Singapore Airlines Pulls A380 From New York Flight

Singapore Airlines Pulls A380 From New York Flight

38

Singapore Airlines has announced a schedule update for 2023. It’s good news for Australia, and bad news for the United States.

Singapore pulls A380s from USA, shifts them to Australia

Currently Singapore Airlines operates a single daily Airbus A380 frequency to the United States. Specifically, the airline offers this plane on the SQ25/26 frequency, which is the flight that operates from Singapore (SIN) to New York (JFK) via Frankfurt (FRA). That second sector is a fifth freedom flight, so this is also a fun way to fly between Germany and the United States.

Unfortunately that will soon be changing. As of May 15, 2023, Singapore Airlines will pull the A380 from the Frankfurt and New York route, replacing it with a Boeing 777-300ER. Since this was the only route to North America to feature the Singapore Airlines A380, that also means that we’ll no longer see any A380 service from the airline to the continent.

Why is Singapore Airlines taking the A380 off the route? Well, the airline instead sees more demand for these planes in the South Pacific. At the same time that the A380 is pulled from the New York route, we’ll see Singapore Airlines add a second daily A380 service to Sydney (SYD), and a daily A380 service to Melbourne (MEL).

Since the start of the pandemic, Singapore Airlines only resumed A380 service to New York as of March 2022, so the plane will have only stayed on the route for around 13 months. Unfortunately I’m not surprised to see this change. With Singapore Airlines having multiple daily nonstop flights between New York and Singapore, there’s only so much demand for the service via Frankfurt. It’s also a very long mission, and a single daily roundtrip service requires up to three A380s.

Say goodbye to Singapore Suites on the New York route!

What does this mean for passengers?

Just to compare the layouts of the A380 and 777:

  • The A380 has 475 seats spread across four cabins; this includes six first class suites, 82 business class seats, 44 premium economy seats, and 343 economy seats
  • The 777 has 264 seats, spread across four cabins; this includes four first class seats, 48 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 184 economy seats

As you can see, the capacity difference here is huge, but what about the actual quality of the product?

Arguably the biggest difference is in first class. Singapore’s A380 has Suites, which is the carrier’s premium first class product. This consists of just six seats, spread across three rows in a 1-1 configuration. This is an incredible product, among the best in the world.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites

Singapore’s 777 first class consists of just four seats, spread across a single row in a 1-2-1 configuration. While this is also a perfectly nice product, it doesn’t have the same “wow” factor.

Singapore Airlines 777 first class

Unfortunately we’re seeing first class capacity cut even more here, which isn’t good for awards. Having just six seats wasn’t a lot to begin with, but four makes it even tougher. Fortunately many of us did get to experience the amazing A380 Suites product over the past year, as the airline opened the award floodgates in late 2021.

In business class the difference is fairly minor. Singapore’s A380 business class is in a 1-2-1 configuration, and is a perfectly nice product.

Singapore Airlines A380 business class

Singapore’s 777 business class is also in a 1-2-1 configuration. While the bones are largely similar, it’s not as advanced of a seat.

Singapore Airlines 777 business class

In premium economy and economy the difference is fairly minimal, as both planes have among the most comfortable cabins you’ll find.

Bottom line

As of May 2023, Singapore Airlines will discontinue A380 service to the United States. This is happening as the New York service via Frankfurt will be downgraded from an A380 to a 777. In the process, we’ll see two routes to Australia upgraded to the A380.

I can’t say I’m surprised by this change, though I am selfishly sad to see it. Given Singapore Airlines’ small post-pandemic A380 fleet, I was surprised that the A380 was put back on the New York route to begin with.

What do you make of Singapore Airlines’ A380 schedule changes?

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  1. Babydoc New Member

    Was booked for connecting suites with my wife jfk-fra-sin on our way to ktm, in September ‘23. Got the dreaded call and email from SQ with the bad news a couple days ago. Have done both old and new suites but not the 777 product. Disappointing, but at least one of you liked the 777 experience better. Same soft product I assume?

  2. Colin Turner Guest

    We literally booked our first ever first class flight to singapore from UK via Frankfurt just last week specifically choosen the A380 to experience the double suites.....imagine just a few days after managing to get the seats we wanted to get an email to say the aircraft was swapped for the 777. Gutted!!
    We booked for October 2023 and got an amazing price compared to flying direct from UK (seriously cheaper) via Lufthansa. Still...

