My South America Trip – Part 1

Starting a post on a trip is always very tough especially when the trip is no longer so ‘fresh’ in the mind. This trip happened in March and since it was a 3 weeks long trip I procrastinated from starting the post for it due to the enormous amount of details to write about.

For as long as 4 years ago, me and my travel buddy has always talked about going to Machu Picchu as it is one of the item on our bucket list. Given the factors of it being 20 over hours flight distance away and 3 weeks of work leave, we conveniently delayed the trip. Last March, we decided to bite the bullet and book our flights even before getting our approvals for leave.. well YOLO isn’t it..

With the flights booked, there was no turning back.. I will share the detailed itinerary at the end of the South America series of post. Firstly, I will dedicate an entire post to my flight experience.

Well, part of our grand plan was to redeem our flights for the longest leg of the trip with our Krisflyer miles since we do not fly to South America direct. Naturally with 20 over hours of flying time, we had to go for First Class and above ( wondering how I landed myself with so much miles? I will save that for another post ) Our initial plan was to fly suites and strike off 2 bucket list, unfortunately the suites flight was not available on this route.

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Photo Credits : Singapore airlines website

From the moment you booked /redeemed the flight, you can enjoy a few privileges even before you  board the plane. Before your travel date, you can log in to your flight and make dining arrangements via the Book a Cook option. The options available was so extensively that I was so spoilt for choice I took a whole week to decide on all my meals. ( options are different from business class )

There is also a separate check-in lounge for First Class customers where you have staff and porters greeting and offering you assistance for your luggage.

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Photo Credits: Singapore airlines website

I’m not going to kid you but I was feeling so ”star struck” that I did not take any photos of the lounge at all hence the pictures from the official site. At the lounge, they will greet you by your last name and they have everything about your flight details on hand. More like your travel advisor, the staff at the counters chatted easily while getting your tickets ready. This is a totally different experience from the usual check-in counters even for business class.

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Photo Credits : Singapore airlines website

You can choose to wait for your companion in the lounge where they are more than ready to serve you drinks and snacks or you can proceed to the private customs counter connected to the lounge by a small walkway. There is a standalone customs officer just serving the first class customers.  ( This is only available in Terminal 3 , the lounge in Terminal 2 leads back to the general customs checkpoint )

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Equipped with my boarding pass and invitation card to The Private Room, I walked towards the direction of the customer lounges. There are a few different lounges for Singapore airlines – the Gold Krisflyer lounge , the Silver Kris lounge and the first class lounge. The first class lounge is just separated from the Silver Kris lounge ( for business class customers ) by a corridor. This is open to first class customers of other Star Alliances customers. The private room which is a further walk beyond the first class lounge is only open to Singapore airlines first class and suites customers.

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The lounge’s décor is very woody and classic. Personally, it felt more business than luxurious. Having high expectations of the private room, I would say I am not extremely impressed. There are different seating areas with lounge armchairs or sofa sets with sufficient privacy for the guest. There are also power points placed around the seats for customers needing to charge their notebooks or mobile. I was on a red eye flight and surprisingly, the lounge was pretty crowded. ( I took this picture after most of the guests left )

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There is a separate dining room for guests who prefer to have their meals on a proper table setting. The menu is not extensively like a full fledged restaurant but pretty sufficient for a airline lounge.

I had the lobster thermidor and it tasted quite mediocre. I am quite surprised since the food was one of the selling points of the private room.

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As the first guests to board, we were greeted by a group of friendly and enthusiastic cabin crew and our extremely spacious and welcoming seats. There are only a total of 4 first class seats per flight providing total privacy and comfort for your flight. The cabin crew will be fussing over you with magazines, pre-flight drinks and snacks and amenities like disposable slippers, dust bag for your handbag, eye shade cover, socks, and a pretty amenities bag from Salvatore Ferragamo which has some sample sized creams and 30ml Eau de toilette and lastly a cotton jumper pyjamas to change into when you want to lie down and rest. No more worries on wearing stylish yet uncomfortable airport fashion. ( you are allowed to bring the jumper with you if you want to as the airline disposes all items which are used )

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The entertainment screen is almost a 20 inch TV screen and the bed is a flat lay structure giving you more than enough leg room. There is a side storage area for your handbags and small items with a mirror on the back of the storage door. For bigger bags and luggage, you can store them right below the seat.

At the side of the armrest within the inside of the seat, there is a side slot storage for important items like passport or mobile. On the opposite side, there are a whole lot of buttons for the adjusting of lights, seat inclination, USB charging slot as well as the in flight entertainment outlet.

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There are 2 toilets on each side exclusively serving the 4 first class customers only. The toilet was stocked with the basic amenities like mouthwash, toothbrush and toothpaste as well comb, shaver and wet wipes.

For the first leg of the flight heading to Incheon, we were served supper. We were also given a choice to have our meal now or just before arrival. I prefer not to be woken up for meals so I chose to have my meal before settling in for the night. My chosen meal was the Japanese Kiseki set which is a series of small and beautifully crafted dishes. Comparing to other in flight meals only, this is really a good choice. The meal was delightful but not too filling. ( I always made it a point not to compare airline food to ground food since our palate will be very different in the air )

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When we boarded the plane from Incheon after a 2 hour transit, we were served lunch. My selection was the ginger stir – fried pork which was pretty normal. Throughout the flight, the crew was very attentive to your every needs. If you are staying up for shows, they are always ready to serve you chips, nuts and any drinks on the menu. If you stir from your sleep and sit up, they immediately check if you needed anything. This is my first long haul flight where I got replenish on fluids so regularly as my mineral bottles were automatically changed.

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Just before we reached LA, we were served breakfast. My choice was the scallop porridge. The bowl was topped with plentiful of scallops. The porridge was quite bland but a very nice breakfast after being in the air for 16 over hours. A big plus was the water kimchi and pickled vegetables which whetted my appetite greatly.

After my first experience with Singapore airlines first class, I can fully understand why people will choose to fly this way. If you have spare cash..( that’s almost SGD20,000 per flight ) , this is a great option for long haul flight. Firstly, you are treated like royalty; as a frequent flyer, i can say that you will never be treated this way even in business class. 2ndly, the comfort of the seat and bed gives you so much comfort that upon arrival, there is no trace of tiredness or jetlag.

Continue following my part 2,3 and 4 of the trip where we make our multiple flight transfers to parts of the world which are so beautiful you will never forget them.

Pre-trip preparations:

  1. You will need your vaccinations done before the trip. Some of the key vaccines are the yellow fever, Hepatitis A & B and Typhoid. If you are unsure of what to get, you can visit any hospital with a travel vaccine department. We visited Tan Tock Seng and the nurses advised us accordingly
  2. Purchase mosquitoes repellent with DEET. If you are entering areas with high forestation area, it is recommended to get malaria pills. For my itinerary, we just had to make sure we protected ourselves with the repellent.
  3. Get altitude sickness medication in advance. These are not available over the counter and can only be bought with a doctor’s prescription. You can try to purchase them from Malaysia which is more easily accessible.

 

 

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