The SIA Airbus A380 fleet currently operates in three configurations:
- Version 1 has 60 business class seats on the upper deck in a 1-2-1 configuration, with a small economy class cabin at the rear upper deck section featuring 88 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. On the lower deck there are 12 first class suites in a 1-2-1 configuration, 36 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration and the remainder of the economy cabin – 245 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration.
- Version 2 is identical to Version 1 on the lower deck, however on the upper deck the small economy section at the back is replaced with business class, meaning the entire upper deck of the aircraft is configured for an increased business class capacity of 86 seats. Economy reduces to 245, as it’s only fitted on the lower deck.
- Version 3 is the newest A380 configuration, launched in December 2017 and featuring the latest 2017 Suites and 2017 J seats. On the upper deck, the aircraft has six suites in a 1-1 configuration, and 78 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. On the lower deck there are 44 premium economy seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, and 343 economy seats in a 3-4-3 configuration. This guide will be updated soon to incorporate the best and worst seats for A380 Version 3 aircraft.
The A380 operates predominantly long-haul flights from Singapore – to destinations in Europe, the USA and Australia, as well as selected routes to India, China and a daily flight to Hong Kong.
A new A380 variant, Version 3, started operating in December 2017 with a new configuration, including a smaller redesigned suites cabin totalling six seats, which has been moved to the upper deck. We’ll update this page with our thoughts on the best and worst seats on this new type soon.
How can I tell which Version I am flying on?
If you’re flying in suites and the seat map shows a 1-1-1 configuration, you’re in a Version 1 or Version 2 aircraft, which are identical in this cabin. If it shows a 1-1 configuration, you’re in a Version 3* aircraft.
If you’re flying business and the seat map goes up to row 27, you’re in a Version 1 aircraft. If it goes up to row 96, you’re in Version 2, if it goes up to row 97 you’re in Version 3*.
If you’re flying premium economy and the seat map features rows 31 to 35, you’re in a Version 1 or Version 2 aircraft, which are identical in this cabin. If it has rows 31 to 37, you’re in Version 3*.
If you’re flying economy and the seat map goes up to row 83, you’re in a Version 1 aircraft. If it goes up to row 66, you’re in Version 2, and if it goes up to row 79 you’re in Version 3*.
* – This guide will be updated with the best and worst seats on the A380 Version 3 aircraft soon.
A380 Suites Class
The A380 is the only aircraft in the SIA fleet with a suites cabin – 12 fully enclosed individual seats with their own sliding door and window blinds. Eight of the suites are arranged individually by the windows (A and F seats), with two centre pairs at row 2 and 3 (seats 2 C/D and 3 C/D), which can be set up either as individual suites or combined as adjacent seats which convert into a double room when travelling with a partner.
There are no bad seats in suites class, in our opinion, so separating the best from the worst is certainly nitpicking. For solo travellers, the window suites are better, with 3A and 3F featuring three windows instead of two.
Row 1 window suites (1A and 1F) are nicely separated from the rest of the cabin, with the main aircraft staircase between them, to the side of the aisle in each case. Some may find the staircase wall a bit claustrophobic, others will appreciate the added privacy. Either way the staircase is seldom used and there should be no significant foot traffic as the suites cabin is all served from a galley behind row 4.
As mentioned above, it’s very much nitpicking, but suites 4A and 4F, the furthest to the back of this cabin, will have the greatest foot traffic and potential galley noise. Neither are a big issue in the quiet and private suites section, but bear it in mind if you have a choice on your flight.
The forward ‘couples’ suite in the middle section (suites 2 C/D) are blocked for allocation, because this is a bassinet position in suites class. Infants travelling in suites, while possible, is extremely rare. If you are travelling as a couple and would prefer the double bed experience, and cannot secure seats 3 C/D because they are already taken, give Singapore Airlines a call as they should be able to allocate 2 C/D over the phone.
Your only risk will be being moved to other seats if a booking including an infant is then made on your flight in this cabin, a small chance.
A380 Business Class
Business class on the A380, occupying either the main two forward sections of the upper deck (Version 1 aircraft), or the entire upper deck (Version 2 aircraft), is equipped with a 1-2-1 configuration flat bed seat, albeit the slightly older 2006 J product.
