Singapore Airlines unveils bedroom in the sky in Airbus A380

Singapore Airlines yesterday unveiled new seats for its Airbus A380, its first major cabin overhaul in a decade.

The new first class with six suites, down from 12, redesigned to feature beds, defines a whole new experience in airline travel.

The beds in the cabin are arranged perpendicular and a wall can slide to allow privacy to travellers.

The suites come with a 21-inch wide leather chair upholstered by Italian furniture maker Poltrona Frau.

The full-flat beds have plush bedding and duvet designed by French luxury label Lalique.

The suits have been designed to give the feel of a bedroom and offer passengers the options of both a bed and a seat, according to SIA's divisional vice-president for customer experience Betty Wong who spoke to Channel NewsAsia in an earlier interview ahead of the launch. The seat in the suite currently needs to be folded to make the bed.

The new A380s can seat 471 people. In addition to the six suites, the planes have 78 business class seats on upper deck, and 44 premium economy and 343 regular economy class seats on the main deck.

The revamp is the latest step to attract wealthy travelers. Many carriers like Delta and United are designing their premium cabins for frequent business travelers, with some international airlines offering spacious first class suites. Etihad, for instance, offers a three-room suite it calls "The Residence."

Singapore Airlines will fly the revamped Airbus A380 next month from Singapore to Sydney.

The US$850 million (S$1.16 billion) cabin overhaul comes as the carrier completes a decade of flying the superjumbos and as it reviews its business in the face of increasing competition.

The business class seats feature a carbon fibre composite shell structure, as against the conventional aircraft seats which use metal as the primary support structure.

This allows a thinner base structure which makes for better optimisation of the seat and creates more under-seat storage space to accommodate a standard-size trolley bag, which according to SIA chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong is a "first in the world".