Is Singapore Airlines Cutting First Class To Houston In 2017?

Singapore Airlines has modified their US 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.

Of course 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.

Singapore-First-Class-777 - 67

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.

However, several readers have pointed out something odd about this flight.

For whatever reason, Singapore Airlines isn’t selling first class between Houston and Singapore (or on the individual sectors) as of January 1, 2017. If you search through December 31 you’ll see first class for sale, while for subsequent dates you won’t see first class anymore.

singapore-houston-fare

Oddly the aircraft type still shows as a 777-300ER (and all of those planes have a first class cabin), and the seatmap for first class is even still there. But they’re not selling those seats.

singapore-777-seatmap

That’s a real shame, given that the Houston to Singapore route was the US route with the most readily available first class award availability.

So, what gives? I haven’t been able to get a direct answer, though my guess is that Singapore Airlines is seriously considering swapping the aircraft on the route next year, and they wanted to block off first class sales so that they could make that change without any complications.

The route still seems to have too much capacity, as it’s rarely sold out. So realistically Singapore Airlines could swap in either an A350 or a 777-200ER, both of which they have in their fleet, and both of which don’t have a first class cabin. That’s just speculation on my part, though that’s the only answer I can come up with.

I wouldn’t assume this change is necessarily happening on exactly January 1, but rather that they’re just giving themselves some flexibility.

Anyway, if you’ve been looking for first class on this route for next year and have been getting frustrated, at least now you know you’re not alone.

Comments

  1. Ugh… Was really bummed about losing IAH-DME and it just keeps getting worse. On this route the difference between J and F was about 9000 KF miles or so and going with F was a no-brainer.

    If they do remove F, I hope it’s an aircraft with a better J seat design. My mom recently flew this route in J and found SQ J a lot worse compared to SQ F, especially for sleeping (have to sleep at an angle).

  2. This was a frustrating find last week. All prepared to move miles and book 2 F tickets in January to have the seats disappear. Oh well, at least I don’t end up with KF miles stuck in limbo. If they do make an equipment change I will still take advantage of the route in J.

  3. I have booked an award first class seat from Manchester to Houston on January 7 and am very worried. I have not received any phone calls or emails from Singapore Airlines yet, but thankfully all my onward flights are booked on jetBlue and can use my Mosaic privilege to change things. That is really bad news! I am sort of looking forward to flying first too.

    Carfield

  4. Five months ago, I booked CPT-JNB-SIN in business on a 777-300 ER; first was not being sold at the time. Now, my flight has been switched to an A350 (which is what I suspected might happen at the time). Sounds like a similar situation here.

  5. Have been watching this route very carefully. Previously you could book up to 2/28/17, but F disappeared on 3/1/17. We are booking in April, but as others have mentioned the additional miles for F on this route is a no-brainer. We are heading to Norway from DFW, so getting on this route requires at least 2 stops, and the only reason we were considering it really was to get on SQ as opposed to having to fly another subpar carrier.

    Considering the cost to cancel tickets with full mile refund is only $30 each, we may go ahead and see what happens after the first of the year.

  6. What Curtis said. There are a few of us followers on this blog and on TPG that have been seeing this for months. I have called and tweeted Singapore Air and can never get a definitive response from anyone about an equipment swap, but it makes sense.

  7. I’m keenly eyeing up this route for when we travel to the USA in the summer, however, I’d like to book it as part of a Star Alliance trip, i.e. I’d like to fly BHX-FRA-IAD with Lufthansa (so I can sample their 747-8) and then return from DEN-IAH-MAN but I can’t seem to sort it whether booking via the United multi-city tool or the Lufthansa tool – can anyone help?

  8. @ Ivan Y:

    Funny how F is so much better but apparently you (and others) weren’t willing to actually pay cash for it, huh?

    😉

  9. Ever since the IAH-MAN route opened up, I have been trying to book award tickets in First for August 2017 on Krisflyer. Never any availability, so I suspect that they will indeed drop F class.

  10. @stacey – I have called many times and they claim it’s all sold out. On every day. Since 2/28. Riiiight. I ask about what plane and they says 777. They are of no help.

  11. Again, I have been told the same as Curtis when I call. Equipment swap to A350 has best chance of explaining why no F available either revenue or krisflyer.

  12. Hello Ben. Question…I want to fly Singapore with the double bed suites. I am based in Miami. What routes offer that service? Thank you!

  13. Most likely a change to a350. They have already said they want to use them on thinner routes, and they would clearly save loads using one as opposed to a 77w.

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