Singapore Airlines Reconfiguring All 12 A380s With New Cabins

Filed Under: Singapore

There’s not much good news nowadays when it comes to A380s, though there’s an exception at Singapore Airlines. I first wrote last November about how the airline was planning on reconfiguring all of its remaining A380s with new cabins, and there’s now an update on that front, as progress is continuing to be made.

Singapore Airlines keeping 12 Airbus A380s

We recently learned about Singapore Airlines’ future fleet plans for the Airbus A380, as the airline will fly 12 of these planes long term:

Singapore Airlines will fly 12 A380s in the coming years

Singapore Airlines refreshing all A380 cabins

In 2017, Singapore Airlines introduced brand new interiors for its A380s, which represented the first cabin refresh on these planes in about a decade.

While Singapore Airlines had always indicated that it would reconfigure existing A380s with these cabins, the pandemic is causing a lot of airlines to stop investing in cabin upgrades, in order to conserve cash.

As was reported by Mainly Miles late last year, Singapore Airlines is continuing to reconfigure its A380s with new cabins, and odds are good that all A380s will feature new cabins by the time they return to the skies.

Where does the Singapore Airlines A380 new cabin project stand?

  • Five A380s were delivered with the new cabins between 2017 and 2018
  • Four A380s have already been reconfigured with the new cabins, with one retrofit having been completed in recent weeks
  • Another A380 recently started its retrofit project, which is expected to take several months
  • That leaves only two A380s to be reconfigured after that, so the process would be done within a couple of years at the latest; it could be that Singapore Airlines reconfigures a couple of planes simultaneously, in which case it could happen even faster than that

Anyway, there’s nothing here that’s shocking — the airline had previously announced plans to reconfigure planes, but of course it was also possible that the pandemic would cause the airline to backtrack on this. Fortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case — not only has the airline recently finished retrofitting a plane, but it’s now starting the process of retrofitting an additional plane.

I’d be willing to bet that by the time A380s return to the skies, they’re pretty likely to all feature the new cabins.

Singapore’s reconfigured A380s feature huge Suites bathrooms

When will Singapore Airlines fly A380s again?

Perhaps the bigger question is when Singapore Airlines will resume A380 flights. The airline has pulled all Suites availability through October 2021, so it sounds like the A380 definitely isn’t making a comeback prior to that. That being said, even that timeline seems highly optimistic at this point.

There simply won’t be demand for A380s until Singapore’s borders reopen in a substantial way, and that doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon. Leaders in Singapore are suggesting that a sterile business travel bubble is “the new normal,” which makes me think that borders won’t be reopening in a useful way anytime in 2021.

Conference rooms with air-tight glass panels are “the new normal” in Singapore

What are Singapore Airlines’ new A380 cabins like?

I flew Singapore Airlines roundtrip on the new A380 shortly after it was introduced — I flew from Singapore to Sydney in the new business class, and from Sydney to Singapore in the new Suites. Overall I was reasonably impressed by both products, but not blown away.

Business class was a marginal improvement over the old business class product. I rank it as number nine on my list of the world’s 10 best business class seats. The seat is spacious, though still has the downside of requiring you to sleep at an angle towards the side of the plane in order to be able to fully stretch your legs.

Singapore Airlines’ new A380 business class

On the plus side, one cool new feature is that the center seats in each row can form a double bed, which is nice if you’re traveling with someone.

Singapore Airlines’ new A380 business class

Singapore’s new A380 Suites look amazing, and there are just six of them in a 1-1 configuration. Unfortunately I found that the design was somewhat style over substance, so parts of it left me disappointed.

Singapore Airlines’ new A380 Suites

Singapore Airlines’ new A380 Suites

Arguably the one major downside of Singapore Airlines’ new Suites is how much capacity is being reduced. While the old Suites cabin had 12 seats, the new cabin has just six seats. As you might expect, this also means that award seats are significantly harder to come by.

Bottom line

With Singapore Airlines shrinking its A380 fleet to a dozen planes, one silver lining is that all of these planes will soon feature new cabins. Nine A380s already sport the new cabins, one is currently being reconfigured, and the remaining two should be reconfigured in the next couple of years, likely before the planes would otherwise return to the skies.

While this is good news overall, unfortunately this isn’t very good for Suites award availability, which will be much tougher to come by (especially for two passengers).

  1. FYI, I have a booking in for August of 2021, SQ 25 JFK-FRA, First Class A380-800. It still shows booked with my son and me in seats 2C/2D (older style First). No indication yet that the aircraft has changed or the layout of First Class. Will wait and see!

  2. on RTW19 2.0 I flew SQ First Class in new 3K SYD-SIN and really enjoyed it, especially the Champagne Taste Off 🙂

  3. @ lucky. Not all the centre seats on version 3 convert into double beds. It is only the first row of each section, so normally only three pairs that form a double bed.

    @ MDA the new version seats don’t flip over requiring you to sleep at an angle. Incidentally nobody seems to complain about having to sleep at an angle if you are tall in the new ANA business seat. The new SQ seat is straight like most seats. The downside is that’s it a lot narrower than the older ones

  4. Anything happening with economy? It would be most helpful if could use my return ticket to Dublin without being asked for an extra 2000 euro on top.

  5. That’s great they plan to reconfigure all their planes with the new suites however I’m afraid by the time they finish they’ll probably be already planning for the next new suite.

  6. Wife and I have a suites award booked SIN-LHR in August 21, still showing as A380 but who knows..! Fingers crossed, though haven’t booked anything outbound yet!

  7. SQ is probably already under contract to have these upgrades done. It makes sense to speed up the process now given they aren’t using the planes. If the vaccine pans out things could return to normal for the world by some point in 2022 or at least for the higher end travel market that the new product is designed to appeal to. If SQ can get this stuff done earlier they can position themselves to sell to the premium travelers.

  8. @AdamAuxier — interesting. I’ve been trying to book SQ F for Aug 2021 for months now, but the extension until October blocking out all F space isn’t allowing it.

  9. We have tickets on SQ25 in December 2021 on the A380 in suites. It is interesting that the seat selection map shows the old configuration, but in the aircraft seating chart section they only show the new configuration.

  10. Glad I got to fly the old seats once in March 2019, will honestly be sad to see them go in lieu of this “dentist’s chair”…

  11. If it wasn’t for the windows, you would think the F suite was a very bland mini hotel room in tokyo. The design is completely unappealing.

  12. Amex MR to SQ KF rate being devalued from April in the UK – down from 1:1 to 3:2. Not sure if other airlines/partners/countries will follow or not.

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