No pressure, BA. Singapore Airlines launches its new First and Business Class.

So, no pressure Alex.  If you want to make British Airways First Class and Club World a leading global product, Singapore Airlines has just raised the bar on what needs to be done.

Singapore Airlines has announced a new look for its Airbus A380 fleet.  They aren’t wasting any time either, with the new arrangement launching on Singapore to Sydney on 18th December.  London Heathrow is expected to follow next.

The new look will initially debut on five new A380 aircraft currently being delivered.  The existing A380 fleet will be refurbished, but that will not kick off until late 2018 and will take two years.

The big change is in First Class, where the current 12 seats will drop to six.  In an arrangement not entirely unlike the Etihad First Class Apartment I reviewed here, the beds will be facing away from the windows.

There is a special Singapore Airlines website highlighting the changes here.

Take a look at this (click to enlarge):

Singapore Airlines new A380 First Class suite

Apparently the bed can be stowed away when not in use, although I’m not sure what you’d do with the space created.  Without getting too Alan Partridge, you’ll be excited to know that the ‘the chair has a swivel capability of between 135 and 270 degrees’.

Travelling with your partner?  Even better, as you can join two adjacent suites together to make a cosy double bed:

Singapore Airlines new A380 First Class suite

There are two smart bathrooms for the six passengers to share.  Amenity kits will be branded Lalique.

Singapore Airlines new A380 First Class suite

Business Class is also getting a new look.  First Class and Business Class will be on the A380 upper deck, with Premium Economy and Economy on the lower deck.  There will be 78 Business Class seats per aircraft.

Singapore Airlines new A380 Business Class

The layout is 1-2-1.  The innovation is the cocoon-like shell which gives you a higher degree of privacy than usual.

Copying the new Qatar Airways Qsuite reviewed here, you can also join together pairs of middle seats to create a double bed:

Singapore Airlines new A380 Business Class

Of course, with only six First Class suites per plane, the chances of getting one using Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles are probably slim.

Don’t even bother trying to book using any other Star Alliance mileage currency, as Singapore Airlines usually restricts First Class reward availability to its own members.

I flew the current First Class Suite a few years ago (review here) from New York to Frankfurt.  That was a short overnight flight so I couldn’t make the most of it.  If I try this then I really need to ensure it is a day flight.  One option might be to book something currently showing as the old configuration and hope it gets switched over ……

That said, on the two occasions I have flown the Etihad First Class Apartment I have felt a bit lonely, closed off in a huge suite.  I’m not sure if this will be different.

You can find out more on the Singapore Airlines website here.

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Comments

  1. In October next year we are travelling back from Boston in BA F (241). The flight leaves at 2240 so we shall spend some time in the new lounge, eat dinner there and then board. We shall immediately go to sleep on a very comfortable bed and wake refreshed in the morning.
    Sounds good to me; the downside is having to drive home so will have to cut back on the English sparkling wine.

  2. The F doubles are a game changer. They’re mimicking hotel rooms. I wouldn’t be surprised that the next generation of these rooms are fitted with a personal shower. People will pay for these. We would pay for these. I’d put my piggy bank the reason these are going live so quickly is because other airlines are doing the same.

    IMHO, BA’s reliance on long haul customer inertia has just taken a serious if not fatal blow.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      SQ already has double beds in F…

      • These are different. It’s an affordance shift suggesting the space is a dedicated living space. If Sin dressed the walls/carpet without adding problems (weight, safety compromises etc) that may take the edge off people’s emptiness impression.

    • BA is making money. I thought SIN and CX were not. BA simply doesn’t need to offer this level of service to attract customers by the look of it.

      • Precisely. Different business models. As is Ryanair. Primarily sixth freedom carriers like SQ and the Gulf carriers have always focused on good product and service to attract passengers (certainly in business class), as few would opt for indirect flights if they didn’t. BA has a huge home (premium) market.

        • It does, however, need to stay competitive with the majority (cf. US majors now playing catch-up). No matter how dominant at LHR, there are still other options to most places.

