This trip could be called, "You fell for a sale trip". One morning in October I received an email from Krisflyer stating their new A350 long range flights were on sale. What was normally 88,000 points to the west coast was promoted at 65,000 points. The Newark flight was a little more. I looked at some availability and LA's flight got in too late to fly on to Chicago and Newarks' flight wasn't available for the time I wanted to travel. Then I stumbled upon the inaugural A350 ULR flight to SFO. More digging found Q-Suites to Doha and Q-Suites on the new Qatar A350-1K to Singapore. So with no intention of taking a round the world trip when I awoke that morning, within a couple hours I was booked.
SIN-HKG Singapore Airlines A380 New Business Class - this report
HKG-SIN Singapore Airlines A380 New First Class - to come SIN-SFO Singapore Airlines A350-9 ULR Business Class - to come SOF-ORD Alaska Airlines A320 First Class - to come
The day began with an expectation to fly Singapore’s new A380 round trip to Shanghai, business to and first on the return. It didn’t work out.
I guess it was a good idea. If you wanted to fly the new A380 why not? This whole trip came about because of SQ’s new A350 ULR and a reward ticket fare sale. Add in the Qatar Qsuites 777 plus A350-1K and the trip became a pretty cool series of flights. But with a full day in Singapore where most people would happily spend the day, I went route shopping for Singapore’s new A380.
Singapore Airlines new A380 has been a goal since announced. I had a chance in August of 2018 to fly it, but had picked the wrong flight by mistake when I reserved one of two A380s on the Sydney - Singapore sector. At that time the new A380 hadn’t been officially assigned to either flight, but the number of seats for sale in first class had given some clues. When I booked my ticket I mixed up the flight numbers and picked the wrong one. Then once the plane was officially put on scheduled routes, Saver Award space was not possible, only waitlist, if that.
I had placed myself on a waitlist for this aircraft in First Class and a confirmed booking in Business Class for another date. However when I went route shopping in October I found confirmable First Class Saver Fares on the PEK-SIN route. Plus it was a 4:30PM flight, perfect for a dinner flight. To get to PEK I waitlisted and ultimately cleared business class at a reduced number of points due to a fare sale. Plans well made, or so I thought.
I headed over to check in and the Business Class lines were full. The agent for First Class waved me over.
After a few minutes she left and went to talk to a person who appeared to be a manager. He came over and said that my route wasn’t valid. He said Chinese Immigration laws do not allow turnaround flights.
While I won’t bore you with all the details, basically if you enter China you can travel visa free for 72 hours (144 hours in some cities) if your next destination is different from the one you came from and not in China. If not you need a visa. I needed a visa. I didn’t have a visa. The manager, who ultimately saved the day even called Chinese immigration to get the visa requirement waived for me. No luck.
I explained the purpose of my trip and he went to work for me, without even asking. Singapore flies two day time round trips with the new A380 daily. One to Shanghai and one to Hong Kong.
After about an hour he came back with 2 tickets for me. Business Class to Hong Kong and First Class on the way back from Hong Kong. There were no Saver Awards on these flights but he managed to convince whoever he was dealing with to issue the tickets. Thank you Nizam!
My view while waiting that nervous hour.
Needless to say I didn’t have much time until this flight departed. The Shanghai one was long gone by now. I headed to the gate.
This would be my first glimpse of the A380 upper deck in front of the Business Class cabin.
The front Business Class cabin. No center bins make for a spacious cabin with an airy feel to it.
Looking back up to the front from my seat at 23A.
This is the second smaller cabin behind a bank of lavatories.
And all the way back to the rear where there are a couple more rows of seats.
This one at the back of the plane might be the one! According to SeatGuru this seat has limited recline, however I don’t see how that can be since the seat is contained within a shell like all the others. They also state the seat in front has more leg room because of the bulkhead. I’d look for any of these at the back of the plane next time.
As mentioned there is a bank of lavatories next to seats in row 24, 4 of them to be exact. They are spacious for Business Class lavs and while row 24 is super private, the lav noise is worthy of making row 24 seats ones to avoid.
And in typical Singapore style, amenities were well stocked, even on this short hop over the South China Sea.
Mood lighting on this A380 in flight.
Seat 24A. I found the seat to be aesthetically pleasing and very comfortable.
The design flaw is the angle you sleep.
A center seat with the privacy divider extended.
Seat controls on the side below the table. I must have put my elbow against them a dozen times resulting in some movement of the seat, or calling flight attendants.
The tray table folds out from under the side table and flips open to be a rather large tray.
No air nozzles on this aircraft.
A useful mirror and reading light are off to the side. Singapore also added NFC for future use on this aircraft.
Retractable armrests were added to this seat to give a little extra width when sleeping. Just be sure to raise them when you get out of the seat!
The rear of the pod in front of you has a stationary drink holder. I offer 2 pictures of this drink holder because that is how many times I ignored the "PLEASE MIND YOUR HEAD" warning after bending down to reach my travel bag. This is not a good design.
On the other side is a little cubby hole to store a phone of something. Mine had a broken latch. There is also a coat hanger.
The window pod has 2 storage areas in front of the table, with one large enough to stow a 15” laptop.
The center seats don’t have this extra storage.
An innovative idea from Singapore is a pillow that turns into a duvet.
Unwrap it and make your bed.
Now for the bed issue. This is the sever angle you sleep and the size of the footwell. Singapore loves this angle stuff, I don’t get it.
IFE is nice.
The view from seat 24 is not so nice, at least in flight.
An amenity kit was given, a surprise on this short flight. (My return in First Class didn’t have an amenity kit!)
Today's food menu.
Today's Beverage menu
This was a breakfast flight, oddly as it departed at 9:55AM. I was adventurous and ordered the Selection of Dim Sum. First came a fruit and bread course. Most airlines serve croissants for breakfast. Sure they are good, but the flaky crumbs end up everywhere!
And Swiss Muesli, not to be confused with Bircher Muesli.
Fried Radish Cake. Hmmm.
It was actually pretty good. I’d get it again!
And breakfast always includes a slice of cake.
Truth is , Raspberry Mascarpone Cake is good any time of day.
In no time we were on the ground.
Singapore - SIN
Hong Kong - HKG
Only the efforts of Singapore ground staff (actually Nizam was a SATS employee) allowed me to take this round trip. Sure I would have gotten a refund of the points and had a day in Singapore. But the effort placed to get a Saver Award passenger rebooked an hour before the flight was truly impressive as well as appreciated. In addition they had ground staff meet me in Hong Kong to escort me to the lounge. My guess is few airlines would go to these lengths for someone who has only flown with them using points.
As for the A380 in business class, the seat is far superior to the prior long haul business class seat. If only they would just reconsider this angle sleeping.
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