A380 (Version 1): Best Seats
Business class on the A380 (Version 1) is split across two sections, the smaller forward section which occupies the forward portion of the aircraft between the first two doors and contains 4 rows of window seats and five rows of middle pairs (rows 11 to 16), and a larger cabin between the second and third main doors with 11 window seat rows and 10 middle pair rows (rows 17 to 27).
While some people appreciate the feeling of space in the larger second cabin, personally we prefer the smaller forward cabin, which is quieter and has less foot traffic as service is conducted from the galley behind row 16.
Row 11 is probably the most private row on the aircraft, particularly the window seats 11A and 11K, however they have no window and the fuselage does begin to narrow slightly at these seats.
The alternative bulkhead seats are at row 17, this time with a full complement of windows, which may be better for you but doesn’t feel as exclusive as the front of the smaller forward cabin. Both row 11 and row 17 have more space, especially for your feet as the “cubby hole” style footwell found in other seat rows is gone – replaced by a spacious full-width bench which also makes the bed bigger once the seat is converted. In these seats there is no need to extend your legs at an angle while sleeping.
A380 (Version 1): Worst Seats
Row 16: This row only features a middle pair, 16D & F, which are positioned between a storage cupboard to the left and a toilet to the right, which may appear claustrophobic and certainly means more noise and more foot traffic. Avoid.
Row 27: The very last row of business class in the Version 1 configuration, row 27 is directly in front of the upper deck economy class toilets. There is also a bassinet position in the first row of upper deck economy, so some noise is possible if there are infants in that row. Remember the upper deck economy section on Version 1 aircraft is very popular and so is usually close to full occupancy, even on relatively empty flights.
If travelling solo, one of the window seats (A or K) is preferable, giving you the highest level of privacy.
As a couple it’s up to you whether you prefer two A or K seats one in front of the other, or the slightly more sociable (but still sufficiently private) D/F middle pair. We tend to go for the middle pair, as it’s easy to talk and provides the best food envy at meal times.
While the A380 has a certain allure and is very quiet and spacious, it doesn’t have the latest business class seats, that is until the new Version 3 aircraft arrive in December 2017 (and until that product starts to be retrofitted onto the existing fleet). Many of the 2006 J seats are really starting to show their age.
Our personal preference in business is the 777-300ER Version 2 aircraft (which is the vast majority of the 777-300ER fleet), as these have the latest 2013 J business seat which is much better. However we still recommend the A380 business ahead of the A350, as the new A350 business seat is simply smaller.
A380 (Version 2): Best Seats
The forward two sections of business class on the A380 Version 2 aircraft are almost a carbon copy of the Version 1 cabins mentioned above, and our recommendations therefore still stand for these aircraft.
Our negative impressions of Row 16 D&F seats are slightly alleviated as the toilet to the right of 16 F has been relocated in the Version 2 aircraft to behind the second right main aircraft door, though this does now encroach somewhat on the privacy of seat 17K.
Life in the forward cabin of the A380 Version 2 business class (rows 11 to 16) is even better, as the bassinet positions have been removed from this section on these aircraft.
The big difference in the A380 Version 2 aircraft is that the entire upper deck is now configured as business class, with two additional cabins at the back; five rows between the third and fourth doors (rows 91 to 95) and a single row behind the fourth door (row 96).
This provides two more bulkhead rows (91 and 96), giving more opportunity for those spacious full-width bench feet areas and larger beds.
Row 96, right at the back, is separated by partition-style sections from the rest of the cabin (rather than a full dividing wall). It’s location right at the back does not look appealing, close to the toilets and the rear galley. We have not personally travelled in this row or seen it, but most of the reports actually seem very positive about it’s privacy and space.
It seems that the rear business class section is less popular and so usually quieter if the flight is not full, and that most passengers use the toilets further forward by the third main doors, so the only significant foot traffic in row 96 is cabin crew (not necessarily a bad thing from a service perspective, especially on a day flight).
A380 (Version 2): Worst Seats
The negatives for the Version 1 aircraft also apply to these Version 2 types, we would avoid Row 16 and Row 27.
Row 96 is a mixed bag – a single row cabin it offers really nice privacy, but galley and toilet proximity is a concern. We have also read reviews that the cabin gets really cold in this area.
