I just got upgraded from economy to business on Singapore airlines and it reminds me of an experience a few months ago when I somehow managed to go from business to suites without really asking. In case you are not familiar with the suites concept, this is the class that replaces/upgrades first on some routes. It features a private cabin that can be converted into a double bed and each seat has a TV screen larger than the one I have at home. I believe that the suites on Emirates airlines also have showers. Anyway, I am not telling you this to be a smartypants, it’s what happens in the lounge that I think a few people might find interesting.
Instead of entering the usual hubbub of the business class lounge in Singapore airport you enter via the first class lounge and proceed past security to what can only be described as an inner sanctum. It’s huge and strangely quiet – and this is what I found so interesting. In almost all airline lounges that I’ve ever been in the pace is somewhat manic. There are people talking, people doing email on laptops and people tapping blackberries. There is a lot of ‘stuff’ going on.
In the suites lounge it was different. Nobody spoke. Nobody was on a laptop. Nobody had a Blackberry out. People seemed to be just reading newspapers and thinking. I suppose it could just be that the people that are usually in these lounges (Latin American dictators, Russian oligarchs, David Beckham, Kyle etc) have people to do email for them. Oh, and the service (whisper quiet) was bordering on the telepathic and the whole place smelt of money. Anyway, it was bizarre and rather wonderful (I wish I had taken someone with me to see it kind of way). Andrew and Ellen, I know you are reading this and I’m really sorry, OK?
BTW, if you are wondering about the onboard experience that was pretty extraordinary too. I rather wished that each cabin had a short CV of the person resident inside, but alas no. The attendants seemed to know quite a bit about who everyone except me was (maybe it was my teeth or the stench of debt that put them off?). All I can tell you is that most of the other passengers were alone (what a waste of a double bed at 39,000 feet!) and most had perfectly white teeth and deep suntans.
Me? I just bounced around like a kid that had somehow talked their way into a sweet shop after hours and had been told they could have as many sweets as they could stuff in the pockets of their short, ink-stained, trousers.