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Round-up: All you need to know about Singapore Airlines’ new 787-10, including award availability

All the latest on the upcoming Singapore Airlines 787-10: Seats, Routes, Schedules, Redemption availability and more.

SQ 787-10 v3 (Singapore Airlines)

We’ve talked a lot in the last couple of weeks about the new Singapore Airlines 787-10 aircraft, set to arrive just over a month from now and due to commence commercial passenger flights on 3rd April. Though hundreds of 787 aircraft now ply the skies each day, this will be the first of the largest variant (the ‘dash 10’) to enter commercial service worldwide.

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Singapore Airlines’ 787-10 Facts

There are a few reasons we’re quite excited about this new plane. Maybe a bit too excited. Here’s our summary of what to expect:

  • A medium-haul route focus, replacing A330 and 777-200/300 aircraft on flights up to eight hours from Singapore.
  • A brand new flat-bed regional business class product, probably the Stelia Aerospace ‘Opal’ staggered 1-2-1 configuration.
  • Love Seats’ in some of the middle business class pairs.
  • No premium economy section (we called it first, in October 2017, and Australian Business Traveller are now predicting the same for the regional A350 aircraft).
  • A two-class configuration of 36 business class seats in the forward section (staggered 1-2-1 config), and 301 seats in economy (3-3-3 config). That means 337 seats in total, which makes it the highest density regional aircraft in the fleet (once the lone 777-200 ‘Version 1’ aircraft ‘SRL’ is put out to pasture).
  • Latest generation Panasonic Avionics Wi-Fi, as fitted to the Scoot 787 fleet, which from our experience actually works pretty well.
  • The Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system, like that installed on the current A350 fleet.

Delivery Schedule

Singapore Airlines is ramping up 787-10 operations quickly this year, with 8 aircraft due for delivery during 2018 as shown below, including 3 planes arriving in May alone.

Proposed delivery schedule

Aircraft Proposed Delivery
9V-SCA March 2018
9V-SCB April 2018
9V-SCC May 2018
9V-SCD May 2018
9V-SCE May 2018
9V-SCF June 2018
9V-SCG* August 2018
9V-SCH* October 2018

Source: 787Blogger 
* – SCG and SCH are the first two 787-10s ever built, which flew as test aircraft in the Boeing certification campaign, but now require some re-work and customer interior fittings, hence their later delivery dates.

Not only will SIA receive eight aircraft this year, they will get the first seven 787-10s delivered worldwide. Etihad will be the second operator, but won’t receive their first example until October, just before SCH is delivered. United will then get their first -10 in November.

After the initial eight planes, the next batch for SIA will start arriving in 2019.

sq78710c
Eight new 787-10s will be rolled out of the Boeing production facility in Singapore Airlines colours this year. (Photo: Boeing)

Public Reveal

The first 787-10 is 9V-SCA, and her delivery flight is due to land into Singapore (from Charleston, via Osaka) on 28th March. Later that day there is scheduled to be a launch event hosted at the Changi Airport JetQuay CIP terminal for VIPs and PPS club members.

We’ll be live blogging on the day – so stay tuned to mainlymiles.com and our Facebook and Instagram feeds for the news, as it happens.

New Regional Business Class Seat

It is now almost certain that the Australian Business Traveller reveal of the Stelia Aerospace ‘Opal’ business class seat will be the product installed at the front end of this aircraft. What remains to be seen is the extent of the customisation by SIA of the furnishings and fittings, which are likely to make the seat look significantly more luxurious (we hope!) than the standard images.

Opal1 (Stelia Aerospace)
The Stelia ‘Opal’ business seat is now the likely candidate for the new Singapore Airlines regional business class. (Photo: Stelia Aerospace)

Obviously a vast improvement on its predecessor, but specifically it provides a full-flat bed, much improved privacy (especially in the window seat that is aligned directly against the window), and hopefully storage aplenty.

We’ve travelled several times on the new Qantas A330 business class and were impressed with it; their concept is not too dissimilar to Stelia ‘Opal’ and so we hope the fitment to the 787-10 should be just as good.

The likely cabin configuration that we exclusively revealed here makes it an even better proposition for couples… as we predict the ‘Love Seat’ middle pair option.

What’s a ‘Love Seat’?

Due to the staggered arrangement for the Stelia ‘Opal’, seats are offset row by row. This allows a higher seat density, but also maintains privacy and retains decent bed length. In bed mode, your feet basically fit under the side console of the seat in front of you, an efficient use of space.

Airlines effectively have two options with this kind of configuration, that used by Qantas with the ‘solo business traveller’ layout, where all middle seats retain privacy, and an alternating couple / solo pair arrangement like Asiana and Emirates on their A380s.