    • Mikeact says:

      Cate, please explain, a ‘fatal blow ‘, like what ? You mean they are going to go out of business? How ridiculous.

      • couldnt agree more
        the original sq suites… emirates suites… etihad suites… the residence… qsuites etc etc etc have all come out and BA continues to become more and more profitable.
        this will barely affect BA’s bottom line – if at all.

        • the real harry1 says:

          in the meantime the world population has been growing…there are more passengers around

          2010 6.9b
          2015 7.3b
          2020 7.7b
          2025 8.0b(p)

      • No Mikeact I don’t mean they’d go out of business. It’s the long haul routes which it competes with that will feel the strain. Bread and butter/bucket and spade routes to Europe don’t come into it.

        • If you are referring to Suites, we’re talking about 6 seats on less than 20 planes, on an airline that competes with BA on 2 direct routes (maybe 20-odd including indirect)… Is it really something BA needs to respond to? Especially when many airlines are scrapping first. (It hasn’t really responded to the Gulf carriers who are much bigger competitors.)

        • PS. I would bet my piggy bank on there not being personal showers any time soon… Water is heavy.

        • Mikeact says:

          Cate…like what, empty Premium seats on long haul? I don’t think so.

        • People in this hobby frequently make the assumption that a significant number of people think and react like them to things like this. They do not. This will have a negligible impact on BA.

  3. ankomonkey says:

    These products look nicer than my house.

  4. There’s a tradition here of giving BA a hard time around their premium products.
    I’m based in Frankfurt thus often forced to fly LH: on long distance even on their newest product you’re still sitting directly next to someone in business, either footsie-cuddling or shoulder-rubbing. Weirdest ever. So much better sleep in CW on BA.
    Virgin UC has direct isle access for everyone which is better than BA/LH in many cases, but I too have found it noisy and cramped.

    • Mikeact says:

      I agree, complainers should definitely go elsewhere…..it could be better for them, and BA. They won’t have to continually deride BA on various forums….BA won’t have to read the on going comments so everyone’s a winner.
      Me, BA may not be the best, whatever that means, but as my national carrier I’ll stick with them.

      • the real harry1 says:

        I could use EJ, Wizz, Ryanair and some others – but none of them have a points-earning loyalty scheme that would allow me to get one-way RFS flights out for £17.50 plus points that have cost me maybe £22.50 (ie 7500 Avios)

        total – £40 for decent airport + good slots + luggage + free drink & snack…er, just the first 3 🙂

        we always fly peak and the LCCs are cute about those dates as well

        plus the recent strategy on ultra cheap HBO fares really is attractive to us as an option/ part option – even though it somehow undermines the hard work put into acquiring the Avios

        having said that, I have been squireling away Avios @ 0.8p using the part pay method Raffles described the other day – some 160-200K a year @ 0.8p, in the hope that my wife and I can get better value long haul in a few years (when chicks fly the nest)

        (I concede that most complainants are talking about LH business/ first)

      • Paxtonfan says:

        BA are not the national carrier. They are not even British and should be made to change their name. My suggestion would be Spanish Consortium Airline

        • the real harry1 says:

          I guess Mikeact knew that when he wrote it 🙂

          My suggestion would be Brattish Whooerways – as the Mixed Fleet is far too inexpert, underpaid & useless/ rude – and the older team is well past it (fat and slow), apart from the ‘jolly Rogers’ – guys who love their job and surely would never rub your leg in a Dubai bar lol

        • Genghis says:

          🙂

        • Back to your normal offensive self I see RH1.

        • Catalan says:

          Oh sush please. So all Virgin passengers must be virgins then? It’s a name. Nothing else! SMH

  5. O/T After 2 emails to rolling luggage chasing the 1000 avios I got an email from them telling me to call Avios. I have emailed back to advise that it’s for them to deal with as my contract is with them. Shall wait and see what happens next.

