Singapore Airlines premium economy takes flight to Sydney

Singapore Airlines premium economy takes flight to Sydney

Singapore Airlines' new premium economy makes its debut this week on selected Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER flights between Sydney and Singapore.

Hong Kong and London will follow at the end of August and Frankfurt, Paris, Beijing and Shanghai through September as the airline moves to rapidly fit the new seats across its flagship fleet.

The leather-clad seats, created for Singapore Airlines by JPA Design, are between 18.5 inches and 19.5 inches wide (depending on aircraft type) with a pitch of 38 inches, compared to a 19 inch width and tighter 32 inch pitch in standard economy.

In addition to a greater 8 inch recline, padded legrest and more in-seat storage space, passengers will also be treated to champagne and meals from Singapore Airlines' 'Book the Cook' service.

Made famous in SQ's first class and business class cabins, Book the Cook lets you choose your inflight meals before you fly, with a wider range of dishes – and, generally speaking, of superior quality – to what you'd be offered onboard.

You'll typically be able to pre-order your main course for all meals served during the flight – breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or supper: here's the Book the Cook selection available from Sydney to Singapore.

Each premium economy passenger will have access to their own AC power socket (with a universal design that'll take all common plug types) and a pair of USB sockets.

SQ late to the premium economy party

Singapore Airlines is a relatively late adopter of a 'better than economy but less than business' cabin, trailing the likes of Qantas, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and most recently Lufthansa.

"Because of changing consumer trends and industry landscapes, a gap opened up between business class – which has become even more luxurious – and economy class," Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Commercial, Mak Swee Wah told Australian Business Traveller at the official launch of SQ's premium economy seats.

First look: Singapore Airlines premium economy seats

"We studied the market for offering a category between business class and economy over the last few years, based on many factors including route economics, customer demand trends and the fact that premium economy is increasingly popular in other parts of the world."

Only Singapore Airlines and British Airways offer premium economy on flights from Australia to Singapore, with Qantas opting not to fit its premium economy seats (below) to upgraded Airbus A330-300 jets flying to Asia.

Cathay Pacific also chose to scale back the size of its premium economy cabin on Australian flights, removing one row to fit an extra two rows of economy seats.

However, next year will see Cathay Pacific introduce an all-new premium economy on its Airbus A350 jets.

The new design will offer slightly more legroom plus padded legrests for every seat, compared to the current CX premium economy seat (below) which has a proper legrest only in the first row of seats, while travellers in other rows must make do with a less comfortable swing-down 'T-bar' footrest.

“We’re always looking for what’s out there in the market” CX product exec Toby Smith tells Australian Business Traveller, “and for premium economy there was a new seat which we felt was better than the current one.”

Read: Cathay Pacific to launch new premium economy in February 2016

All SQ A380s upgraded by early 2016

Singapore Airlines plans a fast roll-out of premium economy across its long-range fleet including the flagship Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER, as well as the airline's first 20 Airbus A350s, which will take wing in early 2016.

Also read: Singapore Airlines – first Airbus A350s due early 2016

The A380 will be fitted with 36 premium economy seats on the lower deck, nestled between first class suites and economy (below), while the long-range Boeing 777 will have 28 seats; in both aircraft they'll be arranged in a 2-4-2 layout.

The airline's entire superjumbo fleet will be fitted with premium economy "by the first quarter of 2016", Mak says.

"The 777s will take a little bit longer, until end of 2016, because we are installing the new premium economy at the same time as our new first class and business class."

"We want to reach a certain critical mass to be offering to customers to, hence our decision to go for a rapid and aggressive rollout to ensure we have critical mass of this product in the market."

Singapore Airlines pegs total investment in the project as US$80 million.

But not all of the Airbus A350s are likely sport a premium economy cabin, with Mak indicating that a second tranche of A350 deliveries would adopt a two-class version without premium economy and intended for medium-range flights.

“The exact number (of A350s) for long-haul flights is still something to be pinned down but certainly the first batch that will come in will be earmarked for long-haul flights and will have premium economy” Mak said.

Singapore Airlines expects to have three Airbus A350 jets by March 2016, with at least the first 20 of the 70-strong order being a three-class fit-out with its latest business class, new premium economy and economy seats.

More exclusive Singapore Airlines news from AusBT

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

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.
 

17 comments

  • PunditShafton

    PunditShafton

    10 Aug, 2015 12:21 pm

    If SIA gets this product right for the Australian route, it will definitely be a competition for EK. Imagine premium economy all the way for Indian route and the Middle East ,it will be a fantastic experience.

