Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
The new Singapore Airlines first class suites are truly something special. Singapore maintained much of what made the old first class product special (great service, double beds, superb champagne, etc.), but they made the new product even more exclusive and attractive by cutting down the number of suites and making them more spacious. With that said, there are a few potential shortcomings. Here’s my full new Singapore Airlines first class suites review.
Booking the new A380 Singapore Suites
I originally booked us Singapore Suites from Singapore to Sydney on SQ231. These were the old suites we flew before but I thought it would be nice to fly them again since we would be flying on our anniversary, February 22nd. I booked these at the saver level for 80,000 SQ miles each before I even found out about the new suites.
Then information about the new first class suites leaked throughout 2017 and it was eventually announced that the SIN to SYD route would be serviced by the new A380!
Based on leaked info, it started to look like it was going to be the other A380 flight (SQ221) that would be serviced by the new suites. I was really bummed.
Luckily, there were still Standard Awards (now called Advantage awards) for that date, so I poured Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards into my Singapore account and changed our flight to SQ221 for 70,000 additional SQ miles per passenger.
At that time, we still didn’t know for sure if these would be the new suites so this was definitely a questionable decision. Not only was I potentially squandering 150,000 valuable Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, I also lost the additional connecting flights on Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand. So this could have been a ~200,000 point misfire.
After months of waiting, luck was on our side and it was soon confirmed that’d we’d be flying on the new suites! If you’re not familiar, the price of Singapore Suites on this route is $4,000+, so we were pretty pumped.
The Private Room
Our first class experience started in “The Private Room.”
The Private room is the ultra-exclusive first class lounge only for those flying first on SQ. It’s a beautiful lounge with free-flowing Dom Perignon 2006 and some very solid dining. But there’s honestly not much more to it. You can read about my Private Room experience here.
Boarding the A380
We were among the first to board and enter the new first class cabin.
The Singapore Airlines first class A380 cabin went down from 12 suites to only 6 suites, jumped from the bottom level to the top level, and incorporated a single aisle between the suites in a 1-1 configuration. The suites in the first two rows can be conjoined by lowering the middle partition, which is exactly what we did when we arrived.
The smaller number of suites makes the experience feel more intimate and exclusive and reminds me a lot of the Etihad Apartment cabin (although Etihad has more suites).
As I walked through the aisle, I thought it looked pretty stunning.
I really loved the charm that the old first class cabin had but this cabin looks more sleek and almost futuristic with the silver walls and doors.
The new A380 Singapore Suites
When I first entered the suite, I just thought, “wow.”
The photos I’d seen prior to the flight made these suites look very sterile, almost like a dentist office. But as I experienced it in person, I realized that these suites were actually very elegant.
They still have a slight “dentist office” resemblance at times.
But I still think they are very impressive overall.
Beyond the looks, the first thing that I took notice of was the tremendous amount of real estate.
These suites are even more spacious than the Etihad Apartment, which is saying a lot. With the partition lowered, it felt like we had a ridiculous chunk of the aircraft to ourselves.
True to form, Singapore offered champagne as soon as we entered but on this flight they were serving Krug 2004 which was a very nice surprise.
The seat on Singapore Airlines new suites
The seat itself is comfortable but felt a little narrow for Singapore Airlines. Singapore is known for such wide seats that it’s always odd to me to see a “normal” sized seat in first class.
The chair can rotate to fully face the window or come back around to face the TV. However, the chair does have a bit of a limited recline. The photo below shows the farthest that it will recline.
This obviously isn’t ideal for those who like to lean all the way back into a flat or near flat position. However, when you have the option of hopping into a separate bed, I understand the logic of having a seat with limited recline.
Singapore Airlines new suites seat controls
The seat controls are pretty straightforward. You hit the window, take-off/landing, or TV button to move into a desired position that will orient your seat facing different directions.
The confusing part is that the recline controls only show when you’re in a “final position.” You can see that in the image below, I’m in between two final positions and the recline controls don’t show.
On the counter, there are also button controls for: service, do not disturb, window shades, TV position, and the suite lighting.
Underneath these controls you can find the power outlet, USB, HDMI, and headphone jack (there’s another headphone jack beneath the armrest of the chair). There’s even an NFC panel for contactless payment, which you can use to purchase duty free items and wifi.
There’s another power outlet and USB port located on the wall where the tray table comes out, so these suites come fully equipped to handle your electronics.