    We literally booked our first ever first class flight to singapore from UK via Frankfurt just last week specifically choosen the A380 to experience the double suites.....imagine just a few days after managing to get the seats we wanted to get an email to say the aircraft was swapped for the 777. Gutted!!
    We booked for October 2023 and got an amazing price compared to flying direct from UK (seriously cheaper) via Lufthansa. Still first class is going to be good so can't complain really. At least we know now what happened.

  3. Debra Guest

    I’m actually really disappointed. I’ve been diligently saving points, to transfer to Singapore Airlines, specifically to travel from JFK to SIN in one of those suites. Was planning upon recreating the Crazy Rich Asians scene with my husband. Guess I’ll have to fly to Europe first ….

  4. Gope Sadhwani Guest

    What are s your flight schedule - Manils / Singapore / Kathmandu

  5. Omar Guest

    I'm glad I got to fly the double first class suite jfk-sin before it is gone (and 2 saver seats to boot).

    Separately, it seems like a surprising decision. The flight is always full in F.

  6. Matthew Johnson Guest

    Wow i will miss Singapore Airlines back and forth from JFK to Manila I just few on Singapore Airlines couple of months ago. pretty good airline. What airline will replace Singapore Airlines From JFK to Manila

    1. vtvoyager787 New Member

      PR is already serving JFK-MNL. PR is definitely no SQ so don’t expect too much.

    2. Brian Guest

      PR's "Business" class is beyond unacceptable by any standard. They don't even have fully lie flat seats. So hardly can be called a business class. Sad. I avoid them like the plague despite being hundreds of dollars cheaper on many routes.

  7. Clive Warshaw Guest

    What a shame.

  8. Jim Boy Guest

    I'm going to miss the World First A380 Airbus, the Singapore Airlines.

  9. Christian Guest

    Considering that premium cabin award space at save rates is limited (business class) to impossible (first/suites) to find I'm surprised. If the prime cabins are that full, then why not keep flying them on the longest routes where they can charge the most?

    1. Ryan R Guest

      Business class award availability is pretty easy to find on it, from my experience

  10. Patrick Jacobs Guest

    Sad to see this development as we had planned on a early 2024 trip in the 380 suites.

    1. Nelson Member

      2024? Not sure if you will only have the chance to fly in Economy on the A380 by then. But I'm quite sure some of them will be on sale. ;-)

  11. breathesrain Guest

    I'm glad I got to take a trip in Suites before this happened - my first premium redemption ever. Which of course has spoiled me for travelling in J now (don't even talk about economy)

  12. Tim Dunn Diamond

    many international carriers around the world are adding capacity to Australia in part because Australia is counter-cyclical to northern hemisphere transatlantic travel and because Qantas has reduced capacity to so many parts of the world that there are significant gaps in capacity from Australia to other parts of the world - remember the discussion here about QR's "ghost" domestic flights beyond Melbourne.

    Also, SQ is not competitive with other carriers in winning premium demand by...

    many international carriers around the world are adding capacity to Australia in part because Australia is counter-cyclical to northern hemisphere transatlantic travel and because Qantas has reduced capacity to so many parts of the world that there are significant gaps in capacity from Australia to other parts of the world - remember the discussion here about QR's "ghost" domestic flights beyond Melbourne.

    Also, SQ is not competitive with other carriers in winning premium demand by having only one flight - on a very large aircraft - compared to UA and LH which have much more frequent flights including with a joint venture.
    There are also competitive and strategic dynamics with your alliance partners of operating the A380 in a 5th freedom market that is dominated by your alliance partners.

    1. 305 Guest

      So you’re saying they pulled the A380 during peak transatlantic season for off-season in Australia? Makes no sense

    2. Tim Dunn Diamond

      go back and reread ALL of the reasons I noted including that SQ's changes are posted out to infinity which means they don't just impact next northern hemisphere summer.

    3. vbscript2 New Member

      And, aside from Qantas reducing capacity, Virgin exited the long-haul market entirely. While Virgin + Delta used to have several daily non-stops between Australia and the U.S. West Coast, it's now down to just the one Delta flight between SYD and LAX, leaving the Aus/NZ-U.S. market almost entirely to Qantas + AA and ANZ + UA.

