KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines

The last Singapore Airlines 3-class Boeing 777-300ER will leave service on 28th October

No more guessing the cabin product on SIA’s 777-300ER routes from 28th October

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When Singapore Airlines first revealed their new cabin products for the Boeing 777-300ER in 2013 they also quickly followed up with an announcement regarding an ambitious refit schedule for existing aircraft, forecasting the whole fleet of these planes would be refitted by September 2016.

It’s not uncommon for such projects to slip and SIA certainly had their fair share of upsets along the way, not least a 777-300ER wing fire in June 2016 which grounded a plane (9V-SWB) for 5 months and then a tow truck fire in November 2017 which wrote off a 777-200 (9V-SQK).

These events won’t have helped overall fleet availability and go some way to explaining the delays in completing refits on the older 19 of these 777-300ER aircraft that required it from the outset.

A little over two years late isn’t very impressive of course, but finally the end is in sight as the last two aircraft with the older 2006 seat products will be leaving service on 28th October 2018 to receive the newer seats.

The seats

What many won’t miss about these aircraft is the older 2006 First and Business Class seats. Here’s a reminder of what we’re losing on the older 777-300ERs:

SQ 777 2006F (Dan Nevill).jpg
The 2006 First Class seat. (Photo: Dan Nevill)
SQ 77W 2006J (miya.m)
The 2006 Business Class seat. (Photo: miya.m)

And here’s why people are generally much happier with the refitted 777-300ER Version 2 aircraft:

2013 F (Points Hacks)
The 2013 First Class seat. (Photo: Point Hacks)
SQ 77W 2013J (OMAAT)
The 2013 Business Class seat. (Photo: One Mile at a Time)

The schedule

Regulars on the Singapore to Beijing and Singapore to Tokyo Haneda routes will probably be no strangers to the 3-class 777-300ER Version 1 aircraft, as these are the only routes now being flown by the two remaining planes in this old configuration 9V-SWI and 9V-SWT.

If (like us) you thought there were three Version 1 aircraft still out there fear not – last week 9V-SWS went in for its refit, leaving only SWI and SWT to be completed.

Those two aircraft are still rostered to fly daily services to and from Beijing (SQ800/805) and Tokyo Haneda (SQ634/635) right through to the end of October, though do be aware they are occasionally substituted onto other routes as required for operational reasons.

GDS timetable data confirms this last pair of Singapore Airlines 777-300ER planes in 8F 42J 228Y configuration (Version 1) are now time-limited as they soon disappear from the schedules completely.

The first of this aircraft pair will depart for a Beijing rotation as SQ800 on 27th October 2018, landing back into Changi as SQ805 the same afternoon. Just before that plane finishes its work, on the same day the second aircraft has one last ‘hurrah’ to Tokyo Haneda and back (SQ634/635), touching down back in Singapore in the early hours of 28th October 2018, then it’s off to the hangar for both planes to have the refit work.

Beijing loses out

The unfortunate news for Beijing passengers is that following the withdrawal of the 777-300ER Version 1 aircraft at the end of October that particular flight pairing (SQ800/805) will revert to 2-class 777-200 operation with 2009 RJ seats in Business Class. That situation continues through the northern winter 2018/19 season, only returning to 777-300ER Version 2 operation at the start of the summer 2019 season.

There of course continue to be two other flights to and from Beijing to choose from – SQ802/807, an A380 Version 2, and SQ806/801, a 777-300ER Version 2. Those would certainly be the ones to pick from a seat comfort perspective.

Tokyo Haneda loses out temporarily

It’s a short-term loss for the Tokyo Haneda SQ634/635 flight pairing which will also revert to older cabin products for around 1 month from 28th October 2018. This time it’s a 3-class Boeing 777-300 with 2006 F seats in First Class and 2009 RJ seats in Business Class.

Don’t worry too much here though – a refitted 4-class 777-300ER Version 2 with the 2013 cabin products is ‘back in business’ on these flights from 1st December 2018. You also have the choice of an A350 with 2013 Business Class seats (SQ632/633) and a 777-300ER Version 2 (SQ636/631) in the meantime – if you’re flying this route in November those are the ones to pick.

SQ 777-200 Regional Biz 2 (Edwin Leong).jpg
Singapore Airlines’ older 2009 regional Business Class seats are back on a Beijing flight all winter, and on a Tokyo Haneda flight during November, though you can avoid both with some good planning. (Photo: Edwin Leong)

Summary

Finally a consistent 777-300ER cabin product is coming for Singapore Airlines. Arguably the backbone of the SIA long-haul operation, completed refits will mean no risk of older products on this plane (often appearing as ’77W’ in official timetables).

It will also mean a Premium Economy cabin is offered on all 777-300ER routes from 28th October this year.

Sure – it’s late. ‘Plan A’ was for this process to be finished almost two years ago, but these things happen and SIA are far from the only airline promising much quicker ‘theoretical’ aircraft refit turnarounds than turn out to be possible.

