Singapore Airlines' new A380 business class seats with double bed

Singapore Airlines' new A380 business class seats with double bed

Singapore Airlines has opted for measured evolution rather than radical revolution with its new Airbus A380 business class seats, but with a twist: some middle seats can convert into a double bed, in keeping with the airline's new 'space made personal' marketing mantra.

The second-gen superjumbo seats – revealed at an international launch held today at Singapore's Suntec Convention Centre, alongside new first class suites – are a fresh product from JPA Design, which also created the airline's Boeing 777-300ER business class cribs launched in July 2013, which also appears on its Airbus A350 jets.

SQ's A380 'business class 2.0' seats are 25 inches wide (three inches less than their Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 counterparts) and well-appointed, albeit with a lighter and slightly more contemporary colour scheme.

Singapore Airlines has retained the familiar forward-facing layout and 1-2-1 configuration, with a similar degree of 'personal space' plus an extended seat shell for privacy and a slide-down divider between middle seats.

However, the position of the paired centre seats has been swapped around so that in the A380 the passengers are sitting closer together, away from the aisle – the current seats have passengers nearest to the aisle.

Travellers can extend the seat into what SQ terms Lazy Z and Sundeck positions for relaxing before reclining the seat into fully-flat bed mode, which gives you 78 inches (1.98 metres) of snooze space from head to heel.

The middle seats directly behind each of the business class cabin's three bulkhead rows can convert into a double bed – those are 11D/F, 91D/F and 96D/F – although Singapore Airlines says it doesn't expect these to sell at any premium over the rest of the cabin.

There's room enough under the seat to stow your carry-on bag, and find ample space around the seat for getting work done above the clouds, plus nooks for items such as laptops and tablets, smartphones, books and reading glasses.

Of course, each passenger gets a pair of AC and high-powered USB sockets to keep their tech charged up en route, and an 18 inch HD screen for chilling out to the airline's KrisWorld inflight entertainment system.

Travellers can even choose their mix of inflight movies, TV shows and music before they fly, using a smartphone or tablet app which lets them select content from the current KrisWorld catalogue for their flight and then sync that list against your seat over the A380's WiFi system.

(You can also use your Apple or Android device as a remote control for the IFE and call up real-time information on your flight path.)

Other creature comforts include a height-adjustable table which swings up and out from the side console, a personal vanity mirror and a cocktail tray.

These could also be the seats we'll see in SQ's long-range Airbus A350-900ULR jets which will restart direct flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and New York in 2018, in what some pundits expect to have a two-class configuration alongside SQ's premium economy seats.

Same space, more seats

Singapore Airlines' new and upgraded Airbus A380s will sport 78 business class seats, running from directly behind the six-suite first class cabin – which has been relocated from the lower deck to upstairs – to the aircraft's tail, allowing Singapore Airlines to create a 'premium' upper deck dedicated to its highest-paying passengers.

The business class cabin is divided into three sections 50 seats, 20 seats and just eight seats.

Interestingly, all of those 78 seats fit into the same floorspace as 66 seats in the airline's current A380s (counting from the first upper deck exit row, ahead of which now sits first class).

This is evidence of a more space-efficient design for the new seats compared to the first-gen business class benches, even though both list as having 55 inches of pitch.

However, the airline has not opted for any form of social space – similar perhaps to what Qantas plans to do for its own Airbus A380 fleet – nor of course an inflight bar a là EtihadEmirates and Qatar Airways. 

Singapore Airlines will begin flying its new business class seats daily on the Airbus A380 between Singapore and Sydney (SQ221/SQ232) from December 18 2017, with selected Singapore-London services tipped to follow from March 2018.

David Flynn travelled to Singapore as a guest of Singapore Airlines.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

38 comments

  • russell

    russell

    2 Nov, 2017 01:46 pm

    A double bed with zero privacy is a bit confronting.
    Members who gave thanks

    OzMattyD, DGB, azriazmi90, Moonshine, ozind95, qfulf

  • Charles

    SteveCF

    2 Nov, 2017 01:56 pm

    Yeah I agree Russell, I don't think it makes sense, you really want a bit more privacy than that.
    Members who gave thanks

    Upton99, aparasher, azriazmi90

  • paul

    Paully

    2 Nov, 2017 03:40 pm

    Forget the in flight movie - i'll watch the two in the double bed next to me thanks :-)
    Members who gave thanks