    • the real harry1 says:

      I share your disdain

      glad I changed tack & sent in a query early – as we seem to be the only ones getting the 1000 bonus

      they probably ran out of ‘Avios budget’ and are reluctant to lose more money

      no excuse for not keeping to their obligations, which happen to form a contract

  6. This looks amazing. Well done, SQ!

  7. Interesting comments today on relative merits of different premium products. For me the key factors are 1. how much time my journey takes, and 2. how well I feel when I arrive at my destination. Therefore, I have little interest in a two-stop itinerary or a one-stop exEU when I can fly direct or with one stop exUK. This is true regardless of the perceived quality of ME3 or other airlines that some go out of their way to fly. If I am flying daytime the most important factors for me are a comfortable seat, space and privacy. If flying nightime, a comfortable bed to sleep so that I arrive feeling properly rested. The rest is largely irrelevant to me. I don’t need IFE, I can take my own. I don’t care that much about the food so long as it is edible because even the best airline food I’ve tasted is only on a par with an average restaurant. Drinks are of no interest as I rarely drink anything inflight except water as I feel better after the flight. Once asleep I couldn’t care less about anything at all as I’m totally oblivious. This is just as true of economy as first but I expect the likelihood of awaking with aches and pains in economy is greater. During the last 35 years I have flew about thirty airlines in business class and eleven in first class IIRC. In business I cannot honestly say that there are huge differences: within any era most airlines eventually converge on similar standards. Any differences that do exist are not sufficient for me to compromise on the two important factors for me that I set out at the start of this comment. I flew BKK return in CW in September and I honestly could not fault the experience in either direction. Three years ago I flew Etihad longhaul in economy and that was totally fine too. By contrast the return flight was upgraded to business class and it was the worst flying experience in my life on any airline in any class. If I were to choose between airlines I would be more inclined to do so on the basis of the aircraft than the relative merits of their business class products; the a380 would be my first choice by sone margin, and the 777 my last. Having experienced inflight WiFi it is now an important factor for me but would still not be a deciding factor. When paying for flights myself, and not relying on employers or FF miles, I am generally willing to pay 1.5-2x the best acceptable economy fare for premium economy, and 2.5-3x for business class.

    • I’m with you James. I know I’m probably preaching to the wrong crowd, but I just don’t understand the fascination with all these bells and whistles, on a flight usually over in a few hours. I want to get somewhere as quickly and comfortably as possible (ie. within my budget). While BA certainly isn’t the best, it usually does the job.

      I guess it depends on income, lifestyle, expectations etc… If I was loaded, and lived my life in 5-star luxury and fancy cocktail bars, maybe I’d care more about all of this stuff. But to each, his/her own.

      (My main gripe is about BA’s biz pricing policy, but that’s another story…)

      • BA charge what they do because they can, mainly due to their dominance at LHR. Where budgets are limiting it is always worth checking out premium economy. There are some good deals around, they usually earn 100% of miles flown, and apart from a better seat and more space can have other benefits like improved upgrade chances, extra luggage, free seat selection etc depending on the airline.

  8. “I have felt a bit lonely”, says the person who never talks to fellow passengers onboard. You need to decide what you really want. Without being too Alan Partridge 🙂

    • Just because I don’t want to chat to other people doesn’t mean I want to sat in solitary confinement …..!

  9. Richard says:

    The business class seat is not that good when it turns into a bed. If you watch this clip around the 10 minute mark you can see the woman has to sleep diagonally in the seat with most of her legs below the knee in a “foot cubby”. I can’t imagine she’s that tall so wonder how somebody who’s six foot or more will fit

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y3H4LSeCK4

    In the middle seats you are very close to the person the other side of the partition.
    CX business class is much better I think and regardless of where you sit you almost see nobody and even when the cabin is full it’s very private.

  10. No Bits today, but airline-related – rumour has it that Flying Blue will be moving to revenue-based earning come April 2018, with press release due on Monday. No mention of any redemption changes for now…

    • That rumour is about a month old already Alan, you must have been up in the air at the time 🙂

      • LOL – I saw it a month ago when they released the new pricing engine by mistake, this was more of an update that an official announcement is expected to be imminent 🙂