‘It was less plane Wi-Fi and more real Wi-Fi!’

Singapore Airlines’ upgraded A380 showcases seamless connectivity from Inmarsat

Following a recent 13 hour flight, Singapore Airlines’ first A380 equipped with new suites touched down at Singapore’s Changi Airport. The airline has always blazed a trail with the A380, being the first customer to take delivery of the jet type in 2007. The aircraft can fly 8,200 miles non-stop and is the only fully double-decker passenger airliner in the skies today.

The plane that landed at Changi in December 2017 was the first of five new A380s ordered from Airbus, and feature all-new cabin products and suites. Singapore Airlines hopes to maintain its record as the world’s most awarded airline and is constantly looking for ways to boost passenger satisfaction. 

The aircraft is the first A380 to offer Inmarsat's high-speed GX Aviation inflight broadband service, provided to the airline through Inmarsat partner SITAONAIR. Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst and blogger said: “The connection on this specific Singapore Airlines ‘new’ A380 aircraft was the best I’ve experienced. The performance on my phone was exactly how it is on the ground — I even joked on board to the SITAONAIR representative that the connection was more reliable than it had been on the ground in Toulouse!”

He revealed that by using the Wi-Fi he was even able to broadcast live to followers via Facebook and Instagram without drop-outs. “It was less plane Wi-Fi and more real Wi-Fi!”

SITAONAIR reported a huge passenger uptake on connectivity as GX Aviation is rolled out. Katrina Korzenowski, VP, Asia-Pacific at SITAONAIR Korzenowski said: “The new high-speed passenger broadband solution from SITAONAIR is the perfect complement to the new suite of cabin products that SIA is introducing, taking passenger comfort and connectivity to new heights.”

Other products on the new aircraft include full connectivity from every seat, and more space for passengers in every cabin. Korzenowski said that, for her, the most exciting feature of the new plane was the thought and effort that has gone into the design of each and every class – from economy through to first. “It was particularly exciting to see completely new products for every passenger on board, nose-to-tail.”

Macheras predicts that Singapore’s A380 will carry a lot of transfer passengers, who are likely to have been travelling for almost 24 hours. “This is a long time to be without Wi-Fi, so henceforth I think the demographic changes to a much larger group of passengers as to ‘who uses the Wi-Fi,’ compared with a shorter flight.”

The new planes feature 471 seats in four classes, including six suites, and will start scheduled service on routes including Singapore to Sydney, Auckland, London, and Hong Kong.

Macheras describes the product as designed to maximise space on board: “In the suites, it’s more hotel room than it is ‘plane’. I’ve flown in most of the First Class suites (Emirates, Etihad, etc) and the new Suite on Singapore has redesigned the way a First Class passenger can experience a flight. Having a tablet that controls all the lights in the suite, the swivel of the chair, the 32 inch flat screen, etc, all add to the ‘hotel in the sky’ experience.”

Even economy has been upgraded. He explains: “For Economy Class, it’s a newer, comfortable Recaro seat – with a headrest that can be moulded, a lot of shoulder room (thanks to the 18.5 inch width seat), and a large inflight entertainment screen, adding to the comfort of the passenger experience.”

Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong, who was at Changi Airport to welcome the aircraft’s arrival, said: “The Airbus A380 is a favourite among our customers and we are especially proud to be taking the travel experience to the next level with our new cabin products. The new products are being introduced after four years of development work and we are confident they will truly ‘wow’ our customers, ensuring that we continue to provide them an unparalleled travel experience.”