News

SIA's new premium products set for Frankfurt route

1 Feb 2007 by business traveller

Fans of Singapore Airlines (SIA) will soon be sampling the carrier's new premium products (see Online news, October 19 2006) on another European route.

Already available on flights to Singapore departing Paris CDG, Milan Malpensa and Barcelona, the new first and business class seating will arrive on SIA's important Frankfurt route in early May.

SIA has invested US$360m in its new seating, which features fully flat beds in first and business class, to enable it to remain competitive into the next decade.

Data displayed in Amadeus (one of the main airline booking systems) show flights SQ325 and SQ326 switching from a B747-400 (with the older seats) to a B777-300ER (the only SIA plane to have the new seating) from the beginning of that month.

Flight SQ326 is the late night departure from Frankfurt. It departs at 2225 reaching Singapore at 1620 the following afternoon. Inbound SQ325 is a daylight service leaving Singapore at 1350 to reach Frankfurt in the evening at 2030. Both flights operate daily.

SIA's other daily flights on this route, SQ25 out of Frankfurt at 1235 and SQ26 out of Singapore at 2350 will continue to be operated by the ubiquitious B747-400.

SIA has a fleet of over 20 B747s and as these are due to be retired in a few years' time (with the arrival of the A380 super jumbos) it's looking unlikely they will ever be fitted with the new seating.

Main competition for SIA on the Frankfurt-Singapore route comes from fellow Star Alliance member Lufthansa which operates a single daily B747-400 service.

But Lufthansa's premium seating is quite different. Its 64-seater business class zone comprises angled lie-flat seating fitted in zones A and B on the B747. Seating is seven across (2-3-2) in zone B reducing to four across (2-2) in zone A which is located in the B747's "nose". First class is located on the B747's upper deck. Here there are 16 flat-bed seats disposed four across (2-2).

By contrast, SIA's seating is based on an entirely new concept. It has by far the widest seats in the air and these are configured four across (1-2-1) in both business and first class on the single-deck B777. But it's also fair to say that, in the case of business class, seat width comes at the expense of legroom.

SIA's 42 business class seats are 30 inches wide in total (or 25 inches wide when fully flat) while the eight first class seats boast 35 inches of width which is almost enough to accommodate two people.

But in-flight service and plane type (some travellers prefer the B747 to the B777) are other factors to consider. All in all, frequent travellers will be looking forward to comparing both leading airlines' products.

For more information go to singaporeair.com.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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