    No member give thanks

  • Andy H

    Andy H

    10 Aug, 2015 01:11 pm

    Unfortunately its unlikely for SQ to be flying PE to other Australian routes outside SYD and MEL, MEL hasn't gotten it yet but will next year once the 77W's are refitted. Flights operated with A330, 77E will not get PE so that rules out ADL, BNE and PER getting the product entirely and selected SYD and MEL services operated by those types.

    No member give thanks

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    10 Aug, 2015 01:15 pm

    Yea i'm waiting for them to announce it to MEL before bothering to make a booking

    No member give thanks

  • ILIKEPLANES101

    ILIKEPLANES101

    10 Aug, 2015 04:53 pm

    However, the a350's will likely take-over many of the a330 routes so that may bring PE to ADL, PER and BNE

    No member give thanks

  • ILIKEPLANES101

    ILIKEPLANES101

    10 Aug, 2015 04:53 pm

    However, the a350's will likely take-over many of the a330 routes so that may bring PE to ADL, PER and BNE

    No member give thanks

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    11 Aug, 2015 07:41 am

    lol most likely the A330 routes will be taken over by the 2nd batch of A350s with only 2 classes...that way it's pretty much a like-for-like replacement from a capacity PoV, maybe extra 10-20 seats on the A350 but depends on wat J class they use

    No member give thanks

  • CityRail

    CityRail

    12 Aug, 2015 10:52 am

    I read somewhere where the first batch of A350s may replace some B77W routes (such as Singapore - Brazil). This could free up some B77Ws eventually to either speed up the reconfiguration or redeployed to routes such as Australia (should demand justifies) that we might ended up more flights with Premium Economy.

    However, that's right I suppose still some B772 and B773 services to Australia might get upgraded to A359 first which means Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth passengers might need to change at Tullamarine or Wolli Creek if you need to travel on Premium Economy on SIA.

    No member give thanks

  • Jeremy Shearmur

    Menippus

    10 Aug, 2015 01:33 pm

    This is disappointing: permium economy seats possibly *narrower* than economy; also nothing about additional seat padding.

    No member give thanks

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    10 Aug, 2015 01:51 pm

    whilst i agree that the width is disappointing, the shoulder width is still wider than the standard eco, however the space for your arse is around the same.  I would have preferred it to be 20inch for bum space and lose some width in the aisles.

    No member give thanks

  • russell

    russell

    10 Aug, 2015 01:57 pm

    I really dont get PE. Just cant see enough of a diffeence over Y to justify the extra cost. Perhaps if they included lounge access it would be worthwhile.

    No member give thanks

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    10 Aug, 2015 02:13 pm

    It's mainly for business travellers who work for a company that won't fund J travel but will fund W class.  From the employee's PoV it's still better than regular Y.  I was thinking of going premium eco but I have star gold so will get the lounge access anyway.

    No member give thanks

  • eminere

    eminere

    10 Aug, 2015 04:29 pm

    Is there a review planned?

    No member give thanks

  • Shoudy Chen

    Shoudy Chen

    10 Aug, 2015 09:22 pm

    What's on the menu? Hmm...

    I'd go with the Lamb Shank Korma with Basmati Rice because this food was very tasty and has a good flavour. 

    No member give thanks

  • CityRail

    CityRail

    10 Aug, 2015 11:40 pm

    I hope there will be a flight report posted here soon...

    No member give thanks

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    11 Aug, 2015 07:43 am

    I'd be interested to see how the actual seat comfort compares to ScootBiz

    No member give thanks

  • GoPies

    GoPies

    12 Aug, 2015 10:35 am

    This is a very positive development, especially on the Sydney-Singapore route.  I recently travelled with Qantas on the route and to say the experience was excruciating would have been an understatement.

    Immediately after takeoff the passenger in front of me reclined their seat, virtually trapping me for the whole flight except for meals.  The food selection, honey chicken salad was, I think, probably the worst meal I have had in over 40 years of flying. 

    For some reason the cabin attendants  personally welcomed the people in the two rows ahead of us, the person across the aisle and the person behind us, they were also offered personalised drink service and farewelled at end of flight. Both my wife and I are Gold QF FF Members. Maybe the others were Platinum, looks can be deceptive! Not a good look anyway by crew.  One member of the crew kept calling most males Mate, he was in his Twenties, I guess and we were all 60+ . Rather annoying I thought

    No member give thanks

  • Tom Kwok

    intercon

    12 Aug, 2015 11:12 am

    i am not a big fan of QF but their premium economy has a major advantage -  a  dedicated bathroom 

    With CX and BA  you shre with economy.

    I understand from SQ that you need to also share with economy - its quite a trek 

    Very suprising for an airline playing catch up in this space - forget the food  i just want to be ablke to use a bathroom without a long queue 

    No member give thanks

Guest

21 May, 2019 11:29 pm

×
×

Forgot Password

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.

×

Resend activation email

If you have not received the activation email, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email containing the activation link.

×