While the 2006 products continue to feature on some other aircraft in the fleet, this transition on the 777-300ER fleet follows the demise of SIA’s ‘Spacebed’ seats in February and the ‘Ultimo’ blue recliners in March this year.

A final note

The summer 2019 schedules are being loaded already and to some extent it’s a ‘copy – paste’ scenario as Singapore Airlines build the initial timetables often based on the previous summer season. The 3-class 777-300ER Version 1 configuration re-appears on the Beijing and Tokyo Haneda routes from April 2019, however this is inaccurate as all 777-300ERs will have been refitted to the 4-class Version 2 configuration by then.

We expect the GDS (and the seat maps on the SIA website) to correctly reflect the new configuration for those flights in due course, so you can safely disregard those layouts for now.

(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)

22 comments

  1. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the heads up!

    Is there an online resource or app that shows exactly what aircraft cabin config one will get, based on flight details? I find Seat Guru less and less reliable for accurate info..

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Ken, there is one reliable source in the market, expertflyer.com Unfortunately, it comes with a premium at $4.99 or $9.99 USD monthly.

      1. Many thanks, SY.. Now playing with ExpertFlyer on 5-Day Free-Trial.. their seat maps aren’t as pretty as Seat Guru’s but I guess function definitely beats form here.. Thanks again!

      2. Played with ExpertFlyer a bit.. mostly accurate, in terms of seat availability.. but oddly, when I look at some of my upcoming flights, it was quite off.. some seats that it showed as available, actually were taken when I looked at SQ online seat selection.. it made me so excited finding Row 11 and on another flight! row 19 available, but alas…

  2. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the update… yeah they took an age to rollout a consistent product across their 19 777-300ERs! I am guessing the 2006 F and J products will never be updated on the older 777-300 that remain in the fleet? These birds are a regular on the Manila flights, whilst short flights it would be nice to have the 2013 F product, far worse is the regional 2009 J product which is now seriously dated.

    Cheers

    1. Yes it did take ages in the end. I really can’t see them doing anything with the 777-300 cabin products unfortunately. These planes are approaching 17 years old and their capacity is now easily replaced by the much more efficient 787-10.

      Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before they’re retired.

      1. Yeah, for sure at some point they will retire these planes considering their age. As you mention, it would make sense they deploy the 787 or a regional A350, which for us maybe sadly the end of F of some routes like Manila or Jakarta…

  3. Hi Andrew, I am new to the website. I fly almost exclusively on SIA, and am flying on SQ 636 on 23rd December 2018 and on SQ 11 on 31st December 2018, both in First. Are SIA likely to change the aircraft to a no first class configuration?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Mark. Welcome to the site! As Ken already mentioned no need to worry about these two flights – both being operated by the 777-300ER Version 2 so you’ll have the very nice 2013 F seats on both legs. Enjoy.

  4. Hi Andrew, I am looking at the Haneda to Singapore SQ flights – SQ 635 like what you mentioned is using the 2006 biz class seats. Do you think the seats are still worth lashing out my miles for? My wait list for this flight has cleared so dunno if I should confirm this flight or try and wait for SQ 633 which is using the A350.

    1. Hi Garfield, just want to at my 2¢ to this. 2006 business class is an excellent Business class product, arguably better than many First class products in the industry. Having travelled on this seat many times I have observed the following:

      It’s extremely wide, almost too wide – such that before takeoff and landing when you can’t recline, it’s a little odd. SQ added a bolster to help with this but I still feel like I’m rattling around a bit.

      The foot rest doesn’t angle up beyond about 45 degrees so I can’t get into my perfect “lazing” position for watching TV. On the flip side, the bed is massive but difficult to prop yourself up in to watch TV. It’s like I needed a half-way position (and thankfully the A350/A380v3/787 cater for my “lazing” requirements).

      Other than those issues it really is a great product. I find it amazingly private and comfortable. I always sleep well on-board and really the only reason to nitpick is because SQ’s other seats are so good too.

      You mention holding out for A350 J. Waitlists are intrinsically an unknown quantity. You may get lucky… but if you don’t? Pay cash? Go Economy? Personally, I avoid waitlists at all costs because at the rate I’m balding – I cannot afford the stress anymore.
      Plus the A350 Business class seat has flaws of it’s own. We comprehensively reviewed it here: https://mainlymiles.com/2018/02/27/review-singapore-airlines-a350-business-class/

      Seat opinions are very personal but I don’t think you are wasting your miles if you get to lock in 2006 business class.

      Eddie

      1. Thanks Eddie! That was very helpful…

        Totally agree with you on the waitlist issue… The Haneda to SIngapore route seems to be a very popular route and J seems to be always on wait list…. I had to book myself on Premium economy of SQ 633 (which I very unwillingly did.. sigh) in order to secure seats for the return flight. I waitlisted myself on SQ633 (A350) and SQ635 (B777ER with 2006 J)..
        The waitlist for SQ635 just cleared so I am deciding……….