Qantas 787 New Business (Qantas Airways)
The Qantas 787-9 business class cabin also features a staggered 1-2-1 layout, but middle seats retain privacy at all rows. (Photo: Qantas)

Judging by the seat maps, Singapore Airlines has chosen to create some closer middle pairs, or so-called ‘Love Seats’. Our representation below gives you an idea of the configuration we expect to see, based on the GDS disabled access seats information. We could still be wrong, but the disabled access seat plan makes no sense otherwise.

78J couple
Exciting news for the couples travelling on leisure, or colleagues who need to finish up some work together on the flight. (Image: MainlyMiles)

Traveller Tip: For a detailed guide on which seats to choose if you’re booking ahead on the 787-10 business class – check our predictions here.

Wi-Fi

Good news – the 787-10 will be delivered with Panasonic’s latest in-flight Wi-Fi hardware promising ‘broadband connectivity’. Long overdue on the Singapore Airlines regional fleet as the A330 and 777-200/-300 (non-ER) have never featured it.

sq78710a
The ugly hump on top of the fuselage that allows you to use Facebook at 35,000ft. (Photo: Boeing)

This product has been tried and tested on-board Scoot’s Boeing 787 aircraft and in our experience provides good speed. However, Wi-Fi packages with Singapore Airlines do tend to be a little on the pricey side.

 We’re not sure which data provider has been chosen yet, or whether Boingo or other access plans will be available, but the IFE will be the Panasonic eX3 system as currently installed on the A350 fleet, so we expect it will be the same. We’ll update you once the aircraft enters service.

A Singapore Airlines spokesperson confirmed to us last week that the new 30MB free Wi-Fi allowance for business class passengers, and PPS Club members travelling in any class, will be available on the 787-10 fleetwindows.

Missing Windows

Everyone hates that missing window disappointment, when they settle into a ‘window’ seat on an aircraft and find themselves staring at a blank panel instead. Even business class is not immune, as you’ll see from the photo above in the ‘Wi-Fi’ section, and in the cover image of the article, there is a missing window in the business class cabin about halfway down.

It’s difficult to judge from the outside, but we expect this will probably affect row 16 (i.e. seats 16A and 16K). We predict the seat design at this row to have a side console between the seat and the window, so the effect may have been minimised as part of that design, but for now if you’re fan of the view outside – avoid these window seats.

(Note: Airlines don’t deliberately exclude windows to annoy us, air conditioning ducts run in these areas behind the cabin wall – so a window cannot be placed there)

Join the queue…

For the toilet, that is. Not content with increasing the economy passenger to toilet ratio to 49:1 on their latest Airbus A380 aircraft (it was 40:1 on their earlier models), Singapore Airlines has gone one further with the economy cabin on the 787-10 – only 5 toilets will be shared by 301 passengers, a 60:1 ratio.

This is the same as low-cost subsidiary Scoot offer on their A320 and 787-9 aircraft, and is actually poorer than the ratio offered in economy class on the Scoot 787-8 planes. A harsh change from the more civilised 36:1 ratio on the current SIA regional fleet of A330s in economy class.

B78J-Y
Spot the toilets – there aren’t many in the 787-10 economy cabin.

We can only imagine the queues after the breakfast service prior to landing on an 8-hour sector to the east coast of Australia or Japan.

Inaugural Flights

Here’s the rollout plan for the first two aircraft joining the fleet:

  • Bangkok (BKK) from 3rd April 2018
  • Kuala Lumpur (KUL) from 3rd April 2018
  • Osaka (KIX) from 3rd May 2018
  • Perth (PER) from 7th May 2018

As mentioned in our original schedule reveal here the official “first route” will be Osaka (KIX) but the aircraft will actually operate to Bangkok (BKK) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) for a month before that, for crew training and familiarisation.

Perth will be the official second route to be added to the schedule. There’s a one-off schedule on 7th May (SQ223/214) before it slips into its regular slot (SQ215/216) the following day, replacing a current A330-300 service. The inaugural flight on 7th May seems to have been missed in the other announcements, perhaps because it’s a different flight pair for that day only, but it’s definitely there:


Schedules

Here’s where we know the Singapore Airlines 787-10 is flying so far, based on the latest schedules loaded into the GDS.

