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Singapore Airlines cuts First Class and Suites until October 2021

Singapore Airlines has wiped First Class and Suites cabins from sale or redemption until 31st October 2021, nearly a year from now.

With Singapore Airlines continuing to operate its passenger services with Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s for the foreseeable future, an arrangement that’s now been in place since June 2020, there’s been a progressive removal of future First Class and Suites availability on the network, either for revenue sale or award redemption.

In August the inventory for the airline’s two most prestigious cabins was pushed out to April 2021 at the earliest, meaning it looked like the airline was expecting the entire northern winter season passenger network would continue to use aircraft with Business Class as the highest available cabin.

No First Class until October 2021

Recently the airline has completed loading its regular summer 2021 season schedule, with the usual aircraft types indicated, including for example Airbus A380 services to London and New York via Frankfurt.

As we’ve seen before however, SIA has withdrawn First Class and Suites inventory (F/A class) from all these flights, regardless of scheduled aircraft type, for the entire season through to the end of October next year, effectively close to 12 months from now.

First Class and Suites are now not available on any route until 31st October 2021 at the earliest.

First Class / Suites seats and routes

Here are the aircraft types with First Class or Suites cabins fitted, including the date they last flew revenue passengers.

Aircraft Seat Type Last Operated
Airbus A380
Version 1/2
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Double-Bed-4-Small.jpg2006 Suites 20 Mar 2020
Airbus A380
Version 3
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1A-2A-Suite-2-Small.jpg2017 Suites 31 Mar 2020
Boeing 777-300 This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is A-seats-2-2.jpg2006 First 1 Apr 2020
Boeing 777-300ER This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1F-Overview-Night-Small.jpg2013 First 9 Jun 2020

While some Boeing 777-300s and 777-300ERs have recently been deployed on limited passenger routes, including Surabaya and Bangkok, the First Class cabin has not been sold on these services.

Assuming the airline does not restore First Class or Suites operation earlier than currently programmed, this will mean 19 months without any Suites cabins being available and around 17 months without First Class.

The following table shows the originally planned First and Suites cabin deployment by route for the summer 2021 season.

Destination First Suites
Amsterdam  
Auckland  
Beijing
Brunei  
Canberra  
Delhi
Dubai  
Frankfurt
Hong Kong
Jakarta  
London
Los Angeles  
Manila  
Melbourne
Mumbai
New York JFK  
Paris  
San Francisco  
Seoul  
Shanghai
Sydney
Tokyo Haneda  
Tokyo Narita
Zurich  

All First Class and Suites availability has been removed from these routes until the end of October 2021.

Based on the latest schedule, First Class and Suites bookings are only being taken on 20 of these regular routes from 31st October 2021 or 1st November 2021, when the winter season schedule commences. There is no plan for the cabins to be reintroduced to the following cities:

  • Amsterdam
  • Canberra

Amsterdam isn’t too surprising, this had been an Airbus A350 route for some years and was only due to receive Boeing 777-300ER service from October 2020 (which didn’t happen). Planned aircraft type on this route reverts to the A350 for next winter season effective from 31st October 2021, with no First Class cabin installed.

Canberra is self-explanatory, with SIA announcing in September that this city was being permanently axed from the route network alongside Dusseldorf, Stockholm and Wellington.

Fleet retirements

Last week Singapore Airlines announced that it was retiring 26 of its older aircraft, which it will not need in its fleet even after the COVID-19 recovery.

Many of these aircraft have scheduled heavy maintenance checks coming up, which are very costly, and therefore are being logically withdrawn to avoid this large expense.

“In respect of the A380s, the seven that we have impaired, they have reached basically certain maintenance windows, heavy maintenance windows, that it would make sense for us to ground them and take them out service rather than spend more money on them because we also do not see them taking to the skies again.”

Tan Kai Ping, EVP Finance and Strategy, Singapore Airlines

This will likely affect many of the airline’s older Airbus A380s with the older Suites product, significantly restricting the potential to secure those seats even assuming they do return to service without a cabin refit.

The days of these Suites on the Airbus A380s may be numbered, depending on how many remain in the fleet and how the refit programme progresses. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Another casualty of the latest fleet review is the four remaining Boeing 777-300s, which have the 2006 First Class seat fitted in a 1-2-1 configuration. These are no longer in passenger service and will not be returning to the lineup post-COVID.

The older 2006 First Class seats have now been withdrawn from service. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

What does it mean for lounges?

With no Singapore Airlines First or Suites Class passengers passing through Changi each day, and a prolonged COVID-19 recovery in sight, there seems little incentive for Singapore Airlines to reopen its SilverKris First Class lounge or The Private Room in Changi’s Terminal 3.

These facilities are all due for a S$50 million makeover between now and mid-2021, so it’s possible that SIA may choose to re-order the revamp schedule slightly and could now take the opportunity to complete work on these two lounges while they are closed anyway.

SIA’s T3 lounges at Changi Airport, including The Private Room, are due for a complete revamp by mid-2021. (Image: Singapore Airlines)

For now, expect the SilverKris Business Class lounge at Changi Terminal 3 to remain the only available facility for premium passengers and status holders.

