Most Airbus A380 flights are globe-striding affairs of anywhere from eight to as 15+ hours.
The record-breaking longest A380 flight was a Qantas superjumbo in December 2019 which flew 18 hours 26 minutes non-stop (admittedly without passengers or cargo) from Dresden to Sydney after being refitted with the airline's latest seats.
But soon, the world's shortest A380 flight will take off – and it'll land less than 60 minutes later.
From November 4 through to at least early December, Singapore Airlines will roster its flagship Airbus A380s – complete with luxurious 'double bed' suites in first class – on the short sprint between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
It comes ahead of Singapore Airlines' November 18 restart of Airbus A380 flights on the flagship Singapore-London route, with more destinations likely to follow.
With the A380s having been grounded since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Singapore Airlines says the flights are more of an operational 'shake-down' for the jets rather than crew re-familiarisation.
"We have ensured that a number of our pilots and cabin crew are certified to operate the A380 aircraft," a Singapore Airlines spokesperson told Executive Traveller.
"Recertification is not required as we resume our A380 operations on our services between Singapore and London. In addition, a group of our cabin crew have maintained their qualifications to operate the A380."
(Emirates previously flew an even shorter A380 flight between Dubai and Muscat – lasting just 40 minutes - but this has been suspended since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.)
The world’s shortest A380 flights are now on sale
Singapore Airlines has scheduled the first of its superjumbo jaunts for Thursday November 4, with SQ106 departing Singapore 8.30am to reach Kuala Lumpur at 9.30am – although from November 5 through December 3, that switches to the early evenings with SQ126 departing 6.25pm.
The daily return leg will be SQ125, which is wheels up from Kuala Lumpur at 9pm and back home at Changi T3 by 10pm.
Those flights are now on sale, with economy return fares from SGD$190 and business class return from SGD$790 – the same price as doing the trip on one of SQ's Boeing 737s (and yes, you do earn KrisFlyer miles).
Premium economy and first class aren't on sale, but it's not known if the 44 seats of the premium economy cabin will be included in economy seat selection.
Of course, there are currently restrictions on travel between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and the need to take a PCR Covid-19 tests prior to departure and on arrival will add to the overall cost and be a dampener to some of the fun of taking the world's shortest Airbus A380 flight.
What to expect on the world’s shortest A380 flight
On most Airbus A380 flights there's plenty of time for at least one three-course meal, a movie or some boxed set binging, maybe some work, certainly a sleep.
But on Singapore Airlines' newest A380 route between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, there'll be precious little time to enjoy the superjumbo experience.
Although the flight itself is listed as being 60 minutes, the actual time from take-off to touchdown is much less – indeed, we suspect the process of boarding the planeload of passengers will take as long as the flight itself.
And if you're hungry, either grab a pre-flight bite in the airport lounge or on arrival, because we doubt Singapore Airlines will be able to serve anything more than a drink and the lightest of nibbles, even in business class.