In May this year we were reporting on Copenhagen being the seventh Singapore Airlines Europe route to lose its First Class cabin in recent years, as the airline rapidly replaced Boeing 777-300ER flights to and from the region with the newer and more fuel efficient Airbus A350-900s.
It left Frankfurt, London, Paris and Zurich as the only four European cities with a Singapore Airlines First Class (or Suites) option, a far cry from the days when you could also enjoy the airline’s flagship cabin to the likes of Manchester, Milan, Moscow and Munich.
However in a new update to the northern winter 2020/21 schedule, the airline has added (or should we say reinstated) Boeing 777-300ER service on the daily Amsterdam route from 25th October 2020. This provides four First Class seats in each direction on the city pair, with operation on a daily basis.
Award space, for those interested, is already looking good with two saver seats in the First Class cabin released on every flight from introduction of the 777-300ER on the route to the end of the bookable schedule in mid-December 2020.
Back in May 2016, Amsterdam became the inaugural long-haul destination for Singapore Airlines’ brand new Airbus A350-900, replacing a daily Boeing 777-300ER service. That meant the withdrawal of First Class from the route.
Here’s how the schedule looks today, with the A350 operating (summer timings shown):
Current schedule (until 24th October 2020)
|Flight||From / To||Aircraft||Days|
|SQ324||SIN2355 – AMS0715*||359||Daily|
|SQ323||AMS1115 – SIN0555*||359||Daily|
* Next day. SQ323 until 25th October 2020
From the start of the northern winter 2020/21 schedule there are the usual minor timing adjustments, but more importantly the Boeing 777-300ER is back on the route.
New schedule (from 25th October 2020)
|Flight||From / To||Aircraft||Days|
|SQ324||SIN2355 – AMS0645*||77W||Daily|
|SQ323||AMS1025 – SIN0555*||77W||Daily|
* Next day. SQ323 from 26th October 2020
Singapore Airlines will join Emirates and Korean Air as one of only three carriers operating a First Class cabin to and from Amsterdam.
First Class seats
Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ERs are fitted with a single row in the First Class cabin, featuring just four of the 2013 First Class seats.
That makes it the smallest and most intimate cabin offered by the airline, with extra-wide seats in a semi-enclosed suite style, which convert into the largest flat bed of any seat in the fleet.
You can also read our full review of the 2013 First Class seat on a flight from San Francisco to Singapore via Hong Kong in mid-2018.
In our opinion eclipsed only by the airline’s Suites products, it stands up strongly against international competition in this cabin class.
As well as four additional First Class seats, the Boeing 777-300ER also features six more of the 2013 Business Class seats compared with the A350 currently flying to and from Amsterdam (for a total capacity of 48 in this cabin).
These are slightly wider at the seat side than those offered on the A350, as are the four additional Premium Economy seats which each boast 19.5″ seat width on the Boeing, half an inch more than their A350 counterparts.
In Economy Class there are three fewer seats in total on the 777, for an overall capacity increase across all cabins of 11 seats per flight on this route.
First Class passengers get unlimited Wi-Fi on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with the newer systems, which is mostly faster than that found on the A350s (especially the brand new GX system being retrofitted to the older 777s).
Only 6 of the 27 aircraft still have the older slower SBB system, with all 777-300ERs planned to be refitted by the end of 2020. That means you’re almost certain to benefit from this on the Amsterdam route when it switches back to the type from October 2020.
See our Singapore Airlines Wi-Fi guide for more details.
Here are the one-way redemption rates you’ll pay by cabin class on the Amsterdam route, in either direction, using the KrisFlyer program for a full flight redemption.
|KrisFlyer Redemption Singapore ⇄ Amsterdam|
|First / Suites||125,000||220,000|
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
Singapore ⇄ Amsterdam
|Upgrading to →||
|Existing booking ↓|
(Class: M, H, W)
(Class: Y, B, E)
|Premium Economy Standard
|Premium Economy Flexi
(Class: S, T)
|Business Standard / Flexi
(Class: Z, C, J, U)
These may prove useful if your company is paying for your ticket and you wish to use your personal KrisFlyer miles to upgrade.
With First Class back on the Amsterdam route, it’s good news for award availability. From the start of Boeing 777-300ER operation on 25th October 2020 (26th October 2020 for SQ323 AMS-SIN) there are two saver award seats in First Class on every single bookable day through to 355 days from now, on 16th December 2020.
