Singapore Airlines New Premium Economy Details (777 & A380)

Last year I first wrote about how Singapore Airlines will be introducing a premium economy product in the second half of this year. They’ve been tight-lipped about the new cabins, though a couple of days ago they finally unveiled the first routes which would feature the new premium economy cabin.

The most noteworthy news with the route announcements (at least from my perspective) was that Singapore Airlines will be cutting first class capacity in half on the 777s which feature premium economy, from just eight to four seats. Of course this will translate into substantially less saver level first class award space.

Anyway, today, Singapore Airlines has unveiled all the details about their new premium economy product.

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They’ve even set up a dedicated website about their premium economy.

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To start, here’s a short promotional video about the new premium economy product:

Singapore Airlines Premium Economy seat

Singapore’s 777-300ERs will feature 28 premium economy seats, while their A380s will feature 36 premium economy seats.

In both cases, the seats will be in a 2-4-2 configuration, so they have eight abreast seating.

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For comparison, the A380 usually has ten abreast seating in economy (3-4-3), while the 777 usually has nine abreast seating in economy (3-3-3).

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A380 seatmap, including premium economy

Singapore’s premium economy seats will feature 38″ of pitch, so they’ll be comparable to domestic first class in the US.

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The seat width will be 18.5-19.5″ (presumably the 777 seats will be 18.5″ while the A380 seats will be 19.5″ due to cabin width).

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The seats will feature 8″ recline, which is quite good.

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In terms of entertainment, the screens will be 13.3″.

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Purely in terms of space, Singapore’s premium economy seat will be industry average. ANA, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, etc., all advertise having roughly 38″ of pitch and 18.5-19.5″ width in premium economy.

Singapore Airlines Premium Economy service

So what will set Singapore Airlines premium economy apart in terms of the onboard product?

  • Three choices of main courses (I think they’ll match economy quality, though in economy there are only two options)
  • The option to Book the Cook, so that you can pre-order your meal from a wider selection of options (which up until now has only been for first & business class)
  • Choice of bread (in economy there’s only one type of roll they serve)
  • Champagne (which isn’t available in economy)
  • Bottled water (only cups of water are available in economy)

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And presumably service will also be a bit more attentive in premium economy.

Singapore Airlines Premium Economy benefits

In addition to the enhanced onboard experience, premium economy also comes with the following privileges:

  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • 35kg luggage allowance (as opposed to the economy allowance of 30kg)
  • Priority baggage handling
  • 110% KrisFlyer mileage accrual (as opposed to the 10-100% economy accrual)

KrisFlyer-Premium-Economy-Mileage-Accrual

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Singapore Airlines Premium Economy price

As I explained in my previous post about Singapore’s new premium economy, they’re taking out almost double as many economy seats as they’re putting in premium economy seats. On the A380, for example, they’re removing 66 seats and adding 36 seats.

Current A380New A380Change In Capacity
First Class12120
Business Class86860
Premium Economy Classn/a36+36
Economy Class311245-66

Presumably long term fares have to be at least twice as high as economy for them to turn a profit on the product. Of course that’s an oversimplification, as it doesn’t take into account marketing costs or perhaps seats that would have otherwise been empty, but in general I don’t think it’s an unfair statement.

So how is Singapore Airlines pricing premium economy so far? Let’s take a look at Singapore to Hong Kong. Booking way in advance, here are the available fares:

SQ-Premium-Economy-Price-1

As you can see, premium economy is way more than a “Super Deals” economy fare, while it’s only marginally more than a “Flexi” fare.

The same is true for a ticket between Singapore and Sydney:

SQ-Premium-Economy-Price-2

I’d say the pricing is reasonable, and in general customers will probably get the best value on premium economy if booking close to departure, when the economy fare would be quite high as well, in which case the premium may be minimal.

Bottom line

Singapore Airlines is arguably (I’d say almost unarguably) the all around most solid airline in the world. I haven’t flown longhaul economy in over a decade, but having recently walked through their economy cabin on the 777, I felt like I actually wouldn’t mind flying it. The cabin was spacious (only nine seats per row) and clean, the crew was friendly, and the food actually looked edible.

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Singapore Airlines 777-300ER economy cabin

While I don’t think Singapore’s premium economy is revolutionary in terms of the hard product, when you add more personal space and attentive service to an already amazing product, I think it’s a winner.

Kudos to Singapore on this move, as much as I’m sad to see four seats being removed from the first class of the 777. With how good their business class product is, they’re really creating a unique “inbetween” option here.

What do you think of Singapore Airlines’ new premium economy?

Comments

  1. BA gives you 2 options of the Club World main menu in WT+, but I’d argue BA CW menu is pretty similar to Singapore’s Y menu…Singapore does have BA beat on the luggage and check in service though! Ben I really think you should fly a long haul Y and review it for us! It would be really interesting to see your opinions on it ;P

  2. Who makes up the market for PE? If I were paying cash out of pocket, I would never choose this over economy on a long flight. You won’t be able to sleep either way, may as well save some money. Is this for business people who’s expense account will not allow them to fly business, but this somehow still counts as economy?

    I also think it is funny that in the last two decades, first has largely gone away, business has become what first used to be and premium economy was invented to be what business used to be.

  3. Just glad they didn’t touch the upper deck economy section on the A380. While some of the A380s feature biz on the entire upper deck, those that don’t have my favorite seats *cough* 73K *cough* not missing a window *cough* own private sidebin (72K has access to two bins but both are shared with 71K and 73K, 73K has one on its own, the other shared with 72K)

  4. @Tom – that is exactly what it is. As Fortune 500s tighten their belts, first to go is T&E budgets. Most are cutting back on low-level employees flying business, but instead giving them the option of flying PE on long-haul routes. Smart move by SQ on making this update at the right time. Stinks for the mileage earner/burner.

