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Singapore Airlines' spacious all-new A380 suites are a clear signal that the airline doesn't intend to be second in the first class stakes.
Having created the private superjumbo suite category almost a decade ago, as the first airline to fly the double-decker Airbus A380, the Star Alliance member designed its second-gen A380 suites with arch-rivals Etihad Airways and Emirates in its sights.
Revealed today at an international media event in Singapore – and due to take wing from December 2017 on flights to Sydney, with London tipped to follow in March 2018 – the apartment-like suites are more than twice the size of their first-gen forebearers.
Granted, there are only six of them instead of the dozen cribs flying on SQ's current superjumbos: a move the airline says reflects softer demand for the super-premium cabin.
Singapore Airlines has also relocated its first class cabin from the superjumbo's main deck to the upper deck, which it shares with the new business class seats to create as 'all-premium deck'.
Inside Singapore Airlines' new A380 first class cabin
The six first class suites flank a wide centre aisle, adopting a similar layout to that pioneered by Etihad's own A380 first class, with high walls to ensure privacy.
Stepping into their L-shaped suite, passengers can relax in an elegant 21-inch wide Poltrona Frau leather armchair.
The recliner is locked into position for taxi, take-off and landing, but the rest of the time swivels and can of course be adjusted for various sitting and lounging positions.
There's a massive 32 inch HD video panel...
... electronically-controlled roller blinds to turn your suite into a cosy cocoon, an under-bench area to stow your carry-on bag, and a personal wardrobe.
Within reach of the recliner is a concealed stowage area containing the airline-supplied Bose noise cancelling headphones and new Lalique amenity kit, along with a pocket for your own knick-knacks plus a small thoughtfully-placed LED-lit mirror.
A wide dinner table extends out from the side console next to the seat.
When it's time for some shut-eye, cabin crew will set up your 76 inch (1.93m) long and 27 inch (68cm) wide bed and voila – your private bedroom is ready.
Flying with your partner and want to share the night? Two pairs of the six suites – specifically suites 1A/2A and 1F/2F – can have their common dividing wall lowered.
Two bathrooms are tucked into the nose of the upper deck, on either side of the staircase.
One is stupendously over-sized, affording plenty of room to change into and out of your supplied Lalique pyjamas, and also boasts a sit-down vanity counter.
A second washroom is of more modest, although still spacious, proportions.
However, while the 5m² footprint of the Singapore Airlines suite is noticeably larger than the 3.6m² of Etihad's superjumbo havens, there's also a sense that this extra space hasn't been fully utilised.
For example, Etihad's bed starts out as a sofa-style ottoman where passengers can relax...
... whereas the SQ suites bed is essentially just that – a fold-down bed.
SQ's suites also lack some of Etihad's luxe appointments such as a personal chilled mini-bar and a 'vanity station' (below).
Singapore Airlines will begin flying its new first class suites 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.
David Flynn travelled to Singapore as a guest of Singapore Airlines.