Preview: Singapore Airlines’ new Airbus A380 business class
pacious, well-appointed and boasting all the mods cons – this is easily Singapore Airlines’ best ever business class seat.
Take Singapore Airlines’ already well-regarded Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 business class seat.
Ask the hotshots at JPA Design, who created both that seat and the airline’s original superjumbo business class bench, to evolve the fundamentals of both products and bring to life a third generation of SQ’s flagship business class.
In other words: take this…
… and this…
… and then, well, grab a clean sheet of paper, invest three years of work and see if you come up with something like this.
Fortunately, JPA Design did just that – and the result has got to be a contender for the title of world’s best business class seat, going up against the likes of Qatar Airways’ superb Qsuite.
Here’s an up-close look at the new wave of Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380 business class.
The feature that’s getting all the attention is of course the ‘business class double bed’, so let’s start there.
Of the superjumbo’s 78 business class seats – which of course follow a 1-2-1 layout so that every passenger has direct access to the aisle – just six of these (or three pairs, to be more precise) can be converted into a double bed. These are the middle seats directly behind each of the business class cabin’s three bulkhead rows: specifically 11D/F, 91D/F and 96D/F.
The bed extends into a wide cubbyhole in the bulkhead, up to around mid-shin height on your legs, so you’ll be less exposed than the press photo below implies.
Our photos from the seat launch in Singapore show a dummy element to replicate the bulkhead ‘monument’ – although it’s also clear that, like its first class counterpart, this arrangement is less a true double bed than two singles cosily nestled side-by-side.
The sleeping arrangements for the other business class passengers are less adventurous.
Each middle seat has a divider screen which can remain up for privacy…
… be lowered for sociability if you’re travelling with a friend…
… and if you’re really friendly with one another, fully retracted into the seat shell.
The seat reclines into a fully-flat bed, but with an angled sleeping position.
Some travellers will find this quite comfortable becasuse you can sleep on your back or your side, while others will intensely dislike lying on an angle.
Note the side extension to the bed, which pulls out from below the footwell…
… to give you a bed that’s 78 inches (1.98 metres) long, with the same 25 inch (64cm) width as the seat itself.
Visible in the photo above is the recessed surface of the console between the passenger and the aisle.
(If you’re at a window seat this will be between you and the window.)
The console includes the seat controls and inflight entertainment controller, while above it sits a convenient LED-illuminated mirror.
Further back from this panel dangles a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a high-power USB socket.
Here’s where you can start to notice some of JPA Design’s attention to detail.
The material surrounding the seat is softly padded, which gives it a warm natural feel as well as absorbing and thus reducing sound.
Directly above this corner and built into the seat’s inner shell is this backlit ‘flying delta’ detail.
It’s a subtle highlight which gives the seat some character, and is repeated on the seat pillow as well as outer shell.
That shell is made from a single piece of moulded carbon fibre composite – the same lightweight but robust material now being used in advanced aircraft such as the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 – and which gave the seat its design codename of Monocoque, in reference to its ‘one-body construction method’.
Eschewing the need for a metal base as its primary support, the streamlined shell allows sufficient room under the seat for a standard cabin bag as well as a laptop bag or handbag.
The rear of each seat shell houses an 18 inch screen…
Next to the monitor are two stowage cubbies: one open for easy access at any time during your flight, and the second with a hinged door.
Further down, another flap reveals AC and USB ports (bringing the tally to two USB sockets per passenger) and an NFC reader which can be used to purchase inflight Internet with a tap of your credit card.
All in all, this adds up to an excellent business class seat and one which we can’t wait to fly. We expect that almost every business traveller will feel the same way.
Singapore Airlines will begin flying its new business class seats daily on the Airbus A380 between Singapore and Sydney (SQ221/SQ232) from December 18 2017, with selected Singapore-London services tipped to follow from March 2018.