Singapore Airlines First Class Passengers Can’t Use the Bathroom in Hong Kong

Singapore Airlines does an outstanding job in the air (though service is usually phenomenal long haul it does vary and can be quite mixed flying short haul). Their food is very good as well.

But Singapore Airlines does not match the quality of its inflight product with its ground services. Even most of its lounges in Singapore are just ‘fine’. Lounges outside of Singapore? Not nearly so impressive.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Hong Kong. Singapore Airlines has a fairly large presence in Hong Kong with 7 daily roundtrips between Hong Kong and Singapore. One of their flights heads onward to San Francisco. San Francisco – Hong Kong – Singapore and return flights are dubbed SQ1 and SQ2. This flight has seasonally been served by an A380 with ‘Suites class’.

And yet… the lounge has no showers. Not only that, it does not even have bathrooms.

I get that complaints about a lounge for elite frequent flyers and premium cabin travelers represents the archetyptical first world problems, but truly it’s out of character with the rest of Singapore Airlines and even out of character with the offerings of their competition. Flying Thai Airways through Hong Kong — or United — you can go to the lounge and still use the bathroom.

The lounge is across from the bank of gates that Singapore Airlines generally uses.

There’s ample seating and internet.

And there’s a separate seating area for first class and top tier elite passengers, though there’s nothing actually different about the area (other than perhaps fewer people) and no checking of credentials to use it.

There’s a sit down dining area with a buffet, which I suppose makes the lounge much better supplied than the offerings of just about every US airline’s lounges anywhere.

There’s different food at breakfast…

.. than at dinner.

All of which would make the lounge fine, perfectly serviceable, and about average for the region if only they had bathrooms. Sure, if you need to use the toilet there’s a public restroom just outside the lounge.

But after a flight from San Francisco, connecting on to Singapore, all you want is a shower. And after an intra-Asia flight and a connection from Singapore to Hong Kong before boarding a transpacific flight to San Francisco a shower would be nice as well. Not only don’t they offer it in their lounge, they’ve made no provisions elsewhere and there’s really no reasonable way to access one elsewhere in the airport that’ you can expect to travel to and back in time for a flight.

I share this because believe it or not it’s one of the really common questions I get asked by folks using my award booking service, usually using American Express Membership Rewards points transferred to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer to booking Singapore Airlines first class awards… Flight SQ1 from San Francisco to Hong Kong is a supper rather than dinner service with no satay or caviar, already feeling cheated folks are usually surprised to learn they don’t get to shower in Hong Kong either.

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. On a similar note, what star alliance lounges are available to arriving business class passengers? I have a planned trip to HK on EVA.

  2. I don’t believe there are any *A arrival lounges in HKG. For the most part the *A lounges are “departure” lounges.

  3. If you are flying via HKIA I’m sorry but the only way to do that and get all the great lounge amenities is to do it on CX or another OW carrier and access the CX lounges with your Elite status privileges. Only other option I’d consider is to use one of the premium pay-in lounges. BTW… Emirates (you know that ME LCC passing it self off as a premium carrier) doesn’t have a lounge in Houston. It uses a shared facility without toilets or showers. Premium EK passengers totally ripped off.

  4. Title is misleading since it seems First Class passengers don’t have access to any bathroom in Hong Kong! More appropriate to say the lounge doesn’t have a bathroom.

  5. The TG and UA lounges have showers, but bit of a hike, maybe 10 minutes or so, from SQ gates. I prefer the TG lounge, but much prefer the food at the SQ lounge. UA lounge i find not to be very welcoming, even as a paid UA Club member.

  6. Dude, this lounge has been open for SO MANY years… and you are still whining about this ?

    If they could have, they would have put a bathroom in there. This is not a conspiracy against anyone.

  7. Having recently been on the same route, but from Singapore to San Francisco, I totally agree with this post about the inadequacies of the Singapore First Class lounge in Hong Kong, where I also found the service staff to be less than hospitable. I would agree to that the flight segment between Hong Kong and San Francisco should include a full dinner service.

  8. Fly SQ 1/2 all the time in F, just flew SQ 2 2 days ago. Agree – annoying re no lounge bathroom or shower. But, the TG lounge is really not that far a walk – 6-8 minutes brisk walk using the moving walkways. Perfectly fine shower scene (and slightly preferable to the UA GFL which also has private GFL showers if you are Global Services, even the RCL has showers…). Not ideal, but I always do shower at HKG when I feel like it when in F on SQ 2.

