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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

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Singapore’s Airbus A380 at Frankfurt airport.

Taylor Rains/Insider

  • Singapore Airlines operates the second-largest fleet of Airbus A380 jets.
  • I recently flew on the mammoth plane in premium economy from New York to Frankfurt.
  • While I thought the service and food were delicious, I couldn’t ignore the subpar headrests.
Singapore Airlines is considered one of the best carriers in world.Singapore Airlines A350-900.Singapore Airlines A350-900.

KITTIKUN YOKSAP/Shutterstock

With a diverse fleet of commercial jets, from the Boeing 737 narrowbody to the giant Airbus A380, the airline connects Singapore to over 75 destinations worldwide.Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-8 aircraftSingapore Airlines Boeing 737-8 aircraft

Singapore Airlines

Source: Singapore Airlines

In fact, the airline operates the world’s longest flight on its Airbus A350 workhorse, which journeys nearly 19 hours nonstop between New York-JFK and Singapore.Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.

Urbanandsport/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Singapore prides itself on its high standard of comfort and customer service.Singapore Airlines flight attendants.Singapore Airlines flight attendants.

ROSLAN RAHMAN / Contributor / Getty Images

In 2022, the carrier won several awards from airline ranking website Skytrax, including being named the world’s best first class and the world’s best cabin staff.First-class seating on a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, which can be combined with the neighboring suite to create a huge room with a double bed and two loungers.First-class seating on a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, which can be combined with the neighboring suite to create a huge room with a double bed and two loungers.

ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images.

Source: Skytrax, These are the 20 best airlines in the world, according to one survey of travelers: See the full list

Considering its reputation, I wanted to see if the airline lived up to the hype. Here’s what my Singapore A380 flight from New York to Frankfurt in premium economy was like.Singapore Airlines premium economy seat fully reclined with legrest out.My flight to Frankfurt was the first of two legs to Singapore. Singapore’s routing is a “fifth freedom right,” which allows the airline of one nation (Singapore) to transport passengers between two other countries (the US and Germany, in this case.)

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I flew 19 hours on Emirates from Dubai to New York via Italy and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again over the 14-hour non-stop flight

I arrived at New York-JFK’s Terminal 4 at around 5:15 p.m. for my 8:15 p.m. departure, and I’m glad I arrived early because the check-in line was extremely long.The snaking line of passengers in Singapore's economy check-in queue.

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While I automatically checked in on the app thanks to the airline’s unique feature, I still had to retrieve my boarding pass from the ticket counter.Singapore Airlines sign at Terminal 4 at New York-JFK airport.According to the airline, an agent needed to verify my passport and confirm my credit card, the latter being a fraud prevention tactic.

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Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long in line because I was flying in premium economy, which had a dedicated queue.The dedicated line for premium economy. Passengers stand around waiting to check in luggage.

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However, the economy line — which could see as many as 343 passengers per A380 flight — was overwhelming. I recommend those flying in regular coach to arrive super early to avoid any stress.The snaking line of passengers in the economy cabin queue.The line was extended to the back wall of Terminal 4, leaving a gap in between to create a walkway for passengers heading to security.

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Source: SeatGuru

Check-in was relatively simple, though my carry-on bag ended up being over the seven-kilogram (15.4-pound) limit.My black Beis carry-on bag with a beige handle.

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This was actually the first time my carry-on bag was weighed by an airline. I found the weight restriction surprisingly low, and it would be difficult to fly to Singapore without checking luggage.Spirit Airlines check-in at LGA Terminal 1.Spirit Airlines has checked my carry on bag size, and weighed my checked luggage. But even the low-cost carrier — as well as others like Frontier and Allegiant — hasn’t weighed my carry on.

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But, I was able to transfer some things to my personal item to get my bag within limits — and then I was off to security.Holding my two boarding passes and my passport.I received both boarding passed for the two legs to Singapore, the first via Frankfurt.

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While the regular TSA line was also very long, I was able to bypass it with TSA Pre-Check, which to this day is one of the best investments I’ve ever made.Waiting in the TSA Pre-Check line with passengers in front of me.TSA Pre-Check is only $78 for five years, or $100 if you also want Global Entry.

