- Check out our plane-by-plane guide to the most modern and luxurious Singapore Airlines First and Business Class seats.
- See images of every type of Singapore Airlines First and Business Class seat, including Suites.
- Find out which Singapore Airlines routes feature which First and Business Class seat types.
In our previous guide, we covered the basics of redeeming Singapore Airlines awards – how to price them, Saver versus Advantage awards and strategies for dealing with the waitlist. However, there’s one more important question to answer: which cabin products are worth redeeming your miles for?
Imagine you’re planning to redeem a Business Class ticket from Perth to Singapore. You go on the KrisFlyer website and see two options – SQ216 and SQ224. Both are immediately available for confirmation, and both cost 36,500 miles plus taxes. You decide on SQ224 because you’d rather leave in the early morning than in the middle of the night..
The day of your flight comes and you’re excited because, based on the airline’s marketing, you’re expecting a flatbed seat, tons of privacy and plenty of legroom. But you step onto SQ224 and see this cabin:
The seats don’t have good privacy, your window seat position means you need to awkwardly straddle your neighbour to get to the aisle, and when you recline to sleep, the angled flat seat causes you to slide to the floor after a while.
Sure, the service plus food and beverages are still great, but you can’t help but feel a little short-changed when you find out that Business Class on SQ216 looks like this:
You’ve just learned the golden rule of redeeming miles – not all Business (and First, for that matter) Class seats are the same!
Picking the right cabin products
Airline seats, especially at the pointy end of the plane, are a competitive business. Airlines are constantly in the midst of designing, testing and launching new cabin seats with only 4-5 years between product cycles. This means that you’re likely to encounter a variety of different seats in a given cabin class, even within the same airline.
What’s more, since airlines typically don’t discriminate among cabin products when it comes to redemption rates (e.g. in our opening example, both SQ216 and SQ224 cost the same number of miles even though the former features a more modern seat), it simply makes sense to save your miles for the latest and greatest products.
This means we need a “field guide” of sorts to the Business and First Class cabins. Which seats are worth your miles?
Business Class seat types
Singapore Airlines has five different types of Business Class seats.
In my opinion, the only seats to actively avoid are the 2009 Regional Business Class, which is found on the A330-300s, B777-200s and B777-300s. As we saw earlier, these angled flat seats are uncomfortable for sleeping and don't provide all passengers with direct aisle access.
Some people may also try to avoid the 2006 Business Class. It goes full flat and is configured in a 1-2-1 layout, making it clearly preferable to the 2009 Regional Business Class, but it’s more than a decade old and many seats have visible wear and tear. The inflight entertainment (IFE) screens are not high definition, and it generally doesn’t feel like the best the airline has to offer.
The 2013, 2017 and 2018 seats are all excellent by any airline’s standard, with high definition IFE screens, exceptional privacy and well-designed work and rest spaces. There may be a slight preference for the 2017 and 2018 design because they allow you to recline the seat into a sleeping position (as opposed to the 2013 model which requires you to stand up to flip the seat over), but otherwise any of these will be more than comfortable on a long-haul flight.
Deducing seat type by aircraft – Business Class
In most cases, the aircraft type is sufficient to tell you what seat you have. You can find this information on the booking screen:
Here’s how you match the aircraft type to the seat.
A330-300, B777-200, B777-300 Business Class
These three aircraft all use the 2009 Regional Business Class seat, which we’ve mentioned is one to be avoided. These aircraft can be found on some flights from Perth, and connecting flights from Singapore to Bangkok, Hanoi, Taipei and other regional routes.
B777-200ER Business Class
This aircraft uses the 2006 Business Class seat, and is seen on some flights to Brisbane, Perth, Sydney. Out of Singapore, it serves destinations like Istanbul, Jakarta, and Manila.
B777-300ER Business Class
This aircraft uses the 2013 Business Class seat and serves a wide range of long haul routes including the USA, London, Paris and Sydney.
B787-10 Business Class
This aircraft uses the 2018 Regional Business Class seat, and is seen on some flights to Perth, as well as routes to Osaka, Tokyo, and Bali.
A380-800 Business Class
There are two possible seat types for this aircraft. To know which one you have, refer to the seat map during the booking process.
If you see the seat map below (note the double bed symbol in 11D and 11F), you have the newer A380-800 with the 2017 Business Class seat.
If you see the seat map below, you have the older A380-800 with the 2006 Business Class seat (see B777-200ER above).
A350-900 Business Class
Just like the A380-800, there are two possible seat types for this aircraft. If you see the seat map below with the “ears” on the seats, you have the 2018 Regional Business Class (see B787-10 above).
If you see the seat map below, you have the 2013 Business Class (see B777-300ER above).
First Class seat types
Singapore Airlines has only four different First Class seats on three aircraft types, so our work here is significantly easier.
You can expect seats that convert into full-flat beds in all Singapore Airlines First Class cabins (or even a separate seat and bed, in the case of the 2017 Suites). I personally don’t think there are any seats that should be avoided; even though the 2006 First Class seat is more than a decade old, First Class cabins go out empty more often than Business Class, and the wear and tear is less noticeable. It goes without saying that all First Class cabins are extremely private and low density.
Deducing seat type by aircraft – First Class
B777-300 First Class
This aircraft uses the 2006 First Class seat, and only serves short and medium-haul routes like Manila, Jakarta, Brunei and Mumbai.
B777-300ER First Class
This aircraft uses the 2013 First Class seat, and is found on long-haul routes to the USA and Europe.
A380-800 First Class (Suites)
There are two types of First Class seats (also known as Suites) on Singapore Airlines’ A380-800 aircraft. The more common one is the 2007 Suites, which can be identified through the seat map below. Note how there are 12 seats in the cabin.
The less common, but more luxurious and modern seat is the 2017 Suites, which can be identified through the following seat map. Cabins with this configuration have only six seats in total. You can find this product on SQ232 from Sydney to Singapore, as well as selected flights to London, Zurich, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Minimise the possibility for disappointment
There’s nothing worse than realising you’ve spent your hard-earned miles on an inferior seat, but with this guide you’ll be better placed to identify the best seats for your award flights.
Do remember that airlines reserve the right to switch aircraft types for operational reasons, and this may result in you getting a different type of seat. By right, there’s no compensation due so long as you fly in the ticketed cabin class (because “Business Class is Business Class”), but out of goodwill the airline may offer you some vouchers if you file a complaint (because not all Business Class is made equal).