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Japan Trip: Singapore Airlines SQ11 in Business Class

Our first trip of 2016, and it's a big one: we're heading to Japan for two weeks.

Japan has been top of my destinations list for a while. As Melissa and Mike booked a trip to Osaka, we decided to join in on their fun. The itinerary is roughly as follows: 4 days in Tokyo, 4 days in Osaka, 1 day in Kyoto, then back to Tokyo for 5 days.

But let's start with the most interesting part: our flights there! We decided to book with [Singapore Airlines]–the LAX-NRT flight was on an A380 (yay) and we've heard they're pretty nice. Plus, they have recently introduced Premium Economy... making the 11-hour flight just a little more palatable.

Anyway, the day before we got a phone call saying that there was no Premium Economy on the plane we were going to take. Uh-oh. The person said it would be fine, just ask at the check-in desk when we arrive.

Only problem is: we were flying with Virgin America from SFO to get to LAX. With a tight layover, were we going to have time to visit the Singapore Airlines check-in desk? When we arrived at SFO, the Virgin America crew couldn't even give us the boarding pass for our second leg. That made us even more nervous. But we weren't showing it.

Boarding our SFO flight (plus the amazing new control tower in the background)
Virgin America SFO-LAX

We landed in L.A. and rushed to the International Terminal (which was thankfully just next to the terminal we landed at). We went to the check-in desk and...

SQ11 Boarding Pass

We were upgraded to Business Class! Holy moly! I never thought I'd fly Singapore Airlines Business Class, but there you go. Plus it was upstairs on the A380!

Before we got on the plane, we hung out in the Star Alliance Lounge, which was pretty nice. The best bit (aside from the free drinks) was the build-your-own-noodle-bowl bar.

Star Alliance Lounge at LAX
Build-your-own noodle bowl!
Nomnom, noodles

Oh yeah, and this is when I started my drinking. It's vacation time!

Cheeky mimosa before the flight

They also had some really nice dessert "shooters," which unfortunately couldn't fit a spoon into them. So I ate them with a knife instead. Keeping it classy, as always.

Passion fruit and s'mores dessert shooters

Over the intercom, they announced that our flight was boarding. Time to go! Going up an escalator to get to the entry was awesome. I love the A380 so much.

Up an escalator to the upper deck of the A380

The seats you get in Business Class are amazing. They're (faux?) leather, and you get some comfy pillows too. The craziest thing was how wide they were. I think you could fit two Michaels in one of these seats.

My seat
Seriously, the seat was so wide

Also, Business Class was really empty. No one was in the seats behind us or diagonal to us. Which came in handy when my table was broken and I had to switch seats.

So many empty rows behind me!
My new seat (only used for eating)

The seat had a number of cool features. There was a little pop-down table for drinks, and a mirror. There were power sockets for regular plugs and USB! Plus a neat little compartment for putting my phone in. We got some slippers and some noise-cancelling headphones (which were actually pretty good).

Range of plug sockets
Tiny pocket for holding my charging phone
Mirror and drink holder
Noise-cancelling headphones (you can see there's a neat hook to hang them on, too)

Now onto the food. Singapore Airlines has a thing called "Book the Cook." Basically, it's like pre-ordering the meal you want before you get on your flight. You can choose some really delicious-sounding stuff! The menu we got when we sat down also offered hanakoireki, which was like a bento-box thing. Hampton went for the hanakoireki, and I got the chef's meal. It was all superb.

My table layout before the meal
Starter: some kind of salmon and crab mayo thing
Main: sukiyaki!
Dessert: chocolate ice-cream
Finally, a cheese course– you gotta have a cheese course

They also had a pretty decent cocktail list. I got a Singapore Sling (duh), which was really rather good.

Oh, and one more thing: the bathroom was full of useful items. Razors, toothbrush/toothpaste, mouthwash... handy for a 10 hour flight.

So many toiletries!
Plus razors, toothbrushes, combs...

After eating, the lovely staff of Singapore Airlines made my seat into a lie-flat bed. It was actually pretty comfortable.

My sky-bed

As we were waking up, we had our "dinner". (A weird thing about long flights: the names of the meals you're served rarely correspond to when you get them.) Yay, more yummy food!

Starter: beef carpaccio with pickles
Main: some dim sum, including lo mai gai, har gow, and shaomai (the lo mai gai, wrapped in a lotus leaf, was amazing)
Dessert: green tea cake

And then, despite my yearning for a longer flight with this amazing service and food, we landed at Narita.