Singapore Airlines To Introduce New Premium Cabins – Some With Fewer Seats

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Singapore airlines has long been associated with some of the best premium cabins in the sky. They seem to be able to offer the service that you often see on the Middle Eastern carriers without the ostentatious decor, over-the-top furnishings or questionable workplace practices. And now those premium cabins are about to get a new look.

Business Traveller Asia-Pacific (BTAP) has reported that Singapore Airlines’ senior manager of product innovation (that’s got to be a great job!) confirmed that the new batch of Airbus A380 aircraft (due in 2017) will feature premium cabins with new designs that “will stun the world”.

It’s not like the current A380s have a terrible offering:

singapore-airlines-first-class-a380Singapore Airlines First Class Suites A380 – Image Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

singapore-airlines-first-class-a380-2Singapore Airlines First Class Suites A380 – Image Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

And it’s not like Business Class is a complete downer either:

singapore-airlines-business-class-a380Singapore Airlines Business Class A380 – Image Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

singapore-airlines-business-class-a380Singapore Airlines Business Class A380 – Image Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

It’s not that long ago that Singapore Airlines introduced a full new range of seats for their 777-300 aircraft but the airline clearly feels pressure to continue delivering new and better products on a reasonably regular basis (probably due to pressure from the Middle Eastern airlines) – so much so that they’re not going to be using Jean-Jacques Coste, the designer of the current A380 suites, and will be looking elsewhere to keep the product fresh.

New A380 Cabins Will Be Smaller

At the A350 handover ceremony in Toulouse the Singapore Airlines CEO confirmed that the new A380’s that would be delivered in 2017 would see fewer First Class suites installed (although the new suites may be larger than the current ones).

As things stand the Singapore Airlines A380s have 12 suites in the forward section of the A380’s lower deck…..

singapore-airlines-a380-first-class-cabin-layoutScreenshot from SeatGuru

…but with the Singapore Airlines 777-300 aircraft having recently seen their suite numbers cut in half (from 8 to just 4) the A380 First Class cabins are next for a downsizing.

Not much information was revealed about what the new Business Class cabin will be like but, whatever seats are used, they will also find their way on to the 7 ultra long range A350-900 aircraft the airline is expected to take delivery of in 2018 and which will fly the Singapore – Los Angeles route. I also don’t expect the Business Class cabins to go down in size – they may actually increase.

The decrease in size of the First Class cabins is being driven by decreased demand and a lot of that is due to the fantastic Business Class products that are now available on a good number of airlines. Why pay so much more for First Class when Business class is so great?

There aren’t any issues with Business Class demand so I can’t see why Singapore Airlines would cut seats there.

Bottom Line

Whenever a premium airline like Singapore Airlines gets a new premium cabin I start to make plans on how to try it out. They’re a lot of fun and a big reason why I got into this “game” in the first place.

As I mentioned in my post on spending AAdvantage Miles Before The 22 March Devaluation, I almost never redeem my miles for First Class travel (although that’s changing temporarily) so I’ve never flown in a Singapore Airlines First Class suite…..and I’d like to.

Luckily I currently have enough KrisFlyer miles for a long-haul A380 flight but that now leaves me with a dilemma:

There’s a chance that, come 2017, KrisFlyer miles will have devalued and it will cost a lot more to do a trip I can just as easily book now for less.

So, do I book a Singapore Airlines A380 First Class flight now while I have the miles but also while knowing that I’m flying in a soon to be replaced product? Or do I wait to try the new product and hope that either KrisFlyer doesn’t devalue or that I’ve earned enough miles to make up any difference a devaluation brings about?

Also, it’s worth considering the fact that there are going to be fewer seats in the pointy end of the A380. It’s not that easy to grab First Class A380 award seats now so what’s it going to be like when they rip a few seats out?

Whatever happens it’s good to see Singapore Airlines keeping on top of their premium cabin product and not resting on their laurels. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us.