Finally there’s good news for many of our readers eager to try out the new Starlux Airbus A350 cabin products, with confirmation that the airline is upgrading its daily Singapore – Taipei flights to the new aircraft from June this year, including its four-seat First Class row for sale solely between the two cities.
These services will complement Starlux’s inaugural long-haul route from Taipei to Los Angeles using the A350s, which kick off on 26th April 2023, and of course also feature the First Class row.
This 4 hour 50 minute journey from Singapore to Taiwan could prove a great opportunity to try out the carrier’s new A350 cabins, to check if they live up to your long-haul expectations, before committing to the airline’s long-haul services.
That’s important because these are set to expand to other US and European cities in the months and years ahead, as Starlux aims to become “the Emirates of Asia”.
Starlux Airbus A350 Singapore Schedule
Singapore didn’t make the list of Starlux A350 destinations when the aircraft was first used for intra-Asia flights starting in January this year, but the airline is now loading the aircraft type to and from Changi as shown in the following schedule.
The A350 will replace the carrier’s Airbus A330-900neo on this route, which operates until 31st May 2023.
Singapore – Taipei
1 Jun 2023 – 28 Oct 2023
Operation of the type continues into the northern winter season from late October 2023 to late March 2024, with slightly amended timings.
Singapore – Taipei
29 Oct 2023 – 30 Mar 2024
This will be a nice improvement on Starlux’s current daily Singapore flights through to 31st May 2023, will are operated by the Airbus A330-900neo, offering the carrier’s regional wide-body Safran Skylounge Core Business Class seats.
Singapore – Los Angeles connections
Good news is that as a future hub-and-spoke operator, Starlux has timed its regular Los Angeles flights to allow connections to and from the rest of its network across South East Asia, including Singapore.
For example, passengers originating in Singapore on JX732 will be able to make a 3-hour 55-minute connection in Taipei before flying onward to Los Angeles, for a total travel time of 20 hours 25 minutes.
On the return leg, a Los Angeles – Taipei – Singapore itinerary is possible with a 3-hour 25-minute connection in Taipei, for a total travel time of 21 hours 55 minutes.
Round-trip fares from Singapore to Los Angeles and back with Starlux in June 2023 price up from:
- Economy: S$1,378
- Premium Economy: S$2,101
- Business: S$6,271
- First: S$20,059
No, the First Class fare is not a typo!
Starlux A350 Business Class
One major boost for these Singapore – Taipei flights will of course be the new Starlux long-haul Business Class product, the Collins Elements suite with 26 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, sporting 48-inch-high closing privacy doors.
The herringbone arrangement in this cabin sees window seats and middle seats angled away from the aisle, in a similar layout to the new British Airways Club Suite.
Starlux has provided the following seat map of the A350 First Class and Business Class cabin, though only row 2 to row 8 is being offered to Business Class passengers on these regional flights (more about row 1 later…).
Aside from the obvious row 1 space and privacy benefit in First Class, the only apparent downside is seen at the middle seat pair 8D and 8G, sandwiched between the two toilets at the rear of the cabin and closest to the galley area, where foot traffic and noise disturbance is more likely.
Window seats 3A, 3K, 7A and 7K also have partially obscured external views.
Each seat in this cabin boasts a 24-inch 4K in-flight entertainment screen, bigger than any SIA offers in Business Class, and unsurprisingly also converts to a fully-flat bed.
One of the nifty new features on the Starlux Airbus A350s is one many of us are already familiar with when flying on the Boeing 787 – electro-dimmable passenger windows (EDWs).
Starlux is the launch customer to add this option to its A350s, which Airbus claims will transition twice as fast between light and dark, plus block out more light, compared to the original versions on the market.
As you can see there is therefore no physical window shade installed, with the EDW brightness controlled by a panel at the window base.
Further photos of the product are still awaited, with Starlux teasing only a few details to date, including a screen at the back wall of the cabin, greeting passengers on boarding with “a digital illustration of [an] ever-growing bouquet of flowers”.
Based on a round-trip fare in June 2023, Starlux is offering its Business Class product from Singapore to Taipei from around S$1,997.
First Class is available
One of the big selling points of the new Starlux A350s is the inclusion of a four-seat single-row First Class cabin, with 60-inch-high closing doors for privacy, a wardrobe to store your belongings, and a huge 32-inch 4K in-flight entertainment screen.
The great news for those who wish to try it out is that these will be available to book on the Singapore – Taipei route, unlike during the initial intra-Asia training flights including Bangkok, Tokyo and Macau where the cabin remained unsold.
Starlux is now the only Taiwanese carrier offering a First Class cabin, with both China Airlines and EVA Air discontinuing their own First Class products over the last few years.
Unfortunately Starlux First Class looks to be more of a ‘Business Plus’ concept, with no physical partition between that section and the Business Class cabin (just a higher wall around the seats themselves).
It will be interesting to see how the soft product differentiation looks in this cabin once Taipei – Los Angeles flights start later this month – especially to justify a S$14,000 price differential over Business Class on a transpacific itinerary!
Based on a round-trip fare in June 2023, Starlux is offering its First Class product from Singapore to Taipei from around S$5,730, quite a hefty sum indeed!
As a point of comparison, Singapore Airlines is offering its capacious Airbus A380 Suites from Singapore to Hong Kong and back, a similar flight length, for S$5,046 in June 2023.
If you’re a German speaker (or even if you’re not, since auto-subtitles are available), check out this recent YouTube video covering the A350 Business Class experience between Bangkok and Taipei, including a peek into the First Class seats as well.
The Starlux A350 also features a Premium Economy cabin, a first for the carrier, with 36 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration.
This could be a good time to try these seats out to see if they are worth considering on the carrier’s long-haul flights to and from the USA.
Based on a round-trip fare in June 2023, Starlux is offering its Premium Economy Class product from Singapore to Taipei from around S$781, which seems a reasonable outlay for this kind of seat and a great option for couples next to the window.
Finally the largest cabin on the Starlux A350s is the 240-seat Economy Class section, which has a 3-3-3 layout – not so friendly for couples, unlike the carrier’s 2-4-2 layout in Economy on the A330neo.
These are the same Recaro CL3710 seats fitted to the airline’s A330neo aircraft, including a 13.3-inch 4K Ultra-HD IFE screen.
Based on a round-trip fare in June 2023, Starlux is offering its Economy Class product from Singapore to Taipei from around S$551.
Starlux Business Class passengers and elite COSMILE status holders also get to enjoy the fantastic looking Galactic Lounge in Taipei before their flight, which has only recently opened its doors.
Fine dining is on the agenda here, with “carefully prepared dishes served by professional chefs”.
Starlux is bringing its brand new Airbus A350s to the Singapore – Taipei route from June 2023, just over a month after the aircraft type is used to launch non-stop services between Taipei and Los Angeles.
This represents a great opportunity for our readers to try out the carrier’s new long-haul cabin products on this popular city pair, perhaps before committing to Starlux for a US trip in future.
That’s especially true with a new long-haul First Class, Business Class and Premium Economy Class seat to try out, plus don’t forget Starlux has recently opened its own luxurious lounge in Taipei for eligible departing and transit travellers.
Alternatively there’s now an all-A350 Singapore – Los Angeles option from the get-go once this aircraft is used to and from Changi in June, which could prove a very comfortable alternative to other carriers between the Lion City and the US West Coast.
(Cover Photo: Starlux Airlines)