Bangkok

From 3rd April 2018 to 2nd May 2018
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ970 SIN0710 – BKK0835 787 Daily
SQ973 BKK0940 – SIN1305 787 Daily
From 10th April 2018 to 30th June 2018*
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ972* SIN0935 – BKK1105 787 Daily
SQ975* BKK1215 – SIN1540 787 Daily

* – except 7th May 2018

 From 10th April 2018 to 6th May 2018
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ982 SIN1730 – BKK1900 787 Daily
SQ983 BKK2005 – SIN2330 787 Daily

Kuala Lumpur

From 3rd April 2018 to 31st May 2018
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ118 SIN1845 – KUL1945 787 Daily
SQ119 KUL2040 – SIN2150 787 Daily

Osaka

From 3rd May 2018
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ618 SIN0125 – KIX0905 787 Daily
SQ619 KIX1055 – SIN1640 787 Daily

Perth

7th May 2018 Only
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ223 SIN0930 – PER1440 787 Daily
SQ214 PER1710 – SIN2235 787 Daily
From 8th May 2018 (9th May 2018 from PER)
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ215 SIN1845 – PER2355 787 Daily
SQ216 PER0110 – SIN0635 787 Daily

Star Awards

Star Awards are redemption tickets made available to members of frequent flyer programs across the Star Alliance group (some 26 other airlines).

While Singapore Airlines usually blocks redemption availability of their latest business class and first class cabin products to Star Awards (instead keeping them exclusively for KrisFlyer members), they are permitting Star Awards on the new regional business class seats fitted to the 787-10.

PER Inagural.jpg
A ‘Star Award’ in business class on the inaugural Perth 787-10 flight on 7th May, via the United MileagePlus site.
PER Ing (SIA).jpg
Business saver award availability on the inaugural Perth flight on 7th May. The missing aircraft type issue remains – come on Singapore Airlines, this must be a simple entry in a database. Even United knows this flight is operated by the 787!

Award Availability

We checked KrisFlyer redemption availability on all four routes, and in particular took a detailed look at saver award space in business class on the longer flights, to and from Osaka and Perth, for the first month of operation.

Osaka (KIX)

Economy Business
Saver Advantage Saver Advantage
25,000 45,000 43,000 70,000

Slim pickings on this route since the ‘redemption vultures’ descended once the 787-10 flights were announced. However, several advantage awards are available on the northbound 787-10 flights and instantly confirmable saver availability does start to re-appear towards the end of the month and into June, perhaps once the novelty has worn off?

The southbound sector from Japan is almost entirely waitlisted, and even advantage awards look scarce.

787-10 New Regional Business Class Award Availability (KIX)

SIN-KIX SQ618 KIX-SIN SQ619
Date Savers Date Savers
3 May NA 3 May WL
4 May NA 4 May WL
5 May NA 5 May WL
6 May WL 6 May WL
7 May WL 7 May WL
8 May WL 8 May WL
9 May WL 9 May WL
10 May WL 10 May WL
11 May WL 11 May WL
12 May WL 12 May WL
13 May WL 13 May WL
14 May WL 14 May WL
15 May 2 15 May 3
16 May WL 16 May 2
17 May WL 17 May WL
18 May WL 18 May WL
19 May WL 19 May WL
20 May WL 20 May WL
21 May WL 21 May WL
22 May 2 22 May WL
23 May WL 23 May WL
24 May WL 24 May NA
25 May WL 25 May WL
26 May WL 26 May NA
27 May WL 27 May WL
28 May WL 28 May WL
29 May 1 29 May WL
30 May
WL 30 May WL
31 May 2 31 May WL
1 June 4 1 June WL
2 June
WL 2 June WL
3 June
3 3 June WL
4 June
2 4 June WL

NA: Not Available. WL: Waitlist. Availability correct at 24th February, and is subject to change.

Bangkok (BKK)

Economy Business
Saver Advantage Saver Advantage
12,500 25,000 20,000 40,000

Kuala Lumpur (KUL)

Economy Business
Saver Advantage Saver Advantage
7,500 15,000 17,500 35,000

Plenty of availability throughout the period on these flights, especially on the newly announced SQ972/975 Bangkok pairing, but act fast to lock redemptions in now. Remember it’s only US$30 to cancel and re-deposit your miles (US$15 for KrisFlyer Silver Elite and above), provided you book by 28th February.

While Kuala Lumpur is a bit short, Bangkok should be a good option to experience the new Singapore Airlines business class on a sensible length 2-hour regional sector.

Perth (PER)

Economy Business
Saver Advantage Saver Advantage
20,000 37,000 32,500 65,000

We checked availability for business class saver award redemptions for the first full month of operation on the Perth route, and there is plenty of availability on a wide range of dates. Here’s a summary, subject to change of course.

