KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines

SIA’s Taipei flights go all-787 from October, as Hong Kong capacity is cut

Both daily Singapore Airlines flights to and from Taipei will be flown by Boeing 787s with the new Regional Business Class from October 2019

SQ B78X 2 (Alex Wilson)

Passengers flying on Singapore Airlines to and from Taipei are set to get a product upgrade from 10th October 2019, as the second of two daily flights between Singapore and the Taiwanese capital switches across to Boeing 787-10 operation, meaning both daily flights on the route will feature the airline’s latest regional seats.

The schedule

While the morning flight on the Taipei route has been flown using the Boeing 787-10 since 1st January this year, the afternoon / evening service is still currently flown with an older A330-300.

Current schedule
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ876 SIN0820 – TPE1310 787 Daily
SQ878 SIN1155 – TPE1640 333 Daily
SQ877 TPE1420 – SIN1855 787 Daily
SQ879 TPE1745 – SIN2210 333 Daily

From 10th October 2019 until the end of the published schedule the SQ878/879 service will also use the Boeing 787-10.

From 10th October 2019
Flight From / To Aircraft Days
SQ876 SIN0820 – TPE1310 787 Daily
SQ878 SIN1155 – TPE1640 787 Daily
SQ877 TPE1420 – SIN1855 787 Daily
SQ879 TPE1745 – SIN2210 787 Daily

Note that some minor timing differences take effect for the northern winter season from 27th October 2019, but flight numbers remain the same year-round.

All 2018 Regional Business Class

This type change means a consistent Business Class (and Economy Class) product on both daily Taipei flights, which will be especially welcomed by those wishing to take the evening flight back to Singapore for better trip timings.

2018 RJ-1.jpg
Better privacy, direct aisle access and fully flat beds are the main features of SIA’s latest 2018 RJ seats. (Image: Singapore Airlines)

It makes Taipei the tenth Singapore Airlines destination to be exclusively served with the 2018 Regional Business Class seats, with the full list from 10th October 2019 being:

  • Adelaide
  • Bengaluru
  • Colombo
  • Fukuoka
  • Guangzhou
  • Kolkata
  • Malé
  • Nagoya
  • Perth
  • Taipei

Remember the 2018 RJ seat is still flying on plenty more routes than that (those are just the exclusive ones), check our updated Tracker Page for the latest information if you want to see where else it’s flying.

Taipei Skyline.jpg
Taipei is just one of 10 SIA routes set to be exclusively served by aircraft with the new Regional Business Class from October 2019

Hong Kong loses out

Unlike most recent announcements of new seat types on Singapore Airlines flights, this one comes at relatively short notice and not because a new aircraft is arriving.

In fact the airline is reducing capacity on one of its daily Hong Kong flights (SQ872/871), which reverts from 787-10 operation to the A330-300 on the same date.

In turn while Taipei benefits, it means no more new Regional Business Class seats on the Hong Kong route, apart from a few dates at the end of the year. Overall there will be six fewer Business Class and 46 fewer Economy Class seats each day to and from Hong Kong from 10th October 2019.

It remains a well served city for the airline however, and this reduction in capacity represents less than 3% when all seven daily flights on the route are accounted for.

2009 RJ 2 (Matt@PEK).jpg
It’s back to the 2009 Regional Business Class seats on SQ872/871 to and from Hong Kong from 10th October 2019. (Photo: Matt@PEK)

You can always see which seats are flying across the entire Singapore Airlines network on our continually updated Business Class seats by route page.

KrisFlyer redemption

The Taipei route tends to have good award availability, especially outside peak holiday periods. This aircraft type change will also offer six more seats per day in Business Class and 46 more in Economy Class in each direction, which should help keep award availability strong.

Here’s a reminder of the KrisFlyer redemption rates you’ll pay by cabin on this route.

KF Logo trans

KrisFlyer Redemption Singapore – Taipei
Saver Advantage
Economy 15,000 30,000
Business 30,500 50,000

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

Upgrade using KrisFlyer miles (SIN-TPE)
Upgrading to Seat 11A.jpg
Business
Existing booking
Economy Standard
(Class: M, H, W)
25,000
Economy Flexi
(Class: Y, B, E)
18,500

Unless you have an expensive Flexi fare, the miles rate for upgrade is quite close to the outright Business Class saver redemption cost, so we’d probably recommend the latter on this route.

Other FFPs

Once Singapore Airlines changes aircraft type from one with the 2009 Regional Business Class to their newer Business Class sats, they eventually restrict that cabin for redemption by KrisFlyer members only. The good thing is that, for whatever reason, it takes them some time to do this.

As usual we are seeing good award availability for Star Alliance partners in Business Class on these flights, even though the new product is flying from 10th October 2019.

LM TPE.jpg
Lifemiles is an option on this route, including the 2018 Regional Business Class seats… for now. This search is for late October 2019.

It will cost the following number of miles or points to redeem to Taipei from Singapore (or vice-versa) using miles from another Star Alliance program:

Star Alliance redemption rates Singapore – Taipei
Economy Business
MBtrans.png 12,500 21,000
MMtrans.png 17,500 30,000
LMtrans.png 17,500 36,000
TKtrans.png 20,000 35,000
EVtrans.png 20,000 35,000
UAtrans.png 20,000 45,000

Unless you have Aegean miles, KrisFlyer is offering the best rate in Economy Class on this route, but in Business Class both Aegean and Lufthansa miles come in slightly ahead.

Lifemiles is not a bad option if you’re looking to use them up and retain your KrisFlyer balance, but all the others come in a bit too expensive for our liking.

Remember a Star award seat, available to these partners, can sometimes appear when KrisFlyer has no availability for its own members, as they are different availability ‘buckets’, so some of these may be useful options in this relatively rare case.

If you do find a Star award and wish to use miles from another FFP on Business Class however you’ll have to book it soon before the cabin becomes excluded from partners on this SQ878/879 flight.

Reviews

We have two comprehensive reviews from our firsthand experience of the 2018 Regional Business Class; one of the window seats and a shorter but still detailed look at the ‘couple’ middle pairs, which are available at alternate rows on aircraft with this product installed.

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Those will help you learn what to expect from these new products if you haven’t flown them before.

Summary

It’s been nearly a year since we first revealed that Taipei would get the new Regional Business Class seats, and only 10 months after that started the second of two daily flights on the route gets the same treatment.

This will be a better option for those flying to Taiwan for short breaks, who usually favour the later TPE-SIN service to maximise their trip but currently have to take the older A330 back to Singapore.

Unfortunately unlike most recent switches to the new seats this one comes at the expense of another route, Hong Kong, which sees its daily SQ872/871 service downgrade to the A330 as the airline reduces capacity to the city.

(Cover Photo: Alan Wilson)

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