  9. What comes across as crystal clear is that Gary and his merry band of megalomaniacal princesses need to get a real life. The layover in Hong Kong on SQ2 is barely 1 hour and 10 minutes. Even taking the traditional military PTA shower, you will need a significantly sized shower facility to accommodate all those who’d enjoy a shower. Perhaps Gary’s real agenda is pushing for one large group shower?

    Besides, why is a shower even necessary at 10:00 pm after only a 3.5 hour flight? It arrives in San Francisco at 9 pm so it isn’t like you need to run to make a board meeting.

    SQ1 could make some sense, but just barely at that. The layover is 1 hour and 25 minutes so Gary’s group shower guise would have potentially smaller groups. Arriving in Singapore at lunch time gives you enough leeway to hit the hotel and not only shower, but maybe grab a fruit snack before running to your audience with the president of Singapore.

    Seriously, this blog entry needs to be front page in the WLB Club.

  10. @J.C. said “Perhaps Gary’s real agenda is pushing for one large group shower?”

    Sorry pal you got it wrong. That would be Lucky who is pushing for a group shower. 😉

    “Besides, why is a shower even necessary at 10:00 pm after only a 3.5 hour flight?”

    Why don’t you ask Lucky what he was doing alone in the SQ Suite on the SIN-HKG leg that would necessitate a shower between flights?

  11. “Passengers CAN’T use the the bathroom”?? Oh bother. What, stage fright when using the public restroom 3 steps next door?

  12. I think Gary needs, in the interests of accuracy, to change the name of his award booking service to something on the order of Whiny Little Bitch Booking Service.

    Oh, the absolute horror of no caviar on a virtually free first class flight! And having to walk about 20 extra steps to get to a bathroom? Absolutely horrendous! The nerve of Singapore Airlines making us incur additional wear and tear to the soles of our Gucci loafers!

    What I read into this is that most of the customers Gary serves in his WLBBS are pretty skanky to begin with if they need a shower so badly after a 3.5 hour flight in first class.

  13. “First Class Passengers Can’t Use The Bathroom”.

    Shame on you, Gary, for such a dishonest and melodramatic statement. Is this a skill you picked up in Trump University?

    Let’s try a more accurate title:

    ‘Megalomaniacal Freeloaders Unwilling To Walk One Minute To Pee’

    I guess they won’t be happy until thy have servants binging them a chamber pot after very glass of champagne they drink.

  14. disappointing post @Gary

    what’s the big deal? note every non-hub lounge has showers and their HKG lounge is still a lot better than others in HK. I also don’t see how SQ is “cheating” pax by offering a supper service on a nighttime departure ex SFO

  15. Good thing the Business Class passengers are able to use those bathrooms outside the lounge, your title only restricts F pax. 😀

    Very strange post, title indicates some restriction for transit pax. Did SQ personally offend you?

    I agree that in F they should always offer full meal service on long-haul flights. You pay enough to be able to choose for yourself if you want to eat a full meal.

  16. What Gary really needs is more hits on his blogs, and you guys are doing a great job. Whereas there is a civil way to disagree with others, JC is outright hostile, perhaps because he can’t emulate Gary and make a few bucks writing a blog? Showers in the lounge? maybe, but ‘johns’? definitely. I don’t want to step outside and mingle with the damn commoners and fight them for this ‘standing room’ only service.

  17. @JC- pretty clear who the WLBs are here- it’s the no life losers who don’t have anything better to do than complain about blog posts.

    Back to the original topic. Oddly enough, the Priority Pass lounge in Hong Kong has showers.

  18. @JC- pretty clear who the WLB is here- it’s the no life loser who don’t have anything better to do than to post multiple complaints under various aliases about a blog post.

    Back to the original topic. Oddly enough, the Priority Pass lounge in Hong Kong has showers.

  19. @ George: Do you actually know what you are talking about? The PP lounge is actually owned by a private company that PP contracts with for access. The lounge, when the new HK airport was built, was designed to specs provided by the company. It makes good business sense to have showers in that lounge as they serve passengers from many different airlines who often have long layovers.

    Obviously reading is a challenge for you, but Gary is whining about passengers on a flight with, at most, an hour and twenty-five minute layover. 1 hour and 25 minutes is barely enough time for you to polish your bald spot.

  20. @ RAM: Sorry, I earn more than a few dollars doing something productive called “work.” If the only way you can afford to eat is by blogging, great; at least write something that provides value. Bitching about a 70 to 95 minute layover during which you cannot shower is moronic. Unless, of course, you are one of those people who stink like hell after 3.5 hours in FC. But even if that is the case, you should be talking with your MD and not crying to Singapore Airlines.

