KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines Travel

Singapore Airlines quietly increases seat selection fees

You'll pay more for advance seat selection in Economy and Premium Economy Class on most longer Singapore Airlines flights, following the airline's unannounced tweaks.

If you’re booking travel for the end of 2021 or into next year, one thing you may have noticed when it comes to selecting your seat on a Singapore Airlines flight is that the fees payable aren’t quite the same as they used to be, with the carrier making some recent changes to its rates.

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Since mid-October you’ll pay more for ‘Standard’ and ‘Forward Zone’ seats on almost all routes, plus there are increases for ‘Extra Legroom’ seats on Australia and Europe flights.

New country banding

Prior to these changes, SIA split its routes into four bands based on distance when assessing fees payable for advance seat selection.

In this latest change, SIA has rejigged its routes across five bands. Here’s how they look now.

Band Routes
Band 1 Singapore to/from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Denmark to/from Italy.
Band 2 Singapore to/from Bangladesh, Hong Kong, China, India, Japan, Korea, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and U.A.E.
Band 3 Singapore to/from Australia and New Zealand.
Band 4 Singapore to/from Europe and South Africa.
USA to/from Europe and North Asia.
Band 5
Singapore to/from USA and Canada.

Notably:

  • Australia has moved from Band 2 to Band 3
  • Singapore to/from Europe and South Africa, and USA to/from Europe and North Asia have moved from Band 3 to Band 4
  • Singapore to/from the USA and Canada has moved from Band 4 to Band 5

As a result it’s not a simple case of analysing how the band costs have changed, but how the costs to and from each country or region have changed.

Standard seats

Here’s the new charging structure for ‘Standard Seats’.

Standard Seats
Economy Class
  Before Now Change
SE Asia* US$5.00 US$8.00 US$3.00
( 60%)
N Asia
W Asia
Middle East
US$10.00 US$10.00
Australia US$10.00 US$15.00 US$5.00
( 50%)
New Zealand US$15.00 US$15.00
Europe
S Africa^
US$15.00 US$20.00 US$5.00
( 50%)
USA
Canada
US$20.00 US$25.00 US$5.00
( 25%)

* Plus Denmark to/from Italy
^ Plus USA to/from Europe and North Asia

Standard seat selection in Economy Class is payable by those booking cash fares in the following classes:

  • Economy Lite
  • Economy Value

KrisFlyer Elite Silver and above are exempt from this fee, as are all award redemptions.

Only Band 2 countries (North Asia, West Asia and the Middle East) and New Zealand have avoided any increases.

Forward Zone seats

Forward Zone seat selection is now more expensive almost across the board.

Forward Zone Seats
Economy Class
  Before Now Change
SE Asia* US$8.00 US$15.00 US$7.00
( 88%)
N Asia
W Asia
Middle East
US$15.00 US$20.00 US$5.00
( 33%)
Australia US$15.00 US$25.00 US$10.00
( 67%)
New Zealand US$25.00 US$25.00
Europe
S Africa^
US$25.00 US$40.00 US$15.00
( 60%)
USA
Canada
US$35.00 US$50.00 US$15.00
( 42%)

* Plus Denmark to/from Italy
^ Plus USA to/from Europe and North Asia

Forward Zone seat selection in Economy Class is payable by those booking cash fares in the following classes:

  • Economy Lite
  • Economy Value
  • Economy Standard

Forward Zone seat selection in Economy Class is payable by those booking award tickets in the following classes:

  • Economy Saver

KrisFlyer Elite Gold and above are exempt from this fee, whether booking cash or award tickets.

Pro Tip: Bassinet seats are often located in the ‘Forward Zone’ in Economy Class. If you have a booking including an infant, you can select a bassinet seat for free, subject to availability, regardless of your fare type.

Extra Legroom seats

Here’s how the changes look for Extra Legroom seats.

Extra Legroom Seats
Premium Economy Class
Economy Class
  Before Now Change
SE Asia* US$25.00 US$25.00
N Asia
W Asia
Middle East
US$60.00 US$60.00
Australia US$60.00 US$80.00 US$20.00
( 33%)
New Zealand US$90.00 US$80.00 US$10.00
( 11%)
Europe
S Africa^
US$90.00 US$100.00 US$10.00
( 11%)
USA
Canada
US$120.00 US$120.00

* Plus Denmark to/from Italy
^ Plus USA to/from Europe and North Asia

The extra legroom fee is payable by most Economy and Premium Economy passengers.