    4. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Delta is starting an additional flight 3x/week and both are on A350s which seat more passengers than the 777LRs that DL used to use.
      American also used to operate their own flight and have been absent for most of the time since DL and UA returned their schedules but they are restoring their flight.
      I'm not sure that SQ really competes in the US to Australia market although they would certainly like to

    5. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      VA didn't just exit the market, they terminated their joint venture with DL in favor of a j/v with UA, who back-filled some of the lost capacity with an additional flight to SFO, and bringing back IAH-SYD sooner than initially anticipated.

  13. T- Guest

    Thank You Lune for your accurate description of the 9 freedom routes. Enjoy the day.

  14. The Joe Guest

    Just flew the FRA-JFK leg last week in suites.
    Definatelt nice, but our 2017 flight in old suites (JFK-FRA-SIN-BOM) was far more memorable an experience (one other person in the cabin, quiet, personal). With a full cabin, was quite a bit noisier the whole time, making sleep impossible.

    This change makes things slightly easier on me, since I was still trying to figure out our SYD return to the US next year. Might still...

    Just flew the FRA-JFK leg last week in suites.
    Definatelt nice, but our 2017 flight in old suites (JFK-FRA-SIN-BOM) was far more memorable an experience (one other person in the cabin, quiet, personal). With a full cabin, was quite a bit noisier the whole time, making sleep impossible.

    This change makes things slightly easier on me, since I was still trying to figure out our SYD return to the US next year. Might still try for suites up to SIN (want to see the Jewel), and then figure something else out to the states.

  15. Pmv Guest

    Ok…officially bummed! Finally schedule for my first A380, and first Suites Experience in May. Yup first still good, but…. Worth the extra miles/points for an overnight flight in a flat bed seat?

    1. Pmv Guest

      Booked for a couple of days before the change, so hope that May 15 date stands….

    2. Harry Guest

      Same here. Booked in April, fingers crossed. Hate to see the suites go,

    3. Angie Guest

      I just booked my July 2023 trip last night without knowing this was happening. Had the website been updated, I would have chosen a different airline. Hoping SIA honors those flights already purchased for the Airbus A380.

  16. Motion to Dismiss Gold

    Welp, I have a Suites flight booked on the A380 for July 2023. For now my booking online still shows as being on an A380. It’s too bad, I also had an A380 Suites booking in July 2022 but I had to cancel it to come back early from Europe for a funeral. I guess I’ll make do with the 77W and hope to try the new A380 product another time. I’ve done Suites in the previous configuration and had a blast.

  17. Nelson Member

    Sorry if I misunderstood something but is it only the second sector a Fifth Freedom?

    1. Mike C Diamond

      If I'm not mistaken, only the sector between JFK and FRA sold as a stand-alone ticket is 5th freedom. Tickets that originate or terminate in SIN are 3rd/4th freedom (if it's on the same through ticket to or from SIN, the FRA-JFK segment is still 3/4 if there's a stopover in FRA.)

    2. Lune Gold

      The JFKFRA is the fifth freedom flight. Quick background. There are 9 "freedoms of the air" defined in the international aviation treaties that govern foreign airlines in foreign airspaces. Each freedom grants a specific right.

      The fifth freedom is the right to fly between 2 foreign countries on a flight that eventually ends up in your home country. In this case, this A380 starts in the US, flies to Germany, and ends up in Singapore....

      The JFKFRA is the fifth freedom flight. Quick background. There are 9 "freedoms of the air" defined in the international aviation treaties that govern foreign airlines in foreign airspaces. Each freedom grants a specific right.

      The fifth freedom is the right to fly between 2 foreign countries on a flight that eventually ends up in your home country. In this case, this A380 starts in the US, flies to Germany, and ends up in Singapore. The USGermany leg is a fifth freedom flight. The Germany->Singapore flight is a 4th freedom flight, and the Singapore->Germany flight is a 3rd freedom flight.

      You can look up the different freedoms on wiki. It's eye opening to see how much negotiation must take place between countries to allow international flights, something we take for granted.

    3. Nelson Member

      Thank you @Mike C and @Lune!

