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10 things about Singapore Airlines A380 at SFO (Photos)

 

Here’s a slideshow of the The BAT’s private tour of a Singapore Airlines A380 parked at SFO. Enjoy!

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Signs and banners all over the airport announcing the A380
Winner David Zippin and friends go through security
Checking in at the SilverKris lounge
The lounge offers a nice spread for business and first class passengers
Winner David Zippin and our guide Paul Ng, Singapore Airlines VP
Economy class boards downstairs, business and first upstairs
Singapore Air calls its first class seats "Suites"
Boarding the plane before the crew arrives
Upon entering, the first thing you see is a graceful staircase to the upper deck
First class (Suites) are downstairs, business class is up
Here's what a first class suite looks like from above
That's seat 1A-- a first class suite. Note the "murphy bed" panel behind the seat
BAT editor Chris McGinnis snuggles into a suite for a moment
Zippin checks out the side-by-side suites in the middle
View from the back of the 12-suite section
A suite for the pilots! Private rest area is located adjacent to cockpit.
Upstairs in the 60-seat business class section
34" wide biz class seats softened by two pillows. See the nice window bins?
Paul Ng demonstrates the murphy bed
Making up the bed for a nice nap!
Cuddle down cozy!
Zippin gives the bed a try
Zippin is 6'3" tall
Feet fit into a little nook. (Nice socks!)
Kicking back
He likes it!
Check out the size of that wing!
Secret spiral staircase at the back of the plane.
This is the lower deck coach section
Coach configuration is 3-4-3
An endless supply of inflight entertainment on a large screen
Knee room in coach
Secret locked door to crew rest area
Looking up from the "basement"
Plush, quiet quarters for the crew
There are eight berths in the crew rest area
BAT contest winner David Zippin on a private tour of Singapore Airlines' A380

 

While the double-decker Airbus A380 has been plying the skies around the world for five years now, it’s still a sight to see it take off or land at SFO. While you may have seen one of these big birds from the outside…only a few have been able to see what they look like on the inside.

Last week, lucky BAT contest winner David Zippin got one of those prized close-up looks when he took a private tour of a Singapore Airlines’ A380 parked at SFO. The BAT chose Zippin randomly from the hundreds of readers who helped us attract nearly 300 new subscribers in a word-of-mouth contest late last year.

BAT contest winner David Zippin on a private tour of Singapore Airlines' A380

BAT contest winner David Zippin on a private tour of Singapore Airlines’ A380

Thanks to all of you who helped turn your friends and colleagues on to The BAT! As a result, we are growing like gangbusters! And thanks to Singapore Air and other BAT sponsors- their support keeps The BAT free (and in this case, very interesting) for readers.

Now, back to that tour… BAT editor Chris McGinnis accompanied Singapore Airlines VP Paul Ng along with Zippin and three of his friends to see the plane. Here are nine interesting things we learned about Singapore’s A380 service at SFO along the way:

1-SEXY: Singapore Airlines (SIA) has a super-sexy flight number on its SFO>HKG>SIN run: SQ1, which departs SFO at 10:50 pm for Hong Kong and Singapore. SQ2 arrives back in SFO at around 8:30 pm. Ng told us that the SFO flights bear those numbers because San Francisco was Singapore Air’s first US destination 33 years ago.

2-BEST BUSINESS CLASS: There are 60 business class seats on the A380—and they are so wide (34 inches) that SIA has added a pillow and a cushion to cozy the expanse up a bit. Upstairs window seats have special storage bins. (See slideshow above.) The business class cabin in split into two sections- the section closest to the front is smaller, more intimate and likely more quiet. Business class fares on Singapore for mid-March flights run from $4,000 to $6,000.

3-BEST COACH SEATS: There are 88 coach seats at the rear of the upper deck (which are considered the best coach seats—windows in this section have the same special seat-side bins as in business class.) Upstairs, coach is configured 2-4-2 vs 3-4-3 on main deck. Due to the curvature of the fuselage, coach seats downstairs on the main deck don’t have the bins. Round trip coach fares on Singapore Air currently run around $1,200.

4-FIRST CLASS SUITES: Downstairs, there are 12 “Suites” in the first class section at the front, and then 311 coach seats in the back.  Each plush, rich leather, first class seat is enclosed in a private shell, with a sliding door to the aisle. Sleeping mattresses are 4″ thick. A seat in a first class suite to Hong Kong or Singapore runs about $12,000-$14,000 round trip. Ng said that the two pairs of adjoining suites (non-window) with collapsible walls between them are usually the first seats to sell out. (Think about that, all you Valentines Day romantics!)

5-MURPHY BEDS. Unlike other airlines, Singapore seats in both business and first class fold over, and then down, so you sleep on a separate mattress thick mattress, a different surface that what you sit on. See the slide show above for a demonstration. (On most other airlines, first and business seats recline to a flat bed-like surface for sleeping.)

6-THREE LEVELS. There’s a basement on this bird! Behind a combination-locked door in the middle of the main deck, there’s a steep staircase down to a crew rest area. The space consists of 12 bunks—with entertainment systems, mirrors and noise deadening privacy curtains. It’s a bit claustrophobic down there, but those nice flat beds look cozier than the first class suites upstairs. (Several shots of this in the slideshow above)

7-BIG BIRD.  The top of the tail of the A380 stands eight stories off the ground. According to Ng, one wing could keep a group of 2,000 people dry in the rain. We were skeptical about that claim until we peered out the window at the massive wing.

8-TWO VERSIONS: Singapore Airlines flies two different configurations of the A380. Version 1 is configured with both business and coach seats on the upper deck. Version 2 is all-business-all-the-time (86 seats) upstairs; first and coach are on the main deck.  Both versions have a grand wide staircase in the front, and a smaller curves staircase in the back.

9-SINGAPORE GIRLS. A small army of 22 flight attendants (Singapore girls and boys) staffs the flight, which takes about 13 hours to reach Hong Kong… then 3-4 hours more to Singapore. The flight departs SFO at 10:50 pm, crosses the International Date Line and then arrives in Singapore at noon—two days later. (So if you leave on a Sunday night, you get there in time for lunch on Tuesday.)

10-SAD TO SEE IT GO. Singapore Airlines’ A380 is currently scheduled for what the carrier is calling “popup” service at SFO—it started on Dec 28 and will revert back to a Boeing 777 service on March 24. But there’s hope: Ng says that the airline is always evaluating where to deploy its fleet of A380s, and it could come back.

 

For a limited period, San Francisco passengers will have the opportunity to experience spacious luxury onboard the world's largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380 on flights to Asia. Between December 28, 2012 and March 24, 2013, Singapore Airlines will pop into town with daily “Pop-Up” A380 flights between San Francisco and Singapore via Hong Kong. Flip through this slideshow to see its famous Suites and the widest Business Class seats in the sky. SQ1 departs SFO at 10:50 pm and arrives in Hong Kong at 5:50 am two days later. Flight time is about 13 hours to Hong Kong, and with another 3.5 hours to Singapore, you'll have plenty of time to soak up the luxury and explore the 1000+ onboard entertainment options. SQ2 arrives daily in SFO at 7:45 pm on the same day it departs from Singapore and Hong Kong.