By Alisha Prakash
Aug 30, 2022
EVERYONE LOVES A GOOD comeback story. And after a long pause, it’s true, travel has returned. Governments around the world are easing their entry requirements. Flights and hotels are filling up faster than before. And after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic, Singapore Airlines relaunched their reconfigured A380 aircraft, with absurdly luxurious first-class suites, originally on a route from JFK to Changi Airport via Frankfurt.
While for many simply boarding a plane feels wholly new and novel these days, this Singapore Airlines double-decker aircraft — the world’s largest — pushes the in-flight 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 4.6 square meters for each passenger — or a shared 9.3 square meters 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.