But I snagged the last two seats on Singapore Airlines’ A380 Flagship First Suites…
Last week, Singapore Airlines announced that it will pull its Airbus A380, with its new Suites and Business class product, from its fifth-freedom flight between New York (JFK) and Frankfurt (FRA).
Starting May 15, 2023, Singapore will operate the route on a Boeing 777-300 ER, with its older Suites and Business class products, instead of the flagship double-decker, A380 “super jumbo” product.
First Class Is In Demand Elsewhere
Airlines in North America have largely abandoned first class, as corporate travel policies shifted to heightened business class and business class is good enough for most in the leisure market. Other regions of the world where demand for “true” first class exists hasn’t really followed the trend of swapping first for business.
According to a press release issued by Singapore Airlines, the carrier has decided to “increase Airbus A380 services to Australia during the Northern Summer operating season (March 26 to October 29, 2023), supporting the strong projected demand to these destinations.”
Sadly, this means that passengers traveling between the US and Europe will be losing access to arguably the most luxurious First and Business class products in the sky. In fact, the world’s best first class won’t touch North America at all from mid May.
So what are we missing out on? Well, probably the only airline seat-dubbed-suite, which actually fits the billing. We’re talking a separate bed and reclining chair, with enough room for multiple people to mingle in the suite. You could probably host a cocktail party in there.
And considering Dom or Krug was long the choice on Singapore, who wouldn’t want to? Some suites on the A380 could even have the privacy wall taken down to create a mega-suite for people traveling together. Any look from any angle confirms that this suite is the height of commercial airline luxury, so it’s sad to see it departing American shores.
So why is this relevant a week later you might ask?
Well, I had two award tickets for my husband and I, and we were scheduled to fly Singapore’s flagship First suites from Frankfurt to JFK on May 31st – FML, right?
Once I read the news last week, I frantically searched Singapore’s site to find availability in April or May for Suites before the A380 is pulled from the route on May 15th.
NOTHING, I mean NOT A SINGLE DATE was bookable online. For the whole of 2023, for 2 passengers, Singapore’s site had “Waitlist Only” for its flagship First product on both the FRA to JFK and the JFK to FRA routes. Needless to say, I was super bummed and frustrated!
But, by a stroke of luck perhaps, and a 45 minute phone call to Singapore Airlines’ customer service center on 11/29, I was able to switch my ticket to May 14th – one day before the aircraft change takes effect!
Now keep in mind that this is just a single data point, and maybe I got a really nice agent on the phone who sympathized with my situation, but it happened, so I figured I’d share.
For context, I didn’t cry, beg or come up with a crazy sob story. I simply told the agent that I had wanted to fly the A380 and told him I wanted to travel on May 14th. He said he had to speak with a manager to override the ticket change, and after 35 minutes on hold, the agent came back on the line and told me my tickets were switched!
There were no extra fees or miles required, and I was able to go online instantly and grab the last two Suite seats on the flight – I mean, did I catch a break or what?!
If you too have booked the JFK to FRA or the FRA to JFK routes prior to last week’s announcement, in the hopes of flying the A380 Flagship First Suites, then it might behoove you to get on the phone sooner rather than later to see if you are also able to switch to a flight prior to May 15th.
If your schedule is flexible and you can swing it, calling US customer service and politely asking an agent for assistance could in fact score you a big win just like it did for me!
How to book Flagship First Singapore Suites
Singapore’s Flagship First Suites are arguably the best First class product in the sky, and it features a bed and separate swivel chair, with the ability to convert two neighboring suites into one spacious bedroom in the sky.
According to Mr. GSTP himself, the suite is “nothing short of incredible.” You get a private, enclosed suite with a 32” TV, vintage Krug or Dom Perignon champagne, a proper bed, on-demand “Book the Cook” privileges and more. Since paid rates on the FRA to JFK route rarely drop below $6,000, here’s how I used points to book my own Singapore Suites experience.
Before you get too excited- the bad news here is that you’ll need a lot of points. The good news, however, is that there are a bunch of different credit card currencies you can use.
Typically, the only way to book Suites on Singapore Airlines is using Singapore miles, BUT you can instantly transfer to the Singapore KrisFlyer loyalty program using Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points.
In the end, four different types of credit card points can be combined into Singapore Airlines’ miles in order to get it done. If you want to save on points, you can also fly the Suite by buying business class and upgrading using points, which will require less points overall.
As mentioned above, you’re going to pay a lot of points for the privilege of the world’s greatest commercial aircraft cabin, but points are a lot easier to part ways with than cash. Singapore offers three potential prices in points for any flight: Saver, Standard and Flexible.
A one-way Suites ticket for the FRA to JFK route cost me 140,000 points and 120 Euros per person for the Standard rate. For the roughly 8 hour flight, it equates to 17,500 points + 15 Euros per hour. Not bad, considering Delta charges roughly the same amount of points per hour – FOR ECONOMY. Yikes!
A critical first step in all of this is having a Singapore KrisFlyer account, which is free by the way. Since things can change quickly, it never hurts to have an account ready, just in case seats open up.
Once you’ve created an account, you can search for flights on the SingaporeAir.com website. Simply click “redeem flights” when searching and look for “Standard” or “Saver” level availability. Whatever you end up paying, whether it be points or cash, it’ll be worth it. This is an experience you’ll likely never forget — and is on limited time.