Singapore Airlines’ A380s have always been home to luxurious cabins. Years ago, the airline was the first airline in the world to introduce the concept of a ‘Suite’ in its First Class, but much has changed since then — and now even double beds can be found in Business Class on some airlines.
Following an $850m investment and four years of development, Singapore Airlines has now introduced a new premium cabin product to the market, a First Class suite — offering new levels of luxury.
Earlier this year, I filmed with Channel 4 (a major UK television channel) for a documentary ‘The World’s Most Luxurious Airline’. The show specifically focused on the brand new First Class suites, launched by Singapore Airlines last December — and followed me on the delivery of the first aircraft to feature the new cabin products.
I joined the Singapore Airlines and Airbus team to deliver what would be known as the ‘New A380’. While A380s have been in service for over ten years now, this aircraft would be extra special. The airline is using the launch of its new Suites to attempt to set a new standard of First Class. It’s true that several other airline carriers use the word ‘suites’ to describe their products, but this is the real deal. The theme Singapore Airlines are going for? ‘A hotel in the Sky’.
Located at the front of the A380 Upper Deck, there are six First Class Suites. As you can see from the ‘suite-map’ below, the front two suites are ‘interconnecting’ — meaning a divider can be lowered in order for couples can share their Suite experience.
The cabin is single-aisle, with suites on either side.
The suite doors are large, and have a tall wardrobe compartment that’s able to fit a (standing) hand-luggage suitcase. Passengers are also able to hang clothes in the wardrobe.
The various ‘cut out’ patterns (with some illuminated overhead) are the ‘feathers’ of the Singapore Airlines bird, the lead designer tells me.
Each suite has its own separate full-flat bed (measuring 27 inches by 76 inches) with adjustable recline. There’s also a plush chair, upholstered in Poltrona Frau leather.
Suites have a large 32 inch flat screen TV on the wall, enahcning the ‘hotel room vibe’. Furthermore, the entire Suite is controlled by a tablet — which can adjust lights, TV position, movies, call the flight attendant and more.
For couples, the Suites are designed in a way which means the dividing wall (between the first two suites on each side of the aircraft) can be lowered, to create a double bed.
During the flight I was also able to use the tablet to extend the TV on it’s automatic bracket, in order for the screen to be facing me while I was dining.
Each Suite features two windows, and Singapore Airlines has cleverly made this part of the ‘Suite’ experience. To help passengers to enjoy the view…each armchair seat in each suite is able to turn electronically (controlled via tablet) a full 270 degrees, all the way around to face the windows.
This for me – is one of the best features of Singapore Airlines’ new Suite.
On the delivery flight, it meant that once I closed the suite door, I turned the seat to face the windows, dimmed all of the lights…and watched the sun set over the Middle East.
We were cruising at 38,000ft, the sunset was incredible…and I was able to watch it all from the comfort of the ‘seat in the suite’, actually facing the windows.
In front of the windows, is ‘dressing table’ area, with an illuminated mirror — and amenities.
Here’s the view from one of the windows…
The cabin has been designed and defined to ensure the interior is complimented by the aircraft mood lighting.
There’s certainly something ‘presidential’ about the suites, especially when the table is extended. It means you’re essentially at a working desk, with onboard WiFi and full mobile cellular signal, the ability to close the blinds electronically (there are no ‘pull down window shades up here), dim the suite lights as appropriate, and have a TV screen displaying anything from the aircraft’s location on a moving map, to the latest news, or US boxsets.
After the flight, I joked that the new cabins are as close to an experience on Air Force One I have had…yet.
Here’s what the single Suite looks like during take off and landing…
Is there something I dislike about the new Suites?
Firstly, there are not any showers on this aircraft — and Singapore Airlines design team say it ‘wasn’t a necessary feature’ given all passengers will be flying to/from/via Singapore, where the airline has First Class lounges, equipped with showers.
In addition to this, there are no individual air vents to regulate the temperature of your suite (and this is because there are no individual air vents anywhere on the aircraft).
Instead, the aircraft is controlled in various ‘climate zones’ by the cabin crew, with air conditioning emerging from the vents in the ceiling/upper side wall panels of the aircraft. It meant that while I was asleep, the cabin was a little too warm for my liking…and an individual nozzle air vent would’ve been enough to regulate the temperature.
The ‘New A380’ First Class Suites by Singapore Airlines are stunning, comfortable, and practical. The design is sleek, and the cabin definition is of an incredibly high standard. I like the colour palette and materials used to create the overall cabin appearance, and I think Singapore Airlines now have the strongest First Class product in the world.
The ablitiy to connect suites when travelling as a pair is valuable, and the suite doesn’t feel claustraphobic, even in single-suite mode.
The bedding is comfortable, and the little extras such as Laliq amentities add to the luxury elements of the cabin.
While the experience could have been even greater, with the addition of air conditioning nozzles, or onboard showers like other First Class airline heavyweights, the Suite remains incredibly superior to most of the world’s airlines’ premium offerings.
What do you think of Singapore’s new First Class Suite?