Contributed by Hirofumi Suda
Even though Singapore Airlines flies its A380s to many destinations around the world, most of those flights are still operated by A380s configured with its original, 2007 version seats.
As such, I was excited to have a chance to try one of the airline’s A380s equipped with newer, 2017 version, seats which are noticeably different than the original version – especially so in first class. I tried the aircraft on a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong.
Below, I will be talking about the new business class which – while not as significantly different from its older counterpart as first class – went through some upgrades as well.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Transit at Singapore Changi Airport
I cannot praise Changi airport’s facilities enough. The airport is one large entertainment park, and some of the more interesting facilities – especially by airport standards – are its movie theater and butterfly garden. What is more, both of those are free to enter.
On top of that, many passengers holding a Singapore Airlines return ticket – even in discounted economy – with a transit in Singapore are eligible for a free 20 SGD voucher that can be used at the airport’s stores.
Having enjoyed some of the airport’s facilities, it was time to head to gate B5 where the flight to Hong Kong was departing from.
As for the boarding process, it was very orderly with Suites (first) class passengers being invited to board first, followed by business class passengers and PPS Club members, followed by premium economy passengers and Star Alliance Gold members, and then finally followed by economy class passengers.
Singapore Airlines New A380-800 Cabin and Business Class Seat
Singapore Airlines A380s are equipped with a total of 475 seats in four classes. While the aircraft’s 343 economy class seats and 44 premium economy class seats can be found on its lower deck, the business and first class cabins are located on the upper deck.
First class features just 6 suites in a single-aisle configuration (Singapore Airlines is only one of two airlines in the world – together with Etihad Airways – to have a single-aisle configuration on the A380), and business class features 82 lie-flat seats in a “1-2-1” configuration, each offering direct aisle access.
Upon boarding, I was greeted by the friendly crew, and walked down the aisle to reach my seat, 97K, which was a window seat in the very last row.
The reason I chose a seat in the back of the aircraft was to increase my chances of being able to try the aircraft’s unique “double bed seats” of which there are only three sets in the business class bulkhead rows. I also figured that the back cabin was likely to be emptier than the forward cabin, and so the chances of the “double bed seats” being open was higher.
As soon as I settled in my seat, a friendly crew member named Azman asked what I wanted for my pre-departure drink. I went with a cup of orange juice which was brought promptly.
As far as the seat is concerned, I liked it very much. It was made by Poltrona Frau, the same brand that also designs Etihad’s first class seats.
On its window side, there were a small foldable armrest, a couple of storage compartments, the tray table, a reading light, a vanity mirror, as well as the power and USB outlets (and an NFC reader). The seat controls could be found on the right-hand side console as well.
The seat back in front of me featured a large IFE screen, as well as a cup holder.
The one thing I consider to be a major improvement over Singapore Airlines’ old business class seat is the fact that to turn the seat into bed, the seat does not have to be “turned over.” Instead, it can simply be reclined into its full-flat position like other airlines’ business class seats can.
Not All of the Seats Are Created Equal
Not long after I finished my welcome drink, another friendly crew member named David came to greet me. He also explained to me that the seats in the last row are slightly narrower than all the other seats on the plane – something I did not realize when choosing my seat – and suggested I change my seat.
As there was plenty of empty seats available, I moved two rows ahead, to seat 95K, and indeed, I found the seat to be more spacious. You can tell the difference by looking at the seat back of the seat in front of me.
Going back to the design of the seat, there was enough space to store a relatively big backpack as well as shoes under the seat in front of me. While I didn’t try it, I think a carry-on suitcase would fit there as well.
Overall the storage space was considerably better than that of the older version of the seat.
One last thing I want to mention before getting to the actual flight is that I was pleasantly surprised that even though it was about to be just a four-hour day flight, a complete set of bedding was provided.
That included a throw pillow, a sleeping pillow, a thick blanket, as well as a bedsheet.
Departing Singapore Changi Airport
The departure was smooth and on-time. While making our way to the departure runway, Singapore Airlines’ new safety video which features some Singaporean cultural sites was played.