  21. Yep J.C., I know what I’m talking about- just took a shower at the Priority Pass lounge last week, transiting on SQ1.

    Clearly, you are the guy who doesn’t know what he’s talking about- probably a no-life loser without a job who’s never been out of the US.

  22. George, you must be retarded. First, I make more in a year than you’ve earned in the past ten years since you’ve graduated high school. Second, the fact Plaza Premium has showers is attributed to the fact they are a private company who owns their space in HKG. Unlike Sing Air, Plaza Premium actually designed their lounges prior to the opening of HKG.

    You must have smelled like crap to run to the showers during your 1.5 hour layover. Talk to your MD about that issue. Medicaid will pay for that for you, won’t they?

  23. Wow, I can’t believe all of the psycho comments. I agree that the post is somewhat silly (perhaps it was meant to be humorous?), but it is Gary’s blog and he can post whatever he wishes. No one is forcing anyone to read it.

  24. Sorry, guys- was just trying to point out that their were alternatives for showers while in transit.

    Clearly, JC hasn’t taken his meds in a while- he’s throwing out random insults (how could I be both just out of high school and on Medicaid?). In any case, Medicaid doesn’t cover Americans living overseas, as he would know if he had ever gotten on an international flight. JC- need to get out from behind your computer monitor and leave your parent’s den once in a while.

  25. @Gene ding ding ding, I was being a bit over the top/tongue-in-cheek in sharing details of a rather middling lounge. Though I do think it would be worth Singapore making better efforts to arrange for showers for premium cabin passengers getting off SFO-HKG and continuing to SIN.

  26. Bad post, bad attempt to pretend it was supposed to he humor. You come across as spoiled. The kind of premium passenger I cringe sitting next to. Instead of appreciating the ride and service you whine. I was surprised there was no CC links in the post. No wait there are four in the margins.

    I used to enjoy landing at the boarding area. Any more it takes me 30 seconds to scan and I might find one post of value

  27. @Gary, that’s an interesting point. Why do you still keep the affiliation with BoardingArea? You should just have your own site and keep all of the ad revenue for yourself. If it means fewer ads, then I would be much happier.

  28. @john – Randy Petersen has hosted my blog since the beginning of 2003. Before that I was on blogspot (Instapundit graciously bought out the Blogspot banner ad at the top of that page for me).

    The site got its first ads back in 2004 — “BlogAds” which I think paid ~ $40 per week (not sure if that was per ad or in total). I told Randy to just keep it, to defer development and hosting costs. His team had built custom blogging software for me to use which – personally – I actually preferred over WordPress (and loved compared to Movable Type).

    When he founded BoardingArea I was one of the original bloggers on that site. Randy also was the founder of Flyertalk where I was a moderator from 2003 through early 2011 (as well as an original senior moderator, and member-elected board president for five or six years). He and I are co-founders of Milepoint together.

    I am an early adopter in some things technology, I had my first modem about 28 years ago, I hosted a BBS and was a part of 80s hacker culture, I programmed websites in the early 90s and scripted in perl.

    But my tech knowledge is pretty much frozen in time, because my career has taken me in a totally different direction. I like having someone else handle the tech for me.

    All in all I’m happy with the status quo hosting, and don’t make the decisions on the basis of ads. Anyway, for what it’s worth.

  29. Gary, I think you hit the nail on the head.

    After the supper service (disappointing) on SQ1 (not suites, although I had been hopping for it), I had to shower at the Priority Pass lounge. Definitely was disappointing.

    It’s a reason why I prefer CX – although the food is mostly better on SQ, CX always has the full meal service and the hard product is much better.

  30. There is an other Star Alliance lounge for first (Hon Circle) on the first floor including a shower. However SQ lounge is not bad.

  31. Really, Gary? I was in both those lounges in Hong Kong in April. I had ample time to compare them. The Singapore Lounge in Hong Kong is excellent. It has excellently served and presented and topped-up food and drink counter especially considering the smallish size of the lounge. I’m surprised you did not comment on the fact that this lounge is internal to the building and has no windows. I did not find this a problem but some might. Yes, the lack of conveniences would be nice not to have. But otherwise it;s fully up to the standard of other SQ lounges round the world that I have been in.

    In contrast the Thai Airways Gold lounge which I visited on the same day, did not blow me away. It;s not enclosed and is just a mezzanine area up a staircase. The food was very poor quality. The drinks choice very poor. and the area of food and drink service crampled and not well maintained, like the seating area. Yes Thai had their own bathrooms and, I believe, showers. But for a Gold Lounge I overwhelmingly thought the SQ lounge a more pleasant and well run business environment. YMMV.

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