Changi Airport Emirates News

Emirates brings A380s back to Singapore, reopens Changi T1 lounge

Emirates is bringing its Airbus A380s back to Singapore this month, meaning a return of the popular onboard bar in Business Class, showers in First, and its own dedicated lounge at Changi.

Just last month we were reporting how Qantas is restarting Airbus A380 flights at Changi from 19th June 2022, becoming the second airline to reinstate regular passenger flights to and from Singapore with the superjumbo, after SIA.

Hot on the heels of the Qantas reinstatement, which will also see the carrier restarting non-stop Singapore to London flights and reopen its excellent First Class lounge in Terminal 1, Emirates is now also joining Changi Airport’s A380 roster from later this month.

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This follows a recent reopening of the Middle East carrier’s dedicated lounge at Changi, offering passengers a fully Emirates-branded experience, rather than starting their trip at the Marhaba facility in Terminal 1.

Since December, many Emirates passengers were ducking in to the Qantas Business lounge instead, plus some will be eligible for the upcoming Qantas First lounge from mid-June.

Emirates A380s are back at Changi

From Monday 27th June 2022, Emirates will upgauge its daily EK354/355 flights to and from Singapore from the Boeing 777-300ER to the Airbus A380, utilising a three-class version including a First Class cabin with shower suites.

Emirates A380 First Class. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Emirates will be the third airline to reinstate the Airbus A380 at Changi, after Singapore Airlines (since 4th November 2021) and Qantas (from 19th June 2022).

This will represent the first Emirates A380 operation at Changi for over 800 days, with the aircraft last seen here in mid-March 2020.

By the end of June, British Airways and Lufthansa will be the only airlines regularly operating the A380 at Changi before COVID-19 that have not reinstated operation of the type to and from the Lion City.

The schedule

Emirates is currently operating up to 11 weekly flights between Singapore and Dubai using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, with a mixture of EK352/353 and EK354/355 services.

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From Monday 27th June 2022, flights will go double daily (14 per week), with the EK354/355 service gaining the Airbus A380 on a daily basis, as shown in the following schedule (A380 services highlighted).

Emirates
Singapore to Dubai
From 27th June 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
EK353
777-300ER
SIN
00:50
DXB

04:15
EK355
A380
SIN
21:40
DXB

00:50*

* Next day

Emirates
Dubai to Singapore
From 27th June 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
EK354
A380
DXB
03:05
SIN

15:00
EK352
777-300ER
DXB
09:20
SIN

20:55

This schedule remains in place until 30th October 2022, after which Emirates is provisionally loading both of these daily flights as Airbus A380 services through to March 2023.

An Emirates Airbus A380. (Photo: Airbus)

Emirates is unfortunately not scheduling one of its new four-class A380s on this route, which have updated cabin products and a Premium Economy section, but instead is using a three-class model with the following layout:

  • 14 First Class
  • 76 Business Class
  • 399 – 429 Economy Class (depending on configuration)

The upgrade to A380 operation on this daily flight will also allow all-A380 connecting itineraries to and from some further points on the Emirates network, like London Heathrow (which is an all-A380 route).

It’s a far cry from pre-pandemic

In early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold around the world, Emirates was operating six daily departures from Singapore Changi Airport:

  • 00:30: EK353 to Dubai (A380)
  • 01:20: EK405 to Dubai (777-300ER)
  • 09:35: EK433 to Dubai (777-300ER)
  • 10:10: EK432 to Brisbane (777-300ER)
  • 13:55: EK404 to Melbourne (777-300ER)
  • 21:00: EK355 to Dubai (A380)

The airline was already set to axe its Singapore – Brisbane “fifth freedom” flights in late March 2020, replacing them with a Singapore – Penang extension, which became an early COVID casualty and never got off the ground.

Emirates had six flight departures per day from Singapore prior to COVID-19. (Photo: Emirates)

Emirates’ Singapore – Melbourne route was removed completely from its booking system during the initial midst of the pandemic in 2020, and the airline now only codeshares with Qantas on the city pair, with no reinstatement of its own services in sight.

