Best Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class Seat?

Yesterday I flew Singapore Airlines A380 business class from Frankfurt to New York. While I’ve flown Singapore’s A380 in Suites Class and have flown Singapore’s 777-300ER business class (which is in theory an almost identical product), I was excited to finally ride on the upper deck of Singapore’s A380.

Before my flight I really struggled with which seat to choose, given that everyone I asked seemed to have a different favorite. So I figured I’d chime in and share my thoughts.

First of all, Singapore has two versions of the A380:

I was on the version with 86 seats, which meant the entire upper deck consisted exclusively of business class.

Initially I thought I’d hate that since it’s such a big cabin, but it really felt more like an all business class jet. Singapore Airlines retired their all business class A340-500 service between Los Angeles/Newark and Singapore last year, though this felt like the next best thing. You really wouldn’t know that there’s another level to the airplane.

The version of the A380 I flew has three “cabins” in business class.

Singapore-A380-Seatmap-1Singapore-A380-Seatmap-2 Singapore-A380-Seatmap-3

There is a forward cabin with 20 business class seats.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-1

Then there’s the middle cabin, with 42 business class seats.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-2

And then there’s the rear business class cabin, with 24 business class seats.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-3

As you can see based on the above seatmaps, it kind of looks like there’s another mini-cabin for the last row. That’s not quite the case.

Instead there’s simply a partition between the third cabin and the final row.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-13

What are Singapore Airlines’ business class seats like?

To understand which seats are best, I think it’s important to understand how Singapore’s seats are designed. They’re the widest business class seats in the world and are in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-6

That being said, the pitch itself isn’t actually that great. Rather there’s a cutout in the seat in front of you where you put your feet. It’s not especially restrictive, but it’s definitely noticeable.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-4

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-5

The awesome thing about the bulkhead seats, however, is that since there’s no seat in front of them, there’s no cutout. Instead you have the “full” area for your feet.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-7

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-9

The bulkhead seats in each cabin have a “bench” which is latched upright during takeoff and landing, but can otherwise be lowered and be used as an ottoman. So you have a lot more legroom.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-8

The one thing worth noting about the bulkhead seats is that the entertainment screens are the same size as at the other seats, except they’re further away. So they’ll appear somewhat smaller when you’re watching them.

The business class bulkhead seats on this configuration of the Singapore Airlines A380 are rows 11, 17, 91, and 96.

Which of those rows is best?

Row 11: This is possibly the most private row on the plane, to a fault. It’s the first row on the deck, and the lavatories are behind the forward business class cabin. So you have utmost privacy.

There are two catches. First of all, the seat is still where the fuselage curves slightly, so it does feel a bit more claustrophobic. But more importantly, there are no windows at this row. You’d have to turn your neck backwards and lean in order to look out the one window adjacent to the seat.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-12

Row 17: This is the first row of the big business class cabin, so 17A or 17K are great choices.

Between the two I’d go with 17A, since the one lavatory is located near 17K, while it’s just the galley in front of 17A.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-10

Row 91: It’s about the same as row 17, though in general I’d say it’s a bit quieter since it’s in the forward part of one of the smaller cabins. While there are lavatories in front of it, they shouldn’t be too disruptive.

Row 96: This is where I sat, and I loved it. Where do I begin with the positives?

First of all, it really feels like a single row mini-cabin thanks to the partition in front of the row. Second of all, most people want to avoid the last row of the cabin, so you’re much more likely to have empty seats around you.

While there are lavatories behind the cabin, in practice everyone seems to use the ones mid-cabin. There’s a galley in the rear of the plane, so flight attendants are constantly walking past you. On Singapore that’s a great thing, since the crew is so damn attentive. The flight attendants checked on me roughly every 30 seconds throughout the flight to see if I might need something, so the service was as attentive as I’ve ever experienced in any class. Just unbelievable.

The other thing worth noting about row 96 is that it gets really cold. I saw someone mention that online but didn’t totally believe them. It’s 100% true. The cabin gets progressively colder the further back you go, and row 96 is like an ice box. That’s awesome, in my opinion though, since my biggest complaint on non-US airlines is typically that they’re like saunas. There’s nothing a hoodie and couple of blankets can’t solve, though, and I’d certainly rather be too cold than too hot.

