Singapore Airlines launched their take on Premium Economy in August 2015, a little later than others but you could say that this strategy (if it was one) worked in their favour.
Let the early adopters work out the kinks in the system and launch with a product so polished with all the learnings from others that it feels so intuitive it’s as though they read your mind.
Sydney to Singapore (approximately 8 hours, 10 minutes)
From the stitched-leather upholstery, to the clever concealed dining table in the armrest, to the little cup holders for mid-flight drinks, it’s the little details that make the difference.
The A380 Singapore Airlines Premium Economy cabin is in a 2-4-2 configuration (compared with Economy’s 3-4-3). But the real beauty is in the nitty gritty numbers, such as seat pitch sitting at 38” (95cm) versus Economy’s 32” (81cm) and an extra 30 degrees on the recline, which never threatens to irritate the passenger behind you even at max extension (never feel guilty about your comfort again).
But we’re not overstating it when we say that you’ll know true happiness when you discover the pleasures of the adjustable footrest.
Anyone who has ever tried to sleep in Economy, twisting and turning until eventually having to place their feet subtly on the armrest of the passenger in front will know that this inclusion is practically ground-breaking and worth its weight in gold.
The hallmark of SQ’s success has always lied in their human touch. You don’t win Roy Morgan’s Customer Satisfaction Award four year’s running without apex levels of TLC (yes, even in Economy), so you already board the flight expecting to be greeted with a warm smile whether you’re turning left at the aerobridge or not.
In SQ Premium Economy everything is taken up a notch. Expect the Cabin Manager to take the time to introduce themselves, offer you a bottle of water (none of those tin-foil cups) and offer to help you put your overhead luggage up for you. No waiting for your allocated drinks break, it’s possible to lose count of the number of times you’ll be offered champagne (or a Single Malt).
If you let slip at least 24 before you depart that it’s your anniversary or honeymoon, the crew will most likely surprise you with a cake mid-flight. No joke.
We challenge most staff on land to be this accommodating, let alone 35,000ft above the ground, most likely coming off a long changeover shift. It’s almost Olympian how effortless it all appears.
Airline food is a competitive business which means airlines are working harder than ever to push for quality not previously seen on flights for the past few decades. Singapore Airlines’ ace in the hole is their ‘Book The Cook’ option, available in Premium Economy class and beyond.
It’s a masterful extra that gives guests the option of a number of chef prepared meals beyond the traditional in-flight menu. Designed with maximum freshness in mind, it means that your altitude-affected tastebuds will still taste the sea salt in the seafood thermidor or the rolling grassy hills that dairy cow ate before they made the milk for the creamy mushroom sauce drizzled over the roast chicken thigh.
Okay, so maybe that’s pushing it.
The point is, great efforts have been made to reach a point of excellence in an area most airlines are still ignoring and it’s marvellous.
Bonus inclusions are premium ice cream handed out after main meals, sandwich options between meals and the ever flowing champagne and peanuts.
As mentioned in the intro, it feels like SQ has spent a long time analysing the competition, aiming to tick almost all the boxes they might’ve missed when it comes to the in-flight experience.
Whereas you might think you love one airline for its entertainment system but get let down on the Internet connectivity, Singapore has made both a top priority. You’ve already got the generous KrisWorld film and movie selection (over 1,000 options) served up on a 13.3 inch screen, but the in-built AC Power and USB ports in the armrests ensure your phone and laptop will never run out of juice. Paired with a fairly reasonably priced WiFi system (approx $AUD6.95 for the first 100mbs), it’s a recipe for the ultimate time-kill.
While the jury’s out for those who quite enjoy the merits of being in-air incommunicado, it’s an extra level of comfort knowing that if you REALLY NEED to check an email, you can.
The common question people always seem to ask is ‘Premium Economy, is it worth it?’
Of course, if you’re thinking of upgrading then why not splash out and go Business, after all it has that extra level of privacy and nobody is going to argue that lying down flat isn’t a pleasant luxury. *Hands in the air* We’re not saying we are Business adverse.
But… when it boils down to it, most pragmatic people will find it difficult to fault the value and comfort of paying an extra $1000 for Premium Economy versus an extra $3000+ for Business on a standard Sydney to Singapore flight.
Noise cancelling headphones? You get that. Choices from the Book The Cook menu? That too. Champagne on command? Without question. Boarding the plane before most people? Yes, and the privilege/Schadenfreude from preceding other passengers is real.
Whereas you might’ve squandered your points on Business Class every time, or conversely, always sat in Economy seething in the knowledge that whatever happens beyond the curtain will never be for you, SQ Premium Economy might be the thing that changes the game completely.
Not only is it an all-round crowd pleaser with just enough plush to keep you happy, it might be the most sating offering in aviation, sitting right in the Goldilocks Zone of not too OTT, not too restrained. It’s just right.
Singapore Airlines Premium Economy is also available on selected Boeing 777-300ER services.
In Singapore? Be sure to read: Singapore: 5 Ways This City Will Open Your Mind (& Challenge Your Perceptions)
CITIZENS OF THE WORLD travelled with Singapore Airlines on a Singapore Stopover Holiday (SSH). Your own SSH experience can be purchased in conjunction with any Singapore Airlines flight from an additional $AUD45, inclusive of accommodation, return airport transfers, unlimited rides on the SIA Hop-on Bus, and admission to major attractions (worth more than $600).
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