SINGAPORE: Wider seats, more legroom and a glass of champagne to boot - these are the perks passengers will enjoy over those in standard economy class when they fly on Singapore Airlines' new premium economy segment.
The carrier unveiled the addition to its other cabin classes on Thursday (May 21) at a launch event.
At a cost of US$80 million, the airline is progressively retrofitting close to 40 planes with the new cabin, as well as introducing it on new planes.
Laptop compartment (Photo: Dylan Loh)
Premium economy serves as the middle ground between business and economy class. It allows flyers 5kg more in baggage allowance over economy, and offers additional stowage for water bottles, laptops and headsets, as well as seats that recline back further. It also has a larger monitor for in-flight entertainment, and larger pillows for passengers.
Water bottle compartment and power sockets (Photo: Dylan Loh)
Flyers can also enjoy priority check-in and boarding when they travel with premium economy.
The airline has been accepting bookings for the new cabin since February 2015. Sydney will be the first destination passengers can fly to on premium economy in August 2015, with London being the next.
Wider seats, bigger inflight entertainment screens and calf rests. Dylan Loh gives us a peek of what Singapore Airlines’ Premium Economy Class passengers can enjoy: http://bit.ly/1AmBC0VPosted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Wednesday, 20 May 2015
SIA Premium Economy Class seats that recline back further, inclusive of calf rests for passengers (Photo: Dylan Loh)
Other airlines that have premium economy class seats include Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air France, Japan Airlines and Lufthansa. So is it too late for Singapore's flag carrier?
"It's not an issue of being first but an issue of retaining your customers," said Assoc Prof Nitin Pangarkar at the Department of Strategy and Policy at the National University of Singapore Business School. "So I think with increasing price sensitivity, people may be reluctant to buy business class. Okay, even senior managers may not buy business class. And in that case, the premium economy kind of retains those customers."
The first flights with premium economy cabins will take off on Singapore's 50th birthday. A single trip ticket to Sydney starts from about S$1,380 - S$150 more than a standard economy ticket on the same flight.
Analysts said this segment may appeal to companies with slashed corporate travel budgets in a post-global financial crisis era.