One other thing I was concerned about going into this flight was if service would suffer because of the number of seats.

The service I received was on par with what you’d get in first class. What Singapore does so brilliantly is split flight attendants up by section, so it’s really a personalized experience where every flight attendant in your section knows your name.

More on the service later, though, which was comically good.

Singapore A380 business class seating recommendations

So given all that, which seats would I recommend? Well, I love the bulkheads, so given the choice would absolutely choose them.

If traveling alone I’d choose seats in the following order:

  • 96A or 96K
  • 91A or 91K
  • 17A
  • 17K
  • 11A or 11K

If traveling with someone I’d choose seats in the following order:

  • 11D & 11F (since you benefit from the privacy, but the lack of windows and curvature of the plane isn’t an issue)
  • 96D & 96F
  • 91D & 91F
  • 18D & 18F

If you’ve flown Singapore Airlines business class, what was your favorite seat?

Comments

  1. Lucky, great article since I was wondering what seats to select on my upcoming SQ A380 flight! I will be traveling with someone, so I will try to choose one of the second set of seats that you have posted!

  2. I agree i was in 12K and it had that hole for the feet which was SUPREMELY irritating I have size 13 feet/shoes they do not fit well in that tiny hole…. anyways if I were to fly business again I would have to get a bulkhead or it is a no go..

  3. This is a great write up! I want to fly the A380 this year (because of all your reports – hahaha) and the configuration for now between SIN and NRT is the 86 seat business cabin. I also considered 96A but like you was concerned the service would not be hit or miss at best given it is the last row. But you have addressed all my concerns and so I think I know what seat to choose now.

    How about row 91D & F, do they have windows?

  4. @ trust778 — Since they’re center seats there are no windows, but the “A” and “K” seats in those rows do have windows. Enjoy your flight!

  5. I’m sure this will be in the report but was wondering if you had any pictures of the seat turned flat? Was there turndown service?

    By the looks of it the bed of the bulkhead rows would be virtually as wide/long as in F/Suites?

  6. @ bd — Yes, I’ll post my initial thoughts on the flight tomorrow, and will include pictures of the seat in bed position. There is turndown service, and yep, the seat is extremely spacious in the bed position.

  7. Great! I’m curious what causes a need for the “cubby” since the seat in front appears to not be dependent on the space next to the cubby (where other J seats put the butt of the person in front of you in the space next to the cubby). Maybe its IFE / seat control equipment? Seems like a looooot of waste space judging by the pictures!

  8. Most importantly, how badly did you want to be in First? Was it just the psychology of it (I certainly fall guilty of the “First is always better” mentality)? Or do you have a new perspective that SQ Biz is not worth the premium on miles?

  9. @ Peter — Hah, funny enough I had a blog reader in Suites Class that came back to visit me, and that sort of made it stingy, since the crew always reminded me that I had a colleague in Suites Class.

    To be honest I was super impressed by business class, but I do think Suites is still worth the modest premium. Will share more thoughts in a separate post tomorrow morning.

  10. I’m pretty sure that’s categorized under ‘cruel & unusual punishment’ for points junkies. A pure c@&$ tease if you will 🙂

    Unless they shared their double bed and lobster thermidor of course!!

  11. What happen to the Restrooms in the front – where the Emirates showers are?? when I flew the Singapore 380 a couple years ago, I sat in 14A and loved the big bathrooms up front. Also you can see the engines which made for a nice pic.

  12. I agree. I took seat 96A from Hong Kong to Singapore. It’s like first class with the bench and flip over seat/bed. Very comfortable and best biz class experience ever!

  13. @ Bill n DC — Interestingly only the version with fewer business class seats has a bathroom upfront. On the configuration I flew, they just had closets up front.

  14. Ben, does the TV on the bulkhead row located a little higher than other row? it looks like it does.

    As far as the temperature goes, I think I and most of my non-US raised friends prefer any airlines other than US carriers and think that all US carriers are way too cold especially window seats or exit rows. I once asked for 4 blankets to wrap them around my body (on top of a jacket). Foreign airlines never be too hot for us.