Although I didn’t watch any of the movies or TV shows available on this flight – and so I won’t be reviewing the in-flight entertainment system, I must mention that the touch screen was very responsive and crisp.
After take-off, the crew came around with a post-departure drink. Once again I went with a glass of orange juice which was quite good.
Well-Stocked and Clean Bathroom
Unlike other airlines, Singapore Airlines does not provide amenity kits in business (and economy and premium economy) class. Instead, items that would typically be found in an amenity kit such as dental kits and razors are available in its well-stocked bathrooms.
I visited the bathroom a couple of times during this flight, and I was impressed with how clean it was kept all throughout.
Singapore Airlines Medium-Haul Brunch Service
Not long after take off, it was time for meal service. Interestingly, a brunch was served on the flight.
Also, while the drink menu is more or less the same on all Singapore Airlines flights, there are slight differences depending on the routes. For example, while on my previous flight from India, lassi was on the menu, this time, the tea selection was wider and included more Chinese teas.
The meal started with a selection of bread (I went with a croissant) and a fruit plate. Rather than each of the items being placed individually on the table, they were placed on a tray – perhaps that was because it was a relatively short flight.
I also ordered a glass of orange juice and iced chocolate to drink. What other airlines serve iced chocolate onboard?!
Once I was done with the fruits, I was served a bowl of granola.
For the main course, rather than going with the onboard menu, I’d pre-ordered a fillet steak using Singapore Airlines’ Book the Cook service. To go with the meat, I got a glass of 2016 Fontanafredda Briccotondo Piedmonte Barbera wine.
Unfortunately, the steak was done too well for my liking. Also, it had a bit of a strange, sort of coriander-ish, flavor. The accompanying vegetables were fine, but the meat itself was a bit disappointing.
While the main didn’t impress me, that cannot be said about the dessert – a Belgian chocolate mousse cake – which was very tasty and was one of the most memorable desserts I had on a plane.
To conclude the meal, I ordered a cup of “Silver Moon tea” – which is, as TWG describes it, “a green tea blend accented with grand berry and vanilla bouquet.” It was great.
After the meal, another friendly crew member, Lim Chee Kuan, came around and asked about the food. I mentioned my thoughts about the steak and she was apologetic, saying that she’d inform the management team about my feedback.
Trying Out the Double Bed
Now, let’s take a look at the highlight of the trip – trying out the only business class “double bed” in the world – which I was able to do as the last pair of the “double bed” seats was unoccupied.
Thankfully, Lim Chee Kuan was kind enough to set up the beds for me to try.
She also mentioned that it was not a true double bed – something that can only be experienced in the Suites class – since the foot spaces had a wall between them. Still, I’d say it’s a pretty novel and nice concept for business class.
While testing out the “double bed,” I could not miss getting the below shot, of course!
One last thing about the middle seats – there is a partition that separates them which can be locked in three different positions.
There’s the lowest position which turns the seats into a “double bed,” then there’s a middle position which is ideal if you are traveling with someone you know, and then there is a high position which separates the two seats completely and is useful if you end up sitting next to a stranger.
Bed Mode on Window Seat
Finally, before preparing for landing, I tried turning my own seat into bed mode.
Despite the positives of the seat which included a padding softer than that of the old version, the ability to recline the seat into its full-flat position without having to turn the seat over, and a wider footwell as compared to the A350 seat, the new A380 seat felt a bit less spacious overall.
That said, it was a comfortable seat which I would be more than happy to spend a long-haul flight in.
Landing at Hong Kong International Airport
With Hong Kong being thirty or so minutes away, it was time for the cabin crew to prepare the cabin for landing, and to start descending.
Not long after that, we landed at Hong Kong International Airport where it was a beautiful sunny day – a nice bonus after the end of a very enjoyable flight.
Singapore Airlines New A380-800 Medium-Haul Business Class Summary
Apart from the mediocre steak, everything about the experience was top-notch.
The “double bed” was a unique experience on its own since no other airlines offer a similar setting in their business class cabins. On top of that, the seat was well-designed and comfortable overall.
What made the flight the most memorable, though, was the wonderful crew which worked great as a team, and made sure that I never went without a re-filled drink.