As the launch customer of the Airbus A380, Singapore Airlines was one of the first airlines to introduce direct-aisle access Business Class seats and closed-door Suites in First Class.
While their Business Class product in the A380 has aged a bit now, it is still one of the widest seats you’ll find anywhere, backed up with a solid experience at the airport and onboard.
In this overview, we’ll go over what you’ll experience while flying Business Class on the upper deck of their A380s on the Auckland to Singapore route (seasonal).
For those of you booked on different aircraft, you’ll find the onboard experience is more or less the same, except the features of your seat will be different (some better, some worse).
This product is due for an upgrade from December 2017.
Fleet & routes
You can find the A380 on the following routes, between the airline’s hub in Singapore and:
- Auckland (seasonal)
- Sydney (reliably at least one daily flight, if not two)
- Melbourne (seasonal)
- Hong Kong
- Frankfurt and onto New York JFK (this fifth freedom route can be booked separately)
Singapore Airlines A380 routes as of October 2017
The newest Business Class product from Auckland is actually on the Boeing 777-300ER, which serves the largest chunk of flights. The Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-200ER flights share the same seat, which is reviewed in this post.
The cabin: seats & seatmap
The cabin is definitely showing its age, having been introduced more than ten years ago.
There are two variations with the Singapore Airlines A380 layout. The longer routes with more premium demand tend to see a version that has 86 Business Class seats taking up the whole upper deck.
Most other flights, including flights to Auckland, will have the standard configuration with 60 Business Class seats at the front and a small Economy section at the back.
This is divided into a smaller forward cabin with 18 seats, and a larger rear cabin with 42 seats.
But each seat is comfortable at 30 inches wide – enough to seat you and your companion snugly – plus a 55-inch pitch and the ability to convert to a lie-flat bed.
There are also two headphone ports (one on each side), so you can watch a movie with your travelling companion, sitting together.
Each non-bulkhead seat has a small foot cubby which you can stretch out into, although it also means you’ll be sleeping diagonally across the bed.
The seat controls are built into the side. There are some leg rest and recline functions, a reading light, an attendant call button and a do-not-disturb button for when you are sleeping.
High-quality noise-cancelling headphones are provided.
On one side of the entertainment screen is a storage area for your phone and other small devices, as well as a charging port and two USB ports.
On the other side of the screen is a vanity mirror and drink tray.
When it is time to snooze, the seat folds forwards, with the bedding and linen hidden behind you in a compartment. However, since the seat does not recline into a bed, it limits the level of recline you can have when relaxing.
I would recommend a bulkhead seat, as they provide a full-size foot area, rather than a cubby. This allows a lot more space to stretch out.
Plenty of space to stretch out and store my bags during the flight (seat 18F)
The downside of bulkhead seats is that you’ll be near the bassinets, lavatories and galleys, so noise may occasionally be an issue.
You’ll also find your personal screen is set higher than other seats, so you’ll be looking slightly up instead of eye level.
My personal preferences are:
- 18D & 18F for two people: we were served meals first in the rear cabin and did not get disturbed by noise from the galley
- 11D & 11F as the next best choice for duos: but they are normally reserved for high-status customers and those with infants
- 17A & 17K: decent window seat choices for solo travellers
The seats to avoid are:
- 11A & 11K: they have no windows and can feel a bit claustrophobic
- 16D & 16F: also a bit claustrophobic, being nestled in the back of the cabin close to the lavatory and galley
The rest of the cabin is more or less the same. Situate yourself near the front of your section for quicker meal service, or in the middle for fewer noise disturbances.
The forward cabin is also further away from the engines, so ambient noise may be lower.
Service: Food & Drink
Asian airlines are often known for efficient but impersonal service and my experience on Singapore Airlines matches this. Our cabin crew were polite and did their job well.
Kicking back with mixed nuts and a Singapore Sling
Your dining experience will depend on the time of day. A lunch/dinner flight will have six courses ranging from appetizers to desserts and fruit, while an overnight red-eye flight will have a ‘sleeper service’ menu with supper after take-off and breakfast before landing.