787-10 New Regional Business Class Award Availability (PER)

SIN-PER SQ215 PER-SIN SQ216
Date Savers Date Savers
7 May (SQ223) 1 7 May (SQ214) 2
8 May 3+ 8 May No Flight
9 May 2 9 May 3+
10 May 3+ 10 May WL
11 May 2 11 May 3+
12 May WL 12 May 2
13 May 1 13 May 2
14 May WL 14 May 2
15 May WL 15 May 3+
16 May WL 16 May 2+
17 May 2 17 May 3+
18 May 3+ 18 May 3+
19 May 1 19 May 3+
20 May WL 20 May 3+
21 May 2 21 May 2
22 May WL 22 May WL
23 May 2 23 May 1
24 May 1 24 May 1
25 May WL 25 May 3+
26 May 1 26 May 3+
27 May 2 27 May 3+
28 May 2 28 May 3+
29 May 3+ 29 May WL
30 May 3+ 30 May 1
31 May WL 31 May 3+
1 June 3+ 1 June 3+
2 June WL 2 June 2
3 June
1 3 June 2
4 June
WL 4 June 3+
5 June
1 5 June 3+
6 June
WL 6 June 3+
7 June
1 7 June 2
8 June
WL 8 June 3+

NA: Not Available. WL: Waitlist. Availability correct at 24th February, and is subject to change.

Upgrade Economy to Business

One great thing about the Singapore Airlines 787-10 being configured in a two-class layout is that you can use KrisFlyer miles to upgrade your economy class ticket directly to business class. On many aircraft in the fleet a premium economy cabin is now fitted, preventing this option as you can only upgrade by one class of service.

During the recent Singapore Airlines fare rules shake-up it was good news in this regard as more economy class ticket types became eligible for upgrade. Where previously a B, E or Y (Economy Flexi) ticket had to be purchased to be eligible for miles upgrade, Economy Standard tickets (H, M, W fare codes) are now also upgradeable, though the number of miles needed is higher.

For example between Singapore and Perth you can upgrade your Economy Flexi ticket to Business Saver class for 25,000 miles one-way, or 50,000 miles for a Business Advantage upgrade. If you have an Economy Standard ticket it’s 30,000 miles for Business Saver and 60,000 miles for Business Advantage.

If you booked your Economy Standard ticket before the fare rules changed on 20th January, it won’t be eligible for upgrade – however you can call Singapore Airlines to have the ticket reissued which will then make it upgradeable. The downside – a fee will apply.

Summary

Hopefully many of you can secure redemptions on these new flights to try out the latest regional business class product on this brand new aircraft. With 49 aircraft on order, the 787-10 will become the mainstay of the Singapore Airlines regional fleet in the years to come, replacing all A330s and regional 777s, and that’s why it’s so important.

In addition to these first two aircraft, 3 more brand new 787s will arrive in May so we can expect some more destinations and routes to be announced soon.

We’re looking forward to the formal reveal at the end of March, and we expect most of the rumours will then be confirmed. If Singapore Airlines pulls something totally different out of the bag, it’ll be a big surprise to us all – but anything is possible!

We’ve secured a business class redemption on a 787-10 flight in April, and will have a full review ready for you shortly afterwards.

(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)

9 comments

    1. Hi Aaron,

      No it doesn’t seem to be blocked, I was able to find business class award seats using LifeMiles on Perth, Bangkok and Osaka 787-10 flights using LifeMiles. Osaka has very limited availability though!

  1. Any speculation on what routes could come in the future? I really hope for Korea and thought SIA would cover Japan/ Korea first before they do a Perth. How many routes still open for replacement?

    1. These schedules just cover the first two 787 aircraft, so there is plenty scope for several more routes this year as SIA ramp up to a fleet of eight 787s by October. We even expect some new routes by May / June, which should be announced next month. Unfortunately we don’t have any information about what the next routes might be at this stage.

      Korea and more Japan flights would be nice, but in that case each route effectively occupies a whole aircraft. While the fleet is new and expanding, shorter sectors will still be needed for crew training flights and so it’s easier for SIA to pick slightly closer destinations like Perth, where the same plane can ‘tag’ a BKK/CGK/KUL rotation on the same day.

      Ultimately though – anything operated by the A330 / 777-200 is up for grabs. We’ll keep you posted!

      1. Thanks, Andrew. Understood. It‘s just that competition has much better business class seats on the same route (e.g. Japan) and somehow it would make sense to place the product there first. But got your point regarding the training…

  2. In January, I redeemed sq business class return tickets from Bne to Bkk during sonkran festival with 130k velocity points. Luckily I chose sq972/983 on sin-Bkk-sin sectors. Looking forward to my 787-10 journey!

  3. The center toilets at Doors 3 and 4 are probably 2 toilets but with just one symbol, for a total of 7 for 301. Scoot has the same center layout at Door 3 where 2 toilets can be joined to form 1 handicap accessible toilet.

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