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I flew on Singapore's Airbus A380 for 12 hours in economy from Germany to Singapore. The seat was surprisingly amenity-heavy and made the long trek easy.

By Taylor Rains,

Singapore Airlines' A380 economy cabin.
  • Singapore Airlines operates a fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including the massive A380 superjumbo.
  • The carrier flies the jet on a unique "fifth freedom" right between New York and Singapore via Frankfurt.
  • I flew in economy on the second leg to Singapore for 12 hours and loved the experience.
Spending 12 hours on a plane may seem like a hellish experience for many travelers — especially those seated in regular economy.
Air New Zealand 777-300ER economy cabin.
But, the journey can depend airline to airline as some companies have developed their cabin products better than others.
Qatar Airways economy product on its 777.
This is particularly true for Singapore Airlines, which I flew on a recent flight from Frankfurt, Germany, to Singapore.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380-800.
I wasn't sure what to expect going into the long-haul flight, but the coach product proved to be amenity-heavy with plenty of perks to keep me entertained.
In fact, I think Singapore's economy product is one of the best in the market. Here's what my experience was like.
My flight was the second of two legs from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Singapore via Frankfurt.
I flew in premium economy on the way to Frankfurt.

I flew on Singapore's mammoth A380 in premium economy to Germany and the service was great, but the seat had one major flaw I couldn't overlook

This is a "fifth freedom" route that allows one nation's carrier to transport people between two foreign states as long as its own country is the start or end point.

I flew on a unique 'fifth freedom' route from New York to Singapore via Germany — here's what that means and why airlines do it

In this case, Singapore flies its mammoth A380 back and forth between the nation and the US, stopping in Germany to load and unload passengers. The same plane is used for both legs.
Singapore Airlines' A380 at Frankfurt.
I noticed a lot of German travelers headed to customs after the first flight, while those connecting on to Singapore were required to disembark and wait in the Frankfurt airport's transit area.
There were two jetbridges upon landing in Frankfurt. There was also a third jetbridge that attached to one of the central boarding doors.
The terminal was big with plenty of seating and bathrooms, as well as a restaurant that served things like fruit and giant pretzels.
The layover was a little over an hour so I bought a quick cup of coffee and sat by the gate until re-boarding.
The passengers in the background were boarding an Air Canada flight in the neighboring gate. There was also a Croatia Airlines flight and an All Nippon Airways (Japanese carrier) flight going out around the same time.
Because I was flying in economy, I was one of the last sections to board. But, my seat — 52K — was in the first section of coach so I didn't have to venture too far down the aisle.
Singapore's A380 has 343 economy seats in a 3x4x3 configuration.
I made sure to select my seat during booking to secure the window and avoid being trapped in the middle for 12 hours.
A view of the middle section seats taken during a tour of the jet before the flight.
Before getting settled, I first had to find space for my carry-on. I found that most of the bins around me were already full, so I ended up having to store my bag about four rows behind.
My carry-on is Beis and is the correct size for Singapore's bins. However, the agent did weigh it in New York and I had to move some weight to my personal item to keep it under the seven-kilogram (15-pound) limit.
This meant I had to wait extra time to retrieve it after landing, which is annoying but not uncommon in large economy cabins like Singapore's.
The overhead bins in Singapore's economy cabin.
Once I organized everything I needed for the flight, like my headphones and water bottle, I started exploring the seat.
I was immediately impressed with the space available. I had more than enough legroom to stretch out and move around easily.
Granted, I'm only 5'3" tall, but even larger travelers should be comfortable with the generous 32 inches of pitch and 19 inches of width.

Source: SeatGuru

In fact, Singapore offers more space than its only competitor on the route — Lufthansa.
Lufthansa flies a Boeing 747-8 on the route.
The German carrier also flies a jumbo jet from Frankfurt to Singapore, but its Boeing 747 only offers 31 inches of pitch and 17.1 inches of width, per SeatGuru.
Lufthansa Boeing 747-8i economy. Airlines can fit 10-abreast rows on the plane.

Source: SeatGuru

While Singapore's standard seats have plenty of legroom, the bulkhead rows offer even more. However, the TVs for the middle section are located a distance away on the wall...
...while the screens pop up from below the seat in the side sections. Personally, I don't like either screen location and don't want to store my personal item. So, considering I don't need the extra legroom, I avoided the bulkhead.
In addition to the space, I was also happy to find several nice amenities, including a 10.6-inch seatback TV...
There was a setting in the inflight entertainment system to show the plane's altitude and speed.
…more than enough seatback pocket space, which easily fit my medicine kit and power cords…
…a cupholder fitted into the seat back that my neighbor used as a neck pillow holder during boarding…
…a padded eye mask, which was handed out during boarding…
…a headrest that fully folded in to support my neck…
The headrests could adjust up and down, as seen on all the different seats.
…two power ports — one USB by the TV and one outlet under the seat in front…
…a small shelf in the seatback that could hold headphones or a phone…
…and the biggest pillow and the softest blanket I've ever had in an economy cabin.
The pillow even came with a cloth pillowcase — which is a nice change from the plastic-like material used by some competitors, like United Airlines' Boeing 767 from Boston to London.
The pillow on United's Boeing 767.