  18. Mike C Diamond

    Interesting development, but I can understand that demand from SYD and MEL would push SQ in this direction. They have several daily frequencies between SIN and both cities, and I'm not surprised that bigger jets would make more sense than additional flights and something had to give for them to do that. Disappointed I can't fly on an A380 all the way from SYD to JFK, but that's a first world problem. The trade-off is more options on one of them to SIN.

  19. D3kingg Guest

    Not a good opening paragraph. Too broad regarding Australia and the US. Happy thanksgiving buddy.

    1. Ben Guest

      I think the opening paragraph is fine. The good news/bad news is clearly in the context of air travel. And given the SIA A380 is leaving the US entirely and being added to two of Australia's biggest cities, I don't think it's too broad.

    2. vbscript2 Guest

      Not sure that I understand. What's too broad about it? It's talking specifically about A380s being moved from the SIN-FRA-JFK route to fly to SYD/MEL instead. Since it was the only option for flying Singapore Suites from the U.S., it is indeed good news for Australians (more Suites options for them) and bad news for the U.S. (none for us.)

      Also, I would argue that this is bad news for Suites redemptions in general. SIN-FRA-JFK...

      Not sure that I understand. What's too broad about it? It's talking specifically about A380s being moved from the SIN-FRA-JFK route to fly to SYD/MEL instead. Since it was the only option for flying Singapore Suites from the U.S., it is indeed good news for Australians (more Suites options for them) and bad news for the U.S. (none for us.)

      Also, I would argue that this is bad news for Suites redemptions in general. SIN-FRA-JFK is by far the longest Suites route, so most time to enjoy it. It's about 21 hours in the air vs. only 7 to SYD or MEL. Just the JFK-FRA part of the JFK-FRA-SIN is longer than SIN-MEL and only about 50 miles less than SIN-SYD. Seems like kind of waste to deploy Suites on routes that barely more than medium-haul vs. on ultra-long-haul ones.

    3. Mike C Diamond

      I doubt that the decision was based on suites usage, SQ is more likely looking at passenger demand across all premium cabins and probably economy as well, and traffic from SYD and MEL is high. QF only has two daily flights to Singapore from Sydney, one of which is an A380 and goes on to LHR, the other an A330, and only an A330 from Melbourne (MEL to LHR is via PER not SIN). SQ...

      I doubt that the decision was based on suites usage, SQ is more likely looking at passenger demand across all premium cabins and probably economy as well, and traffic from SYD and MEL is high. QF only has two daily flights to Singapore from Sydney, one of which is an A380 and goes on to LHR, the other an A330, and only an A330 from Melbourne (MEL to LHR is via PER not SIN). SQ would also factor in that they have two daily non-stops to the NY area and consider the total demand when deciding to reduce capacity on the flight via FRA.

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Ben Guest

I think the opening paragraph is fine. The good news/bad news is clearly in the context of air travel. And given the SIA A380 is leaving the US entirely and being added to two of Australia's biggest cities, I don't think it's too broad.

4
Lune Gold

The JFKFRA is the fifth freedom flight. Quick background. There are 9 "freedoms of the air" defined in the international aviation treaties that govern foreign airlines in foreign airspaces. Each freedom grants a specific right. The fifth freedom is the right to fly between 2 foreign countries on a flight that eventually ends up in your home country. In this case, this A380 starts in the US, flies to Germany, and ends up in Singapore. The USGermany leg is a fifth freedom flight. The Germany->Singapore flight is a 4th freedom flight, and the Singapore->Germany flight is a 3rd freedom flight. You can look up the different freedoms on wiki. It's eye opening to see how much negotiation must take place between countries to allow international flights, something we take for granted.

3
Tim Dunn Diamond

many international carriers around the world are adding capacity to Australia in part because Australia is counter-cyclical to northern hemisphere transatlantic travel and because Qantas has reduced capacity to so many parts of the world that there are significant gaps in capacity from Australia to other parts of the world - remember the discussion here about QR's "ghost" domestic flights beyond Melbourne. Also, SQ is not competitive with other carriers in winning premium demand by having only one flight - on a very large aircraft - compared to UA and LH which have much more frequent flights including with a joint venture. There are also competitive and strategic dynamics with your alliance partners of operating the A380 in a 5th freedom market that is dominated by your alliance partners.

2
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