Singapore Airlines Fleet and Seat Guide (January 2020 update)

SQ finally refits a second A380 (just 12 more to go!) in this month's fleet update.

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

Another refitted A380 finally rejoins the fleet

9V-SKT| Copyright @Anna Zvereva

Here’s some food for thought: when the new A380 cabin products were unveiled, SQ management confidently predicted that all 14 older A380s would be refitted by the end of 2020.

r/agedlikemilk

It’s now the start of 2020, and we’re at 2 of 14. 9V-SKT re-entered service early this month on the Tokyo Narita route, joining 9V-SKS (which finished its refit in June 2019).

There are 11 months left this year. It took that amount of time to refit -SKT, compared to 8 months for -SKS. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon (or project manager, evidently) to see that there’s no way the 2020 deadline will be met.

Why the refits are taking so long, only SQ knows. The airline told FlightGlobal that it is now unable to provide a “definitive updated timeline” for the completion of the retrofitting work, and that each aircraft “will generally take several months for installation of the new cabin products.”

This brings the total A380s with the 2017 Suites and Business Class products to seven. You can currently find these seats on selected flights to Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo Narita, and Zurich.

More regional A350-900s inbound

9V-SHM was delivered to Singapore Airlines on 23 January from the Airbus factory in Toulouse, and should enter service shortly. This is a regional-configured A350-900 (you can tell by the SH* prefix), and sports the 2018 Regional Business Class seat.

2018 Regional Business Class Seat

The next two A350-900s that the airline will receive, 9V-SHN and 9V-SHO, will also be in the regional configuration. The A350-900 has already overtaken the B777 to be SQ’s most common airframe, and with 46 of these in the fleet and 21 still to come, you’re almost certain to be flying one in the near future.

2009 Regional Business Class retirements

2009 Regional Business Class

With every month that goes by, the terror that is the 2009 Regional Business Class seat is another step closer to vanishing. As a reminder, these seats can be found on A330-300s, B777-200s, and B777-300s.

According to Airfleets.net, 9V-SSA has joined fellow A330-300s STQ and STZ in storage, awaiting a new life with another airline. This brings the number of in-service A330-300s to just 9.

Based on what I’m seeing on flightaware, 9V-SRM and SQM (both B777-200s) have also not flown in a while- if indeed this is the end for them, then -SQN will be the last of its type standing. This matches what we know from SQ’s fleet development plan (see below), that there’ll only be one B777-200 left by 31 March 2020.

The curious case of 9V-SVM

We know that Singapore Airlines’ updated fleet plan calls for three (up from one) B777-200ERs to be retained as of 31 March 2020. There are currently four in the fleet, and the question was which one would bite the dust first.

On top: old fleet development plan | Below: updated fleet development plan

Last month, I hypothesized that 9V-SVM might be the -200ER flying to the great boneyard in the sky (or, more accurately, Victorville). It developed a fault on 30 November while on the ground in Bangkok, was shuttled back to Singapore a few days later, and sat out of action for weeks.

2006 Business Class seat on the B777-200ER aircraft

However, towards the end of December it popped up again on routes to Phuket (where SQ is providing cover for MI due to capacity issues arising from the 737 MAX 8 groundings), Jakarta and Bangkok, only to stop flying again on 18 January.

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But before you say that settles it, consider the fact that 9V-SVE also stopped flying just a day later on 19 January. I have no idea whether it’s just routine maintenance or something more permanent, but it looks like we’ll have to wait and see who the final three B777-200ERs are.

Summary Table- which aircraft have what seats?

First Class
2017 Suites2013 F2007 Suites2006 F
A380-8007/1912/19
B777-3005/5
B777-300ER27/27
Business Class
2018 RJ2017 J2013 J2009 RJ2006 J
A330-3009/9
A350-90013/3926/39
A350-900ULR7/7
A380-8007/1912/19
B777-2003/3
B777-200ER4/4
B777-3005/5
B777-300ER27/27
B787-1015/15
In service aircraft as of 25 January 2020. 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 SQ 2 and SQ 868.

The difference? SQ 2 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 a 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.

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 63% (12/19) 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.

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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 37% (7/19) chance of this seat. Look for 9V-SKS, 9V-SKT, 9V-SKU, 9V-SKV, 9V-SKW, 9V-SKY and 9V-SKZ, which serve selected flights to Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Sydney, Shanghai, Tokyo Narita, 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

IMG_4680.JPG

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 63% (12/19) 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 double bed 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.

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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 67% (26/39) 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.

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 37% (7/19) chance of this seat. Look for 9V-SKS, 9V-SKT, 9V-SKU, 9V-SKV, 9V-SKW, 9V-SKY and 9V-SKZ, which serve selected flights to Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Sydney, Shanghai, Tokyo Narita, 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 33% (13/39) 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.

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.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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