Flying the A380 with Singapore Airlines

With all the marketing hype on the new A380, I was quite looking forward to our first flight on this new plane.  With the larger number of passengers, would onboarding and disembarkation take longer, would meals take a bit longer to serve, etc. etc.?

Our A380 flight was from Singapore to London and as Changi airport is very efficient in terms of processing passengers through immigration, customs and check-ins, we did not notice any delays.  Our seats were on the upper deck and as you went through a different door to get to the upper deck, there weren’t any bottlenecks.

Walking through the business class section it was interesting to observe that the seats were unusually wide. Later we learned that the seats fold out to become beds.  This is all fine, however when it is a seat and not a bed, the width doesn’t seem practical if you are a small or average-sized person as you’ll have to stretch your arms wide apart to reach both the arm rests.  The economy seats were about the same width as the 747s, however there is a little more legspace.  The video screens were definitely bigger. 

As we were preparing to take off, the air stewardess went around to advise people in the front rows that we had to use the two toilets at the back of the plane as the ones in front of us are reserved for business class passengers.  We couldn’t believe that there were only two toilets servicing 88 upper deck economy passengers.  The poor passengers seated near the toilets had to endure the incessant noise of the two very busy toilets flushing.  It seems stupid when configuring a plane that is supposed to be the latest and greatest, that the carrier wouldn’t allow for more adequate toilet facilities.

With Singapore Airlines and their very efficient service, we didn’t notice any drop in standards as a result of having to serve more passengers.  The take off and landing was amazingly quiet for such a huge structure and whilst in the air, the plane was quite quiet as well.  It makes for a more restful flying experience, except that we were unlucky to have a screaming kid next to us.  The little mite cried or made attention grabbing noises throughout most of the trip and his parents didn’t do too much to quieten him down.  The poor passengers in the row in front of the family must have suffered more with the little one and his older brother kicking on the back of the seats to amuse themselves.  Full credit to the passengers in the front row who graciously put up with the racket.

From an economy passenger’s point of view, I felt a little disappointed as all the hype did not translate to anything that was remarkably positive from a flying experience.   Maybe I’m just feeling a little grouchy from having to put up with the 12-hour crying and whimpering of the kid next door and hopefully our next experience will be better…



  1. Comment by Ian

    Interesting to read your comments on the inadequate toilet facilities and I fully agree – and I’m a Business Class traveller. My wife and I travelled in the Business Class section on the top deck of the third ever SAL 380 flight to LHR. We found that the two rear business class toilets were used by both business and economy travellers. And having read your comments I don’t blame them. We thought it was inadequate having three toilets for 60 business class travellers, particularly with the pressure on two of them from economy. We did report our views strongly to SAL.
    It seems the usually methodical SAL simply got this wrong.
    Yesterday we flew business on SQ319 from LHR and after getting over my usual quip about somebody’s nicked two of the engines, found it more pleasant than the 380. Three toilets including one of Disabled size for total of 42 business class passengers. Economy class has 6 toilets for 228 passengers which is 1 for every 36 passengers which I make about 20% better. Yes, the 380 design is wrong. Ian

  2. Comment by Helen

    Hi Ian, thanks for sharing your A380 experience. It’s interesting that over a year after putting up my comments on SQ’s inadequate toilets on the A380, travellers are still suffering from the flawed design.
    On principle, I think it’s wrong that economy class passengers should be allowed to use business class toilets and I’m an economy class traveller myself. Generally people try to stick to the rules but when the situation is so ridiculous, sometimes people are driven to seek alternative measures.
    We now fly to the U.K. via Amsterdam and on the B777-200, with three engines stolen, it’s more pleasant as you’ve said.
    Best wishes for the holiday season, Helen

  3. Comment by Peter

    1 toilet per 44 passengers is not that bad. Don’t like it, don’t fly Economy!

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