Australia is the hardest hit here, with a one-third increase in the ‘Extra Legroom’ advance seat selection fee to US$80 per flight, followed by Europe where the charge is hiked by a tenth to US$100 per flight.

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Those on the shortest (intra-Asia) and longest flights (between Singapore and North America) are unaffected, while those heading to or from New Zealand will actually achieve a small saving here.

Extra legroom seat selection in Economy Class and Premium Economy Class is payable when booking in any fare class or redeeming any award ticket in those two cabins.

PPS Club and Solitaire PPS members are the only ones exempt from this fee.

Premium Economy “Upgrade”

Prior to COVID-19, Singapore Airlines began charging non-PPS Club passengers travelling in Economy on its three-class and four-class aircraft between Singapore and Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur an additional fee to sit in the Premium Economy (PEY) cabin, which is not sold on these shorter routes.

Premium Economy on the three-class Airbus A350, which is used on some shorter routes between long-haul duties. (Photo: View from the Wing)

We drafted an article about it in March 2020, but as COVID took hold, borders started to close, and travel quickly became impossible, it seemed somewhat irrelevant to mention!

The fee only applies for travel in Band 1, because for Band 2-5 flights the PEY cabin is sold as a separate fare class whenever an aircraft with the seats installed is deployed (e.g. Singapore – Hong Kong).

  • PEY Standard Seat: US$35
  • PEY Extra Legroom Seat: US$50
Note: On the rare occasion an A350 ULR is used as a substitution on a Band 1 flight, the Premium Economy cabin is considered as Economy Class, with no additional PEY charges levied.

On some Band 1 flights (e.g. Rome to Copenhagen), Premium Economy is sold as a bookable cabin class, and the option to pay extra to select a seat in that cabin when travelling in Economy Class is therefore not available.

It’s important to remember here that all you’re getting is the wider Premium Economy seat with more legroom, there is no service differentiation from Economy Class on Band 1 services.

Most people therefore probably won’t consider this option. It’s really a perk for PPS Club members, who are exempt from the fees.

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That said, three-class A350 aircraft are currently being used on some longer Band 1 flights like Singapore – Bangkok, where you might consider it worth the extra.

Solo seats in Premium Economy (ULR)

On selected non-stop flights between Singapore and the USA operated by SIA’s two-class Airbus A350 ULR aircraft, the airline offers six solo seats at the back of the cabin, which benefit from “more space, greater privacy, plus an extra compartment with generous stowage – so you can keep everything within reach”.

Solo seats at the back of the Premium Economy section in the A350 ULR cabin. (Photo: The Points Guy)

The six seats you need for this experience are:

  • 40C / 40H
  • 41C / 41H
  • 42C / 42H

These come at an additional seat selection fee of US$140, waived for PPS Club members.

That’s quite steep but thankfully there’s no increase here on the pre-October rate.

Discounts for KrisFlyer members

If your cabin and booking class requires you to pay a fee for seat selection, don’t forget you’ll get a discount based on your KrisFlyer membership tier, while there are no charges payable for PPS Club members, as outlined in the following table.

Seat Selection Fees
KrisFlyer Discounts
  Standard Forward Zone Extra Legroom
PEY “Upgrade”
Solo Seats
Non-KF No discount No discount No discount
KF Member 5% discount 5% discount 5% discount
KF Elite Silver Free 10% discount 10% discount
KF Elite Gold Free Free 15% discount
PPS Club Free Free Free

SIA still doesn’t actively advertise these discounts, which is strange!

Seat selection becomes free at T-48 hours

Exactly 48 hours before departure time, additional seat selection costs are cancelled and any passenger can select any available seat for free within their cabin class.

This does not apply to those hoping to sit in the Premium Economy cabin on shorter Band 1 flights, which then becomes blocked for selection to all except PPS Club members.

There’s still a chance to secure an extra legroom, forward zone or solo seat for nothing, however we recommend logging on to the manage booking portal exactly 48 hours before your flight departure time if you want to try and do this, as any available seats tend to disappear quickly – especially the solo seats on ULR flights.