Just before 10.30pm yesterday evening SQ248, a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-200 flying from Wellington, landed at the carrier’s Changi hub from its intermediate stop in Melbourne.
This regular touchdown may seem benign, but it marks an important transformation for the airline on Australia and New Zealand routes.
From today, all 150 weekly Singapore Airlines flights to and from Australia and New Zealand feature fully flat-bed seats in Business Class, for the first time.
The last route to switch
As you may recall from our article in August this year, it’s the Wellington via Melbourne route which was the last in the region to hang on to the old 2009 Regional Business seats, with the final service operated yesterday by the 15-year old 9V-SQN.
Like its three sister aircraft, it will soon be leaving the fleet as deliveries of brand new Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s continue to replace these older planes.
With the Wellington flight now operated by the Airbus A350 with long-haul 2013 J seats, it marks the beginning of all-flat-bed operation in Business Class for Singapore Airlines on Australia and New Zealand flights.
SIA is now flying all four of its flat-bed seats in Business Class on Australia and New Zealand routes.
2018 Regional Business Class
Firstly let’s look at the 2018 Regional Business Class, fitted to Airbus A350 Regional variants and all Boeing 787-10s.
This seat is being widely rolled out across the SIA network to replace the older 2009 Regional Business Class, adding the most popular features – direct aisle access and flat-beds. If you haven’t flown it yet – check out our full review of the product on the Boeing 787-10.
As you can see you’ll find these seats on three routes, all four daily Perth services (flown by a mix of 787s and A350Rs), the single daily Adelaide flight (A350R) and three out of four daily Brisbane flights (A350R).
|2018 RJ Seats|
Adelaide picks up an additional four times weekly flight in peak season, also operated by the A350R with 2018 RJ seats in Business Class.
2006 Business Class
The oldest, but by far the widest Business Class seat offered on Singapore Airlines flights is the older 2006 version, fast coming up for replacement but still flying on selected Australia / New Zealand flights.
These are on board the older Airbus A380 Version 1 and Version 2 aircraft, which are being progressively refitted into the Version 3 configuration with the latest Suites and Business Class.
These older A380s are used on one of two daily flights to and from Auckland, one of five Sydney flights and one of either four or five daily Melbourne flights.
|2006 J Seats|
Note that Melbourne only keeps the A380 with 2006 J seats until the end of January 2020, after which the SQ217/218 flight reverts to the 2013 Business Class.
2013 Business Class
By far the most extensively deployed Business Class seat on Singapore Airlines flights to and from Australia and New Zealand is the 2013 version, installed on all Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A350 long-haul aircraft.
These are most prolific on the Melbourne and Sydney routes, making up the backbone of operation, but they also make an appearance in other key markets.
The four times weekly Wellington via Melbourne route increases to five days per week from January 2020, lifting Singapore – Melbourne to 26 times weekly with these seats.
|2013 J Seats|
Click here to read our review of the 2013 J seat on the Airbus A350.
2017 Business Class
The latest (and in our opinion greatest) Singapore Airlines Business Class seat is only found on its Airbus A380 Version 3 aircraft. At the time of writing seven of these are in service, with one more to follow by the end of 2019.
Our first experience of this excellent seat (2017 J) was in fact on its only Australian route – Singapore to Sydney on SQ221 just a few days after it entered service. You can read our full review of that flight here.
This flight is also your only opportunity to experience the airline’s new Suites cabin to or from Australia.
|2017 J Seats|
Darwin and Cairns remain
Do note that SilkAir’s Australia flights to both Darwin and Cairns are operated by Boeing 737-800 aircraft with recliner Business Class seats.
It’s proposed that SilkAir aircraft transferring to Singapore Airlines over the coming years will have flat-bed Business Class seats installed, so by the time those two routes shift across to SIA in theory it won’t spoil the “all-flat-bed” accolade to and from this region.
With the ongoing issues surrounding recertification of the Boeing 737 MAX, however, it’s unclear if this proposal is going to proceed as planned.
With the last 2009 Regional Business Class seat finally departing Melbourne yesterday evening, it’s great to finally be able to pick any Singapore Airlines flight to or from Australia and New Zealand without the fear of an angled bed or having to climb over your neighbour to reach the aisle.
It’s still worth choosing between some of the other products on routes with more than one seat type offered, like Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, based on your personal preference.
(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)