That’s a total of over 180 saver First Class awards to and from Amsterdam next winter, with new availability being loaded each day at 8am Singapore Time. That may be of interest to those of you looking to spend Christmas in Europe next year, with those dates progressively opening up in the near future.
The 355 days before departure mark is often a good opportunity to pick up multiple award seats on the same flight.
These redemptions don’t come cheap at 125,000 KrisFlyer miles per person, but for nearly 14 hours in the First Class cabin, with the benefit of The Private Room in Singapore either before your flight to Amsterdam or after landing on your return flight, this isn’t a bad value way to travel to or from Europe in one of the airline’s flagship products.
You can also redeem 111,000 Lufthansa Miles&More miles for a one-way redemption on this route, or a whopping 160,000 Alaska Miles, but this cabin class is not available to other Star Alliance frequent flyer programmes.
As the home of SkyTeam-affiliated KLM, Amsterdam is not a major Star Alliance hub, though there are some alliance connections to and from SIA’s Singapore flights such as:
- Lufthansa to Frankfurt and Munich
- Swiss to Zurich
- Austrian to Vienna
- Scandinavian to Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki
For those flying all the way to the North America, the Amsterdam flight also connects with long-haul Star Alliance options like:
- Air Canada to Toronto
- United to New York, Washington and Chicago
Nonetheless Schiphol is a key European gateway, with multiple connections not only with KLM but also with potentially more cost efficient alternative carriers like easyJet, who fly to over 30 European cities from Amsterdam.
That means you can combine your KrisFlyer redemption with an onward ticket almost anywhere in Europe with relative ease.
For those travelling from Amsterdam back to Singapore the only downside is the early departure time. With a 10.25am takeoff, only the shortest and very earliest departures from elsewhere in Europe connect with SQ323, and we would not risk a same-day unprotected connection for that reason.
That may mean spending at least one night in Amsterdam at the end of your trip to ensure a risk-free journey back to Singapore.
Taxes are low
Taxes when departing Europe to Singapore can be a significant factor, as they are also payable when you redeem using KrisFlyer miles.
This most significantly applies from the UK, where aviation taxation is the highest in the world thanks to APD, and to a lesser extent from France and Germany.
Only the Netherlands Security Service Charge of EUR12.61 (currently converting to S$19.00 at IATA Consolidated Exchange Rates on 27th December 2019) and the Netherlands Passenger Service Charge of EUR15.26 (currently converting to S$23.00 on the same basis) are payable on your award ticket from Amsterdam to Singapore.
That makes it the 5th cheapest redemption option from Europe to Singapore when flying Singapore Airlines using KrisFlyer miles. Here’s how it looks against the other routes, with no surprises where you need to avoid redeeming from.
|AMS – SIN||$42.00|
|ARN – SIN
|ARN – SIN
|BCN – SIN||$32.60||N/A|
|BRU – SIN||$46.40||N/A|
|CDG – SIN||$80.40||$141.60|
|CPH – SIN||$33.30||N/A|
|DME – SIN||$25.00||N/A|
|DUS – SIN||$125.40||N/A|
|FCO – SIN||$63.00||N/A|
|FRA – SIN||$155.30|
|LHR – SIN||$232.60||$406.20|
|MAN – SIN||$172.70||$346.30||N/A|
|MUC – SIN||$136.20||N/A|
|MXP – SIN||$40.90||N/A|
|ZRH – SIN||$48.30|
Correct at 27th December 2019. Variation due to exchange rates will occur.
You’ll notice that flying in First Class from Europe to Singapore, Amsterdam comes out on top with Zurich, Paris, Frankfurt and especially the London option charging higher rates.
A welcome and relatively rare addition of First Class on a Europe route bucks the trend for Singapore Airlines, with Airbus A350s quickly replacing Boeing 777-300ERs on a swathe of routes over the last few years, including Amsterdam itself in 2016.
The “Venice of the North”, so called for its multiple canals, will see a 4-class aircraft returning from the start of the winter 2020/21 season. There’s also a plentiful supply of award space in the newly reintroduced First Class cabin.
Schiphol airport is also very well connected when it comes to European cities. Don’t be put off by the relative lack of Star Alliance options, with airlines like easyJet offering multiple cost effective alternatives including Edinburgh, Venice and Prague.
Amsterdam also boasts the cheapest taxes from Europe to Singapore in SIA First Class, most notably coming in at a fraction of the ridiculously-taxed Heathrow to Singapore route.
Check the award space now using your KrisFlyer miles, ideal for couples especially with the run up to Christmas 2020 being released, as it probably won’t last long.
(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)