In what’s set to be SIA’s last new cabin product launch until the introduction of the Boeing 777-9 in 2024, the airline today revealed its much-anticipated Vantage seats in Business Class, by the UK’s Thompson Aero Seating, for its single-aisle Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft.
Singapore Airlines acquired these jets as part of its recent merger with SilkAir, and is planning for a substantial total fleet of 37 MAXs in the coming years.
What it means for those flying on these smaller SIA aircraft, which are set to become a more common sight on thinner network routes right up to the 7-hour mark, is a welcome shift change from cabin designs well past their prime into something of a more consistent experience with the wide-body fleet.
This includes tip-to-tail seat back in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi connectivity for all.
Boeing 737-8 MAX Business Class
There are no major surprises here, with Singapore Airlines already confirming back in February 2019 that it had selected the Thompson Vantage seat for its narrow-body MAX aircraft, an off-the-shelf product already in use with airlines like JetBlue, Malaysia Airlines and flydubai.
We were lucky enough to be invited along for a preview of these seats at the product showcase this morning at Changi Airport, on board one of the refitted MAX jets.
Styling is by factorydesign, a London-based agency responsible for the finish on many Business Class cabin products, including the latest Delta, Etihad and Virgin Atlantic seats, however this is the first time the firm has worked with SIA.
Unlike most Business Class seats on narrow-body aircraft, these ones don’t just recline, there’s a fully flat bed in store for those who need some extra shut-eye on the shorter leg of their long-haul journey, or even on a regional point-to-point trip.
Measuring up to 22 inches in width, the Business Class seat reclines directly into a comfortable full-flat bed (76 inches). These seats are made with premium materials with bespoke embroidery in custom patterns and textures. The seat cushions and covers use the same soft furnishings as those found on our medium-haul aircraft, providing a higher level of comfort for short-haul flights.Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines has brought its signature soft brown, light grey and warm orange hues to the design and finish of the seat, very much in line with its latest Regional Business Class on the wide-body fleet.
Overall the new cabin products on these aircraft represent a S$230 million investment, including development, design, and installation, which the airline says “elevates the standard for short- and medium-haul travel on board narrowbody aircraft”.
“This is the culmination of three years of innovation and hard work, involving extensive customer research and close partnerships with designers and suppliers. As a result, we can now offer customers a premium travel experience across our entire full-service network, no matter how long or short their journey.”Lee Lik Hsin, EVP Commercial, Singapore Airlines
What do these seats replace?
The new cabin is a far cry from the old recliner 2-2 seats originally installed on the Boeing 737 MAX jets when they were first delivered to SilkAir in October 2017, which were Collins Aerospace MiQ models.
While these benefitted from more legroom and increased recline over their predecessors, plus a fancy coffee machine in the galley for your in-flight macchiato, they were no match for the comfort and privacy promised by these newer seats.
|Model||Collins MiQ||Thompson Vantage|
|Width||22.5″||19″ – 22″
|Screen Size||None||16″ HD|
|Power Sockets||1 UNI + 1 USB||1 UNI + 2 USB|
This will be the smallest Singapore Airlines Business Class cabin, with just 10 seats across three rows in a 2-2, 1-1, 2-2 layout.
Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX
Business Class Seat Map
The MAXs feature two ‘throne’ seats, 12B and 12J, benefiting from direct aisle access.
Four other seat pairs provide a more sociable experience for couples, though only the ‘C’ and ‘H’ seat passengers have direct aisle access, with those in 11A, 11K, 14A and 14K having to navigate past their neighbour to reach the aisle.
One forward toilet is available for Business Class passengers, and two bassinet positions are installed at the first row aisle seats, 11C and 11H.
All 10 Business Class seats convert to fully flat beds 76 inches long, the same as the airline’s latest Regional Business Class on the Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350 Medium Haul aircraft.
You can convert into bed mode without leaving your seat, unlike some older SIA Business Class products which require the back to be flipped over to reveal the mattress.
The armrests retract to provide some additional width and elbow room when the seat is in bed mode.
SIA has also added a material surround at the seat shell, for additional comfort while sitting up in bed.
The seat pairs at rows 11 and 14 are ideal for couples, though the tray table stowage between the seats at head height doubles as a fixed privacy partition, giving you some solitude if you’re sitting next to a stranger.
A bi-fold tray table allows you more space when half extended as a side table for drinks and smaller snacks, while this folds out to a full size dining table for main meals.
Other features include USB charging ports and in-seat power supply, a reading light with adjustable brightness, mood lighting, and a pocket under the monitor that provides easy stowage during taxi, take-off and landing.Singapore Airlines
Solo ‘throne’ seats
If there are two go-to seats for solo travellers in Singapore Airlines’ new narrow-body Business Class product, they are definitely the ‘throne’ seats at 12B and 12J.
“The two standalone Business Class seats (seats 12B and 12J) have additional table-top and stowage spaces, and a side stowage compartment equipped with a mirror and LED light.”Singapore Airlines