Singapore’s New Premium Economy, Plus A380 Business and Suites Class Refresh, Revealed

I first shared Singapore Airlines’ plan to reconfigure Boeing 777s to include a premium economy cabin a year ago.

Unfortunately, that reconfiguration means cutting the number of first class seats in half on those 777s.

  • Their A380s getting premium economy go from 12 first class, 60 business, and 399 coach (or 86 business, 311 coach) to 36 premium economy and 333 coach in the low-density business configuration or 36 premium economy and 245 coach in the high-density business configuration. Premium economy is coming at the expense of fewer coach seats.
  • Their 777-300ERs getting premium economy go from 8 first class, 42 business, and 228 coach to 4 first class, 48 business, 28 premium economy, and 184 coach. That’s 10% more business class, half the first class, and 20% fewer economy seats to make room for premium economy.

Fortunately, their Airbus A380 doesn’t lose first class suites — and indeed, as part of the rollout of Singapore’s premium economy product they’re also planning to rollout refreshed cabins on their A380s with delivery of new ones in 2017.

Speaking at today’s launch of its new premium economy class, Singapore Airlines confirmed the new suites and seats would feature in the airline’s next raft of superjumbo deliveries.

“We are working hard on a new ground-up first suite and business class product that will be unveiled when we put into service the next batch of A380s which are coming in 2017” said Singapore Airlines Executive Vice President Commercial, Mak Swee Wah.

…As for the new A380 business class seats, Singapore Airlines is expected to draw inspiration from the airline’s current design for the Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350s.

In the fall of 2013 Singapore refreshed their cabins on newly-delivered Boeing 777s. The new first class, new business class, and new economy seats were evolutionary improvements. One expects that the refresh of the A380 business and first class will be evolutionary as well.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER New Business Class Seat

The A380 first class suite is already quite fantastic, four across on the lower deck of the aircraft and gorgeous.

We learned some details of the premium economy seat in February.

Premium economy passengers will receive noise-cancelling headphones. There’s seat power, 2 USB ports, and designated storage for water bottle, mobile phone and laptop

The seat has 18.5 or 19.5 inch width, 38-inch pitch, 8-inch recline, and a 13.3-inch HD screen. There are footrests (of course, Singapore does this in long haul economy).

Here’s a great design consideration:

The retractable aisle seat armrest can be pushed down at the touch of a button, so that it is completely flush with the seat bottom.

That will give the aisle seat a real feeling of extra spaciousness.

Singapore is now showing off the seat and has firm plans for its launch.

Singapore Airlines says it will begin “progressively” installing the cabin on the planes it flies on long-haul routes. All told, Singapore Airlines will offer Premium Economy in 19 Airbus A380s, 19 Boeing 777-300ERs and the first 20 Airbus A350s.

The airline’s first flight with Premium Economy will fly Aug. 9 between Singapore and Sydney. The cabin will debut in the U.S. in December on routes from Los Angeles and New York, followed by San Francisco. For the carrier’s U.S. markets, Bradbury-Boyd says Premium Economy seats will be priced as low as 40% to 50% over standard economy seats.

Singapore Airlines’ website show Premium Economy fares of about $2,005 for a mid-December round-trip from Los Angeles to Singapore, compared to the airline’s lowest coach fare of about $1,303 on the same route.

When premium economy was first announced it was shared that passengers would be served champagne. The champagne will be Ernest Rapeneau Brut Prestige. That’s perfectly respectable (though not ‘special’).

Passengers receive an amenity kit with toothbrush, toothpaste, and anti-slip socks.

Singapore Airlines offers a fabulous pre-order meal service for first and business class customers called ‘Book the Cook’. That’s now extended to include premium economy, though with more limited options.

‘Book the Cook’ choices in premium economy include:

  • Seafood Thermidor
  • Roasted Chicken in Garlic Cream Sauce
  • Rosemary Beef Brisket
  • Roasted Chicken Rice
  • Pork Congee with Century Egg
  • Spiced Chicken Nasi Biryani
  • Nasi Lemak with Fried Chicken
  • Pancakes with Maple Syrup and Scrambled Eggs

Here’s Singapore’s business class lobster thermidor which I had onboard a short Singapore – Bali flight.

And their first class lobster thermidor, San Francisco – Hong Kong

It’s interesting premium economy gets seafood thermidor. Honestly it probably won’t make too much of a difference, the lobster isn’t all that impressive.

There are no premium economy awards and upgrades are still from economy to business class and not economy to premium economy.

Redemption on Premium Economy is currently not available.

It’s unclear whether, as premium economy rolls out, this may change.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Guess your definition of fortunate is much different than the rest of ours…”Fortunately, their Airbus A380 does lose first class suites” – I’d personally rather they don’t lose first class.

    That said, thought you do publish some good info before others the amount of typos and copy errors in your blog these days is pretty bad

  2. “Fortunately, their Airbus A380 does lose first class suites — and indeed, as part of the rollout of Singapore’s premium economy product they’re also planning to rollout refreshed cabins on their A380s with delivery of new ones in 2017.”

    I’m thinking you mean that ‘their Airbus A380 does NOT lose first class suites…”

  3. I don’t suppose it would kill you to quote the sources where you have lifted or quoted information from? Yes I know you’ve linked it, but clearly it is still not your material.

  4. I think the original typo version was correct- I wish they were taking the inventory out of suites on the A380, instead of cutting 54 seats out of economy. SQ only offers 1 saver Suites redemption now- they are unlikely to be able to eliminate that even if they reduced the number of Suites, because of clauses in their AMEX/Citibank/Chase agreements.

    Its not like there is any relationship between load and number of premium seats for redemption on SQ flights- I’ve walked through an empty C cabin many times on the 777 when there still wasn’t any inventory available for first class saver redemption. But taking 15% out of the economy seat pool is going to significantly impact the Star Alliance redemption pool.

    I guess bottom line, SQ thinks this is a product that people will buy-up to from economy. But SQ is already a premium vs other carriers- 40-50% on top of that pushes the price out of reach for personal travel, and makes me uncomfortable for buying on the company tab…

  5. I with my son fly atleast once in a year to SFO from Bangladesh. I am planning my next trip in Feb 17. This time I want to fly in the newly introduced premium economy class, direct flight. I have been flying with SQ for the last 30 years.
    I would appreciate if some one can tell me if the armrest with the seat can be raised or lowered and not fixed. This is required because my son has some problem and can not keep seating all throughout the flight and requires lying down. He can lye down if arms rest can be to raised .or lowered.

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