In a new schedule update Singapore Airlines has swapped out Airbus A380 Version 3 operation on its SQ856/SQ861 Hong Kong services in favour of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on three out of seven weekly flights during February 2020.
The news means fewer options to secure the latest Suites and Business Class seats at the lowest KrisFlyer miles rates of 40,500 mile and 30,500 miles respectively, with slightly older (but still long-haul, flat-bed) products taking over on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for a month.
Three weekly Singapore – Seoul flights will also lose their long-haul seats over the same period, as a Boeing 787-10 takes over from the current Boeing 777-300ER on the SQ612/SQ611 rotation three days per week.
Here’s the revised Hong Kong flight schedule for the affected period, which runs from 4th February 2020 to 27th February 2020 inclusive.
Singapore – Hong Kong (4th February 2020 to 27th February 2020)
|Flight||From / To||Aircraft||Days|
|SQ890||SIN0735 – HKG1120||773||Daily|
|SQ860||SIN0825 – HKG1225||359||Daily|
|SQ856||SIN0955 – HKG1355||388||1···567|
|SQ866||SIN1305 – HKG1705||77W||Daily|
|SQ872||SIN1445 – HKG1840||787||1···567|
|SQ2||SIN1830 – HKG2215||77W||Daily|
|SQ868||SIN1955 – HKG2340||333||Daily|
Hong Kong – Singapore (4th February 2020 to 27th February 2020)
|Flight||From / To||Aircraft||Days|
|SQ1||HKG0800 – SIN1200||77W||Daily|
|SQ857||HKG0905 – SIN1305||333||Daily|
|SQ891||HKG1230 – SIN1630||773||Daily|
|SQ863||HKG1410 – SIN1810||359||Daily|
|SQ861||HKG1545 – SIN1945||388||1···567|
|SQ865||HKG1850 – SIN2250||77W||Daily|
|SQ871||HKG1955 – SIN2355||787||1···567|
As you can see on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in February 2020 there will be no Suites option to or from Hong Kong, with the latest 2017 products on the Airbus A380 Version 3 replaced by the 2013 First Class and 2013 Business Class seats on the Boeing 777-300ER as SQ856/SQ861.
That’s not a complete disaster in Business Class, the 2013 seat is still an excellent product for a relatively short flight, but if it’s the newest Suites you were expecting then the 2013 First Class seat, while still excellent, doesn’t quite sit in the same league.
What’s the reason?
Demand to and from Hong Kong is certainly struggling recently, with Cathay Pacific only today announcing that its inbound traffic to Hong Kong in September 2019 was down 38% compared to September 2018, with outbound traffic down by 9%.
Singapore Airlines has already cut capacity to the city from this month, replacing a Boeing 787-10 flight with an Airbus A330. Some days of the week also now only see six services per day instead of the usual seven.
This temporary A380 change though doesn’t appear to be demand or capacity related, but rather seems designed to give the A380 Version 3 fleet some downtime, probably for maintenance planning. That could be down to 9V-SKT, the latest aircraft to be refitted to the Version 3 layout with new cabin products, picking up further delays.
Using a 4-class Boeing 777-300ER instead of the A380 on these dates protects those booked in First Class (Suites) and Premium Economy, so is an obvious choice for the airline.
Seoul is also impacted
The changes on the Hong Kong route will also affect Seoul flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in February 2020.
The daily SQ612/SQ611 flights on this city pair are usually flown with a Boeing 777-300ER, providing not just the only First Class cabin on the route but also the only long-haul Business Class seat.
Since this aircraft will now be used to fly to Hong Kong on affected dates, the SQ612/SQ611 services will instead be flown using the Boeing 787-10, with no First Class product and the 2018 Regional Business Class seats.
The route will therefore have 2018 Regional Business Class on all four daily flights on the affected days, operated by a mixture of the Airbus A350 Regional and Boeing 787-10 aircraft. You can see our full review of the seat here.
As with the Hong Kong route, normal daily aircraft allocation to and from Seoul is restored from 28th February 2020.
For a full breakdown of the airline’s Hong Kong and Seoul schedules until the end of March 2020, check out our regularly updated Business Class Seats by Route page.
We flew the new 2017 Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Suites on this exact route from Singapore to Hong Kong last year in the double suite 1A/2A, also flying on the new Business Class from Singapore to Sydney.
You can check out both of those reviews below.
Later in the year we also flew from Hong Kong to Singapore in the 2013 First Class seats on the Boeing 777-300ER (a continuation of our flight from San Francisco). Here’s a link to that review if you haven’t seen it.
If you are booked on one of the affected flights in February 2020, make sure you are happy with the new arrangements. Depending on your ticket type you might be able to change flights, switch dates or cancel completely.
In our experience Singapore Airlines will usually provide some form of alternative or compensation if you were originally booked in the latest Suites cabin and now find yourself in an inferior First Class seat.
Obviously if you are booked in First Class on an affected date to or from Seoul the airline will contact you to propose an alternative.
On either route if you’re booking in Business Class there’s unlikely to be any recourse, since the replacement products are still to a similar standard and are also flat-beds.
Don’t forget you can track exactly where Singapore Airlines’ latest A380 Suites and Business Class seats are flying through our dedicated updated tracker page.
(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)