KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines

Year-round Singapore Airlines A380s to Tokyo set to get new Suites from August

Singapore Airlines will continue A380 service to Tokyo year-round, with the latest Suites and Business Class seats planned from August

2A & 2F Seat 2

Note 4th July 2019: Singapore Airlines has loaded the new A380 Version 3 aircraft with the 2017 seats on this route from 1st January 2020 onwards.

The earlier A380 aircraft refit from August 2019 was instead used to Mumbai.

In three weeks from now, Singapore Airlines Airbus A380s will once again become a regular sight at Tokyo’s Narita airport, following a two and a half year gap since SQ11/12 flights from Singapore to Los Angeles via the Japanese capital switched to the Boeing 777-300ER in October 2016.

As we highlighted in our article from December last year, the superjumbo is set to make a return to the Tokyo route from 27th April 2019, replacing a Boeing 787-10 on one of two daily flights for the summer 2019 season.

Originally due to revert to the 787-10 from late October 2019, Singapore Airlines has now made the change permanent, meaning there will soon be an A380 with a Suites cabin flying from Singapore to Tokyo every day on a year-round basis.

Suites you say?

This is where it gets even more interesting. We have been reliably tipped off that this A380 service, starting later this month with the A380 Version 1, will be served by an aircraft with the brand new Suites and Business Class seats from August 2019.

94A_2.jpg
The latest cabin products are due on SIA’s A380 flights to and from Tokyo later this summer. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

With the existing five A380 Version 3 aircraft remaining assigned to their current flying program this summer (London, Sydney, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Zurich), that can mean only one thing. The first refitted SIA A380 will finally be in service in around four months’ time.

The schedule

The Tokyo-Narita route is currently flown with a daily Boeing 777-300ER and a daily Boeing 787-10 flight.

Until 26th April 2019
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ12 SIN0925 – NRT1730 77W Daily
SQ638 SIN2355 – NRT0800* 787 Daily
SQ637 NRT1110 – SIN1720 787 Daily
SQ11 NRT2010 – SIN0225* 77W Daily

* Next day

From 27th April 2019 the A380 replaces the 787-10 on a daily basis, adding a First Class (Suites) and Premium Economy option to complement the Boeing 777-300ER also operating each day to Narita and on to Los Angeles as SQ11/12.

The A380 flight departs Changi around midnight for overnight service to Tokyo, landing at 8am. The following day the aircraft makes a late morning departure from Narita, for an early evening arrival back in Singapore.

From 27th April 2019
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ12 SIN0925 – NRT1730 77W Daily
SQ638 SIN2355 – NRT0800* 388 Daily
SQ637 NRT1110 – SIN1720 388 Daily
SQ11 NRT2010 – SIN0225* 77W Daily

* Next day

That makes the Narita to Singapore flight the best one to appreciate the Suites service, in our opinion, as most people will want to prioritise sleep on the northbound flight to Tokyo (and frankly the bed in the new 2017 Suites isn’t that comfortable).

Can we be sure?

To verify the information we received, we took a look at ITA Matrix in combination with ExpertFlyer to check the number of Suites Singapore Airlines is selling on these flights.

As you can see from 1st August the cabin capacity becomes capped at six.

Date Booked* Available** Cabin Capacity
26 Jul 0 9+ 9+
27 Jul 0 9+ 9+
28 Jul 0 9+ 9+
29 Jul 0 9+ 9+
30 Jul 2 9+ 11+
31 Jul 0 9+ 9+
1 Aug 2 4 6
2 Aug 2 4 6
3 Aug 0 6 6
4 Aug 0 6 6
5 Aug 2 4 6
6 Aug 2 4 6
7 Aug 4 2 6
8 Aug 2 4 6
9 Aug 2 4 6
10 Aug 2 4 6
11 Aug 0 6 6
(onwards)  6

* Source: ExpertFlyer seat map
** Source: ITA Matrix / singaporeair.com

For example on 7th August Singapore Airlines is only willing to sell two tickets in Suites on SQ638. That’s confirmed on ITA Matrix and at singaporeair.com. The seat map on ExpertFlyer (and confirmed at singaporeair.com) shows four passengers booked in Suites on this flight.