    Eli, DiveTravel

  • Michael Reade

    MikeAir

    2 Nov, 2017 03:41 pm

    Only for those of us sitting around you Russel.
    No member give thanks

  • Sharon Upton

    Upton99

    2 Nov, 2017 02:15 pm

    Walking past sleeping couples could be awkward. I would have preferred an onboard bar. Mingle and have a chat with others
    Member who gave thanks

    azriazmi90

  • Fothamickelburg

    Fothamickelburg

    2 Nov, 2017 02:35 pm

    What better way to join the mile high club!?
    Members who gave thanks

    MattJelonek, aparasher, TimWray

  • xtfer

    xtfer

    2 Nov, 2017 02:39 pm

    I can think of several that I would prefer, over "in the middle of the cabin".
    No member give thanks

  • tomJ

    tomJ

    2 Nov, 2017 02:43 pm

    Now cheaper than ever!
    No member give thanks

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    2 Nov, 2017 09:08 pm

    I'd prefer doing so in SQ's new Suites Class bathrooms, personally. But each to their own!
    No member give thanks

  • autvlr

    autvlr

    2 Nov, 2017 02:39 pm

    Some tricky “artwork”. I assume the seats are angled (herringbone) when flat so your “double bed” isn’t really a side by side bed.

    Any idea who is the manufacturer of the seat?
    No member give thanks

  • FLX

    FLX1

    2 Nov, 2017 07:05 pm

    @autvlr:
    "Any idea who is the manufacturer of the seat?"
    The infamous Zodiac......that's right, the OEM that's largely responsible for the 350 delivery delays over the past 2yrs....
    No member give thanks

  • LP

    LP

    2 Nov, 2017 10:37 pm

    Doubles only at bulkhead...
    No member give thanks

  • jubbing

    jubbing

    2 Nov, 2017 02:46 pm

    While the spacing looks great, and I'm sure it's super comfy - they (ironically) went and made the color scheme TOO subtle. Etihad's FCA still looks nicer with the finishes.
    No member give thanks

  • aparasher

    aparasher

    2 Nov, 2017 02:50 pm

    Would have been great if the partition between seats could have slid down. It would be useful especially when travelling with kids.
    No member give thanks

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    2 Nov, 2017 02:58 pm

    Those seats look atrociously sexy. And yes there will be privacy dividers so no one needs to worry about being double-bedded with someone they don't know.

    This new seat is higher-density, higher-amenity, and okay its a touch narrower but 25" wide is still damn generous. It'll be an excellent seat on SQ's aircraft. Now all they need to do is start considering the issue of cross-fleet product consistency.

    Member who gave thanks

    MikeAir

  • BrisbanePE

    BrisbanePE

    2 Nov, 2017 03:24 pm

    Must admit I don't need to be that close to my partner on a long haul flight. Conversely I'd prefer to be somewhat further away from a complete stranger.
    No member give thanks

  • rambler

    rambler

    2 Nov, 2017 04:13 pm

    BrisbanePE That depends on who the stranger is.
    No member give thanks

  • David Ould

    davidould

    3 Nov, 2017 03:54 pm

    "BrisbanePE That depends on who the stranger is."

    Heh. I suspect there is an inverse relationship between how close you want to be to that stranger and how close they want to be to you. ;)
    No member give thanks

  • mcglynp

    mcglynp

    2 Nov, 2017 03:25 pm

    Are the IFE changes allowing you to pre-select and sync entertainment by wifi applicable for all classes or will this be a business and first only feature?
    No member give thanks

  • timster

    timster

    2 Nov, 2017 03:30 pm

    One wonders if there will be an airline policy around who is allowed to share a bed ? Singapore is not exactly renowned as the most 'inclusive' of countries.
    Member who gave thanks

    DGB

  • Graham BLAMEX

    BLAMEX

    2 Nov, 2017 04:06 pm

    QF take note. So disjointed that QF did not use the 787 as an opportunity to have a product that will be the market leader rather than playing catch up. Further the IFE QF offers in respect to range is limited compared with SQ CX etc. I would rather spend 17 hours on this SQ product than QF. One disapointed Platnum 1 customer.
    No member give thanks

  • StudiodeKadent

    StudiodeKadent

    2 Nov, 2017 04:28 pm

    If you're a QF Platinum 1, then you're already giving QF enough money as it is without them having to introduce a world-beating product. So you aren't going to give QF an incentive to change unless you shift entirely to SQ.
    No member give thanks

  • FLX

    FLX1

    2 Nov, 2017 07:27 pm

    @BLAMEX:
    "QF did not use the 787 as an opportunity to have a product that will be the market leader rather than playing catch up."
    But neither is SQ with their brand new premium seat products:
    1. Based on objective measures such as design layout+specs+features, this new J hardware fm SQ is hardly the market leader(unless we count the convertible double-bed feature which delivers zero privacy) today....DL One is.
    2. The F suite is larger than EY Apartment but still far far behind EY Residence.