    Really interesting how technology has enabled FC to improve by leaps and bounds over the last 10-20 years of aviation and we now see closed suites, double beds, huge TVs, etc. However, now as corporate T&E budgets (major drivers of Airline rev.) have been tightened, airlines have actually been scaling back the product offering. Business class is now more like First Class used to be (lie flat, but no fluff). Prem Economy is is now like Business used to be (recliner, minor perks) and economy has remain unchanged. Basically, we are back where we started, but with new names.

  5. Tom – As many airlines go to the 3-4-3 configuration in economy, premium economy becomes increasingly attractive when booking cash, especially for flights over 6 hours or so. I’ve done it before and would do it again. Also, a lot of corporations will send extra employees in premium economy as opposed to business when traveling for meetings.

    I’ve done HKG-JFK long haul in economy a few times, I am glad the option is now available for PE.

  6. How do you think this compares to CX? I still can’t really see myself in this setup for a 15 hour flight.

  7. For what I observed from the pricing trend of CX PE, the marginal price difference on a 10-hour+ long haul would be minimal(within +10%), with a product comparable to domestic First I certainly would mind to give it a try. Having said that, I do find that I can consistently grab exit-row seats on long-hauls, and I’m a bit too tall for the foot rest on those domestic First seats to actually work, so not sure about the marginal values the PE product has in my situation. Certainly wouldn’t pay 2~3x the price to fly that.

  8. Ben,

    Thanks for providing an analysis of the pricing. It’s pretty decent prices.

    Can PPS credits be accrued for PE bookings?

  9. On both my SIN LHR SIN flights last year, they had 3 main courses for the biggest meal just after takeoff in Y, though only 2 for the pre arrival meal.

  10. How do these new seats compare with the Premium Economy seat that the 340 had which i thought were wonderful

  11. Flew a380 from London to Singapore round trip in economy in a row near the back were there were only 2 seats instead of 3 seats on the left and right sections of the plane. Additionally there was like seat feet of space in front of us. These seats were $50 extra to book – best $200 for the 2 of us that I ever spent!

  12. I have seen the animation from my Krisflyer email but not seen any images of people sitting in the seats.

    How does that calf rest help?

    What does the screen look like when the passenger in front has fully reclined?

  13. I fly Australia to UK twice yearly and rate Singapore Air No 1 every time – but, have they dropped the ball this time in the position of the toilets ?

    In each format A380 & 777, it looks as if Premium Economy passengers will have to walk through the complete length of the Economy cabin to visit a loo !

  14. Being 6’4 its nice to have the option of premium economy with the extra space. I’ve flown Qantas premium to LA and Back and its well worth the extra. But why should us tallies be unfairly treated by airlines in the first place. After all we’re not all 5″9. its ok getting a exit row seat (when you can get one) but then you loose some of the seat width. I’d gladly pay a bit extra for just more legroom in economy class. Maybe they could do a Tall Person Economy class ??!! lol

  15. Looks like an average PE product… Nowhere near to the top-tier PE products like NZ, TK, or even LO, and not mention their C and F products, and price looks insane compare to what LO and TK offers… Hopefully they do have great catering and service to compensate…

  16. Hi does anyone know if the B777 are affected by this delay in rollout? Or has anyone else who is travelling PE on B777 been notified of downgrades? I called the CC and they know nothing of course. I have PE tickets booked to visit on SQ305/306 LHR-SIN over X’mas and no one has notified me of anything so far. But seeing all the online articles about what a big mess the cancellations have been, I’m not sure and I prefer to cancel if the B777 are also to be affected and go BA as they have the B787-9 rollout on LHR-KUL with the newish PE for the same period I am travelling so I could do a cheap hop from KUL-SIN if required.

  17. What the point of having a product when one can’t get access to it.Guess what after the first delay …. its delayed again !!! this time they dumped me down just 1 day before my flight without even the courtesy of informing me (had to find out on my own) and no compensation mentioned and not giving me any solid options for alternatives.

    So it really seems SIA doesn’t care about its reputation.

  18. Tried the PE product on their A380 from SIN-DEL recently. The trip got off to a bad start since the flight left five hours late from SIN. The actual product is just fine- nothing great. The food is the same inedible stuff served in economy with the exception of a few more options from book the cook. The seats are wider (observation only) although I gave never flown on economy on SIA. The cabin isn’t really separated from economy so didn’t feel so exclusive and the loo is shared with economy and never cleaned (and offers a single bottle of mouthwash so that you can exchange germs with the rest of the Cabin). All in all, seems more like a gimmick except for the slightly wider seats with greater pitch. Oh and the champagne is vile. On the plus side you earn 110% miles.

  19. My husband and I have booked with SA back in September 2015 for Prem Seats only to be told yesterday 21st Jan that our flight which is on the 5th Feb 2016 has no Prem seats and we have been downgraded to economy with a £125 per person voucher to spend on board (win win for them). We paid over £4000 for these tickets and could have purchased economy from another Airline for £750 each … I am utterly disgusted and there is nothing I can do. Thy have offered a free Prem upgrade on my next flight but sadly I know this will be my last long haul flight . How can they sell these tickets and then say opps sorry we made a mistake but we are not going to upgrade you for free we will just downgrade you and insult you with a voucher to spend on our plane … surely this is false advertising ?

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