TVS and in-flight entertainment
The TVs are huge at 32 inches. They’re so big and you have so much space in the suite that watching them really does feel like being in a hotel room. For a point of comparison, the Etihad Residence has a 32″ TV.
Using the controls, you can easily swing out the monitor to give you a better viewing angle.
The in-flight entertainment selections were solid with a good selection of movies and TV shows. You can check out the Singapore Airlines current movies list here. Don’t forget you can use the SingaporeAir mobile app to check out what movies will be on and to set up your own playlist prior to departure.
To control the in-flight entertainment you can use the traditional controller, which you’ll find beneath the armrest.
But you’ll probably be drawn to the tablet which can also be used to control things like the lighting.
Note that the tablet can only be removed after take-off.
It fits pretty easily into one hand.
Once you start dining or watching TV you’ll probably find it more convenient to mount the tablet on the side table where your tray table comes out.
Overall, the storage on the new Singapore Suites is pretty solid.
First, there’s a closet at the entrance of your suit where you can store your luggage. I did not think that my two carry-ons would fit but they both fit into the closet, albeit snugly.
There’s nice counter space where you can store larger electronics like your laptop, bigger cameras, and small bags. Some airlines overlook the fact that passengers just need a little bit of space to put things on and so it’s nice to have some good counter space.
However, the large rectangular spaces (seen in the images above) will be filled when the bed is made so you can’t keep stuff there if you’re planning on using the bed.
You can also use the counter space which holds the tray table but once again, you’ll have to move your items when you’re ready to eat.
There are also a few closed compartments that you can use to store passports, phones, and amenities.
One of these compartments holds the Bose headphones which are very obviously high quality.
The middle compartment is empty but comes with a brightly lit vanity mirror, while the third compartment holds your amenity kit. There’s another compartment just on the other side of the tablet but that holds bedding.
There’s also a bit of storage underneath these compartments which is where I stored my pajamas before changing into them, though you can keep them stored in your closet along with your slippers.
New Singapore Airlines first class suite amenity kit
The amenities are no longer from Ferragamo and are now issued by Lalique. I miss the Ferragamo cologne but these are also high quality from what I could tell.
In the amenity kit, you’ll get: lip balm, body lotion, after shave, and eau de toilette, though the offerings could change based on the route.
The pajamas are no longer from Givenchy but they are much lighter than those pajamas, which makes them more comfortable.
They also provide you with slippers that I’ve come to really value on long-haul flights.
Singapore Airlines first class dining
The dining experience blew me away last time I flew Suites and it did the same once again. As soon as the dining started, I switched over from vintage Krug to Dom Perignon 2006.
I really love that Singapore offers both of these choices.
Once they pulled out the tray, I noticed how massive it was. And also noticed my neighbor (much more on that later).
We started off with fresh breads and caviar.
It seems like the more and more I eat caviar, the more I discover I enjoy it, and I really liked what they served up on our Singapore flight.
This time I tried to do things a little bit differently and I went with a shot of vodka with the caviar.
After that, they brought out the fish soup with chicken and black moss. Blame it on the vodka, but I honestly don’t remember even eating this dish and can’t recall if I enjoyed it. But Brad loved its cilantro flavor.
Then came the salad which was pretty much a piece of lettuce but with some good dressing and freshly cracked black pepper. I do remember really loving the tomato vinaigrette dressing on this one.
The main was lamb stew with penne pasta and it was very good. I feel like I’m constantly eating lamb on planes but this dish sounded good and I was very happy with my selection. Peppers were very fresh and the lamb nice and tender.
Then came the dessert, which came in an amazing presentation of dry ice. I really enjoyed the ice cream and fresh berries.
Overall, this was a great dining experience. If you want to check out the full menu we had and view more pics of the cabin, you can check out my photo album here.
I will say that one of the drawbacks to the new design is that you can’t eat at the same table as your travel partner. This isn’t a big negative to me, though. I’ve done the shared tray table on some other airlines and I prefer to have more space, especially since it makes it much easier to get photographs.
But for those who like to dine together, it’s too bad Singapore couldn’t incorporate that feature.
The fatal flaw of the new suites
While the dishes were great, the dining experience highlighted the biggest flaw of these new suites, in my opinion. This is the lack of privacy.