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Source: CBP

After killing a little time at an Irish pub, I headed to gate A6 for boarding.The boarding area with passengers lined up.

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Being a premium economy flyer, I was one of the first groups to board behind the first class suites…Singapore Airlines A380 first class suite.A grand staircase led up to the first class suites on the second level.

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Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A380 and its famous first-class suite are leaving NYC — see inside the luxurious cabin

…and business class.Singapore Airlines A380 business class.

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Both luxury cabins are located on the superjumbo’s second level. Business class passengers can board via a separate jetbridge that connects to the upper door.The two jetbridges upon arrival in Frankfurt.Two jet bridges upon landing in Frankfurt. There was also a third jetbridge that attached to one of the central boarding doors.

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Premium economy is located towards the front of the aircraft and features 44 recliners in a 2x4x2 configuration.The first row of Singapore's premium economy cabin.The first row has more legroom, but the screens are further away and there is no underseat storage.

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Source: SeatGuru

Meanwhile, the economy cabin takes up the rest of the plane in a 3x4x3 layout.Singapore Airlines A380.

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Source: SeatGuru

My ticket was booked about a month before departure, so it was slim pickings when I selected my seat. Fortunately, there was a single window seat available — 34A — which became my temporary home for about seven hours on the trek to Frankfurt.The rows of premium economy.Seat 34A is on the left side of the aircraft if facing towards the front of the plane.

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I got settled into my seat with the help of the cabin crew who stowed my luggage. The overhead bins are situated high and can be difficult to reach for shorter humans like myself.The overhead bins full of baggage.

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My first impression of the seat was very positive. The loungers were big, and the orange and gray color scheme was aesthetically pleasing to the eye.My personal item and pillow sitting in my seat.

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The seat offers 38 inches of pitch and 19.5 inches of width. So, at only 5’3″, I found myself with more than enough legroom and could stretch my legs all the way out with no issue.Sitting in the lounger with plenty of legroom.

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Source: SeatGuru

As I started exploring the full product, I realized the seat offered more than just a lot of space.Premium economy seats H and K on the opposite side of the plane.Premium economy seats H and K on the opposite side of the plane.

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Waiting for me at my seat was a large pillow and plush blanket…The orange pilot and dark colored blanket.

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…as well as a large water bottle.Me holding a Crystal Geyer plastic water bottle.

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Moreover, there was a big 13.3-inch flat screen TV loaded with dozens of shows, movies, music, and games…A view from my seat of the TV screen.

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Source: Singapore Airlines

…a handheld remote to control the inflight entertainment…Me holding the remote which has several buttons and controls.

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…a large tray table…A view of the tray table with a pack of almonds sitting in the corner.

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…a footrest…Me with my shoes on the footrest.

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…a legrest…A view of the legrest.

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..and a deep recline.One of the premium economy seats in the fully reclined position.One of the premium economy seats in the fully reclined position.

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The lounger also came with a huge seatback pocket big enough to fit my medicine bag, laptop, and electronics case…My laptop, medicine case, and electronics case in the seatback pocket, which is blue, grey, and orange.

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…noise-canceling headphones…Me holding the black, Singapore-branded noise-cancelling headphones.

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…pockets for each passenger’s cell phone…A cell phone in the blue pocket.

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…as well as a reading light, a universal power outlet, and two USB ports per person — one next to the TV and one behind the armrest.The power outlets and reading light behind the seat.

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Two sets of cup holders lie between the seats, one by the armrest and a second by the legrest.The cup holders with an orange rim on top, and a blue rim on the bottom.

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I was particularly impressed with the ample storage. There was a small area between the seat and armrest, and space between the seat and fuselage, which is where I stored my linens until I was ready to sleep.The space between the fuselage and the seat in front of me. Stored here is an orange pillow.The space between the fuselage and the seat in front of me.

Taylor Rains/Insider

However, I had one major gripe with the premium economy product — the headrests.The rows of premium economy.

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While they are supposed to be adjustable, they simply did not fold all the way in to create a full cocoon for my neck.A side view of the headrest, along with the lighting and power ports.The headrest only folded in about 50-60 degrees, rather than folding fully perpendicular to the seat.

