In just under 12 hours from now, probably the most popular of SIA’s ‘Discover Your Singapore Airlines’ experiences is set to go on sale. This one will get you up, close and personal with the latest cabins inside one the airline’s brand new Airbus A380 ‘Version 3’ aircraft for an onboard meal a couple of weekends from now.
There will be at least one dining experience available for sale on each of the following dates:
- Saturday 24th October 2020
- Sunday 25th October 2020
Here’s what else we know about the events, and perhaps more importantly for some, what we don’t yet know.
It’s cheap in some cabins, but expensive in others
Rather like airline tickets themselves, you’ll pay a steep premium to dine in the latest Singapore Airlines Suites or Business Class cabins compared to Economy Class.
Tickets are priced at just S$53.50 ‘down the back’ in Economy and S$96.30 in the airline’s slightly more spacious Premium Economy cabin, but take a trip upstairs and you’ll find Business Class priced at S$321 and Suites at S$642 per head.
Here’s how the pricing will look, including GST. Note that KrisShop displays the price (and alternative KrisFlyer miles requirement) excluding GST until you reach the payment stage.
Paying with KrisFlyer miles is awful value
With KrisShop being chosen as the sales platform for the ‘Discover Your Singapore Airlines’ experiences, KrisFlyer miles redemption is unfortunately a terrible deal, a function of the store’s fixed redemption rate of 0.8 cents per mile.
That means unless you have more KrisFlyer miles than you know what to do with, you’ll almost certainly want to be paying in cash for this experience, even in the premium cabins.
There’s almost no way it’s worth parting with 80,250 KrisFlyer miles, for example, instead of paying S$642 for the Suites experience. That’s enough miles for a 7-hour First Class or Suites Class flight from Singapore to Japan as a saver award (with 10,000 miles to spare), or for two people to fly from Singapore to Shanghai or Beijing in Business Class.
Note that you can choose to pay none, part, or all of the GST-inclusive cost of any KrisShop purchase with KrisFlyer miles, but the dreadful 0.8 cents per mile rate is fixed even if you only use a small number of miles.
For example, a dining experience in Economy Class will set you back 6,687 KrisFlyer miles if you don’t want to part with any cash.
Some credit cards will earn you extra miles
You’ll earn 1.5 mpd on net spend at KrisShop.com, transferred into your KrisFlyer account “up to 30 business days” after the transaction, but better still there are a range of credit cards offering bonus miles rates for transactions that are either online purchases or fall under MCC 5309: Duty Free Stores (KrisShop counts as both).
Here’s an example of cards we know will give you between 2 mpd and 6 mpd for KrisShop transactions, the equivalent of earning up to 7.5 mpd in total for the Restaurant A380 @Changi experience (since the KrisShop isn’t paying 1.5 mpd on the GST component, it will never quite hit 7.5 mpd overall).
|UOB PRVI Miles Amex||6.0*||S$500*|
|KrisFlyer UOB||3.0||No cap|
|Amex KF Blue||2.0||No cap|
|Amex KF Ascend||2.0||No cap|
* Subject to successful registration for this 6 mpd offer.
For example if you haven’t used your HSBC Revolution card (see our review) in October and therefore still have your monthly S$1,000 cap available, you can use it to purchase the Business Class A380 restaurant experience for two of you at S$321 each (S$642 total) and earn miles as follows:
- S$600 (net) x 1.5 mpd = 900 KrisFlyer miles from KrisShop
- S$642 x 4 mpd = 2,568 miles from HSBC
- 3,468 miles total
That’s the equivalent of 5.4 mpd for the transaction, and given that we value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each (when redeemed sensibly, i.e. not at KrisShop!), you’re getting about S$65 ‘value-back’ from this transaction (around 10%).
It’s also around 1,800 miles more than you’ll earn using a more mundane 1.2 mpd card for general local spend, like the Citi PremierMiles.
Tickets go on sale at midnight sharp
Singapore Airlines announced that sales for the “Restaurant A380 @Changi” experience will go on sale on 12th October 2020, however with strong interest in the event it’s important for you to know exactly when that will happen.
The airline confirmed to Mainly Miles that it will be opened for bookings at midnight.
|Ticket Sales Start:
12th October 2020
That means being online at midnight tonight to be in with the best chance of securing the tickets of your choice for this experience.
You should find the Restaurant A380 @Changi tickets appearing first at the following page on the KrisShop site:
A lucky few will get an aircraft tour
Once you’ve successfully booked you dining experience, you’ll be able to indicate your interest in a behind-the-scenes tour of the Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, running on each day of the event between 9am and 11am, prior to your lunch on board.
This will include a look at normally off-limits areas of the world’s largest passenger aircraft, including the cockpit.
It’s not just about dining
Guests will also be treated to a showcase of SIA’s cabin crew uniforms through the years during the event, plus KrisShop discounts and a limited edition goodie bag to take home.
If you’re brave enough to turn up for your A380 dining experience in traditional heritage wear, such as a sarong kebaya, cheongsam, saree, batik shirt or even a kilt, you’ll receive a special gift from the airline!
You can watch a movie while you eat
We don’t know exactly how long the A380 dining experience is set to last, but Singapore Airlines is promising a choice of over 1,000 entertainment options including movies, TV shows, and music on demand, though the latest KrisWorld in flight entertainment system installed on board these aircraft.
