Singapore Airlines adds A380 services to Melbourne and Sydney; axes Frankfurt and New York

May 2023 will see some A380 musical chairs, with MEL and SYD benefitting at the expense of FRA and JFK. Here's what to do if you're affected.

Since travel restrictions lifted in earnest, aviation boffins have been keeping a keen eye on where Singapore Airlines is deploying its 12 A380-800 aircraft. While A380 services to stalwarts like London and Sydney have been restored, we’ve yet to see the whale jet return to pre-COVID destinations like Auckland and Zurich. 

Singapore Airlines has now revealed its 2023 plans for the A380, and it’s good news for travellers to Australia, but somewhat less so for those to Germany and the USA. 

A380 services will be added to Melbourne and Sydney

Melbourne and Sydney get upgauged come 16 and 17 May 2023

First, the good news. Singapore Airlines will be adding A380 services to Melbourne and Sydney from May 2023. 

Melbourne

From 16 May 2023, the A380 will return to Melbourne for the first time in almost four years, operated on the following flight numbers:

  • SQ237 SIN-MEL (Dep: 0025 Arr: 0950)
  • SQ228 MEL-SIN (Dep: 1540 Arr: 2130)

This replaces the B777-300ER currently scheduled on this route. 

Sydney

From 17 May 2023, Singapore Airlines will add an additional A380 service to Sydney, operated on the following flight numbers:

  • SQ221 SIN-SYD (Dep: 2020 Arr: 0555 (+1))
  • SQ232 SYD-SIN (Dep: 1100 Arr: 1730)

This replaces the A350-900MH currently scheduled on this route. 

As a reminder, Singapore Airlines already operates a daily A380 service to Sydney, on SQ231/222. This makes Sydney the only destination apart from London to enjoy twice daily A380 services. 

A380 services axed to Frankfurt and New York

Frankfurt and New York get downgauged come 15 May 2023

With a fixed number of A380s in the fleet, you can’t add services somewhere without axing them elsewhere. That axing, unfortunately, has come from Frankfurt and New York. 

From 15 May 2023, Singapore Airlines will remove the A380 from the Singapore-Frankfurt-New York (JFK) route, replacing it with a B777-300ER.

  • SQ26: SIN-FRA (Dep: 2355 Arr: 0645 (+1))
  • SQ26: FRA-JFK (Dep: 0835 Arr: 1110)
  • SQ25: JFK-FRA (Dep: 2055 Arr: 1040 (+1))
  • SQ25: FRA-SIN (Dep: 1230 Arr: 0650 (+1))

Singapore Airlines will continue to operate its two daily non-stop service to New York via SQ24/23 to Newark and SQ22/21 to New York JFK. 

How this affects you

At the time of writing, the aircraft swaps have yet to be made in the system. In other words, your itinerary should still reflect the previous aircraft type. 

We’re likely to see the switch made in the next few days, which should trigger an automatic email alert to your inbox. When that happens, any pre-existing seats may be reassigned, or you may be downgraded to a lower cabin in the case of Suites passengers on the A380. 

So keep an eye out for this mail, because there’s a couple of things you’ll want to do as soon as possible. 

If you’re being upgauged to an A380

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites

Passengers who booked First Class seats on SQ237/228 will now be upgraded from First to Suites. There’s a total of six Suites on the A380, and not all are made equal. Row 1 is the largest, followed by Rows 2 and 3. 

1A
(54 ft2)
1F
(54 ft2)
2A
(43 ft2)
2F
(43 ft2)
3A
(35 ft2)
3F
(35 ft2)

More importantly, Suites 1A and 2A & Suites 1F and 2F can be converted into a single “mega-suite”, complete with double bed. These will be the seats you absolutely want to snap up straight away, if you’re traveling with a companion.

Suites 1A and 2A

I’ll be publishing an updated review of the A380 Suites by the end of this week, so stay tuned!

Passengers who booked Business Class seats on SQ237/228 or SQ221/232 will now enjoy the 2017 Business Class seat. I just published a detailed review on this product, but the tl;dr is that it offers a much-improved couples’ experience, together with improved privacy and noise isolation. The sleeping surface, however, is on the hard side and I wouldn’t rate it as one of my better sleep experiences. 

