Singapore Airlines is upgauging its flights to and from Male in the Maldives during the archipelago’s peak travel season between late October 2023 and March 2024, swapping out 154-seat Boeing 737-8 MAX services three days per week on morning flights with a 253-seat Airbus A350 Long Haul aircraft.
Combined with the regular Airbus A350 Medium Haul aircraft already used on this route for the afternoon service since March 2023 (when the route upgauged from twice daily 737 MAX operation), this will provide a significant capacity boost.
Overall the airline will offer 3,496 seats per week in each direction to and from the Maldives during the upcoming northern winter season, 92% of the capacity it offered in combination with SilkAir services pre-COVID.
Furthermore, from next summer season starting in late March 2024 the airline is planning twice daily Airbus A350 Medium Haul service on this route, for 123% of pre-pandemic seat capacity when compared with 2019.
From the start of the northern winter season on 29th October 2023, just 10 days from now, Singapore Airlines will be replacing its Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft operating SQ432/431 services to and from Male with an Airbus A350 Long Haul, three days per week.
The revised flight schedule is shown below, with three aircraft types soon plying this route as highlighted.
Airbus A350 MH services
Airbus A350 LH services
Boeing 737 MAX services
Singapore ⇄ Male Schedule
(29th October 2023 – 30th March 2024)
* Next day
As you can see the Airbus A350 Long Haul will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays on this route, including 42 of the popular 2013 Business Class seats, which will be the widest on offer to and from Male, all offering direct aisle access.
Crucially, this will offer higher capacity with an additional 32 (arguably much better) Business Class seats compared to the Boeing 737-8 MAX on these morning flights to Male.
The timing of this flight also allows ample transfer time to reach more distant resorts after landing, which is not so easy when travelling on SQ438 due to its late arrival time.
It will also mean the A350 Long Haul on selected daytime flights in the return direction to Singapore, for those who prefer to avoid red-eye services.
Here are the redemption rates you’ll pay when flying on an SIA flight between Singapore and the Maldives.
|KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
🇲🇻 Maldives to/from Singapore
Remember these rates apply regardless of the aircraft type used, so you’re paying the same mileage rate to fly on the Airbus A350 Long Haul as you are to fly on the Airbus A350 Medium Haul and the Boeing 737-8 MAX.
The cabin products on these types, especially in Business Class, do differ quite substantially, so pick wisely where you have a choice.
Remember that Singapore Airlines is currently offering a 25% discount on Economy Saver awards when you book ‘Promo’ rates between now and this Sunday (22nd October 2023).
These redemptions are non-changeable and non-refundable, so you’ll have to have firm travel plans in order to commit, but it does drive the one-way award cost on this route down from 20,000 miles to a competitive 15,000 miles.
Unfortunately at the time of writing Singapore Airlines is not loading any discounted fares or Saver / Promo redemptions in either cabin on its newly loaded Airbus A350 Long Haul flights.
However, do keep an eye out over the coming days as Saver awards are likely to be added, with some upcoming A350 LH flights having only seven passengers booked in Business Class, against a capacity of 42.
Premium Economy will be sold as Economy Class
SIA’s Airbus A350 Long Haul aircraft, which will be operating three times weekly to and from Male over the next five months as outlined above, are all three-class models with Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabins installed.
While the mid-range Premium Economy class was briefly offered on this route during the COVID-19 pandemic, when these aircraft were used on Male-Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lane flights (remember them?), that’s not the case this time round.
Given the limited three times weekly option, Singapore Airlines has instead decided to sell Premium Economy seats as Economy Class, and allow customers to pay an additional fee for the larger seat in this cabin with additional legroom, but with no service differentiation offered.
This is already the case on the airline’s regular Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta flights, using aircraft equipped with Premium Economy Class cabins.
While there is no priority service on the ground, enhanced miles earning or upgraded F&B on board when sitting in this cabin on these flights, here’s what SIA’s Premium Economy seat offers:
- 38″ seat pitch (6″ more than Economy Class)
- 19″ seat width (0.5″ more than Economy Class)
- 8″ seat recline (2″ more than Economy Class)
- 2-4-2 seating layout (3-3-3 in Economy Class)
- 13.3″ HD touchscreen monitor (2.1″ bigger than Economy Class)
- In-built calf rest and footrest
- 2 USB ports and AC power supply
- Adjustable reading light
Here’s how the cash rates look for selecting a seat in the Premium Economy cabin on these Male flights with a Premium Economy cabin, but not offering a differentiated Premium Economy service.
There are discounts applied, based on you KrisFlyer status, while for PPS Club members advance seat selection in the Premium Economy section is free of charge.
Premium Economy Seat Selection
(on Male flights)
|KF Elite Silver
|KF Elite Gold
These seat selection fees do not vary based on your Economy Class fare type (e.g. Lite, Standard, Flexi). They also apply to those booked on any award redemption in the Economy Class cabin (i.e. Promo, Saver or Advantage).
Here’s an example for a KrisFlyer Gold member reserving a Premium Economy seat (but remember, not a PY service standard) from Singapore to Male on an Airbus A350 Long Haul flight.
There’s an alternative tactic though, if you don’t wish to pay extra to sit in this cabin.
When online check-in opens at exactly 48 hours prior to your flight’s departure time, all seat selection fees are cancelled and any passenger can select any available seat for free within their cabin class.
In this case, that includes the Premium Economy section, for those booked in Economy on these specific A350 LH Male flights.
We therefore strongly recommend checking the Manage Booking portal as soon as the clock hits 48 hours prior to your departure time, at which point you should then see the same Premium Economy seat selection that existed for a fee just a few minutes before, all available to select for free.
This strategy won’t always work, but it’s definitely worth a try.
Singapore Airlines has made a short notice change to its Maldives route, upgauging three out of seven weekly SQ432/431 services from the Boeing 737-8 MAX to the Airbus A350 Long Haul from next week – 29th October 2023.
This will see ten weekly A350 services and four 737 MAX flights on the route for the duration of the northern winter season through to late March 2024.
While the increased capacity has not yet led to any additional Saver award space, this is worth keeping an eye on as the carrier tends to get round to doing this within a few days of equipment changes like this one.
For those looking for a little extra comfort, seats in the Premium Economy cabin on these A350 Long Haul flights can be selected for an additional fee, or for no charge if you’re a PPS Club member or are lucky enough to score one at online check-in within 48 hours of departure.
(Cover Photo: Sorbis / Shutterstock)