Thailand

MAX Returns to SIA Phuket Flight, Route Carries Record High

MAX Returns to SIA Phuket Flight, Route Carries Record High


Singapore Airlines Plans to Operate Six Daily Flights from October 2023, Highest-ever Passenger Carrying to and from Phuket Includes Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft With better cabin products.

Singapore Airlines began offering flights to and from the popular Thai holiday destination of Phuket in mid-2019 for the first time since the 1990s, as the mainline carrier stepped in to help regional subsidiary SilkAir address a severe capacity shortage.

The reason for this is well-documented problems with the Boeing 737 MAX, which was grounded four months ago following two deadly crashes, leaving SilkAir with a smaller fleet than usual of 33. At least 6 aircraft are missing.

Thankfully, the MAX issues are a thing of the past and with SilkAir now fully integrated into Singapore Airlines, Phuket is a regular destination on the airline’s network with four daily Boeing 737-800 flights.

We are currently working on plans to not only enhance the passenger experience on this popular route, but also to increase capacity to 106% of pre-COVID levels.

When Singapore Airlines kicks off its own Boeing 737-8 MAX operations in November 2021 using former SilkAir aircraft retrofitted with new cabin products, Phuket is the launch destination for the fleet.

In November 2019, Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 737-8 MAX made its maiden flight to Phuket. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

However, this situation did not last.

Ex-SilkAir Boeing 737-800s equipped with older cabin products, including basic recliners in business class, have been deployed exclusively on the Phuket route since September 2022 and continue to do so today.

The good news is that the MAX will return on select Singapore Airlines Phuket flights from October 2023.

This means 10 of the latest Thompson Vantage Regional Business Class seats and a new Economy Class with 144 Collins Aerospace seats, featuring seatback IFE, USB charging and Wi-Fi, offering passengers a more long-haul flight-like experience. experience.

sq max rj cairns airport 2
Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 737-8 MAX offers Thompson Vantage seats that convert into lie-flat beds. (Photo: Cairns Airport)

Currently, Singapore Airlines operates four daily flights to and from Phuket, all services using Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which have made “slight improvements” to the former SilkAir cabin, which means the experience for passengers in the fleet worst.

From the northern winter season in late October 2023, flights to Phuket will be 50% increase to six times a dayincluding two Boeing 737-8 MAX Service.

Compared to the current timetable, the new daily departures are SQ724/723 in the morning and SQ732/731 in the early afternoon.

Singapore Phuket

October 29, 2023
arrive
March 30, 2024

Phuket Singapore

October 29, 2023
arrive
March 30, 2024

* no Operating time December 3, 2023 – December 30, 2023

Don’t get confused – these two new services no MAX service, plane swap actually happens on two planes existing Change to Phuket flight from late October:

Unfortunately, as you can see, there are still four Boeing 737-800s flying daily, and those planes won’t leave the fleet until late 2025 when the final lease expires.

Thanks to this new schedule of six daily flights, Singapore Airlines will offer record seat capacity to and from Phuket, surpassing even SilkAir’s pre-Covid-19 levels.

The airline will offer 6,692 weekly seats in each direction on six daily flights by November 2023, compared to 6,314 weekly seats in each direction on five daily flights in November 2019 (MI and SQ combined).

sq 7m8 star small malcolm lu
Singapore Airlines has a fleet of 16 Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft in service. (Photo: Aircraft Portrait Aviation Media/Malcolm Lu)

that is a Frequency increased by 20% and a 6% of seats The increase no doubt reflects pent-up and rising travel demand to this popular destination.

You may have noticed that Singapore Airlines will not be loading the additional two daily flights for the four weeks between 3 December 2023 and 30 December 2023.

A reduced schedule for December looks odd to us.

This is usually the peak time for Phuket flights and even sees the airline deploying wide body aircraft such as the A350 in December 2021 so seeing the SQ724/723 and SQ732/731 reappear during this period we won’t Surprised later, maybe even the widebody is at play.

Airlines are still working on their northern winter schedules for 2023/24, but we should have a firm version within weeks if not days, so keep an eye out for this space on the Phuket route.

new cabin products

A huge advantage when you fly a Singapore Airlines 737 MAX instead of a 737-800 is the latest cabin offerings, including lie-flat seats in business class, two seat back) in-flight entertainment.

In contrast, the former SilkAir Boeing 737-800 (without the MAX designator) is a different story, with reclining business class seats providing a rather mediocre hard product experience, as highlighted in our recent review .

While the service was good and we ate and drank well, it’s safe to say it’s a waste of miles Manual seat controls are clunky, no privacy, no Wi-Fi connection, and in-flight entertainment via an iPad, which didn’t work on both legs of our trip!

Singapore Airlines’ very minor remodeling of the 737-800 cabin is evident in the ‘before and after’ photo below – we actually prefer the warmer color palette used by SilkAir to SIA’s ‘Premium Economy Grey’.

Compare MICompare SQ

As you can see, aside from new upholstery and seat cushions, there are no major changes to the hard offering, little privacy, and no flat bed feature, both features that characterize the airline’s other business class offerings, Includes products installed on the newer Boeing 737-8 MAX.

Wi-Fi is available in both cabins on the MAX (remember Wi-Fi is now an “unlimited” perk in business class, and is also available to KrisFlyer members in economy).

j seat map 3
Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX business class seat map

Here’s a scale representation of the MAX’s cabin layout from the aeroLOPA website, clearly showing the extended consoles on the two “throne” seats.

7m8 j seat map aerolopa
Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX business class seat map.
(Image source: aeroLOPA)

Below is our dedicated article on the new cabins to help you understand what’s on board.

Below are the latest one-way KrisFlyer award rates you’ll be paying on the Singapore – Phuket route.

kf new 2021
KrisFlyer redemption
Singapore ⇄ Phuket
Saver Advantage
economy 13,500 25,000
Business 24,000 40,000

In both classes, especially business class, you will obviously focus on redemptions on 737-8 MAX flights, as the hard offering here is significantly superior.

sin hkt j
When redeeming business class KrisFlyer miles to/from Phuket this winter, remember to choose MAX flights

Other flight options to/from Phuket

Based on the November 2023 timetable, there will be a total of 75 direct flights between Singapore and Phuket this coming winter, more than 88% of the pre-COVID-19 total of 85 flights.

For example, the table below shows non-SIA flights for November 2023.

Singapore – Phuket flight
(November 2023)


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Since September 2022, business class on SIA’s Phuket route has had reclining seats and lacks Wi-Fi connectivity in both cabins, so from late October 2023 some services will again be operated by MAX aircraft Flying, this is good news.

These will offer a better passenger experience than the outdated cabins installed on the airline’s former SilkAir Boeing 737-800s, but you’ll have to choose your flights carefully to take advantage.

If you’ve booked on one of these flights that has switched to MAX, be sure to check your seat selection and modify accordingly, especially in business class where you may see a separate “mini suite” option – if you’re lucky.

(Cover photo: Kittikun Yoksap/Shutterstock)





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