After last month’s coverage of Singapore Airlines launch of the new A380 product; I was invited to Toulouse, the factory of Airbus, as part of the media team to pick up the brand new A380 of Singapore Airlines and fly her to Singapore. This was my first delivery ferry flight and one of the more unusual flights in my life!
This report details the delivery flight of the brand new Singapore Airlines A380, which features a complete redesign of: First Class Suites, Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class.
There was an amazing ceremony with a light show, a speech from Airbus GCEO Tom Enders and a speech from Singapore Airlines VP of Commercial, Mak Swee Wah. Many guests were invited to attend the ceremony which was followed by a lunch: you can see the ceremony from the video below.
Delivery Ceremony at Toulouse
SQ8898 Toulouse to Singapore
Our flight departed around 14:45 from Toulouse, with a flying time of 12 hours to Singapore.
The take-off weight was 542 tons, captain Yeo explained that the purchase of an A380 comes with fuel; so the airline is taking as much fuel as possible, with a light load of passengers and zero cargo.
The flight had a total of 95 passengers include cabin crew. All passengers were seated in Business Class on the upper deck. The entire lower deck was empty, which is unusual by any account!
During the flight, members of the media had the opportunity to experience the new product across all classes.
The new Singapore Airlines A380 will be configured with 471 seats in four classes, featuring six Singapore Airlines Suites and 78 Business Class seats on the upper deck, as well as 44 Premium Economy Class seats and 343 Economy Class seats on the main deck.
New First Class Suites
With just six suites located at the front cabin of upper deck (re-located from the main deck to the upper deck) there is much more space created and privacy is ensured!
Stepping into their L-shaped suite, passengers can relax in an elegant 21-inch wide Poltrona Frau Leather Armchair.
The First Class Suites were kept empty from passengers but were available for the media tour during the flight.
Suite 1A/2A and 1K/2K can be join together as double suite with double bed together.
The swivel capability of the chair (between 135 and 270 degrees) along with a recline of up to 45 degrees, provides added flexibility for dining and relaxation.
There is a massive 32 inch HD video panel, electronically-controlled roller blinds (to turn your suite into a cosy cocoon) an under-bench area to stow your carry-on bag and a personal wardrobe.
The bed in each suite can be retracted and provide a much bigger space.Suite 3A/3F are single suites that cannot join other suites.
I was given a good opportunity to try out the double suite and found the bedding extremely comfortable.
First Class Bathroom and Amenity
Singapore Airlines A380 has 2 large First Class bathrooms in front of the upper deck.
One of the bathrooms has a full make-up table with adjustable mirror and full amenity.
Toiletries are provided by French brand Lalique.
New Business Class
Seats in The Business Class Cabin are arranged in a forward-facing, four-abreast (1-2-1) configuration that offers all customers direct access to the aisles.
At a glance the seat is: fully flat, long and able to convert into double bed for couples travelling together!
The new Business Class seat is not as wide as the current version on the A350/A380/B777; it does however come with improved privacy, provided by a full wall barrier that can be lowered to create the double bed!
The seat reclines into a fully-flat bed, but with a weird angled sleeping position...Some travellers will find this quite comfortable because you can sleep on your back or on your side, while others will intensely dislike lying on an angle. I am not a fan of this and find it just weird.
I think the new Business Class seems like more of an evolution of their current seat rather than a revolution. The big improvement is that you no longer have to flip the seat to convert it into to a flat bed. You also get the improved privacy with a middle wall panel that goes all the way up. For couples, you can lower the panel to create the "couples" bed (2 singles side by side).
However, I am not a big fan of the weird sleeping position with a "box" that confines your leg and feet movement, when in the full flat position.
The bulkhead seat 11K, where my seat was, no longer offers extra legroom as does the middle bulkhead seats (11D and 11F or 91D and 91F or 96D and 96F)
There are 44 Premium Economy Class Seats on the new A380 of Singapore Airlines. They are located in the forward section of lower deck.
Each Premium Economy Seat comes with a 13.3” personal entertainment screen, and also boasts a 38” seat pitch. You can even pre-order your preferred meal via "Book the Cook"!
Row 31 has amazing leg room. To know more about Singapore Airlines Premium Economy, click here.
I was impressed by the double seat in the middle, with the ability to raise the armrest in between the seats for pairs travelling together.
The new A380 of Singapore Airlines features a new Economy Class with 343 seats on the main deck. The new seat comes with a 4-way adjustable sculpted headrest, with comfortable neck support.
The seat boasts an impressive 32” seat pitch. There is no hand set in between the armrest; everything is at the back of the seat for easier reach!
Given this is an unusual delivery ferry flight, the food and beverage is of Airbus catering standard instead of Singapore Airlines' usual standard. Although everything comes with a disposable tray and plastic cutlery, the catering itself is of high Business Class standard.
After take-off, champagne and the below pre-packed canapes were served.
For dinner, a tray with salad, crab meat salad, cheese and strawberry tart was served. We were given a main course choice between veal or salmon.
Before landing, a full breakfast tray were served with scramble eggs.
Our A380 touched down at Singpaore Changi Airport at local time 9:52 am, after 12 hours flying time. There was a welcome ceremony at the gate, with Singapore Airlines CEO, Goh Choon Phong and Airbus President and COO, Fabrice Bergier in attendance.
What a fabulous way to sample the real product in action, after attending the product launch last month in the convention center! I am so lucky to be able to try out this amazing new product before the plane enters commercial service. It was an unforgettable and unusual flight experience. I was able to take a lot of promotional pictures and record a product demo video during the flight. Moreover, I was able to build relationships and socialize with other industry leading journalists and airline executives during the flight.
Sam Chui traveled from Toulouse to Singapore as a guest of Singapore Airlines.
Singapore Airlines’ new A380s are fitted with 471 seats in four classes, with six in Suites, 78 in Business Class, 44 in Premium Economy Class and 343 in Economy Class. The new products will initially be fitted to the five new aircraft being acquired from Airbus, after which retrofit work will begin on 14 aircraft that are already in service.
The A380 delivered today will commence scheduled service between Singapore and Sydney on 18 December as flight SQ221, departing Singapore at 2040hrs and arriving into Sydney at 0740hrs the following day. It will return as flight SQ232, departing Sydney at 1215hrs and arriving into Singapore at 1735hrs.
Additional destinations for the new products will be revealed in the coming months. In addition to Sydney, the Airline’s A380s serve Auckland, Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Zurich.