutes, and then drove directly back to the airport. And the tour guide was rather patronizing and full of propaganda. Lots of stories ended with statements like, “and that’s why Singapore is the best nation in the world”.

Marina Bay Sands

Marina Bay Sands

Merlion statue

Merlion statue

The tour did offer the chance to see the Singapore skyline and the merlion statue, but the free tour was a very sterile perspective of Singapore. It’s a cool idea in theory, but in practice, I think it would have been better to have skipped it and explored the city on my own.

Around the World in 100 Hours: Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore

Introduction
United Club San Francisco, International Terminal
United Business Class San Francisco to Seoul
Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge Seoul
Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul
Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore
Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore
Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour
Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Transiting Colombo
Lotus and Araliya Lounges Colombo
Qatar Airways Business Class Colombo to Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries First Lounge and Club World Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to San Francisco


As I was connecting to a Singapore business flight, I had access to the SilverKris Lounge, although not the Private Room in the lounge which is reserved for first class passengers. Although this is Singapore’s business class lounge, people who are Star Alliance Gold don’t get access to the SilverKris Lounge; instead, they get access to the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge (why Gold is less exclusive than Silver is beyond me).

Entrance to the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3

Entrance to the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3

The SilverKris Lounge is quite large, with a variety of different seating areas. There are computers to use, a small conference room for business, a sizable dining area, and lots of seats for lounging. Given its size, it never felt crowded, even during the busy times.

Seats with a terrific view of the... smoking area?

Seats with a terrific view of the… smoking area?

iMac work stations (they also had PCs)

iMac work stations (they also had PCs)

Lots of space (but not that many electrical outlets?)

Lots of space (but not that many electrical outlets?)

If there’s one fault that I could see, it’s that there weren’t many electrical outlets, except at the seats along the edge of the lounge, so most people seemed to congregate along the edge.

There were extensive food options served buffet style. Things seemed to be replaced often, and there were lots of signs saying what was vegetarian, which I greatly appreciated.

Dining area

Dining area

Food options

Food options: sushi and noodles

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Desserts

Hot food options

Hot food options

A sampling of the food

A sampling of the (vegetarian) food

Drink selection

Drink selection

The shower facilities were decent, although I couldn’t get the water to be as hot as I wanted. It was a rather lukewarm shower.

Toiletries in the shower rooms

Toiletries in the shower rooms

Shower room

Shower room

I also had the chance to visit the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 2, and I found it to be slightly worse than the Terminal 3 lounge. The Terminal 3 lounge is larger, has better and more food options, and also has couches, which is important if you’re trying to take a nap as there are no nap rooms in either lounge. It’s just a short tram ride between the terminals, so I’d probably take the time to head to Terminal 3 if I had a long enough layover and was departing out of Terminal 2.

Around the World in 100 Hours: Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore

Introduction
United Club San Francisco, International Terminal
United Business Class San Francisco to Seoul
Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge Seoul
Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul
Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore
Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore
Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour
Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Transiting Colombo
Lotus and Araliya Lounges Colombo
Qatar Airways Business Class Colombo to Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries First Lounge and Club World Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to San Francisco


The first lounge I stopped in at Singapore was the Ambassador Transit Lounge in Terminal 3. You can access this lounge using Priority Pass.

The Ambassador Transit Lounge has many services typical of international airport lounges (e.g. shower rooms, nap rooms), but most of these services beyond wifi and food are pay-per-use. This can be great for a traveler without lounge access who just wants to take a shower or a quiet place to take a nap, but it’s a little less appealing for those of us who get our lounge access through programs like Priority Pass.

When I visited, the lounge only had one other person in it. While it wasn’t a very large lounge, there were plenty of places to sit, including one room where all the chairs were facing the same wall.

Is everyone supposed to look at the painting?

Is everyone supposed to look at the painting?

The food options didn’t look incredibly appetizing to me, but I did have some steamed buns that I really enjoyed.

I'm a sucker for steamed buns

I’m a sucker for (steamed) buns

More food options

More food options

Overall, the lounge seemed like a fine place to spend a couple of hours, but I’m not sure I would have paid for access just for the food and wifi since Changi offers free wifi and the food wasn’t great. But if you’re looking to grab a shower or a private room for a nap, it’s one of the only places you can go.

Empty lounge

Empty lounge

Computer stations

Computer stations

It’s also worth noting that the Ambassador Transit Lounge in Terminal 2 has a gym, and I did see a couple of people using it to work out.

