Singapore Airlines New A380 Business Class – Full Details & Thoughts

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Last Thursday Singapore Airline finally revealed what it plans to do with the cabins on its new Airbus A380s and, while a lot of focus has been on the new Suites Class product (which I took a look at on Friday), today I thought I’d take a critical look at the new Business Class seats on the Singapore Airlines A380.

Singapore Airlines New A380 Business Class

Singapore Airlines New A380 Business ClassSingapore Airlines New A380 Business Class

I could start off by letting you know what Singapore Airlines has to say about its new product but I won’t – I’ll do that a little later. I’m going to start off by saying what I first thought when I saw the image above and that was “hmmm…it looks ok but it’s not exactly breaking new ground here”.

In fairness I guess you could argue that its hard for Singapore Airlines to break new ground with its new Business Class product as airlines like Qatar Airways and Delta have hit the market with their ideas first….but the new Singapore Airlines seat doesn’t look all that “new”.

Here are a couple of images depicting the enclosed Qatar Airways QSuite Business Class seat….

a table with a tv and a screen on it

a row of purple and white chairs

….and here are a couple of images of the new Delta One Suites:

New Delta One Suite

New Delta One Suite

Now take a look at the new Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class seat again:

Singapore Airlines New A380 Business ClassSingapore Airlines New A380 Business Class

Is it me or does the new seat seem somewhat behind what both Qatar Airways and Delta have recently brought to market?

The new Singapore Airlines seat reminds me a little bit of the seat you’ll find already fitted to the Qatar Airways 787s and A350s…and these have been around for a while:

a row of seats in a planeQatar Airways 787 Business Class

a seat with a pillow and a computer on the back of itQatar Airways 787 Business Class

Ok…so my first thoughts weren’t exactly those of excitement so let’s see what Singapore Airlines has to say:

Measuring 25 inches in width, the Business Class seat, which has two side wings for better back support, reclines directly into a comfortable full-flat bed (78 inches). Customers may also stretch out fully in a ‘sun-deck’ position to watch movies on the 18-inch high definition touch-screen monitor.

A larger back shell on every seat creates a cocoon-like feel for more privacy while the centre divider can be fully lowered to form double beds, making the two centre seats an ideal choice for customers such as families travelling together.

A unique feature of the new Business Class seat is that it has a carbon fibre composite shell structure, as compared to conventional aircraft seats which use metal as the primary support structure. This thinner base structure allows for better optimisation of the seat and creates more under-seat stowage space to accommodate a full-sized cabin bag and laptop bag or handbag.

Seats in the Business Class cabin are arranged in a forward-facing, four-abreast (1-2-1) configuration that offers all customers direct access to the aisle.

Other features include a business panel equipped with USB ports and in-seat power, reading lights with adjustable brightness level, mood lighting, enlarged dining table designed for flexibility in dining positions, as well as stowage space for personal amenities with a thoughtful design that puts everything within easy reach.

More under seat stowage is definitely good (that’s a nice positive)….

luggage in the back of a carSingapore Airlines New A380 Business Class

…..the extra back support, is great, the 25″ of seat width is at least 3″ more than you get in most Business Class cabins and I like the big divider between the center seats too – that makes the center seats less of a downgrade for solo travelers who book too late to get a single seat by the window.

Speaking of centre seats, there’s another little feature in the new Business Class cabin…..

Singapore Airlines New A380 Business ClassSingapore Airlines New A380 Business Class

….they can be turned into a singe double bed.

Erm…no thanks.

I wasn’t exactly wowed by the idea of the double bed you can make in Suites Class so I’m sure you can imagine my feelings on a double bed in what looks to be a very exposed Business Class cabin.

The double bed you get in the Qatar Airways QSuites is at least properly enclosed….

a woman reading a book in a bedQatar Airways QSuites Double Bed

…while the offering from Singapore Airlines looks wide open.

Which Aircraft Will Have The New Business Class & On What Routes Will They Fly?

At first the new Singapore Airlines Business Class seats will be found on the 5 new Airbus A380s that are being delivered over the next few months….but the remaining 14 A380s will also eventually get the new seats too.

The retrofit work is scheduled to start in “late 2018” with completion targeted for 2020.

The first route to see the new Business Class seats will be the Singapore – Sydney route (flight numbers SQ221/232) starting on 18 December 2017.

a map of australia and the south pacific

No further routes have yet been announced but the Singapore – London route is almost certainly going to be the next route to get the new aircraft.

Overall Thoughts

Disappointed is probably the best word to describe how I feel about what we’ve seen so far of the Singapore Airlines New A380 Business Class product and I think this will cost the airline in the long run.

Perhaps I expected too much from an airline I hold in very high esteem but, even if my expectations were too high, what Singapore Airlines came up with should still have been better than this.

The Senior VP of Products & Service for Singapore Airlines is quoted as saying “[t]he introduction of our all-new cabin products is intended to ensure we retain our product leadership position“….but is that what this new Business Class seat really does?

The Singapore Airlines New A380 Business Class seat may be a better seat than you’ll get in Cathay Pacific Business Class but I don’t think it’s better than what you’ll find on JAL or ANA and both of those airlines fly direct to Asia from the US and Europe just like Singapore Airlines.

Singapore Airlines will still have its fantastic cabin crew going for it – so that’s still a positive – but will that be enough? I don’t think it will be.

This looks like a weak new Business Class product that will be easily surpassed by other competing airlines who are looking to modernize their fleets too. That will leave Singapore Airlines having to compete on price (as it won’t be competing on product) and that’s something I don’t think the airline can do.


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