Review: Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class SIN-JFK

Couples travelling together will want to try and secure the 11D/F, 91 D/F and 96D/F seats, because these convert into a “double bed”, though truth be told only the top half of your bodies will be together (and we all know the bottom half is where all the fun happens…).

Double bed in 96D/F

If you’re being downgauged from an A380

B777-300ER First Class cabin
Singapore Airlines B777-300ER First Class

Passengers who booked Suites on SQ26/25 will be downgraded to First Class, which first world problem though it may seem, is still a discernible step down in terms of product quality. 

Review: Singapore Airlines B777-300ER First Class Frankfurt to Singapore

You won’t be slumming it by any means, but there won’t be a double bed option, nor privacy door. There also won’t be a separate bed and seat, so switching between lounging and sleeping will require the assistance of the crew. 

Then there’s the tricky question of who gets bumped. As mentioned, A380s have six Suites, but the B777-300ER only has four First Class seats. Per my understanding:

  • Passengers on award tickets will be bumped before those on revenue tickets
  • If there are multiple award passengers, passengers will be bumped based on KrisFlyer/PPS Club status, with regular KrisFlyer first and Solitaire PPS Club last
  • If a tie-break is still necessary, passengers will be bumped based on date of booking, with those who booked earlier getting precedence

Bumped passengers will be offered seats in Business Class, with a refund of the difference in miles. You may be offered goodwill compensation on top of that, but I’d like to emphasise the “goodwill” part. Aircraft swaps, annoying as they are, are part and parcel of flying. With the downgrade taking place so far in advance, you’re not entitled to any form of compensation beyond a refund of the difference.

Hope for the future?

9V-SKP

Singapore Airlines has 12 A380 aircraft in its fleet, but only 11 of them are in active service. The 12th, 9V-SKP, is still undergoing a cabin refit to the latest 2017 seats, which began in July 2022. 

Based on previous data points, the time taken for a refit is approximately eight months. This means we should see this aircraft back around February 2023, in time for the northern summer schedule which begins at the end of March. 

Does that mean a restoration of A380 services to Frankfurt and New York? I wouldn’t count on it. Such is the distance that a single daily roundtrip service requires up to three A380s, and moreover, it appears the FRA-JFK leg may not be as high-yielding as SIA had hoped for (a possible reason for the reluctance to keep the A380 on this route has been shared by Ray in the Telegram Group). 

With Melbourne and Sydney being “money routes” for SIA, it just makes more sense to deploy the high capacity A380s here, and I suspect 9V-SKP might be used to restore A380 services to another pre-COVID destination (yes, everyone wants Tokyo). 

Conclusion

It’s a zero-sum game for Singapore Airlines, as Melbourne and Sydney passengers benefit at the expense of Frankfurt and New York.

The gulf between Suites and First Class is arguably larger than between the 2017 Business Class and 2018 Regional/2013 Business Class seats, but either way the reshuffle means you’ll want to pay attention to your email over the next few days. The more lucrative bulkhead and couples’ seats will be snapped up quickly, and it’s a case of you snooze you lose. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

Similar Articles

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

6 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anon

SIN–NRT–LAX

the last A380 route

James Quek

Any idea when the summer schedule will be out? The current AKL to SIN beyond Apr 23 on F class is still via SYD direct flight of SQ286 is preferred.

J T

Hi Aaron,

I read in the same media release

From 26 March 2023, the Airline will operate SQ892 and SQ893, a daily service between Singapore and Hong Kong SAR, using the A380 aircraft.”.

But the aircraft is still reflected as 777-300ER on the KF booking site. Although A380 is already listed as the aircraft for both the SYD and MEL routes.

Doubt they got their media release incorrect, so probably just taking a while to update their system at the back end? Any thoughts?

J T

Spot on Aaron!

Already updated.

N T

Any idea if I have an Advantage redemption on SQ26.Will I be able to cancel / change flight without the usual fee given that there is a change in flight from A380 to B777

Last edited 12 days ago by N T

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

Advertisment

Featured Deals

Advertisment

Follow us

7,110FansLike
2,641FollowersFollow

TAGS