Back in February and May 2015, Experience The Skies covered the premium economy product introduced by Singapore Airlines (Refer to our coverage of the history and seat here). The airline officially unveiled the product on its flight from Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) to Sydney Airport (SYD) on board SQ231 (Tail: 9V-SWL).
Here are some highlights of the new Boeing 777-300ER configurations used to serve SQ231:
This new configuration will reduce overall capacity from 278 to 264 (First class is down 4, Business is up 6 and Economy is down 44).
The first four cities and timing of the new product are:
- Sydney Airport (SYD) – August 9 (Replay the flight here via flightradar24.com)
- Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) – August 12
- London Heathrow Airport – August 28
- Manchester International Airport – September 22
Analysis – How Does This Product Compare?
The Premium Economy product launch started more than 10 years ago when Virgin Atlantic (VS) installed the first seats on board a Boeing 747-400. Since then, more than a dozen international airlines have implemented this class to serve an increasing number of passengers who is looking for additional comfort at a lower price point. This is especially the case for many businesses eliminating business class travel perks for long haul trips.
Experience The Skies compared 14 airlines operating this product as a separate class of service on board more than 10 aircrafts.
Singapore Airlines compares extreme well with its competitors worldwide. This is especially the case on three fronts: inflight entertainment system, meal and connectivity. Its Premium Economy seat will have a class leading IFE featuring a 13.3″ HD AVOD screen with connectivity leads managed by 1 AC Power and 2 USB Ports (* one capable of charging tablets). Additionally, Premium Economy passengers will have 3 meal choices along with the Book The Cook option. This is also the first time in recent history that Singapore Airlines chose grey as a base color for its seat designs. This may be the start of a design shift for its products.
1. Turkish Airlines (TK) has a seat with the longest pitch at 46″. This will provide more leg room for taller passengers.
2. SAS (SK) is the only airline in the group to offer free WiFi access for all its Premium Economy passengers. This improves connectivity needs significantly.
3. While some competitors may offer a small or no bonus for this class of service, Virgin Atlantic (VS) offers up to 150% base miles for flying its Premium Class product.
1. None of the Big 3 Middle East airlines (Emirates (EK), Etihad Airways (EY) and Qatar Airways (QR)) currently features a Premium Economy product.
2. US based airlines have a Premium Economy like product but have not branded it as such in the marketplace. These seats offer more pitch in general but likely to have the same configuration as regular economy seats. They do not have an enhanced meal service or a better passenger experience at the airport/on board. Finally, they do not provide more frequent flyer miles.
3. Premium Economy passengers are likely to pay anywhere from 10 to 200% more than the lowest economy fare but about 30%-50% less than business class fare (depending on route).
Singapore Airlines will roll out its Premium Economy product quickly on board all its long-haul aircrafts by 2017. This will ensure consistency for its passengers looking for an enhanced product at a lower price point than its premium cabins. We leave you with the airline’s new ad for the product.
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