Singapore Airlines has announced that effective 15 January 2012 the Singapore-Frankfurt-JFK route will change from the Boeing 747-400 to the Airbus A380. This change has been expected for quite some time and the news from the carrier finally puts to rest speculation on the timing of the change.
For the United States, our customers will be able to enjoy the latest cabin products on all routes, in addition to having the A380 serving both east and west coasts. For Germany, it will also mean offering our customers the latest cabin products on both of our daily Frankfurt flights as well as our daily Munich flights.
The change has both positive and negative aspects associated with it. The quality of the hard product on the 747 is pretty mediocre. It was great a decade ago when it was introduced but it has since been surpassed by many other carriers. The product quality on the A380 is significantly better throughout the aircraft so that’s an upgrade to be sure. There are also 25% more seats on the A380 which means potentially lower prices and easier access to award inventory. Sortof.
The main negative of the change is on the award inventory front. Singapore has chosen to outright block redemption of first class seats ("Suites") on their A380s from partners and allows redemption for KrisFlyer members only at incredibly inflated prices. Business class award seats are generally not available to partners either, though some routes are now showing award inventory to some partners so that wall is coming down a bit.
Overall this change is probably a good thing. It certainly is for the folks who are paying the going rate for premium cabin fares as they’ll be getting a much better product for their money. But it sucks for folks like me who tend to only fly in premium cabins on award redemptions. If this route starts to show award seats to partners then I’ll certainly consider it an upgrade overall. I did the JFK-FRA route once a couple years ago in business class and it was nice but not amazing. But given the choice between nice or not available I’ll take nice.
Hat tip to SitInFirst.com for noticing the update.
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