Singapore Airlines' Most Luxurious Plane Just Debuted in the U.S. — and Its First-class Suites Are Like Hotel Rooms
Everyone loves a good comeback story.
And after a long pause, it's true, travel is returning. COVID-19 case counts are dropping in many destinations. Governments around the world are easing their entry requirements. Flights and hotels are filling up faster than before. And on March 28, after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic, Singapore Airlines' reconfigured A380 aircraft took off from JFK to Changi Airport via Frankfurt.
While simply boarding a plane feels wholly new and novel these days, Singapore Airlines' double-decker aircraft — the world's largest — pushes the in-air experience to new heights, starting with its six swanky first-class suites, which just made their much-anticipated U.S. debut.
More like hotel rooms in the sky, these semi-private cabins offer 50 square feet for each passenger — or a shared 100 square feet for two first-class travelers who opt to merge their suites. Each suite comes with swiveling, reclining armchairs, a separate bed (two suites can be combined to create a double bed), and sliding doors. Other luxe features include a wardrobe closet, cushy pajamas and slippers, Bang & Olufsen noise-canceling headphones, an amenity kit from French luxury label Lalique, and a 32-inch HD touchscreen TV that's fitting for a living room on land. A handheld tablet controls everything from anywhere in the suite, from dimming the lights to finding the best in-flight entertainment.
The design is meant to slowly reveal itself to passengers during the course of their flight, James Boyd, the airline's vice president of public relations, shared during a tour of the aircraft on Monday afternoon.
"We took something that's basic, such as a magazine rack, and turned it into a luxury statement. If you look at the stitching on the rack, it was inspired by an Hermès Birkin bag," he said. "Or the cultured stone over the credenza — it's little moments of luxury, of surprise, like when you open a stowage compartment and it's lined with leather…or there's a cove light that slowly illuminates as you open the door."
These elements of surprise also show themselves in a dedicated handbag compartment, so passengers don't have to place items on the floor, as well as powered blackout window shades and hotel-style evening turndown service. Passengers are also given a choice of Dom Pérignon or Krug Champagne, and all meals are served on fine linen and china. Even the three-position bathroom — with its separate sections for a vanity, wash basin, and toilet — is a true pampering chamber.
In addition to the six first-class suites, the aircraft houses 78 lie-flat business class seats, 44 premium economy seats, and 343 economy seats.
"The A380 offers some of the most expensive real estate in the world, so every square inch has to work hard to deliver to the customer," Boyd said. And though the onboard journey from JFK to Singapore might last close to a full calendar day, with amenities that are a true exercise in self-care, you'll only be wishing it was longer.