KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines

Flat-bed Business Class to Osaka on all SIA flights from January 2020

Osaka gets 2018 Regional Business Class on all three daily SIA flights from early January 2020, with the last angled bed seats disappearing from all of the carrier's Japan flights in March next year

SQ 787-10 Regional Biz (MM)

Only a few days ago we reported that Singapore Airlines had shifted to all-flat-bed Business Class operation on flights to and from Australia and New Zealand. Well hot on the heels of that welcome development, another relatively distant route is soon set to enjoy the same promotion to flat-bed status.

From 1st January 2020 the airline will be swapping out an older Airbus A330 with a new Airbus A350 Regional on its third daily Osaka flight.

That gives rise to some rare short-term Star Alliance partner redemption opportunities into the new 2018 Regional Business Class cabin on a long-haul route.

The schedule

We first reported on Osaka getting a third daily Singapore Airlines flight back in February this year, with the extra service starting in late April.

The bad news was that an Airbus A330 was to fly the additional flight, meaning angled beds and many seats without direct aisle access in the Business Class cabin.

2009 RJ 2 (Matt@PEK).jpg
One of the three SIA Singapore – Osaka flights each day uses an Airbus A330, with older Business Class seats. (Photo: Matt@PEK via Flickr)

Here’s how the current schedule looks, with all flights operating daily on this route.

Current schedule (until 31st December 2019)
Flight From / To Aircraft Seats
SQ618 SIN0130 – KIX0845 787 2018 RJ
SQ620 SIN0825 – KIX1540 333 2009 RJ
SQ622** SIN1405 – KIX2120 787** 2018 RJ
SQ619 KIX1100 – SIN1700 787 2018 RJ
SQ621 KIX1655 – SIN2305 333 2009 RJ
SQ623** KIX2330 – SIN0530* 787** 2018 RJ

* Next day
** SQ622/623 is operated by an Airbus A380 Version 2 from 27 Dec 2019 to 6 Jan 2020 – see our article for details.

With the exception of short-term A380 operation on SQ622/623 for 11 days over the Christmas / New Year period, the Osaka route then shifts to all 2018 Regional Business Class operation.

New schedule (from 1st January 2020)
Flight From / To Aircraft Seats
SQ618 SIN0130 – KIX0845 787 2018 RJ
SQ620 SIN0825 – KIX1540 359 R 2018 RJ
SQ622** SIN1405 – KIX2120 787** 2018 RJ
SQ619 KIX1100 – SIN1700 787 2018 RJ
SQ621 KIX1655 – SIN2305 359 R 2018 RJ
SQ623** KIX2330 – SIN0530* 787** 2018 RJ

* Next day
** SQ622/623 is operated by an Airbus A380 Version 2 from 27 Dec 2019 to 6 Jan 2020 – see our article for details.

2018 RJ (MM).jpg
Osaka flights will switch exclusively to 2018 Regional Business Class products from early January 2020. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This schedule change suggests that the 11th Airbus A350 Regional due to arrive in the Singapore Airlines fleet, 9V-SHK, should deliver in December 2019 shortly after the last long-haul A350 variant (9V-SJA).

Older 2009 seats on Japan flights until March 2020

As many of our readers will know, Singapore Airlines runs a seasonal service to and from Sapporo each winter. This year it’s operating from 30th November 2019 to 6th January 2020 (Singapore departure), using an Airbus A330.

The last Sapporo – Singapore flight departs on the morning of 7th January 2020, which then leaves only one Japan flight each day with the older products.

That’s SQ630/SQ639 to and from Tokyo Haneda, which is operated by a Boeing 777-300 (non-ER) with the 2009 Regional Business Class seats.

SQ 777-200 Regional Biz 2 (Edwin Leong).jpg
You’ll still find these older 2009 Business Class seats on SQ630/639 to and from Tokyo Haneda, but not for much longer. (Photo: Edwin Leong)

The good news is that from 27th March 2020 that flight is scheduled to change to a Boeing 777-300ER with long-haul 2013 Business Class seats, which will finally see all of SIA’s Japan services operated by aircraft with flat-bed Business Class seats from the start of the summer 2020 schedule.

SilkAir continues to operate to and from Hiroshima using Boeing 737-800s with recliner Business Class seats.

KrisFlyer redemption

These are the KrisFlyer redemption rates you’ll pay flying SIA between Singapore and Osaka, which are also valid for all Singapore Airlines flights between Singapore and Japan.

KF Logo trans

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

If you already hold a confirmed ticket in Economy Class, these are the rates to upgrade to Business Class on the Osaka route.

Upgrade using KrisFlyer miles
Singapore ⇄ Osaka
Upgrading to Seat 11A.jpg
Business
Existing booking
Economy Standard
(Class: M, H, W)
41,000
Economy Flexi
(Class: Y, B, E)
31,000

Quite close to the full saver redemption rate as usual, so this is probably only of interest if your company has paid for your Economy ticket from the outset.

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, plus Alaska Mileage Plan and Lufthansa Miles & More members. 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 the SQ620/621 flights, even though the new product is flying from 1st January 2020.

UA J Saver KIX A359R.jpg
United MileagePlus is charging 45,000 miles for this route in Business Class

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

Star Alliance redemption rates Singapore ⇄ Osaka
Economy Business First
MBtrans.png 12,500 21,000 n/a
TKtrans.png 15,000 30,000 n/a
MMtrans.png 20,000 35,000 65,000
LMtrans.png 20,000 36,000 n/a
EVtrans.png 25,000 40,000 n/a
UAtrans.png 20,000 45,000 n/a
AStrans.png 22,500 60,000 75,000

Aegean miles are offering by far the best rate on this route at 21,000 each way, though they are hard to come by for most of our readers unless you secured them in one of their occasional promotional sales. It’s also a steal in Economy Class with Aegean – at 12,500 miles that’s half the rate charged under KrisFlyer.

For the more widely held currencies, Turkish Miles&Smiles is a good option at 30,000 in Business Class, as is Lifemiles at 36,000 miles.

LM J Saver KIX A359R.jpg
Lifemiles is good value in Business Class on this route, with an A350 flight selected here

If you are interested in locking in a redemption with miles from a Star Alliance or partner programme, we’d recommend doing this sooner rather than later as eventually these newer seats are likely to be blocked to all except KrisFlyer, Lufthansa Miles & More and Alaska Mileage Plan members.

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 good to see yet another relatively distant city pair served exclusively by flat-bed Singapore Airlines seats in Business Class.

In fact from the end of March 2020, all Business Class seats offered by the airline to and from Japan will be flat-bed versions, with the final replacement of the last angled bed products on the Tokyo Haneda route at the start of the summer 2020 season.

Don’t forget that from 1st January 2020 another Japan route gets an exciting equipment swap – with the SQ637/638 Tokyo Narita service receiving the new Airbus A380 Version 3 with the latest 2017 Suites and Business Class products.

View into 1A.jpg
Tokyo gets the new Suites cabin from 1st January 2020. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If you’re looking to jump on a rare 2018 Regional Business Class award seat to or from Osaka using miles from a Star Alliance or partner programme, there is the usual (and likely short-term) opportunity to do this from January 2020.

You’ll have to act soon in that case, as most partner availability in Business Class will be removed on SQ620/621 in due course.

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

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