A supper option: Singaporean Nasi Lemak
Here is a sample menu for Singapore-Sydney sleeper service and Sydney-Singapore dinner:
Singapore Airlines also offers premium guests the ability to ‘Book the Cook’ before their flight. This allows you to pick and choose your favourite meal out of many options.
Flights departing Singapore have the biggest range, with more than 50 options. From outstations like Auckland, options will be more limited.
A popular Book the Cook dish: lobster thermidor (for breakfast!)
Overall, I find the food and drinks on Singapore Airlines to be of great quality, with an excellent variety of choices.
The KrisWorld entertainment system is loaded with a number of movies and TV shows, which you can check during the month of your flight here.
We found the interface to be old and clunky (not surprisingly, given it is more than 10 years old) and personally did not find many interesting things to watch.
But it is still a perfectly adequate system and the 15-inch screen displayed images clearly.
One complaint I have read often is the lack of certain amenities on Singapore Airlines, namely pyjamas and amenity kits. The airline’s reasoning is that it is an unnecessary cost and not everyone would use them anyway, which is fair enough.
To commemorate 70 years of Singapore Airlines in 2017, we were pleasantly surprised to receive a limited edition gift pack, containing a really soft eye-mask, hand cream, lip balm and some interesting laundry products for use on the go.
All Business Class passengers also get the standard-issue eye mask, socks and slippers.
Further amenities can be found in the lavatories, with shaving razors, female sanitary items, dental items and hair combs available for the taking.
There are two lavatories specifically for Business Class, one at the front and one in-between the cabins. The latter is suitable for disabled passengers, as it is much bigger in size.
Plenty of space to change into pyjamas, if they actually supplied them
Wifi is available for purchase and you can use the same wifi pass across multiple devices but you do need to log out of one to use the other.
Another perk of flying in premium cabins is the ability to request a Singapore Airlines teddy bear. Usually reserved for kids, they are still quite popular with grown-ups too.
This bear is also celebrating 70 years of Singapore Airlines
Passengers departing from Auckland will have access to the Air New Zealand Koru Lounge.
Passengers departing Singapore will have access to the SilverKris lounge in Terminal 3 at Changi Airport. Just note that a security check is performed at each gate, so leave a little extra time than usual in walking from the lounge to boarding.
Decent food at the SilverKris Lounge at Changi
How to redeem points for this flight
A one-way flight in Business Class between Auckland and Singapore will cost you:
- 58,000 KrisFlyer miles + ~$90 in taxes through KrisFlyer (Saver Award)
- 78,000 Velocity points + ~$90 in taxes through Velocity (Business Reward)
Singapore Airlines gives preference to its own members over partners like Velocity. If the flight you want is only available through KrisFlyer and not Velocity (which sometimes happens), then you can transfer 78,326 Velocity points to 58,000 KrisFlyer miles, which you can then use to book through KrisFlyer. I’m pretty sure you won’t cry over the additional 326 points! 😉
You can also get a free or cheap stopover when booking through KrisFlyer and travelling onward from Singapore, even if your onward flight is with another Star Alliance partner. Here are our top five recommendations for a Singapore stopover.
Another option is to convert points from American Express Membership Rewards to KrisFlyer and Velocity.
You can also buy Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints and transfer them to either currency.
If the flight is not available through either program, you can opt to ‘waitlist’ through KrisFlyer, provided you have enough points at the time of your request. Anytime before the flight, they may inform you availability has come through and allow you to proceed with booking.
Alternatively, you could set up ExpertFlyer to search for availability periodically and notify you when it finds some (at a cost).
It may be possible to use other Star Alliance airline points to book, such as United MileagePlus miles or Air New Zealand Airpoints, but generally Singapore Airlines does not release much inventory to its partner airlines for booking (Velocity is the exception).
Our other Singapore Airlines reviews
You’re pretty much getting the same seat whether you’re on the A380 or the 777-300ER from Auckland, so don’t be too stressed over which plane you end up on.
KrisFlyer miles and Velocity points are easily accessible to most people, so a flight in Business Class on Singapore Airlines is a great reward to aim for, especially if you have received a hefty sign-up bonus from an associated credit card like the American Express Platinum Charge.
You’ll get a decent lounge and onboard experience, which will only get better when their new and retrofitted A380s start take to the skies with the latest seats, hopefully from 2018.