Airlines

Singapore Airlines Fleet and Seat Guide (November 2019 update)

Singapore Airlines releases an updated fleet plan, and more 2009 Regional Business Class seats depart along with 2 A330s and 1 B772.
Welcome to The Milelion’s Singapore Airlines fleet and seat guide. You can always find the most updated version of this guide here. If you want to learn more about specific seat types, have a read of our First Class and Business Class seat guides.

Key changes since last edition

New fleet development plan

SIA published an updated fleet development plan in early November. The main difference between this one and the previous is that two additional B777-200ERs will be retained as at 31 March 2020.

It’s not clear why the change in plans (perhaps to cover capacity shortages at SilkAir arising from the 737 MAX 8 groundings), but whatever the case, we’ll be seeing the 2006 Business Class seats on Boeing aircraft for a little while longer. The only other aircraft featuring this seat is the Airbus A380.

2006 Business Class seat

9V-SQL leaves active service, three B777-200s left

9V-SQL | Photo: Wong Chi Lam

The -200ERs may be getting a stay of execution, but the -200s are still on the way out. 9V-SQL made its final flight on 18 October 2019 from Melbourne. This aircraft was delivered in August 2003, and with 16 years on the clock, it’s high time for it to be put to pasture.

This aircraft encountered a turbulence incident in January 2019 while operating a Melbourne to Wellington leg, resulting in it “losing height for a moment”. Fortunately, only one passenger was injured, and the aircraft landed safely with no damage.

Two more A330-300s out of service, fewer 2009 Regional Business Class seats

The A330-300 draw down continues, as two more aircraft return to lessor.

9V-STQ stopped flying on 29 September (last flight: TPE), and 9V-STU on 29 October (last flight: KIX). This means two fewer aircraft with the 2009 Regional Business Class seat, and I think no one really minds. The sooner these stopgap seats are banished to the annals of the SQ fleet, the better.

2009 Regional Business Class

The retirement of the A330-300s means that passengers on short to medium-haul flights can look forward to more 2018 Regional Business Class seats on the B787 and A359.

One more long-haul A350-900s join the fleet

Photo credit: Eurospot

9V-SMZ was delivered on 31 October and started service on 4 November as SQ118 to Kuala Lumpur. The 2013 Business Class is a very nice seat to have on a 45 minute flight, but sadly that was just a once-off. The aircraft now regularly plies the ~15 hour non-stop SFO route.

2013 Business Class seat

In terms of future deliveries, 9V-SHK completed its third test flight on 15 November and should be delivered within this month, followed closely by 9V-SJA. 9V-SHL, SHM and SHN are either on the final assembly line or awaiting their first flight (source: A350XWB), so there’s still more A350-900s to come before the year closes.

Summary Table- which aircraft have what seats?

In service aircraft as of 17 Nov 2019. Total figures may differ from “active” aircraft due to routine MRO. Does not include aircraft legally registered but no longer in service (i.e. being kept for disposal)

Why do seats matter?

For many people, flying First or Business Class could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the type of seat you get can make or break it. Why does this matter? Well, there’s nothing worse than splurging your hard-earned miles on a Business Class seat only to find out you didn’t get what you bargained for.

Consider Singapore to Hong Kong. It costs the same number of miles to redeem a business class seat on SQ2 and SQ868.

The difference? SQ2 is a B777-300ER equipped with SQ’s 2013 Business Class seat that goes full flat in a 1-2-1 all aisle access configuration.

Photo credit: Traveling For Miles

SQ 868 is an B777-200. Its 2009 Regional Business Class seats only go angled flat, and the cabin is 2-2-2 configured with no direct aisle access for some seats.

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So I imagine if you assumed all the seats from SIN-HKG would be the same, you’d be pretty steamed for paying the same number of miles for an inferior product.

Although more seasoned travelers will know SQ’s fleet at the back of their hands, first-timers to the miles game may be unfamiliar with the eight types of planes SQ operates.

The A350-900ULR is quite a different beast from the A350-900, but it’s listed as one family on the SQ site

Therefore, I wanted to create a guide to SQ’s fleet, showcasing the different First and Business Class seats available and how you can figure out which ones your flight has.

Suites- 2007 Version

SQ’s 2007 Suites product may be over 10 years old by now, but this still sets the standard for luxury. With 12 suites in a cabin, four of which can convert into double beds (note that the hard divider in the middle makes this more like two single beds pushed together), this is the product honeymoon dreams are made of. Yes, there’s a new suites product in town, but even if you end up flying this one I wouldn’t consider it “second class suites” by any means.