SQ638 7-8-19.jpg
SQ638 booked load on 7th August. (Image: ExpertFlyer)

That confirms, despite the current seat map, Singapore Airlines is only selling this cabin to a capacity of six. This situation is replicated for the rest of the published schedule on SQ638/637 (until at least February 2020), effectively confirming SIA is planning to introduce an A380 with the new cabin products on this flight from around August 2019.

The SQ638/637 pairing is also a comfortable utilisation for a single A380 aircraft to operate the route every day, with 3 hours downtime in Narita each morning and 6 hours at Changi in the evening before the pattern is repeated.

2006 cabin products

For at least the first few months of operation this route will feature the 2006 Business Class seats and 2006 Suites. These are older products but still convert to fully flat beds with direct aisle access.

F Seat Night.jpg
The 2006 Suites is still a great cabin product. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The 2006 Suites in particular also include a double bed option at the two middle pairs, and all convert to enclosed Suites.

Double Bed.jpg
Double bed in the middle pair in 2006 Suites. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

You’ll need to go for 2 C/D or 3 C/D to secure this arrangement in the 2006 Suites cabin. Remember if you can’t get 3 C/D, call Singapore Airlines to get seated in 2 C/D. It’s a bassinet position and won’t usually be available for online selection, but is unlikely to be occupied.

A388v1-R.jpg
The bassinet position at Suites 2 C/D will prevent you from choosing them online, but a phone agent will be able to seat you there.

2017 cabin products

More of the news lately has been focused on the newest Singapore Airlines cabin products – 2017 Business Class and 2017 Suites.

We’ve tried and tested both of these, firstly the new Business Class on a flight from Singapore to Sydney in January 2018 just weeks after the new seats entered service.

$Promotion.jpg

Click here to read our review of the Singapore Airlines new A380 Business Class

Though narrower than older versions, we think this is a really nice seat, and there are three ‘double bed’ options at the bulkhead rows for couples. We were disappointed in fact when the A350 ULR aircraft was delivered with the older 2013 seats instead of these, presumably because they didn’t fit in that cabin.

Later in the year, in July 2018, we tried the new Suites product from Singapore to Hong Kong.

$Promote.jpg

Click here to read our review of the Singapore Airlines new A380 Suites Class

A mixed reaction overall here, it certainly has its faults, but you won’t fail to be ‘wowed’ especially if you can secure a double suite.

Which A380?

It’s no big secret that Singapore Airlines is refitting its older 14 Airbus A380 aircraft with the latest cabin products over the next few years.

Like most refit programs, with most airlines, the timetable was ambitious and now appears unachievable. However it now appears that the first aircraft will at least be finished by August under the current plan.

Three of SIA’s A380s are currently in maintenance at Changi. One of these will probably be the first to receive the new seat, though we don’t know which.

  • 9V-SKG (A380v1)
  • 9V-SKS (A380v2)
  • 9V-SKT (A380v2)

SKG is the most recent addition to the hangar, having been in for about a month now, while SKS has been out of service for the longest at 5 months, and SKT for just over 2 months.

Once a refitted A380 is back in service the Narita flight could then be operated by the A380 Version 3, or potentially a future Version 4 as the aircraft being retrofitted with the new product are highly likely to have a slightly different layout (though there will still be six Suites on the upper deck, seat counts in other cabins are unlikely to match the v3 planes).

It will certainly be interesting to see what changes Singapore Airlines will make to the Suites in the retrofitted aircraft, to potentially address some of the issues identified with the original batch. Any enhancements could in fact make the refitted ones those to aim for in future.

When will the seat map change?

Assuming there is no change to the plan, once Singapore Airlines is more certain of the exact date this service will switch to the newer cabin configuration they will then likely update the seat maps to reflect this.

We’ll let you know when that happens as couples with existing bookings will no doubt want to try and secure the double bed positions.

A388v3-R.jpg
The Suites seat map will eventually confirm a new A380, and shows the double bed positions

When the Sydney route was announced as the first to get the new products it came with around one months’ notice, for London and Hong Kong it was similar while for the Shanghai and Zurich routes it was confirmed around two months in advance.

We therefore estimate that SIA will update the seat maps for these Tokyo flights sometime around June 2019.

Which other routes?

We’re still told that the second Sydney A380 flight (SQ231/222) is set to get the new products this summer, however the plan for the second London A380 flight (SQ308/321) to get the new seats seems to have gone off the boil for now.