What if you have a booking?

If you have a First Class or Suites booking on or after 1st February 2021, there’s no apparent change yet. Around 95%+ of usual aircraft types are still loaded into the schedule as normal.

Seat maps also reflect the originally planned aircraft type, so logging on to your booking will only show what you previously expected.

Suites AKL
Seat maps still reflect the programmed aircraft type

Singapore Airlines will only notify you of a change once the aircraft type is updated in the system.

This usually happens around the time the monthly schedule is released (or sometimes a day or two later).

Until then, sit tight with the booking you have, however if you are travelling on or before 31st January 2021 you can refund your ticket or KrisFlyer redemption for no fee under the airline’s Travel Waiver policy.

What it means for Business Class

Airbus A350 routes have the 2013 Business Class seats, while Airbus A350 Regionals and Boeing 787-10s have the 2018 Regional Business seats.

That means we’re down to two Business Class cabin types until at least 31st October 2021.

Here’s which aircraft types (and therefore Business Class cabin types) are being flown on SIA’s passenger routes between now and the end of January 2021.

2013 J Business A350 2 (MM) 2013 J
11A narrow 2018 RJ
SIA Business Class Seat Types
(Nov 2020 – Jan 2021)
City Aircraft Seats
Adelaide A350 Regional 2018 RJ
Amsterdam A350 2013 J
Auckland A350 2013 J
Bangkok 787-10 2018 RJ
Barcelona A350 2013 J
Brisbane A350 Regional 2018 RJ
Christchurch A350 2013 J
Copenhagen A350 2013 J
Dhaka A350 Regional 2018 RJ
Frankfurt A350 2013 J
Fukuoka 787-10 2018 RJ
Hanoi A350 Regional 2018 RJ
Ho Chi Minh 787-10 2018 RJ
Hong Kong A350 2013 J
Istanbul A350 2013 J
Jakarta A350 2013 J
Johannesburg A350 2013 J
Kuala Lumpur A350 2013 J
London A350 2013 J
Los Angeles A350 2013 J
Manila A350 Regional 2018 RJ
Melbourne A350 Regional 2018 RJ
Milan A350 2013 J
New York A350 2013 J
Osaka A350 Regional 2018 RJ
Paris A350 2013 J
Perth 787-10 2018 RJ
Seoul 787-10 2018 RJ
Shanghai 787-10 2018 RJ
Shenzhen A350 Regional 2018 RJ
Surabaya 777-300ER 2013 J
Sydney A350 2013 J
787-10 2018 RJ
Taipei 787-10 2018 RJ
Tokyo 787-10 2018 RJ
Zurich A350 2013 J

The recent confirmation that Boeing 777-300s will be leaving the fleet alongside the Airbus A330s returning to their leasing companies means we’ve already bid farewell to the older 2009 Regional Business Class seats, which will not return to service, to the delight of many!

The older 2009 Regional Business Class seats have now been withdrawn from service. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

There are sadly also no new 2017 Business Class seats in service for the time being, with the Airbus A380s all grounded, and it will take the return of older A380s to see the 2006 Business Class seats make an appearance again, now that the Boeing 777-200ERs have also been retired).

14K Overhead
Singapore Airlines’ super-wide 2006 Business Class seats won’t be seen again until older Airbus A380s return to service. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

With seven older A380s not returning to the fleet post-COVID, this will become a rare seat on the network and it’s possible that it may even be eliminated if Singapore Airlines continues with its refit programme until the full proposed A380 fleet of 12 aircraft is completed.

Here are our reviews of the two Business Class products still in service with the airline, and likely the only two we’ll be seeing on the network for much of next year.

Summary

If like us you’re a big fan of Singapore Airlines First Class and Suites products, it’s more disappointing news with the carrier removing the option from the booking system through to late October 2021, practically a year from now.

We expect as services are slowly reinstated on many routes including those like San Francisco and Los Angeles via Tokyo, three-class Airbus A350s will be used to better match capacity to demand. These aircraft also have the benefit of being more fuel efficient than the older ones with First Class and Suites cabins installed.

On the positive side though, a dozen of the airline’s Airbus A380s and all its Boeing 777-300ERs survived the latest fleet review, so First Class will be back – eventually.

It’s not great news lately, but SIA’s First Class will be back at some point. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Of course, there’s nothing to stop SIA re-adding this availability later if a sufficient upturn occurs. The removal of these cabin classes from sale may be designed to give the airline flexibility to deploy its aircraft of choice on each route during the recovery, not necessarily because they definitely won’t reintroduce A380s or 777s into passenger service next summer.

For example, if the airline decides the London route can sustain a Boeing 777-300ER or Airbus A380 service next summer, it will almost certainly start to sell the First Class / Suites cabins on those flights.

Those flying Business Class will now have the new 2018 Regional product or the ever-popular 2013 long-haul Business Class seats for some time to come, including those flying on the new Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble services.

The latest Singapore Airlines schedules from now until to 31st January 2021 are available here.

(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)

6 comments

  1. I hate you….

    Of course it’s not your fault, but I still hate you…

    Of course you’re just the messenger, but I still hate you…

    Have I mentioned I hate you…?

    🤪

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