That means Singapore-based flyers are down from six Emirates departures per day (four of which were to the airline’s Dubai hub, offering onward connections) down to just two, a big drop in capacity here for the carrier.

Emirates A380 First Class

While there isn’t much difference between the First Class cabin on Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ERs that have been flying all its services from Changi recently and those on the Airbus A380, there’s one major benefit on board the superjumbo – showers!

Shower suite on the Emirates A380. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

This gives you the rare opportunity to have a shower at 40,000ft – a novel way to freshen up before landing especially after a night flight.

Emirates A380 First Class Suites. (Photo: Sorbis / Shutterstock)

Unfortunately the A380s don’t have the airline’s latest fully-enclosed Suites in First Class, which some Boeing 777-300ERs are equipped with.

The Singapore route even occasionally sees that product, but it is not offered consistently from Changi, so it is impossible to guarantee.

Emirates A380 Business Class

Business Class on the Emirates Airbus A380 is a big step up from the product you’ll find on the Boeing 777-300ER, with direct aisle access for all seats in this cabin, as opposed to the 2-3-2 layout.

Emirates A380 Business Class seats have direct aisle access. (Photo: OneMoreWeekToGo)

Seats also convert into a fully-flat bed, while (amazingly) the 777s Business Class product is still angle-flat.

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At the back of the A380 cabin there’s also a bar section for a mid-flight tipple and snacks, which is also accessible to First Class passengers.

The Emirates A380 bar. (Photo: Airbus)

With none of these benefits on the 777, Emirates Business Class passengers flying to and from Singapore will definitely want to try and snag the EK354/355 flight from 27th June onwards, for a far superior experience.

The Emirates Singapore lounge is back

Emirates reopened its own lounge at Changi Terminal 1 in April 2022.

The facility was last refurbished five years ago, in April 2017, with an increased seating capacity of 222, compared to 179 before the revamp.

The Emirates lounge at Singapore Changi Airport was refurbished in 2017. (Photo: Emirates)

Emirates First Class and (most) Business Class travellers, plus Skywards Platinum and Gold members and Qantas Platinum One, Platinum and Gold members travelling in Economy Class, have complimentary access to the lounge.

Do note that in a recent change, those booking Emirates’ cheapest ‘Special’ Business Class fares are not eligible for lounge access, unless they also have an appropriate status level.

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The Emirates Singapore lounge opens at 5pm each day (4 hours 40 minutes prior to the EK355 departure at 9.40pm), and closes when the final flight departs each evening, as follows:

  • 5pm – 9pm (Mon, Wed, Thu)
  • 5pm – 12.30am (Tue, Fri, Sat, Sun)

This caters for the airline’s current schedule of up to 11 weekly flights, but by 27th June 2022, when Emirates brings twice daily operation into effect, operating hours should simply become 5pm to 12.30am daily.

The Emirates lounge at Singapore Changi Airport. (Photo: Emirates)

The lounge has runway views and whenever we used it before the pandemic, it always offered a decent food selection, plus Veuve Cliquot Champagne.

It’s unlikely to ever get significantly crowded with the current flight schedule, given that the 1.20am EK405 service is still not reinstated.

Food in the Emirates Singapore lounge was always a plus point. (Photo: Emirates)

Both Qantas Singapore lounges are back

Emirates passengers will have their full pre-pandemic suite of lounge options at Changi Airport available to them once again in the coming weeks, once Qantas reopens its First Class lounge on 18th June 2022.

Emirates passengers also have access to the Qantas Business Class lounge at Changi (see our review), which reopened in December last year. Again food is a plus point here, but there are no runway views or Champagne on offer.

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If you’re flying in Emirates First Class, or you hold Emirates Platinum Skywards status or Qantas Platinum One or Platinum status, your lounge choice is probably a no-brainer.

In this case you’ll want to head across the the Qantas First Class lounge, once it reopens on 18th June 2022, over a week before Emirates reinstates the Airbus A380s to and from Changi.

The Qantas First Class lounge at Changi T1. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The food and beverage options here are certainly a cut above, including à la carte dining and a tended cocktail bar, plus fantastic shower suites.

Our full review should help you make your decision, if you’re still on the fence for any reason!