To us that would suggest a leisurely 3-hour lunch, to allow sufficient time for this.
You can see what’s screening on the day at this KrisWorld page, with movies including 1917, Sonic the Hedgehog and The Invisible Man currently lined up on the airline’s October playlist.
What we don’t know
There remain many questions about these events, the answers to which haven’t yet been forthcoming but which will no doubt all be made clear once people have their hands on the ‘golden tickets’.
Will there be more than one ‘sitting’?
There have been rumours that Singapore Airlines will operate perhaps two ‘sittings’ per day to maximise the number of customers able to take part in the experience.
That’s unconfirmed for now but it would make some sense to maximise utilisation of the aircraft while it is ‘powered up’ and prepared for the event, though a deep cleaning of perhaps an hour or two would be required in between the two groups, which would potentially push the second timing into more of a dinner than a lunch.
Be prepared when you come to book at midnight to choose from perhaps up to two timings per day across the two dates, in case this does happen.
How many tickets will each member be able to buy?
We don’t know at this stage what the purchase limit for these event tickets will be per KrisFlyer account, however we assume at least a couple will be able to buy (limit of 2 pax), otherwise one person may be successful while the other is too late.
It’s also not clear whether you will have to commit the name of each ‘passenger’ at the booking stage, and whether this will be amendable later, to avoid people buying tickets speculatively for potential resale.
Will seat selection be available?
Many people have asked us how seat selection will work, whether families can sit together, whether couples in Business Class can secure the ‘middle pair’ (as photographed), whether couples in the ‘double Suites’ can have the divider down, etc…
We actually have no idea at this stage how the seating allocation for the event will work.
SIA could give you a booking reference and load the flight into the reservation system, allowing you to choose from the seat map on a first come, first served basis just as though you would when taking a normal flight.
We expect however that they will ask for your seating preferences depending on your cabin class and group size, then allocate seats accordingly, though that’s an unenviable job for someone to process behind-the-scenes!
What menus will be available?
Apart from confirming that menus for those with special dietary requirements will be available, we’re not sure what the onboard selections will be or whether meal orders will be taken for each person prior to the event, to minimise waste.
Here’s what Singapore Airlines has said about the meals themselves:
“Enjoy this exclusive dining experience, featuring international cuisines and the best dishes from our Peranakan menu, specially designed for Restaurant A380 @Changi by acclaimed Singaporean chef Shermay Lee. Pair your meal with two complimentary alcoholic drinks and a free flow of other beverages.”Singapore Airlines
We’re hoping to see perennial favourites in Suites like Boston Lobster Thermidor and the airline’s excellent Nasi Lemak and Beef Rendang in Business Class.
One thing’s for sure – printed menus are now a thing of the past, so perhaps the digital / QR code solution and online menu function will be used instead.
Further details on this will hopefully become clearer once you’ve booked.
Will Champagne be available?
It’s not clear whether SIA’s staple Champagnes will be offered, including vintage Krug and Dom Perignon in Suites and Laurent-Perrier in Business Class.
It’s also not yet known whether the ‘two complimentary alcoholic drinks’ limit will be imposed in the Suites and Business Class cabins, or whether additional alcoholic drinks will be available for purchase on board.
Which terminal will the lunch ‘depart’ from?
At this stage there’s no confirmation on whether the ‘lunch to nowhere’ will depart from SIA’s usual Terminal 3, where all current regular departures are housed, or perhaps at gate F60 adjacent to the CIP Terminal, with passengers processed through that facility.
It’s also not impossible for the airline to move the aircraft to the (landside) Airshow site at the Changi Exhibition Centre and hold the events there, though that would require taking a personal vehicle, taxi or Grab to the event and removes any public transport options.
How many tickets will be sold for each session?
Singapore Airlines has confirmed that social distancing will be applied on board, with mandatory mask-wearing while not eating or drinking.
In the Economy and Premium Economy cabins that will almost certainly mean keeping alternate seats (perhaps 3-4 per row) vacant to ensure 1-metre spacing between those who don’t normally live together, however in Suites and Business Class we don’t expect it to restrict the cabin capacities of 6 and 78 seats respectively all that significantly.
Again seat selection comes up as a question – can a couple who live together anyway occupy the A and B seats in an Economy Class row if the airline intends to ‘block’ the middle seats during the event?
Will passports be necessary?
This is not currently confirmed but will certainly be communicated by SIA before the event. If your Singapore passport has expired, a one-week lead time with ICA for renewal should be more than sufficient for you to complete this process.
If you were hoping to save some money and renew later once leisure travel returns to maximise the validity of your next passport, you may have to factor in the cost of this in order to participate in the ‘lunch to nowhere’.
Many knowns and many unknowns for the upcoming Restaurant A380 @Changi experience a couple of weeks from now, however the two most important things you need to know if you’re interested are probably:
- It will be very popular, with premium cabins potentially selling out in minutes, in our opinion
- Tickets go on sale at midnight tonight promptly via the KrisShop at this link.
Being logged into your KrisShop account in advance will save you some time, and having your credit card on hand (or better still saved in your browser) will also help.
Once again, if you’re interested in this unique experience, we believe tickets will sell out fast, potentially in minutes, so make sure to be online with your credit card at the ready at the stroke of midnight tonight. Good luck!
(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)