  15. 96A is awesome. totally agree on everything you mentioned. Felt very private. No one except me and the guy across the aisle used the bathroom the whole flights. Service was amazing and very attentive. Cold – yes it got chilly but nothing a nice blanket couldn’t solve plus it was fun to snuggle up in the nice wide bed and watch movies.

  16. Don’t forget that row 96 is a bassinet row.. I should know, I’ve sat there with my baby a couple of flights this year. Wanted to sit far away in case he acted up (thank God he didnt). Great seats with all the benefits you mentioned, but if you’re 96a or 96k u may have an infant beside you!

  17. Love getting the inside scoop from you! I feel lucky that I nabbed two bulk head seats for my trip to BKK 11K and 11D both on 777W’s one out of SFO the return into IAH. Now my worry is how hot it might get. I flew Turkish last year and it was so uncomfortably hot on the plane I thought they literally were trying to give everyone the Turkish Bath feel at 35,000 feet. Given how often you are in Suites class and that my seats are right next door – what can I expect of the temperature? I love it chilly. Thanks Ben (or do you prefer Lucky?).

  18. @ Mark — Those are awesome seats. I find Singapore isn’t too bad with the temperature usually, so I wouldn’t be worried. Enjoy the trip!

  19. So as I mentioned in your post asking which option to fly, this is my favorite business class seat. Would you rate it above reverse herringbone on your scale of favorite business class seats? ( of course, I rate BA CW above reverse herringbone as well, as long as you get the right seat)…

  20. @ Dylan — That’s a toughie. Probably prefer this seat if in a bulkhead, but otherwise think I prefer reverse herringbone. Guess I’ll have to try BA’s Club World soon!

  21. I am planning on sitting four across with my family next year (need to be able to see our kids). Is the front mini cabin the way to go? (Currently have row 14). Thanks Ben

  22. Lucky,

    According to Seat Guru, row 17 doesn’t actually have seats middle D & F. On their map, what you may be referring to are actually seats 18 D & F. It appears that in rows 17 – 27 there is one less row of D &F seats.
    Just a heads up and thanks for the best travel blog out there by far!

    Rob

  23. 17A and K are the worst seats on the plane. You basically enjoy and open view into the galley and the noise and movements are extremely annoying. Not perfect for neither day or night flights.

    Even for pax travelling alone, I would recommend a bulkhead middle seat.

  24. Thansk Lucky for this interesting post, who came just to the right time.
    Yesterday, I was lucky enough to snag 2 C seats on SQ’s ZRH-SIN-ZRH route through Miles&More next spring (whend did THAT happend the last time for a non-KrisFlyer-Programs 9 months in advance??? Lucky-me!).
    As there are only 7 out of 60 seats taken yet (Version 1), I chosed the 15A/16A for the (mostly)-dayflight to SIN and 12D/F for the night-flight back to ZRH. Row 11D/F is already taken and I’m not sure to take 18D/F because of the galley (noise, smell, walking-traffic etc) which bothers sometimes me during a night flight. Had some bad expierences with those near-the-galley-seats with OmanAir, Emirates and Austrian.
    What is your experience with near-the-galley-seats?

    On a side note: the lady at the M&M-callcenter checked other dates for me and it seems that there is some slight award space available for SQ-flights out of ZRH next May/June (2 seats on approx 3 flights per week). No clue if this is just a mishap or if SQ is releasing more space for 77W/380 exclusively for M&M, as the ANA-tool does not show any of those dates with availability.

  25. I’ve only flown Singapore Airlines business class once, on their 777-200ER. I had 17K and thought it was very very good.

  26. @ Oliver — Congrats! Lufthansa does indeed have access to more Singapore business class space, which is awesome. I didn’t have any issue with noise from the galley. It’s Singapore, so the flight attendants are courteous, quiet, and are good about “drawing” the curtains between the galley and cabin.

  27. Hey thanks for this, 2 questions about row 96:

    Isn’t there more noise compared to the forward cabins because of the engines?
    Doesn’t the constant noise of the lovely flight attendants going up and down the aisles disturb you?