        I am keen to get myself on J so most prob I will pay the ticket re-issuance cost of $25 per pax?

        Just that I have heard mixed reviews of the 2006 J seats… Like it is old and dirty etc.. Haha

        SQ635 is a red eye flight though… which means I hope I can get comfortable to sleep.. But the thought of reduced service also bugs me.. hahaha.. I know.. first world problem.. but..

    2. Hi Garfield, Allow me to add my 1 cent on top of Eddie’s 2.. in doing so, maybe (hopefully not) confusing you a bit..

      I almost completely agree with Eddie’s take on all points in every paragraph.. and would just add that, if you haven’t flown in the 2013 J (and even then, there are many who don’t like them, mostly finding them too firm and the small dog-leg foot well, and both these points are non+events for me cos I’m fine with them) or better, then you really wouldn’t be missing much and would thouroughly enjoy your flight. As Eddie has also pointed out, these seats are wider than even now, most First Class products out there. The ONLY thing that I’d avoid, would be older aircraft that had many of these seats that were out-of-order in one way or other.. controls/functions that didn’t work, scratches on acrylic screen cover etc.. those can be annoying and maybe (hopefully) those old planes have already all been put to pasture and the last ones are ‘still ok’.. to me, if I got another bad or dirty 2006 J, then that wouldn’t make me a very happy camper.

      On the flip side, if you haven’t at least tried these seats once, then maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing to try them for the experience, after all, come Nov, you wouldn’t be able to, even if you wanted to.. and then late on, you can try either the 2013 or 2017 J, the latter, I myself haven’t yet had the pleasure.. then you can decide which you like best..?

      Lastly, yes, no question.. forget about being waitlisted, especially more so if your flight is during ‘peak season’ and you don’t have at least KF Gold status.. my wife and were once on waitlisted on R, CDG>SIN, and even though there were more than enough seats avail on the flight back, they still let them fly home empty, cos ‘redemption quotas’ were already filled up.. fortunately we had confirmed J seats in hand..

      Enjoy your head scratching for a bit.. just know that the only ‘bad’ choice would be leaving to chance for a waitlisted seat.. 😉

      1. Seeing you’ve already secured the 2006 J, either go ahead and secure that first and keep the 2013 J waitlisted and see what happens.. or.. See when latest date to ticket that 2006 J before paying for it..

  5. Andrew

    I’m not sure if your statement “Tokyo Haneda loses out temporarily” has been confirmed by SIA but I just received an email that even my flight on 13 March 2019 to HND (SQ634) and 23 March 2019 back to SG (SQ635) will be flying on the older 777-300 bird although when I booked, it was the 777-300ER!

    That sounds like I’ll be on the 2009 RJ instead of the 777-300ER Version 2’s 2013 J per your article above. This is really bad as I was expecting to be able to try the 2013 J finally and now have to potentially endure the 2009 RJ instead! Do you think I’m worse off?

    How long does it usually take to refit a plane?

    Let me know if you hear anything out there…..

    🙁

    1. Hi Erick,

      Yes you’re right there are two periods where the 777-300 takes over from the -300ER on the Haneda flight SQ634/635 this coming season:

      28th October 2018 – 30th November 2018
      1st March 2019 – 30th March 2019

      Unfortunately your flight falls into the second period and that does mean 2009 RJ seats.

      It takes around 6 weeks to re-fit the 777-300ERs, depending what other maintenance checks they need to do at the same time. Some older 777-300ERs may be coming up for heavy maintenance checks this winter which can see them out of action for months at a time.

      Is your flight a cash booking or a redemption? There may be an option to swap to a different flight.

      1. Thanks Andrew, just pure luck! Got this under a redemption for 4 of us after 2 years of intense spending for KF miles!
        Let me know what’s the best way to swap, if it’s allowed….

    2. It looks like SIA is flying the 777-300 on SQ634/635 in the whole of March 2019 only! SIgh…
      Do I have any grounds to change my flight to SQ630 or SQ636?

    3. I feel for you.. and not trying to add salt to wound, but I was actually in a reversed situation from yours.. I was on a F redemption, wasn’t completely looking forward to flight (I know, first world problem).. but it was either going with Advantage J or Saver F (which is actually a bit ‘cheaper’) so it was a no-brainer situation.. however, my plans changed and Tokyo trip was cancelled.. and then I later found out that the flight I would’ve been on, would’ve had the new F seats! Oh well, and sigh, right..?

      In your case, I’d certainly make a case for it with KF, and my suggestion is to do so at Ion Orchard.. you’ve spent a lot of time accumulating for those miles and of course you’d want the best possible mileage (no pun intended) out of that effort.. I’m quite sure they’ll allow you to change, without charges..

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