KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines’ Istanbul flights switch to the A350 from December

The Istanbul route finally gets an A350, with 168 of the 2013 Business Class seats flying the city pair every week from December 2019

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If there’s one flight hot on the radar of Singapore Airlines Business Class fans its the four times weekly 11.5 hour ‘hop’ from Changi to Istanbul. We’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked us when this excellent value redemption will be changing to a newer aircraft with better Business Class seats, and finally we have our answer.

Singapore Airlines has loaded A350s into the schedule on this route later this year, in what looks like a permanent farewell to the existing aircraft.

The schedule

From 1st December 2019 the SQ392/391 flight will ditch the old 777-200ER aircraft with ageing 2006 Business Class seats and be operated by a 3-class A350 in standard configuration, including 2013 Business Class seats.

A Premium Economy cabin will also be offered.

Until 30th November 2019
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ392 SIN0150 – IST0825 772 1·3·5·7
SQ391 IST1425 – SIN0545* 772 1·3·5·7

* Next day

Frequency remains at four times weekly with the A350 taking over from December 2019.

From 1st December 2019 to 3rd April 2020
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ392 SIN0150 – IST0825 359 1·3·5·7
SQ391 IST1425 – SIN0545* 359 1·3·5·7

* Next day

Provisionally the northern summer 2020 schedule still shows a 777-200ER operating this flight from the end of March 2020 onwards, however this will almost inevitably be updated to the 3-class A350 later.

Edit – that was quick! 3-class A350 loaded into northern summer 2020 schedule at 4pm Singapore Time on 2nd July. Additional 5th weekly flight added from 4th April 2020 on Day 6 (Saturday).

From 4th April 2020
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ392 SIN0145 – IST0745 359 1·3·567
SQ391 IST1330 – SIN0500* 359 1·3·567

* Next day

For one thing there will only be a single 777-200ER in the fleet by then under the current plan, and this route cannot be flown by a single aircraft.

2013 Business Class

The most anticipated news here is the introduction of the long-haul 2013 Business Class seats on the route.

With the 777-200ER leaving the fleet, Singapore Airlines didn’t really have much choice here. The A350 Regional and 787-10 do not have a crew rest compartment fitted, which is required for the Istanbul route, and they were hardly going to send a 4-class 777-300ER or A380 to Turkey four times a week.

The A350 Standard (3-class variant) was the only option, and five brand new examples are joining the fleet this year. At least one is needed for the upcoming Seattle route and this marks some of the flying pattern for another example.

If you haven’t tried the 2013 Business Class seat yet, check out our full review across four flights from Singapore – Johannesburg – Cape Town and back last year.

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More seats in Business

It’s not only good news for the seat types, but the numbers look pretty healthy too from December onwards. That’s because the 3-class A350 has 42 Business Class seats installed, 16 more than the 26 on board the 777-200ER.

It means across the four return services on this route an additional 64 Business Class seats will be flying every week. That bodes very well for award availability.

Edit: From April 2020 there will be five weekly services on this route.

For those interested in Premium Economy, 24 of these seats will be added on each day of operation, the first time this cabin class has been offered on the Istanbul route.

Down the back there’s a big hit in Economy, with 58 fewer seats per flight in this cabin class (232 less seats per week).

SQ A350 Pushback (Alan Wilson)
A 3-class A350 with 2013 Business Class seats will fly the route. (Photo: Alan Wilson)

Redemption rates

Speaking of awards, here are the redemption rates you’ll pay by cabin class on this route using the KrisFlyer program.

KFtrans

KrisFlyer Redemption Singapore – Istanbul
Saver Advantage
Economy 25,000 55,000
Premium Economy 37,000 n/a
Business 49,000 90,000

If you already hold or intend to book a firm ticket in an eligible booking class, here’s how many miles it will then cost you to upgrade, assuming saver upgrade award availability in your proposed cabin class.

Upgrade using KrisFlyer miles
Upgrading to 2013 W (Singapore Airlines).jpg
Premium
11A 2
Business
Existing booking
Economy Standard
(Class: M, H, W)
26,500 44,000
Economy Flexi
(Class: Y, B, E)
18,000 37,000
Premium Economy Standard
(Class: P)
34,500
Premium Economy Flexi
(Class: S, T)
27,000

The great thing here is that ‘springboard to Europe’ miles rate. Just 49,000 KrisFlyer miles will get you to Istanbul in Business Class on a saver redemption. From there you can tap into many cost effective flights all over Europe, or redeem an onward Star Alliance Business Class award on Turkish Airlines or Lufthansa.

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Even if you redeem with KrisFlyer all the way to London as two separate bookings (first with SIA, second as a Star Alliance award with Turkish) you’ll save 14,000 miles in Business Class

Another bonus flying Business Class on the way back from Europe is that you’ll be able to experience the brand new Turkish Airlines lounge at Istanbul airport. It looks like quite an experience and we look forward to trying it for ourselves sometime.

Summary

Fantastic to finally see the A350 announced on the Istanbul route from December this year. We have been asked so many times about this without being able to give a date, it’s great to be able to now say exactly when the much anticipated swap will happen.

With 64 more Business Class seats every week on the route, we’d certainly hope to see more saver award availability in this cabin going into 2020. It remains an excellent option at just 49,000 KrisFlyer miles each way, and the 2013 Business Class seat is one of the most widely liked in the fleet.

If you’re flying on this route between December 2019 and March 2020, check the seat map for your booking now, as you should see it updated to reflect the new aircraft type.

For those flying in April 2020 or later, be patient as we expect the GDS to be updated with A350 operation at a later date. It’s almost definitely not going back to the 777-200ER after this switch!

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

3 comments

  1. Thanks for this update yes I check I have A350 on my flight in December! Moved to 2A like your picture 😆
    This is the best news all day 👍

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