    I’m flying SIN-FRA soon so would appreciate the advice 🙂

  28. @ AirCanada881 — It might be a bit louder behind the wing than in front of the wing, though the A380 is such a quiet plane to begin with, so it’s not a huge difference, in my opinion. The crews are quiet, so didn’t find that noise to be an issue at all.

  29. So glad I found this post. Booking LAX-NRT today and ordinarily I would have skipped row 96 but this time I’m taking it.

  30. Similar to previous comments, am very glad to find this post and seize the opportunity with 96A!! I was originally booked in 20F. Nice seat, I’m sure, but I like to have the window and I like it cold. And, your review (above) was just superb. Really looking forward to the extra leg room.

    Questions:
    Are headphones they provide noise-cancelling or should I bring my Bose?
    Did you use “Book the Cook” and what did you choose?
    How was the business class lounge at Singapore airport?

    Thanks for the review?

  31. @ Mark — The business class lounge in Singapore is quite nice, among the nicer ones out there. They have noise cancelling headphones, though they’re not very good. I’d bring your own. I didn’t Book The Cook this time, but highly recommend the lobster thermidor, which I’ve ordered many times before.

    Enjoy your trip!

  32. Hi, I’m travelling with my husband on the A380 in August in business class. I keep reading that people are saying the seats are too wide and dirty and not comfy! Oh I hope they’re wrong. My husband is 6ft 2 hence our decision to go business. I am so looking forward to the flight. Please can you give me a true honest thought on the seat?
    Thank you, I’ve enjoyed reading your review.

  33. Thanks. You’ve put my mind at I’ve just discovered you so I am really enjoying all your updates and feeds on Facebook.

  34. Hi! Will be traveling business with my husband on the A380 from LAX. He is 6’6 (all legs) 250lbs. Can you recommend a seat where he can stretch out his legs comfortably? Do the bulkhead seats have more of a pitch then the cutout seats? Thank you! 🙂

  35. Just considering a trip. I could fly both legs on the A380, or one on the A380 and the other on the 777-300ER. I’ve only flown economy before (and LOVE the A380). But, for business, they say the newest business class seats are on the 777-300ER. Is there a big difference? Would you recommend flying the A380 or the A380 and 777-300ER?

    Thanks!

  36. @ James — Only a few 777-300ERs have the new business class as of now, so I’d probably do the A380 given that it’s such a smoother/quieter aircraft.

  37. Which seats are best, in your opinion, in SQ business class with the other configuration, where there are also economy seats on the upper deck? I’m flying it in a few weeks and all of the bulkhead seats are taken in all areas. The last row in this configuration isn’t a bulkhead and doesn’t have a galley behind it, just bathrooms, so I feel service may be lacking without a galley near it. Thanks!

  38. Just wondering; is there any way to find out in advance whether you will be getting the 86 seat cabin or the 60 seat cabin a lot in advance, before booking the award ticket.

  39. Hi Lucky! Did you notice that row 96 window seats were narrower than the normal seats further up? I’ve read this somewhere, and this is what is putting me off them. Thanks!

  40. @Zach I usually make a ‘mock’ commercial booking up to the point where you can select seats. So, create a new booking, select the flight you are considering, enter a random name and proceed to the next page. Just before payment you will be able to select seats for the flight, and you’ll be able to see which config it is. I’m sure there is an easier way, though!

  41. FYI – they block off booking 17A and K as they are bassinet seats online, however if you call them, they’ll override it and book it for you.

  42. Different strokes for different folks. If you enjoy flight and wish to simply gaze out the window then the front part of the business section is simply sublime. You can look out at the wings of one of the most amazing aircraft flying. On the upper level, distant from the wings and the engine noise, it is rather like you are in some sort of space bubble. If you cannot be bothered to gaze at the world below, much less the ebb and flow of the wings, and prefer to hunker down into “tube life” concentrating on footrests, TV access, and all that, then why not fly….um…any 777 where you get none of the above.

  43. Hi Lucky or Anyone who knows,

    Since Row 96 is at the tail of the plane, would the turbulence effect be easily felt? I will be flying with hubby and our infant son, would love to seat together. (Noting that all bassinet seat are single seating in the 1-2-1 configuration except for row 96)

    Kindly advise. =)

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