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It’s possible it was a malfunction with my specific seat, or simply because the seat is so wide that my head has to lean further to reach the wing.A demonstration of the wings folding in during an A380 tour in April.A representative showing me how to fold the wings in during my tour in April.

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Regardless, this made sleeping much more difficult, and the large gap between the seat and the fuselage made it hard to rest my head that way as well.Another view of the headrest from above.

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In fact, after flying economy on the second leg to Singapore, I found I slept better because the headrests folded all the way in and my neck felt supported.The economy seat headrest with wing folded in.The economy right headrest wing is folded nearly all the way here. The seats in economy are narrower, so it’s possible the smaller space made my neck feel more cozy and cradled compared to premium economy’s wide seat.

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Nevertheless, premium economy shined over regular economy in about every other area, particularly the added amenities and perks.The flight attendant serving passengers.

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About 10 minutes after takeoff — which was right on time — the cabin crew came around with nuts, as well as drinks like champagne, orange juice, water, wine, and beer.A pack of almonds with a glass of champagne in the background.

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I thought this was speedy, excellent service, and a great appetizer before dinner.The view out the window of New York after takeoff showing the city lights.The view out the window during takeoff.

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The first meal was served about 30 minutes into the flight, and there were three options: a beef dish, chicken fried rice, and prawns — I chose the latter.The prawns, leaks, and noodles in my meal.

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I got my food very quickly because I pre-ordered on the app, which was more convenient than waiting for the galley cart to get to my row.The orzo salad next to bread and cutlery.The orzo salad with chicken served with the prawns.

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Overall, I thought the main dish was delicious. It also felt like a unique food for an airline to serve.The bread, cheese, and tea served with my meal.

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My meal also came with an orzo salad, bread and butter, cheese, crackers, and a drink.Singapore Airlines’ dinner meal in premium economy, including prawns with leaks and noodles, orzo, bread, cheese, and crackers.

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For dessert, we were given vanilla ice cream. However, I’ll admit it was still frozen when served and I had to wait a while before I could eat it.The vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

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Throughout the meal, the flight attendants were prompt with their service, regularly collecting trash and refilling cups.Nice, silver cutlery was served with dinner.Nice silver cutlery was served with dinner.

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After dinner, I propped my legs up, reclined my seat, and put on a movie as I fell asleep. I liked that the TV adjusts out so travelers can still see the screen when the seat in front is fully reclined.The TV adjusted up.

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I slept on and off for about two hours before waking up for the second meal service, which was about one hour before landing. We were given a choice of pizza or a chicken sandwich with honey mustard.The stone oven baked margherita pizza in its beige box.

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I tried the pizza, which was tasty. But, after the big dinner and my body still being on New York time, I didn’t have much of an appetite for the heavy options. Personally, I’d prefer something lighter like what most airlines serve as breakfast on a red-eye flight, like yogurt.The pizza in its box with melted cheese.

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Granted, Antony McNeil, Singapore’s food and beverage director, told Insider that the carrier’s meals are designed to make passengers feel fuller for longer — and it clearly works.Singapore’s global food & beverage director, Antony McNeil.Singapore’s global food & beverage director, Antony McNeil.

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I spent the rest of the flight watching a movie and using the inflight WiFi. The service is complimentary for KrisFlyer members in both premium and regular economy.Wireless internet information sheet that is kept in the seatback pocket.

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Source: Singapore Airlines

I also visited the lavatory before landing, which was one of the nicest ones I’ve ever seen, with wood-like finishings…The lavatory with the toilet seat down. The space is brown and white.

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…and a full-body mirror.The full body mirror in the bathroom with the sink on the reflection.

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Overall, I enjoyed my experience on Singapore. The seat was plush, the food was good, the crew members were friendly, and the flight was on time.Premium economy curtain separating the cabin from regular economy.Premium economy curtain separating the cabin from regular economy.

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Though, I can’t ignore the issue with the headrest. It’s a little detail, but it made the difference as I would prefer a good headset over a legrest and footrest.The Singapore legrest.

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I think if Singapore can fix this issue, then premium economy would be nearly perfect.Singapore Airlines’ premium economy.

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