We’ll keep our ear to the ground and let you know what we find out, but expect more than just the Tokyo flight to ‘upgrade’ to the new A380 cabins this year.

Award availability

Here are the KrisFlyer redemption rates you’ll pay by cabin on this route:

KFtrans

KrisFlyer Redemption Singapore – Tokyo
Saver Advantage
Economy 25,000 45,000
Premium Economy 34,500 n/a
Business 47,000 70,000
First / Suites 70,000 120,000

You’ll pay 70,000 miles for a saver award in Suites on these flights, or 47,000 miles in Business Class.

As we mentioned when the A380 was first announced to be flying the SQ638/637 flights, award availability in Suites is plentiful, as you’d expect with 12 of these seats added daily to a route which previously didn’t feature them at all.

The good news is, even with SIA now selling no more than six Suites on these flights from 1st August 2019, most dates in August still feature 2 saver Suites awards, which could make this route your key to trying out that new double Suite.

Bed 1.jpg
The Tokyo route could be your key to SIA’s latest double suite on the A380, with plenty of redemption space available even after the route is planned to switch across. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Here’s how the Suites saver award space looks in August 2019.

Singapore to Tokyo

August 2019 (SQ638 SIN-NRT)
M T W T F S S
1 2 3 4
WL WL 2 2
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
WL WL WL WL WL WL 2
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
1 WL 1 1 WL WL
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
2 2 2 2 2 2 WL
26 27 28 29 30 31
2 2 2 2 2 1

WL – Waitlist
Award availability correct at 8th April 2019, and is subject to change

Tokyo to Singapore

August 2019 (SQ637 NRT-SIN)
M T W T F S S
1 2 3 4
2 WL 2 2
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
2 2 WL WL WL WL WL
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
WL WL 2 2 WL 2
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
2 WL 2 2 WL 2 2
26 27 28 29 30 31
2 2 2 2 2 WL

WL – Waitlist
Award availability correct at 8th April 2019, and is subject to change

Business Class availability should also be good, with an additional 24 seats per day in each direction offered on the A380 Version 1 with the older 2006 seats, potentially increasing by a further 18 seats each day with the A380 Version 3/4.

Virgin Australia Velocity.jpg

Virgin Australia’s Velocity scheme is the only frequent flyer program other than KrisFlyer with access to long-haul Business Class and First Class / Suites award space on Singapore Airlines. Virgin may not have access to as much award space as KrisFlyer members, but if you can find availability then you can also use Velocity points to redeem Business Class and First Class (Suites) awards on these flights.

Business Class is searchable and bookable online through the Velocity website (53,000 points), but you’ll have to call them for a First / Suites redemption (78,000 points).

In both cases this is a much better option than transferring your Velocity points to KrisFlyer miles at a 1.55:1 ratio then booking through SIA, which would set you back 72,850 points for Business Class or 108,500 points for Suites, following the transfer devaluation at the start of this year.

Summary

When it was first announced that this flight would be served in the summer months by the A380, Suites availability was plentiful. There were basically at least two saver awards available on every single date through the summer.

Well if you secured one of those from August 2019 onwards, some good news should be coming your way soon. While the current seat map won’t reflect it, it’s almost certainly the plan for the SQ638/637 flight to feature the latest A380 cabin products from approximately that month.

While Suites saver award availability isn’t quite as good from August onwards, there are still plenty of options including several dates with two seats available – perfect for that double bed experience.

Even if you’re flying before August, if you haven’t tried Suites before then our advice is don’t let the age of the 2006 version put you off – it’s still a fantastic product and underwent a refresh with updated seat covers and other fittings only a couple of years ago.

SQ A380 Landing ZRH (Peter Gronemann).jpg
Regular Singapore Airlines A380s will be touching down in Tokyo from late April, on a year-round basis. (Photo: Peter Gronemann)

This will be your first opportunity to fly Suites (of any kind) to Tokyo since October 2016, when the SQ11/12 service, which continues to Los Angeles, down-gauged to the 777.

Customers will also benefit from a year-round second daily option to and from Narita with a Premium Economy cabin, currently lacking on the 787-10 flight.

We can’t provide a cast iron guarantee that your flight will feature the new cabin products from August (in fact that’s never possible due to the chance of an aircraft substitution right up to the date of travel), but all the signs point towards it, so a redemption on this route should be a safe bet now.

