Singapore Airlines has modified their U.S. route network quite a bit this year, and most recently announced changes to their flight between Houston and Singapore. For years the flight operated via Moscow, which made sense at the time, since it linked two oil cities.
However, as activity in the oil industry has declined, so have Singapore Airlines’ premium cabin yields on the route. Ford and I flew from Moscow to Houston in Singapore Airlines first class over the summer, and we were the only passengers in first class. Based on monitoring seatmaps, it seems such low loads were the norm rather than the exception.
So Singapore Airlines has modified this particular route, and now operates their Houston to Singapore flight via Manchester instead of Moscow. That seems like a pretty smart move, as Houston is a United hub, and Manchester is a pretty big destination that United doesn’t fly to nonstop out of Houston, so they can codeshare with Singapore on it.
Early last month I posted about something odd readers were noticing on this flight. Even though the flight continued to show as being operated by a 777-300ER, Singapore Airlines stopped selling first class for travel starting in 2017. All of Singapore Airlines’ 777-300ERs feature a first class cabin, so my speculation was that they were planning on changing the type of aircraft on the route, likely to an A350.
Well, it looks like that is indeed the case. Per @airlineroute, as of January 17, 2017, Singapore Airlines’ 5x weekly Singapore to Houston flight will be operated by an Airbus A350-900 rather than a 777-300ER. As a reminder, the flight operates with the following schedule:
SQ52 Singapore to Manchester departing 2:15AM arriving 8:40AM
SQ52 Manchester to Houston departing 10:10AM arriving 2:30PM
SQ51 Houston to Manchester departing 6:50PM arriving 9:40AM (+1 day)
SQ51 Manchester to Singapore departing 11:10AM arriving 7:55AM (+1 day)
To compare plane configurations, the 777-300ER being used on the route features:
- 8 first class seats
- 42 business class seats
- 228 economy seats
Meanwhile the A350-900 that will soon be used on the route features:
- 42 business class seats
- 24 premium economy seats
- 187 economy seats
So we’re seeing first class cut, premium economy added, and a reduction in the number of economy seats.
On top of that, the A350 features Singapore’s newest business class product, and also features Wi-Fi.
This is Singapore’s second A350 route to the U.S., after their nonstop flight from San Francisco to Singapore, which launched a couple of months ago. If you do want to redeem miles on the flight out of Houston, business class award space is readily available, and award rates are very good. This is a very comfortable way to get between the U.S. and Europe.
Keep in mind that Singapore KrisFlyer is transfer partners with all four major transferrable points currencies, so there are lots of ways to earn these points:
Anyone plan on taking Singapore’s new A350 flight between Houston and Manchester/Singapore?