The first generation Singapore Airlines A380 Suites and Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class seats – both introduced in 2007 and retired in 2020 – make history again as Singapore Airlines (SIA) donates an original pair to the National Archives.
Not only are the seats now preserved as an artefact for future generations of travellers to see, they will soon be on display as part of an exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore showcasing homegrown brands. They also serve as a proud reminder of SIA’s many significant milestones and successes in raising the bar for luxury travel.
Here, 15 years after they were first introduced by SIA, we look back and rediscover what made these revolutionary seats so special and ahead of its time.
1. The Suites was the first to offer a double bed in the sky
In 2007, SIA was not only the first to operate the Airbus A380, it was also the first airline to introduce the Suites concept on board the Airbus A380 aircraft, which offered an unprecedented level of luxury and privacy with a full-sized bed, sliding doors and window blinds, among other features, built into each cabin. Passengers were also pampered with exclusive amenities that included Givenchy linens and Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits.
For couples travelling together, the most exciting feature was a double bed made by combining the beds of the adjacent centre Suites. The Suites design also allowed passengers to dine opposite each other, just like at a restaurant.
2. In just three minutes, the Suites could be converted into a bed
Cabin crew assigned to the Suites underwent additional training to learn to set up the Suites’ built-in bed within three minutes. To reflect the top-level service standards that SIA set for the new Suites, there was one cabin crew for every four passengers. This ensured dedicated and attentive service for fliers occupying the 12 Suites on the A380.
3. The Suites were created by a yacht designer
If the Suites remind you of staterooms on a luxury boat, that is because it was designed by acclaimed French yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste. Outfitted with plush leather seats upholstered by the legendary Italian furniture makers Poltrona Frau, the Suites also came furnished with a wide, height-adjustable table that could function as a workstation, meeting table or dining table.
4. The Business Class Seat was the widest of its kind
With an impressive 34″ width, the Business Class Seat was the widest of its kind at the time and could be transformed into a comfortable full-flat bed for a good night’s sleep. Not only was the Business Class seat crafted in luxurious real leather and convertible into a fully flat 76″ bed, it also offered fliers maximised stowage spaces and ample room to stretch their legs while sitting. Fliers could also share the seat with a child while working or watching a movie.
5. The Business Class seat was the first to introduce direct aisle access to all passengers on board the A380 aircraft
With the cabin’s innovative 1-2-1 seating arrangement, all passengers seated in the A380’s Business Class were able to access the aisle directly, even those by the window. The Business Class seat was also the first to offer premium features that are now standard in all SIA aircraft: AC power supply and two USB ports. It also carried an exceptionally large 15.4″ KrisWorld eX2 entertainment display with a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software that helped business travellers to work on the go.
Visitors may view the seats in an upcoming exhibition at the National Museum next year. More details will be shared closer to date on the National Museum’s website, Facebook and Instagram pages.