Last month we reported how Singapore Airlines had made the surprise move of downgrading its inaugural Boeing 737-8 MAX route to the inferior ex-SilkAir Boeing 737-800 model, which lacks Wi-Fi, built-in IFE, and has recliner seats in Business Class, for the month of September.
Unfortunately the airline has now extended this arrangement by a full six months, with the route now stuck with these inferior cabin products through to at least the end of March 2023.
While the more basic Economy and Business Class seats may seem a relatively inconsequential aspect on a short flight like this, a large proportion of SIA passengers on the Phuket route are connecting to or from long-haul destinations such as Europe, Australia or the USA, and therefore prefer product consistency between their flights.
Indeed that’s exactly the benefit SIA was touting when it first promoted its new narrow-body fleet (originally, only the MAX was supposed to fly for the airline), with the same product standards and service intended regardless of whether you’re flying on a long-haul or regional service.
Phuket downgrades through to March 2023
While the Singapore – Phuket route represented SIA’s first introduction of the MAX to its network, and the type was largely used exclusively on the city pair over the last few months, older ex-SilkAir Boeing 737-800s started creeping back in on selected days since late August.
The news got worse for those travelling in September 2022, with Boeing 737-800s back on nearly all Phuket flights.
Unfortunately the airline has now confirmed a switch of all its Phuket flights to the Boeing 737-800 for the next six months, right through to at least the end of the northern winter season on 25th March 2023.
That means if you’re booked in Business Class it’s a significant downgrade from flat-bed seats with enhanced privacy, like this: