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For our readers based far abroad in Europe, if you’ve have ever wanted to experience the famed Singapore Airlines (SIA) hospitality or have a go at their world-renowned business class seat, you can now do so for much less than you imagined. Plus, there’s no need to seek prior approval from the Singapore Government to enter Singapore or undergo a mandatory 21-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at a government designated facility.

This is because starting since September, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has begun flying between Copenhagen and Rome three times per week. This is a ‘fifth freedom’ service which allows it to merge traffic from both cities into one flight in order to make the service viable.

More interestingly, it will use an A350-900 with 42 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, providing direct aisle access. It also provides 24 187 seats in premium economy and economy respectively. This is rather unique since these planes are generally used for more than 10 hours of flight time, and a major improvement since almost all intra-europe business class flights feature only pseudo business class seats.

How will it work out?

Being a Fifth Freedom flight, SQ352, an Airbus A350-900 will begin it’s journey in Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) to Copenhagen (CPH) at 0030 on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, spanning an estimated flight time of 12hrs 25mins. After landing in Copenhagen (CPH) at 0655 the same day, the aircraft will have a short break of 1hr 20mins on Danish soil, allowing customers who have been booked through to Copenhagen to disembark and thereafter picking up customers in Denmark headed for the aircraft’s final destination of Rome Leonardo Da Vinci International (FCO). At 0820 local time, SQ352 will find itself over the busy skies of Europe for a further 2hrs 20mins as it heads south towards the Mediterranean coastline, eventually landing in Rome at 1035.

Inbound schedule of SQ352 (Images courtesy of Singapore Airlines) 

As for the return stretch, SQ351 will begin it’s journey from Rome (FCO) to Copenhagen (CPH) at 0835 on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Mondays, spanning an estimated flight time of 2hrs 25mins. Upon arrival in Copenhagen (CPH) at 1100 local time, the Airbus A350 will again make a quick stop on Danish soil for 1hr 20 mins before departing at 1220, arriving back at it’s Singapore Changi Airport home base (SIN) at 0620 the next day after 12 hours of flight time.

Return schedule of SQ351 (Images courtesy of Singapore Airlines)

Pricing and Availability

There are currently some excellent business class deals available for this service. For a One-way journey, you will pay £230.

A return flight will cost you almost exactly £400.

An intra-europe redemption in Business Class will cost you only 30,500 miles! 

Comparison with rival carriers: For the same CPH-FCO route, there are 3 other carriers available for passengers to choose from, namely Ryanair and Norwegian as low-cost, budget options and SAS Scandinavian as the only other full-fare airline competing with SIA.

Comparison with rival carriers: For the same CPH-FCO route, there are 3 other carriers available for passengers to choose from, namely Ryanair and Norwegian as low-cost, budget options and SAS Scandinavian as the only other full-fare airline competing with SIA.

However, in all due honesty, the SAS soft product on a short haul intracontinental route is not too dissimilar from the budget offerings available at this time; whereby passengers in economy can expect to pay for optional extras such as checked-in baggage and on-board refreshments. This is similar to the stance which many other European full fare airlines such as Lufthansa and British Airways have taken when it comes to cost-cutting and remaining competitive relative to low cost carriers such as Ryanair and Easyjet, with such carriers now holding nearly 50% of total seat capacity in the entire European region. 

Plus, in terms of the hard product offering on SAS short haul, one can expect the usual modest European pseudo-business class setup on their Airbus A320Neo with no real difference between the features of Business and Economy class seats. 

All Economy setup on board an SAS Airbus A320 (Image courtesy of Skytrax)

It is clear that Singapore Airlines will never be a serious competitor within the low cost carrier market which has won over the hearts of many European fliers, nor does it wish to compete on such a level. What Singapore Airlines offers on this route is a distinguished experience for the bespoke traveller in all classes which is unrivalled by most Airlines operating within Europe; with an excellent hard product on board it’s Airbus A350 that is further complemented by an extensive food and beverage menu as well as immaculate service standards that one can expect from the iconic Singapore Airlines cabin crew. With Singaporean borders currently being closed to most foreign travel due to the public health impact of the pandemic, the Copenhagen-Rome route by SIA offers both first-time and seasoned travellers an excellent opportunity to indulge in a one-of-a-kind luxury flight experience without having to leave the continent.

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