    "One disapointed Platnum 1 customer."
    Your own FFP membership status(and many others like U) is exactly the evidence which shows the QF strategy to rely more on FFP program than on premium product innovation can deliver more biz @ least fm QF's home mkt.....
    No member give thanks

  • Mark Pannell

    plad

    2 Nov, 2017 04:45 pm

    I don't like those seats. They are too narrow. They look similar width to the terrible seats on their A330-300. What was the problem with the old J seats?
    No member give thanks

  • Lachlan Sturt

    LachlanSturt

    2 Nov, 2017 05:12 pm

    I'm not sure why Singapore opted for a new seat, the 777/A350 product is sensational. This new seat looks cheap and claustrophobic. That privacy divider is honestly one of the poorest designs in modern J cabins that I have seen!

    Cheap, nasty, and squishy. No thank you, I'll stick to QF/CX.
    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    3 Nov, 2017 08:50 am

    The seat shell does look quite plasticky in the PR photos.
    No member give thanks

  • Goat Guy

    Goat Guy

    2 Nov, 2017 05:23 pm

    Sorry, I think the current SQ J seat is poor and I was in one last night and I'll be in another tomorrow night. Tight on legroom and the fact you can't go from recline to lie flat without a lot of mucking about explains why they changed. Interestingly there are no photos I have seen about how the bed works aside from the double. Without the offset you'd imagine you'd need to lie at an angle. I can't understand why the window seats have all that hardware between you and the window rather than the aisle which would create more privacy and allow you a better view out.
    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    2 Nov, 2017 05:28 pm

    Hmm as much as I love SQ I don't think this has a patch on QR's new Qsuite.
    No member give thanks

  • Agfox

    Agfox

    2 Nov, 2017 06:07 pm

    "new business class seats" link produces a 'Page not found' error
    No member give thanks

  • Agfox

    Agfox

    2 Nov, 2017 06:14 pm

    Sorry, I thought I was posting that comment in the First Class article : post fail!
    No member give thanks

  • Scott Rawlings

    sra35

    2 Nov, 2017 07:29 pm

    I love shiny new toys and can’t wait to see it in the flesh. David when will you get to see the real thing?
    No member give thanks

  • Tom McNerney

    MacDaddy

    2 Nov, 2017 07:56 pm

    I don't buy it. At the end of the day, they've stuck 11 rows in the main cabin where there used to be 10 and 2 at the rear where there was one which means they must have (re)moved the rear toilets. And it looks like you still have to faff around to make the bed with the awful handle pull that baffles everyone the first couple of times. Major upgrade on Suites, not so much on Business
    No member give thanks

  • Arza

    Arza

    2 Nov, 2017 09:25 pm

    The footwell of the new seat is still extremely small and still functions as a bed only if you lie on it on an angle. The bed is almost a short zigzag!
    No member give thanks

  • John Goss

    Travelwell

    2 Nov, 2017 09:32 pm

    I'd love to book 2 business seats just to sleep in the double bed solo. Probably cheaper than first but probably to the sneer of fellow passengers.
    No member give thanks

  • Russjking

    Russjking

    2 Nov, 2017 09:47 pm

    Oh no! The old wide seat with a separate fold-down bed beat anything else up there for comfort.
    This doesn't seem to do that.
    No member give thanks

  • eric0913

    eric0913

    3 Nov, 2017 10:05 am

    The cost reduction product, the end of SQ legend.
    No member give thanks

  • Clancy

    Clancy

    5 Nov, 2017 08:47 pm

    Fully flat, but angled, what? No thanks...!!! I gave this up on a QF flight from LAX to SYD on an older 747 some years ago. Flat should be flat, not sloping, curved or any 'alternate position'. The feeling of slowly sliding off the 'flat bed' while trying to sleep is not great, actually it's really uncomfortable. But wait, that is why SQ has the narrow foot well, as a brake., to halt progression into the darkness...

    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    6 Nov, 2017 12:17 am

    You sleep fully flat but your body is lying at an angle, not straight down the seat.

    No member give thanks

Guest

15 Dec, 2018 04:35 pm

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