A380 Premium Economy Class
Premium Economy is located on the lower deck of the A380, behind the suites cabin and in front of the economy section.
There are five rows (four rows in the middle section) with a 2-4-2 configuration, for a total of 36 seats.
Seat width is 19.5 inches and seat pitch is 38 inches, the same as on the 777, but wider than the A350 which has a narrower fuselage, so choose this aircraft or the 777 if you want the best premium economy seat. One benefit of the A380 at the window seat is some extra space between the window seats and the cabin wall, due to the fuselage curvature.
The first row in the cabin, Row 31, has additional legroom, but be aware of a few drawbacks – firstly it’s the bassinet row (though there’s probably no escaping the sound of a screaming baby in this small cabin), secondly the IFE screens are mounted on the bulkhead wall in front of you, not housed in the armrest as with other seats in this cabin.
Row 35 may suffer increased noise from the first row of the economy class cabin directly behind, which is also a bassinet position. It may be better to choose a seat further forward.
Solo travellers will probably want to opt for one of the aisle seats (C, D, G or H), or possibly a window seat (A or K) depending on personal preference. For couples, the window pairs (A/C or H/K) make perfect sense.
There are no dedicated toilets in the premium economy section, and you aren’t allowed forward into the suites cabin to use their toilets, so that means heading back through an economy section of six rows, to use the main bank of economy toilets at the third main set of aircraft doors.
A380 Economy Class (Main Deck)
The economy class cabin on the main deck of the A380 is split across three cabins, a smaller forward section, which also houses the main bank of toilets for economy and premium economy passenger use, and two rear sections between the third and fourth main aircraft doors and the fourth and fifth main doors respectively.
Extra legroom seats can be found at rows 41, 47/48 and 57 on this aircraft, but beware the bassinet positions across four of the seats in row 41, and two of the seats in both rows 48 and 57.
Seat 51D, an aisle seat around halfway back in economy, is missing an entire seat in front of it giving this seat significant extra legroom. The seat in front has been removed to make way for the lower deck crew rest emergency escape hatch.
It’s easy to avoid proximity to the toilets by choosing a seat towards the front of the first economy cabin (we would suggest rows 41 to 43), the middle of the main cabin, around rows 50 to 53, or the front of the rear cabin (rows 57 to 61).
While the smaller forward cabin may look attractive, remember that premium economy passengers will be walking through to use the toilets at the back of this section, and also that the main bassinet positions for economy are in this section. Our opinion is to aim towards mid-cabin in the second section.
Row 46: The last row of the smaller forward economy class cabin is right in front of the main bank of five toilets on the aircraft, so it’s susceptible to increased foot traffic, queuing and noise. Avoid.
Row 47 A/K and 57 A/K: These seats are missing a window, and are close to the main bank of five toilets on the aircraft (in the case of row 47) and a large galley area (for row 57). Avoid.
Row 56: The last row of the second economy class cabin is right in front of the a large galley area, so it’s susceptible to increased foot traffic and noise. Avoid.
Row 65: These seats, right at the back of the main deck, have limited recline, and are close to the rear toilet and galley meaning more foot traffic, queuing and noise. Avoid.
A380 Economy Class (Upper Deck – Version 1 Aircraft Only)
The A380 Version 1 aircraft have an identical main deck economy class cabin, but also offer economy at the rear section of the upper deck. This is the best place to sit in economy on the A380, as it offers a 2-4-2 configuration. Unfortunately, less than half the SIA A380s in service now offer this layout.
The 22 window pairs on this aircraft are perfect for couples, all other aircraft in the SIA fleet have a 3-3-3 or 3-4-3 configuration in economy, with the exception of the A330 aircraft which also have a 2-4-2 layout in economy, but are only used on regional flights up to eight hours, and are gradually being phased out of the fleet.
Extra legroom seats can be found at rows 71/72 and 80/81 on this aircraft, but beware the bassinet positions across two of the seats in row 72.
Seats 71A / K and 81A / K are all missing a window, despite their extra legroom.
Seats 83 D / G is a sole middle pair of seats wedged between the rear toilets on both sides, which sounds horribly cloustrophobic. Avoid.
What did we miss? If you have personal experience of specific seats to favour or avoid on this aircraft, please let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll certainly try to incorporate your feedback.