My Speculative Singapore Airlines A380 Bookings

In the coming months Singapore Airlines will begin to take delivery of five new Airbus A380 aircraft, which will feature a new first & business class product. Singapore Airlines is slow to make changes to their products, but when they do, they usually set the new industry standard. It’s my understanding that on their upcoming A380s they’re not just refreshing their existing products, but rather completely reimagining them.

All we know so far about the new Suites Class is that the product is going from the lower deck to the upper deck, and that it will feature six Suites rather than 12 Suites. Other than that, they’re tight-lipped about what we should expect, so I’m really excited.

A couple of weeks ago I made a post speculating about the first routes to get Singapore’s new A380. As I explained in the post, I expect SQ221 from Singapore to Sydney, and SQ232 from Sydney to Singapore, to be the first flights to get the new product. In the previous post I explained the logic, both based on what they’ve said to other media outlets, and also based on the fact that they’re only selling at most six first class seats on those flights starting at the end of the year.

I suspect that once the new products are introduced they’ll block them from award redemptions for some amount of time. They might not block business class awards, but I think it’s a near given that they won’t make saver seats available in the new Suites Class, as there will only be six seats.


Singapore’s current Suites Class

So a couple of weeks ago I suggested speculatively booking some tickets in hopes of scoring the new Suites Class, and I figured I’d report back on what I booked.

Originally Singapore was supposed to take delivery of the new A380 in October, though apparently that has been delayed by a bit. I really want to try Singapore’s new A380 Suites Class and business class, so I booked coordinated roundtrip tickets from Singapore to Sydney. I speculatively booked the following:

  • For February I booked Singapore to Sydney in Suites Class on SQ221 (80,000 KrisFlyer miles), and then Sydney to Singapore in business class on SQ232 (58,000 KrisFlyer miles)
  • For March I booked Singapore to Sydney in business class on SQ221 (58,000 KrisFlyer miles), and then Sydney to Singapore in Suites Class on SQ232 (80,000 KrisFlyer miles)

Award availability in Suites Class is extremely limited on the SQ221/232 frequencies, while it’s wide open on the other frequencies. However, there are still some dates with availability.

Let me say that it’s entirely possible that I’m way off here. It could be that the new product enters service way sooner or even later, and it could be that this flight doesn’t even get the first new A380. However, given that KrisFlyer charges just $30 to refund an award ticket, I figured it was a worthwhile risk. If I’m completely off, it’s $120 to refund all the tickets and get the miles back. If I’m only half wrong, it’s $60 to refund all the tickets.


Singapore’s current business class

I’m still undecided about whether I’d take one or both trips in the event that the A380 does indeed operate the route. If the product is “just” good, I might only take one. If the new Suites Class is basically like The Residence on Etihad (which I’m not ruling out), then I may take both.

Of course the other risk I took here is that I transferred a bunch of points to KrisFlyer. I had no points in my KrisFlyer account, but fortunately they’re transfer partners with all four major transferable points currencies (Amex Membership RewardsChase Ultimate RewardsCiti ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest). So I transferred 266,000 points from Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou. I didn’t love doing that since much of the value I get out of transferable points is the flexibility, and I’m giving that up. However, I imagine I’ll have no trouble using KrisFlyer miles in the three years before they expire in the event that I redeposit all these tickets.

Now I’m just crossing my fingers that this all goes as planned, and need to start figuring out the plan for Emirates’ new 777 first class.

Is anyone else speculatively booking flights in hopes of trying Singapore’s new A380? When do you think it will be in service?

Comments

  1. I find that hard to believe…. where was the first a380 flown? i would think that they would put their new a380 on their flagship routes so either JFK FRA OR LHR

  2. @ Jay – First revenue A380 flight was Singapore to Sydney back in 2007.

    @ Lucky – you’ll be able to narrow it down once they debut the new product (they’ll only debut it when the deliveries are confirmed and thus can figure out their schedule to announce it). I’ll keep my ear to the ground if any announcement is forthcoming.

    Also is my understanding that economy on this plane will feature the “new” economy seat that they have on the A350’s and some 777-300ER’s.

    Keep in mind that SQ will also be announcing a new regional business class product at some point too; have read elsewhere it will be staggered seating and fully flat and intended for regional configured A350’s and upcoming 787-10’s.

  3. I think the miles are the wrong way around, you said 80,000 miles for business and 54,000 miles for Suites.

  4. @ Jay — In addition to what others have said, keep in mind that a Sydney rotation can be done with a single plane, while JFK, FRA, and LHR all require two planes. So they want to start the plane on a single route, meaning SYD is a much better contender than the others.

  5. @lucky if the did the first one with sydney and the single plane thing that makes sense… but uggggh australia

  6. hey lucky any idea when SQ will be unveiling the new seats (which is when i’d expect availability to dry up immediately as well)

  7. @ ryna — No clue, largely because I don’t have a sense of how soon the product will actually be introduced. Initially it was supposed to be flying by October 2017, though now it’s apparently delayed by a few months. I’d expect that it will probably be unveiled a couple of months before it starts flying, whenever that is. Unlike many of their competitors, Singapore prefers to maintain the suspense.

  8. I did the same thing! But managed to just get SQ231 at the moment as 221 is so hard to find. Looking through some alternative dates, though!

  9. London was only on “waitlist” so I booked seats from Zurich to SIN and then Sydney the following day in early May with hopes that at least one of those segments is the new Suites!

  10. There are worse places to park half a million points/miles! But can I ask how you earned 556,000 points, Lucky? Was it all credit card bonuses and spend, or do you fly revenue on SQ sometimes? It took my wife and me two years to get half that!

  11. Definitely considering this. I do want to get to Australia one day, but wasn’t planning on it for next year. But am very curious about the new product and agree that it’ll probably be unavailable to the masses once it’s unveiled. I don’t think I’ll have trouble using the miles if in fact next year doesn’t pan out. In the meantime I’ll get my first Suites experience late October when we travel to Seychelles and Madagascar for our honeymoon via JFK-FRA-SIN-BOM (all in Suites), and then E from BOM-SEZ.

  12. @jorge..Look at all the referral links…if Amex had no yearly limit he woudl easily get >10.000.000 Points just by referrals.

  13. @Jay. SQ and Singapore generally, regards Australia a much more important regional country and ally than the US or Europe, hence it will get priority in all matters. With the ongoing political dysfunction in the US, most countries are quietly looking for ways to distance and protect themselves from the US. Your uggggh comment applies to your own country, buddy!

  14. Hey Ben was at an SQ function celebrating 50 years of flying to Sydney in June. They dropped big “hints” to the audience about Sydney getting the new A380 product first

  15. Hi Lucky, I couldn’t find a single Suites saver from mid January to August 2018. Did you redeem your miles a long time ago?

  16. I just transferred points from citi TY to krisflyer. As a datapoint, 9/12 initiated the transfer. 9/14 I got the points. So about 48 hours.

    I booked SQ 232 in late May for two. Fingers crossed.

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