With your suite door open and your seat in the dining position, you are set to make perfect eye contact with the passenger across from you. It’s something that I noticed very quickly and something that I think was a major oversight since this is something that other cutting-edge first class suites don’t suffer from.
This may not be an issue to everyone but to me it sort of puts a bit of a black-eye on the new Singapore Suites experience. I guess you could request for the flight attendant to shut your door between delivering dishes but that could make things like re-fills tricky and shouldn’t be needed on one of the top first class cabins.
The old Singapore first class lavatories really lacked compared to other A380s like Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad. But Singapore definitely stepped up their game with this new A380.
First of all the lavatories are just beautiful rooms that do help create a sense of relaxation in what is otherwise a place you’d like to get out of ASAP. The purple mood lighting, brightly lit vanity mirrors, and cushioned sit-down areas are a nice departure from the norm.
One of the lavatories is actually bigger and more equipped than the other but they are both pretty elegant.
You’ll notice that the new Singapore first class cabin still does not have a shower. I’m actually okay with that.
While plane showers are still fun to take and can be practical at times, I find taking a relaxing hot shower at a lounge before or after a flight to be more worth my while. I don’t have to worry about running out of “water time,” turbulence, weak water pressure, or anything else and can just relax in the shower.
So while a shower would’ve been cool to see, I don’t think it’s a major negative to the Singapore Suite experience. (I do think that Singapore should have installed a bar/lounge, though!)
The sleeping experience
Singapore did not give up on their double beds which made me very happy. To me, outside of their great service, the Singapore Airlines double bed experience is what makes Singapore’s first class product stand out the most. It’s such a great feature for traveling couples.
With the double beds made, it seriously looks like a hotel room in the sky.
The bed is 76 inches long and 27 inches wide, which is one inch wider than the Etihad Apartment’s bed. If you want, you can prop yourself up at an angle which is actually a pretty comfortable way to watch TV.
I’d argue Singapore even upgraded the experience so now you can still have your window views along with a double bed.
Unfortunately, the bed is still not very soft. I still got comfortable but if you prefer very soft mattresses this could potentially pose a problem. Also, they could have done a better job of covering the partition between the bed since that’s still quite exposed.
The biggest issue to me though is that Singapore still keeps their A380s so warm. It’s just too warm to get super comfortable and I don’t understand how they don’t receive a million complaints a day about that.
Despite those issues, It does feel remarkably private in the suite when the lights dim down.
But I do think the suite walls could’ve been just a little bit higher.
Lastly, one thing I really loved was being able to hop out of bed and still have plenty of space to move around.
Overall, the soft pillows and thick comforter can help make up somewhat for a firm sleeping surface. But the warm temperature is something that can be a bit tougher to deal with. Still, Brad and I both got comfortable so it’s not like the sleeping experience is horrible.
Singapore Suites breakfast
Aside from the privacy issue mentioned above, breakfast had to be the other issue with the flight. For one, we didn’t have the biggest selection, although the pastries were great and fruit was fresh.
But the issue was that they started breakfast like 30 minutes before arriving. The whole breakfast experience was crazy rushed and almost impossible to enjoy. It really felt like someone might have botched something, that’s how off it felt.
I contacted Singapore beforehand to notify them that we were flying on the exact day of our anniversary. They told me they would be able to bring out a cake and I thought that would be great (I didn’t tell Brad anything so he would be surprised).
But Singapore Airlines went well beyond bringing out a cake.
They usually give you teddy bears when you fly first class but in this case they stitched our names to the shirts of the teddy bears (while up in the sky). Although one bear is clearly the opposite gender, this was a very thoughtful gesture and it was a beautiful cake that ended up serving as our dessert for breakfast.
The crew also signed a giant card and left messages in all sorts of different languages.
I noticed someone sketched out two “male” teddy bears on the card which I thought was very nice especially considering the state of LGBT affairs in Singapore.
Overall, the anniversary surprise put the entire experience over the top.
Final word on the new A380 Singapore Airlines suites class
I was honestly blown away by the new Singapore Suites. I’ve flown on some great first class cabins like Emirates, Etihad, old Singapore Suites, Qatar, Cathay Pacific, etc. but there’s just something about flying Singapore Suites that’s just special. It never fails but when I fly suites with them, it’s like having a great time at a party — you don’t want it to ever end.
Although there are a couple of shortcomings with the new suites, if I had to choose one airline out of the above to fly first class on, I’d choose the new Singapore Suites in a second.
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. His content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.