You can read reviews of the 2007 Suites product here, here, here and here.

How to know if I’ve got it?

  • If you’re on an A380-800, you have a 68% (13/19) chance of this seat
  • Look at the seat map. If you see 12 Suites seats, you definitely have the 2007 Suites

  • All other aircraft have a 0% chance of this seat

Suites- 2017 Version

SQ has reduced the number of Suites in its new A380-800 aircraft from 12 to six, and changed the layout from 1-2-1 to 1-1. That means these new Suites are guaranteed to offer an unprecedented amount of personal space.

Unlike the old suites, you have a separate seat and bed which can both be deployed at the same time (the 2007 version had a bed that folded out from the wall, but that necessitated collapsing the seat). You’ll also have a much more spacious bathroom and, if you’re traveling with a companion, the suites in rows one and two can be converted into a double room. Yes, a double room, with a double bed.

You can read a review of the 2017 Suites here.

How to know if I’ve got it?

  • If you’re on an A380-800, you have a 32% (6/19) chance of this seat. Look for 9V-SKS, 9V-SKU, 9V-SKV, 9V-SKW, 9V-SKY and 9V-SKZ, which serve selected flights to Hong Kong, London, Sydney, Shanghai and Zurich
  • Alternatively, look at the seat map. If you see six Suites seats, you definitely have the 2017 Suites

  • All other aircraft have a 0% chance of this seat

First Class- 2006 Version

Image result for sq old first class
photo credit: SFO777

This seat was introduced in 2006 along with SQ’s first-ever lie flat Business Class seat (read about the evolution of SQ’s premium cabin seats here)

It’s now passing the 13 year mark and the seat has obviously seen quite a bit of wear and tear. First Class seats tend to go out empty more often than Business Class seats, so the wear won’t be as bad as on the 2006 Business Class seats, but something to note nonetheless. In any case, this aircraft type operates short and medium haul First Class routes like MNL, BWN, CGK, PVG and BOM, so you won’t have to deal with it on long haul flights.

How to know if I’ve got it?

  • If you’re on a B777-300, you have a 100% chance of getting this seat
  • Alternatively, look at the seatmap. If you see eight seats in the First Class cabin, you definitely have the 2006 First Class seat.

  • All other aircraft have a 0% chance of this seat

First Class- 2013 Version

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The 2013 First Class seat represents a stylistic refresh of the 2006 First Class seat, with sophisticated dark leather tones and a little set of orange lines near the headrest that for whatever reason I find super classy. It’s also 7 years newer than the 2006 version and therefore in much better condition. Other great features include a lot more privacy from the aisle and a bigger, crisper TV screen.

How to know if I’ve got it?

  • If you’re on a B777-300ER (aka B77W), you have a 100% chance of getting this product
  • Alternatively, check the seatmap. If you see four seats in the First Class cabin, you are guaranteed to have the 2013 First Class product

  • All other aircraft have a 0% chance of this seat

Business Class- 2006 Version

The 2006 Business Class seat was revolutionary when she came out, but time has taken its toll and she’s ready to be put to pasture. Although these seats are still wider and more private than what a lot of airlines have in First Class, 13 years of service mean you’ll find discolored upholstery, chipped panels, the odd sticky controller and other deficiencies. It’s not a seat you should actively avoid, but it’s not my first choice either.

You can read a review of the 2006 Business Class seat here.

How to know if I’ve got it?

  • If you’re flying on an A380-800, you have a 68% (13/19) chance of this seat. Check the seatmap. If you see the one on the left (with rows 11-24 in the forward cabin), you have the 2017 Business Class seat. If you see the one on the right (with rows 11-16 in the forward cabin), you have the 2006 Business Class seat

  • Another hint you have the 2017 Business Class seat is the double bed symbols in 11D/11F, but this isn’t 100% reliable because if these are already occupied, they will just appear to be grey
Both these seatmaps are from 2017 Business Class configured A380s, but seats 11D/F on the right are already occupied so the telltale doublebed symbol does not appear. Compare with 11D/F on the left.
  • If you’re flying on a B777-200ER, you have a 100% chance of this seat
  • All other aircraft have a 0% chance of this seat

Business Class- 2013 Version

This is the refreshed version of the 2006 seat that SQ launched in 2013. I love the design philosophy behind this seat- it’s sleek, gorgeous and on some newly-refitted aircraft still has that new seat smell. Look forward to a touch screen controller, bigger screen and more lounging positions over the 2006 seat. This seat is noticeably more narrow than its 2006 predecessor, however, but you’d have to be very wide to notice.

You can read a review of the 2013 Business Class seat here and here.