Around the World in 100 Hours: Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore

Introduction
United Club San Francisco, International Terminal
United Business Class San Francisco to Seoul
Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge Seoul
Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul
Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore
Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore
Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour
Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Transiting Colombo
Lotus and Araliya Lounges Colombo
Qatar Airways Business Class Colombo to Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries First Lounge and Club World Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to San Francisco


Singapore 607
Seoul (ICN) to Singapore (SIN)
Sunday, May 26th, 2013
Depart: 9:00am
Arrive: 2:20pm
Duration: 6h 20m
Aircraft: A330-300
Seat: 15K

I was really looking forward to my first flight on Singapore given its reputation, but I also knew that it was just regional business on a two-class plane.

Singapore Business Class cabin

Singapore Business Class cabin

My seat, 15K

My seat, 15K

Plenty of legroom

Plenty of legroom

The difference in service between Singapore and United was stark: the flight attendants would address you by name on Singapore, everything was asked as if they were sorry to disturb you, and they tried to anticipate your needs, rather than just reacting to what you ask.

I know that it’s only regional business, but Seoul to Singapore is over 6 hours, so I was expecting something more from the amenities that they offered, which were just a pair of slippers/booties and an eye mask.

Slippers and eye mask

Slippers and eye mask

On this flight, they did have the special Asian Vegetarian (AVML) meal that I ordered. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I thought that the food was overall good. I’m not sure why people think that vegetarians want to eat fake meat, but the things served besides the fake meat were tasty.

Starter of of cucumbers, tomatoes, wakame, and imitation meat

Starter of of cucumbers, tomatoes, wakame, and imitation meat

Main of noodles with more imitation meat on top

Main of noodles with more imitation meat on top

Fruit for dessert

Fruit for dessert

For what it’s worth, here are pictures of the full menu:

DSC01637 DSC01639DSC01640 DSC01641 DSC01642

Given that I had woken up pretty early in Seoul and wanted to spend my time in Singapore exploring the city once I hit the ground, I tried to get some sleep. Singapore’s seats in regional business are angled lie flat, so while the seat does go completely flat, it does so in such a way that you’re tilted slightly to the ground. I actually didn’t think that it was much of a problem in terms of comfort, and I had no problems with sliding down the seat.

What I did have problems with were the number of children on board. Perhaps it was a popular weekend for Korean families to go on vacation as there were 6 small children or babies in the business class cabin who were very, very loud. Even with ear plugs, I was woken up several times by children making noise. Makes me think that maybe I should try Malaysian Airlines since they have a baby ban in first class.

I ended up using the in-flight entertainment instead, which had a good selection. I do wish, however, that Singapore would start their in-flight entertainment on the ground like United does.

Overall, I had an enjoyable if relatively sleepless flight, and it was my first taste of what non-US airlines can deliver in terms of service in premium cabins. It also made me want to try Singapore Suites in the future to see what Singapore can really do!

Around the World in 100 Hours: Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul

Introduction
United Club San Francisco, International Terminal
United Business Class San Francisco to Seoul
Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge Seoul
Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul
Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore
Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore
Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour
Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Transiting Colombo
Lotus and Araliya Lounges Colombo
Qatar Airways Business Class Colombo to Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries First Lounge and Club World Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to San Francisco


The lounges at ICN in the Concourse are all relatively close together, so it was easy to stop in multiple lounges.

My next stop after the Asiana lounge was the Korean Air lounge, which is also part of the Priority Pass network. When I checked in, the desk agent couldn’t figure out why I would want to use his lounge when I could use the Asiana lounge, but he let me in anyway.

My first impression was that the Korean Air lounge is much lighter and airier. While the Asiana business class lounge has no windows to the outside, the Korean Air lounge has large windows with views of the tarmac.

Views from Korean Air lounge

Views from Korean Air lounge

Much more light than the Asiana lounge

Much more light than the Asiana lounge

The food and drink options, however, were much more sparse than the Asiana lounge, although this could be partly due to the time of day that I visited.

DSC01616

DSC01614Beer on tap Beer on tap

Meager alcohol selection

Meager alcohol selection

My final stop was the Singapore SilverKris lounge, which was the lounge the check-in agent wanted me to use when I checked in for my flight.

Seating in SilverKris lounge

Seating in SilverKris lounge

Work area

Work area

The lounge had a couple of different food offerings than the Asiana lounge, but I thought the Asiana lounge offerings were superior.

Dim sum

Dim sum

Food options

Food options

DSC01626

The lounge also had its own shower room (as did the Korean Air lounge), but I didn’t partake.

Shower room

Shower room

Overall, if you don’t mind the lack of windows in the Asiana business class lounge, that would be my first choice of lounge in the Concourse at Seoul. The food offerings were superior, there were more shower rooms and quiet rooms, and there was just more space. But if the Asiana lounge is crowded, it wouldn’t hurt to check out one of the other lounges, since they’re all so close to one another.