Are you planning to redeem a flight on this route from August to try and get the new A380 cabin products? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

21 comments

  1. Hi Andrew, thanks for the tip off. This is wonderful news. I’m just wondering if you have any idea on whether the A380s servicing SIN-JFK via Frankfurt will be getting the retrofit to the 2017 cabin products soon? I understand those A380s are version 1 and are due for retrofitting also.

    1. Yes the A380v1 is currently flying the SIN-FRA-JFK SQ25/26 flights. There are no plans we have seen for this to change anytime soon.

      That route requires three A380s to support it, and as SIA will want the product to be consistent every day on the same flight number, it’s likely to be one of the later routes to get swapped to the new products in my opinion.

  2. Well, considering that Tokyo is a popular destination, I think it’s only right to include at least a Suites or First Class cabin, though the SQ 632 / SQ 633 cabin is currently operated by an Airbus A350-900 (Std. Config.) without a First Class cabin. Now that Sydney, London (Heathrow), Hong Kong, Shanghai (Pudong) and Zurich have the 2017 cabin products, with Tokyo (Narita) to follow, it would be a nice upgrade. I wonder when the other destinations (i.e. Beijing-Capital, Frankfurt, Melbourne, New York-JFK) will receive the products? Hopefully it won’t be too long.

  3. BIG thanks for this, Andrew! 👏🏻👏🏻

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think I’ve managed to snag one R Saver (technically speaking, “O”) NRT>SIN in Jan by changing from an F booking HND>SIN.. To me, even if it’s 50:50, I’m okay with that.. with a consolation prize that now I don’t have to wake up as early cos now I Dep NRT @11:05 vs HND @08:50..

    Seat Map wise, it’s the 12 Suite cabin.. but when I looked to ‘buy’ before the booking change, availability was 6, and after I made my change it became 5, tho on map there’s were 9 avail..

    Fingers crossed.. 🤞🏻🤞🏻

  4. I have Suite tickets redeemed for end Mar 2020 – fingers crossed! 🙂 But it was still showing the 12 seat map when I booked. Will SQ send me a message if and when the aircraft type is changed?

  5. Good information
    And the A380 to NRT from August will use the refit A380 probably 9V SKT and /or 9V SKS ?And perhaps LHR will get both A380 with new 2017 R and 2017 J as i DO hope its the case as i will BE flying back from LHR with the evening flight A380

  6. my friend and i were able to get 2 F saver seats on SQ638 for end Feb 2020. seat map still shows V1. hoping to get on 2017 suites

  7. Hi! Considering today’s announcement of the Mumbai/Delhi flight, do you think Tokyo will still get the new product? Booked on a 6th August flight 🙁

    1. My thoughts exactly. Not forgetting, SYD will be getting its second refurbished A388 this month. What’s the odds for NRT in August? Probably low.

      1. Yea anyone helping to confirm this would be helpful..wouldn’t want to keep my expectations too high

  8. Hi thanx for the info but expertflyer shows 4seats sold on 16Aug19 for sq638 but when i search for 3suite class tickets on the same date in singapore airlines website they are still available. Maybe that is bad news?

  9. Thinking about booking this when coming back to Singapore from Sapporo. How is the F lounge at Narita? It would cost 70k all in to fly ANA to Tokyo then SQ onwards to Singapore, but they only give us a 1.5 hour turnaround time. I like to spend a long time in lounges when I’m flying in F to make the most of it, so thinking about just paying 70k for NRT – SIN and then booking CTS – NRT separately the night before. Thoughts?

    1. Yes it is disappointing for a lot of our readers! Unfortunately we don’t know the reason. Maybe they needed the extra capacity on Mumbai.

      1. i agree with Andrew its probably for the passenger loads (maybe not the elite premier passengers) that SQ is catering for Mumbai
        On the other hand Narita Tokyo passengers can fill all classes from Suites to Business to PEY and EY thus the “older” A380 best fit for this

  10. Just got an email telling my seat has been changed. Upon logging in, the seating for SIN-NRT has been updated to 6 suite config. It was still the 12 suite config a week ago. Anyone else confirm?

    1. Just got the same for my flight next February. I swiftly booked the double bed seats for me and my fiance! Let’s hope it’s legit

      1. My flight is in Mar 2020. Sq customer service at ion said it’s been changed to the 6 seat config 🤭

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