The live press launch event has now finished. We were delighted to be there to experience the products first hand and we think the biggest news to come out of the event was the new Business Class.
Well, very little detail about the new Business Class product was leaked in advance, except for the fact that it was “new” and the seat map – shown below.
Based on that seat map, we had assumed that it would similar to the A350 product. As we stated in our article about the leaks, we were surprised that more business class seats – 78 – had been squeezed into a space that previously accommodated only 66.
How have they managed it?
Well, according to the media release we received:
A unique feature of the new Business Class seat is that it has a carbon fibre composite shell structure, as compared to conventional aircraft seats which use metal as the primary support structure. This thinner base structure allows for better optimisation of the seat and creates more under-seat stowage space to accommodate a full-sized cabin bag and laptop bag or handbag.
So the reduced footprint of the seat and some clever design has allowed them to fit more seats – without compromising comfort.
The seat was designed by JPA Design, a UK company, with whom Singapore Airlines have a long-standing relationship. They designed several of their previous seats and have been awarded various Skytrax honours over the years. The seat will be manufactured by JAMCO.
All middle pairs now transform into a double bed. This is certainly a rival to the Qatar Q-suites, where only every-other row is capable the double bed configuration. In the middle pair, your head is also away from the aisle giving you a quieter experience when sleeping.
If you are a solo traveller, the middle pair will still be a good option. As the photo below shows, there is a massive full-length divider to separate the seats. Our only concern is that if your neighbour is a loud snorer, your head will be right next to theirs!
Measuring 25 inches in width, the Business Class seat, which has two side wings for better back support, reclines directly into a comfortable full-flat bed (78 inches). Customers may also stretch out fully in a ‘sun-deck’ position to watch movies on the 18-inch high definition touch-screen monitor. The Business Class seat is upholstered by Poltrona Frau.
The business class amenities will now be provided by Penhaligon’s and Narumi. These are both great brands and we are happy to see the upgrade.
KrisFlyer Reward Availability
The CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong, confirmed to us during the Q&A session that reward availability would NOT be affected by the new product launch, implying that the same levels of availability will be seen when the new product starts flying in December. This is welcome news, as in the past the airline has prevented award redemptions from brand new products for a certain period, but bear in mind that new products are always popular and as new routes are announced, any availability may be snapped up quickly.
A really strong Business Class offering from Singapore Airlines. They may not be comparing themselves to other carriers but the consumer certainly will and from what we have seen today, it looks very favourable.
Now we must wait and see how the product feels when it’s installed onboard. The A350 seat looked excellent, but when installed in the narrow cabin felt claustrophobic and squeezed. It shouldn’t be as big an issue on the A380. Our hope is that they keep the seat pitch we were shown at the launch event. If they do – this is truly the only way to fly “J”!