One Last Suites Hurrah — A Week in Central Europe via Singapore Suites and Lufthansa First
- Introduction and Booking
- Singapore Suites Check-in JFK and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
- Singapore Airlines Suites Class JFK-FRA and FRA EasyPass Enrollment
- 36 Hours in Prague and Czech Airlines PRG-BUD Review
I arrived at JFK roughly three hours before departure and found the Singapore Suites check-in area in Terminal 4 to be empty; I was helped with no wait. As is common with carriers that operate limited service to outstations, all of the check-in agents at the Singapore Airlines area seemed to be contract workers rather than actual SQ employees. While contract workers are generally very hit or miss (with most falling into the latter category), I was pleasantly surprised to find all of the staff I interacted with as well as those working desks for the other classes of service to be professional, courteous, and friendly.
With my Copa Platinum/Star Alliance Gold status having recently expired, I knew that I would have to later pay to check the piece of luggage I had with me on my coach FRA-BRU-PRG flights. After mentioning to the check-in agent that I was connecting same-day to Star Alliance flights on a separate itinerary, I asked if it would be possible to through-check my bag all the way to Prague. I provided the agent with the information for my other itinerary and within two minutes she had bag tags printed with my bags through-checked JFK-FRA-BRU-PRG. I’ve found that SQ consistently is willing and able to through-check bags on even the most complex itineraries; those who fly a lot of SQ generally agree. In an era where most carriers are actively cutting interline agreements, it’s incredibly refreshing to see Singapore Airlines maintain such a customer-friendly policy (and, perhaps more impressively, that even their contract workers are well-trained and empowered enough to be able to do this without hesitation). With my bags through-checked to PRG and my boarding pass in hand, I headed to security.
Singapore Airlines does not participate in TSA Pre-Check, and because of the influx of departing passengers during the bank of evening departures, T4 security was a bit of a zoo. It took about 20 minutes to get through screening using the priority line, after which I followed the signs to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, which SQ uses at JFK.
The Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at JFK has great amenities for a business class lounge, including some unique and trendy décor; a spa with various pedicure, haircut, and massage options (only for Virgin Atlantic and Delta passengers, unfortunately); a respectably-stocked bar; and fairly extensive food options (by US business class lounge standards), along with waiter service. As the lounge has been reviewed many times before elsewhere, I’ll just quickly touch upon my experiences. The lounge is spacious, with a number of different seating areas. In the center of the lounge is a large and well-apportioned bar, behind which is the recognizable circular red couch and a pool table. Off to both sides of the lounge are additional seating areas with small tables for dining, and towards the back of the lounge are the spa, restrooms, and shower rooms. I snagged a table on the far left side of the lounge by the windows overlooking the tarmac.
Within two minutes, a server approached with a menu and offered me a glass of water. Despite knowing that I would be feasting onboard in just a few hours, I decided to sample one item from the “Bigger Bites” section of the menu and one of the flatbreads. I ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala, which came with “poppadom, naan bread, riata, mango chutney, and onion salad” and a chicken flatbread. Though many have raved about the quality of the food at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, I found the food to be fine but not particularly notable or exceptional. While the chicken tikka masala dish was good, the chicken flatbread was disappointing and I ultimately removed all of the chicken, which tasted like it was several days old and someone had simply reheated it.
After a couple glasses of Glenlivet 15 — which I was pleased to see being offered — I spent the rest of my time in the lounge catching up on some work. The wifi was fast and, most notably, service from the servers was quite attentive. Overall, the lounge is good for a quick visit but in my opinion is not worth building in extra time for. While the lounge is good by business class standards, it’s a bit disappointing that SQ hasn’t negotiated for its first class passengers to use the Emirates or Etihad lounges in Terminal 4. That said, I found the staff at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse to be among the most pleasant and polite that I’ve encountered in US international lounges; this has been the case each time I’ve visited the lounge.