The plane: Boeing 777-300ER.
Class: First Class all the way.
Seat: 2D; one of just eight in a very spacious 1-2-1 configuration. The seat converts into a full flatbed and is suitably cocooned from its neighbours (although not to the same extent as are the truly superlative suites Singapore Airlines operates on its A-380 services).
Price: At a shade under $18,000 return, this is one for the bucket list or a very generous expense account. My wife and I got our seats courtesy of SQ's Krisflyer frequent flyer points.
Flight Time: The fairly epic total travel time of 24 hours, 35 minutes is made up of 10 hours, 40 minutes (Singapore to Moscow), 1.5 hours transit at Moscow and then another 12 hours, 25 minutes from Moscow to Houston. After flying over South and Central Asia, from Moscow the flight heads up over Scandinavia to Iceland and Greenland before turning south over Canada and the US Mid-West.
On Time: Pushed back right on time and arrived into a foggy 2C Moscow morning right on time, with an equally timely departure for Houston.
How Full: Half-full for Singapore to Moscow. On the Moscow to Houston sector, we were surprised to find we had the entire first class cabin to ourselves.
Fellow Passengers: On the first sector we shared the cabin with a European businessman and a US diplomat. On the second sector, it was a very exclusive group of just two: my wife and I.
Entertainment: No shortage of in-flight entertainment options or time to watch it. The SQ IFE system boasts 80 movies, more than r 350 television programmes and plentiful hours of music in a truly global selection. One great thing about long flights is that they give the opportunity to sample a range of offerings from around the world and the standout on this flight was the Swedish murder drama, Fj-llbacka Murders. Moody, atmospheric and compelling, it was outstanding viewing.
Food and drink: Exceptional, especially considering they were served at 37,000 feet. Leaving Singapore, dinner was a five-course extravaganza and my wife and I had both taken the opportunity to select our mains from SQ's "Book the Cook" service. The Straits Chicken Curry was wonderful, rich and flavoursome and the accompanying rice was light and fluffy. A pleasant, but not exhaustive, selection of primarily European wines, headlined by the always delightful Dom Perignon 2006 or the Krug Grande Cuvee, provided some ideal preludes and accompaniments. Also on offer was a very decent list of cocktails, coffees, teas, fruit juices and soft drinks. I recommend the Singapore Sling. Surely it would have been rude not to have one?
Breakfast was served prior to landing at Moscow and it was equally enjoyable: the eggs hollandaise with asparagus was superb.
Heading out of Moscow, there were once again chicken and lamb satay skewers to start, followed by multiple choices for entrees, soups, salad, mains and desserts. All were beautifully cooked and presented. The Dow's 20-year old tawny port made for a sublime finish to some lovely meals. You don't get off this flight feeling hungry.
Service: Impeccable, and many other similarly glowing adjectives. The crews on both sectors were attentive and observant, yet unobtrusive. The crew coming on at Moscow had been briefed by their outgoing colleagues as to our drink preferences and, after introducing themselves, immediately asked if we would like to have the same again or perhaps try something new. That really is great attention to detail.
Baggage: 50kg per passenger, plus two carry-on bags.
WCs: Not the largest, but kept immaculately clean and well-stocked with Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries. Two loos between four passengers is not a bad ratio at all and even better when we got to have one each for the longest part of the flight.
Airport Experience: The flight departs from Changi Airport Terminal 3, the best terminal at possibly the world's best airport. In what was a very nice surprise, we were lucky to be escorted past the First Class Lounge and into the Private Room, an exclusive, demure oasis within an oasis. The ambience is restful and relaxing and the Private Room staff are just wonderful. The chef whipped up a lobster proven-ale for me and a wagyu beef and foie gras slider for my wife. It is one of those rare airport lounges that are actually a shame to leave. Moscow Domodedovo can be a very busy place, but on the morning we were there, passenger flows seemed steady rather than frantic and the often stern security personnel were much more cheerful than usual. The hour-and-a-half stop is just enough time (when the terminal isn't too busy) for a stroll and a rest in the generic Airport Business Lounge that SQ and most other airlines use, before re-boarding for Houston.
Would I fly this again? A thousand times, yes.