How to know if I’ve got it?

  • If you’re on an A350-900, you have an 71% (25/35) chance of this seat. The problem is, SQ’s website doesn’t draw a distinction between the Long Haul and Medium Haul versions of the aircraft- they’re both listed as A350-900. So check your seatmap. If you see the one on the left, you have the 2018 Regional Business Class seat (see below). If you see the one on the right, you have the 2013 Business Class seat

  • If you’re on an A350-900ULR, which operate the non-stop SFO/LAX/EWR routes, you have a 100% chance of this seat
  • If you’re on a B777-300ER, you have a 100% chance of this seat
  • All other aircraft have a 0% chance of this seat

Business Class- 2017 Version

This purple beauty is yet another step in the evolution of SQ’s top of the line business class seat. Unlike the 2006 and 2013 versions, this seat does not need to be flipped over into a bed- you simply recline it at whatever angle you prefer. These seats are supposed to provide better noise isolation as well with the wrap around wings, and although narrower than the 2006 version, will still be plenty wide for most people.

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The two seats in the middle can be converted into a double bed, but that’s a term used rather loosely as only your upper bodies will be together- the cutout for your feet is still separated. Here’s an idea of what it looks like in the bulkhead seats

Image result for singapore airlines new a380 business class
photo credit: getty images

You can read a review of the 2017 Business Class seat here.

How to know if I’ve got it?

  • If you’re on an A380, you have a 32% (6/19) chance of this seat. Look for 9V-SKS, 9V-SKU, 9V-SKV, 9V-SKW, 9V-SKY and 9V-SKZ, which serve selected flights to Hong Kong, London, Sydney, Shanghai and Zurich
  • Check your seatmap. If you see the one on the left (with rows 11-24 in the forward J cabin), you have the 2017 Business Class product. If you see the one on the right (with rows 11-16 in the forward J cabin), you have the 2006 Business Class product (see above)

  • All other aircraft have a 0% chance of this seat

Business Class- 2009 Regional

20160902_175906

This is easily my least favorite SQ business class seat- it doesn’t go full flat, it’s 2-2-2 without all aisle access and it’s simply not good enough for some of the longer flights SQ deploys it on.

These seats most often make an appearance on regional flights to Bangkok and Saigon. They’re ok for daytime flights (in fact, some weirdos even prefer them because they’re better suited for work), but much less suitable for night time red eyes. They’re also hardly an aspirational redemption, so do your homework and make sure you redeem your miles for the right products.

The good news is this seat will progressively disappear from the fleet as the new B787-10s come in. You can read a review of the 2009 Regional Business Class seat here and here.

How to know if I’ve got it?

  • If you’re flying on an A330-300, you have a 100% chance of this seat
  • If you’re flying on B777-200, you have a 100% chance of this seat
  • If you’re flying on a B777-300, you have a 100% chance of this seat
  • All other aircraft have a 0% chance of this seat

Business Class- 2018 Regional

The 2018 Regional Business Class seat is a massive improvement from the 2009 version, and mercifully will become increasingly common throughout the fleet as the A330-300s are returned to lessors and the older B777-200/300 aircraft are retired. This seat will be installed on the new B787-10s that are being delivered to Singapore Airlines, as well as on the regional-configured A350-900s.

These seats are 1-2-1 configured with all aisle access, but do keep in mind that some seats at the side will be closer to the aisle and some will be further away. Similarly, some seats in the middle will be couples seats and others will be divorcee seats- so if you’re traveling by yourself be sure to pick the right ones.

You can read about my cabin tour of the new Regional Business Class seat here, and a flight review here.

How to know if I’ve got it?

  • If you’re flying on a B787-10, you have a 100% chance of this seat
  • If you’re on an A350-900, you have a 29% (10/35) chance of this seat. However, SQ’s website doesn’t draw a distinction between the Long Haul and Medium Haul versions of the aircraft- they’re both listed as A350-900. So check your seatmap. If you see the one on the right, you have the 2013 Business Class seat. If you see the one on the left, you have the 2018 Regional Business Class seat

  • All other aircraft have a 0% chance of this seat

Final Caveats

Airlines reserve the right to swap equipment for “operational reasons”, i.e. as and when they please. Airlines don’t owe you anything if they do this, insofar as they promised you a business class seat and they’re giving you one, but if you make noise SQ will often give you some miles or a KrisShop voucher as compensation.

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That said, knowing the SQ fleet is half the battle, and I believe with the guide above most people should be well-equipped to know what they’re getting themselves into. Once you know the aircraft type, all you have to do is check the seat map and you’re all set.


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