Singapore Airlines: new business class seats forward-facing, not herringbone

Singapore Airlines: new business class seats forward-facing, not herringbone

Singapore Airlines will roll out new business class seats in the third quarter of 2013 but is playing the caution card in keeping a forward-facing design and holding out on premium economy, with concerns the 'in-between class' could cannibalise high-yield business fares if passengers opt for the cheaper albeit less comfortable seats.

Update: Singapore Airlines to reveal 'next gen' seats & cabins in July

Speaking with The Australian, SQ's senior vice-president of product and services, Tan Pee Teck, said that while premium economy "is not a closed matter for us... we are not getting the sense it's a truly successful product."

While premium economy isn't likely to appear on Singapore Airlines' new seating grid, Tan confirmed the new business class seats would follow a conventional forward-facing layout rather than move to the popular herringbone layout now being adopted by many airlines.

Read: Expert guide to business class seat & cabin layouts

The new seats will however provide "more storage place for devices such as mobile phones and increased privacy for tablets".

Singapore Airlines has contracted James Park Associates, creators of its current A380 business class seats, to design the new seats which will debut on the airlines' late 2013 deliveries of Boeing 777-300ER planes, followed by its fleet of Airbus A350s.

Singapore Airlines has earlier said it would target "improved comfort in both seating and sleeping positions" on the seats, which some passengers criticise for a lack of relaxing positions and being too wide to let them get properly comfortable.

Tan also told The Australian that SQ would stick with personal in-seat touchscreens rather than adopt wireless streaming to tablets, saying "there's a very bright future for the in-seat video product."

As previously reported, Singapore Airlines will also be fitting its A380-style business class seats onto the Boeing 777-200ER planes used for many long-haul destinations out of Singapore, with the upgrade due to be completed in July 2013.

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David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • johnaboxall


    13 Dec, 2012 08:41 am

    Too wide? Never!

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  • Al Glidden


    13 Dec, 2012 09:02 am

    Hah! It's funny that you think a seat could never be too wide but that's what I found on an SQ A380 flight a few months ago. I really would have been happier with a slightly narrower seat and more useful space for storage and work. Does anybody other than a sumo wrestler really need a seat so wide?

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  • AusFlyer


    13 Dec, 2012 10:35 am

    The annoying thing about the SQ seat is that you have to flip it down to make it a bed... That's why the CX seat is so much better... at least you can adjust it as you please.

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  • Mark Trim


    14 Dec, 2012 03:12 pm

    Agree with the lack of reclining positions on the current product, the flip down means that the huge seat benefit is lost a little because there aren't many reclined seating positions. You can either recline a little bit, or flipdown to a full bed. If you like to rest while you watch your movies in a semi-reclined position it's not ideal. And when you flip it over you sleep on the diaganol with your feet in a little cubby hole and head in a small space, which means you lose a lot of the benefits of the width when you want them most and have to crane your neck to watch movies because the TV is fixed in a straight position but you're on the diaganol. But if they make it too good then the first class [on the 777-300ERs] will have no relevance in the market.

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  • W F


    14 Dec, 2012 03:46 pm

    I absolutely love their current product. I have flown on almost all configurations out there and SQ tops my list. I love the wide seats and find getting out of them to make the bed very easy. It's good to move around. 

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  • Ian_from_HKG


    14 Dec, 2012 03:47 pm

    I have never been a fan of the current seat.  It *is* too wide - you can either sit in the middle with no arm support, or scoot over to one side so just one arm is unsupported.  Uncomfortable either way.  Add to that the fact that the seat itself is incredibly hard, with not much recline, and that you can't get your legs decently raised while watching TV (because the TV doesn't sit over the cubbyhole for your feet - so you either sit in front of the TV with your hips twisted to stretch your legs out, or sit comfortably but have to look diagonally across at the screen).  It doesn't sound as though much of this will be fixed with the new seats

    Give me the new Cathay seats any day - they may not be as big, but they are a damn sight more comfortable and better thought out...

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  • Dave Thomas


    17 Dec, 2012 02:38 pm

    SIA are doing a QF, and hoping to fill F and J, but as Bob Dillon wrote, "The times they are a' changing". F is getting harder to fill due to pricing - which QF noted  QF originated J class back in the 90's, and it proved a big success with flyers. Then along came F with all the bells and whistles but at a premium price. After that, some airlines decided on a Y+ offering to make Y a bit more comfortable. 

    So what we are seeing is a full circle and are back where Y+ is an affordable seat with a few extra comforts, as was the original QF J seats.

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25 Jun, 2019 04:02 am


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