I flew on United's aging Boeing 767-300ER from Boston to London in economy and the updated cabin made the plane feel like new

Another difference I noticed in Singapore's economy cabin was the tray table.
Mine folded in half with cup holders on either side, but it also came with a built-in mirror that faced toward the ceiling.
I thought the design was random and quirky, but I guess it can come in handy for some travelers.
A few comforts the seat didn't have were a legrest or a footrest, which is not a surprise since those are reserved for premium economy passengers.
Singapore Airlines premium economy legrest on its A380.
Though, I have found a rare footrest in economy on some airlines, like Aerolineas Argentinas, which made the 10-hour journey between Miami and Buenos Aires much more comfortable.
My economy seat with my feet on the footrest on Aerolineas Argentineas in November.
After exploring the seat, I was surprised to be served a pre-flight drink. I was offered beer, wine, juice, or water — I opted for orange juice.
The drink is a small detail, but it makes the service that much better compared to other airlines. I genuinely believe Singapore has an incredible customer-focused mentality.
Singapore Airlines flight attendants onboard the carrier's A380 in 2020 when it was turned into a restaurant.
About an hour after takeoff we got our first meal. I chose the chicken, which came with potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, and bread.
There was also a vegetarian option.
I also had some water, which I could store in the convenient cupholder…
…as well as Singapore's local Tiger beer. Passengers could also opt for wine or other non-alcoholic drinks.
For dessert, we had vanilla ice cream. Overall, I thought the entire meal was delicious and flavorful, especially for economy class.
While many US carriers, like United and Delta Air Lines, have good food, Singapore just has a better product with more diverse flavors and ingredients. And, it visually looks appetizing as well, which is different from some dishes I've come across.
Pictured is a curry meal on Delta Air Lines' Boeing 767 from Sweden to New York. The curry looked a little questionable, but it was still pretty good.

I flew on Delta's Boeing 767 from Sweden to New York in economy and it was the best transatlantic flight I've taken in a long time

After lunch, I put on some background music and fell asleep for about eight hours straight thanks to the seat's recline, plush linens, and cozy headrest.
For me to sleep on planes, I bank on a good headrest. While Singapore's premium economy headrest wasn't really helpful for sleeping, I was relieved to see regular economy's was.
The headrest in premium economy only folded in about 60 degrees, rather than folding fully perpendicular to the seat like in economy.

I flew on Singapore's mammoth A380 in premium economy to Germany and the service was great, but the seat had one major flaw I couldn't overlook

The padded wings fully folded in, and the headrest could even be moved up and down for different passenger heights.
Meanwhile, the recline was more than I'd think an economy seat would have. Granted, when the person in front of me reclined, it took over half of my personal space.
The economy seat reclined during a tour of the jet before the flight.
Fortunately, the flight attendants made an announcement asking for everyone to bring their chairs up during meal services, which helped.
But that wasn't the case for the rest of the flight. Luckily, the issue didn't impact my view of the TV because the system adjusted up and down to accommodate the recline.
A view of the TV fully adjusted up during a tour of the plane before the flight.
After a much-needed rest, I woke up about two hours before landing. The next meal service was served shortly after.
We were given an option of sausage with eggs or noodles. Considering noodles are popular for breakfast in Singapore, I went with that, and I'm happy I did.
The meal came with leeks and chicken, as well a yogurt and bread. Once again, the food exceeded expectations.
And, while I skipped it this time, I'm happy there was a breakfast food option too as my first leg to Frankfurt only offered pizza or a chicken sandwich as the morning-time meal — which I found odd.
The pizza in Singapore's A380 premium economy from New York to Frankfurt.
I also enjoyed a cup of coffee and watched the Incredibles 2 until we landed safely at Singapore's luxurious Changi International Airport.
We deplaned into the Terminal 3 transit area, where connecting travelers can enjoy things like a free movie theater, a butterfly garden, and a pool. After 12 hours in the sky, I was ready to explore Singapore and headed straight to immigration.
The pool at Singapore's Changi Airport, which I visited on my return flight to New York.
Overall, the flight went perfectly smooth. I was comfortable enough to sleep for hours, the food was delicious, and I felt refreshed despite the 13-hour time difference from New York.
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