Singapore Airlines (SIA) invested about US$80 million in launching its new premium economy product on the nation’s 50th anniversary (SG50). The product will gradually be introduced on 19 A380s, 19 B777-300ERs and 20 A350s. It was first launched on flights to Sydney, Hong Kong and London in August, with destinations such as Frankfurt, New York and Shanghai to follow.
Having departed from Hong Kong with a four-hour stopover in Singapore, I didn’t need to check-in again, as I’d already been issued with my ticket on flight SQ221 to Sydney in Hong Kong.
My flight was scheduled to depart at 2015 and was parked at Gate B7 at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3. Every passenger is required to undergo a security scan and passport check before entering the boarding area. I passed through security at 1940. As it was Singapore’s 50th birthday, as well as the launch of the premium economy product, a cocktail reception was set up and served with canapés in front of the gate. Boarding started at 1945, and premium economy passengers were allowed to board after the business passengers, but boarding wasn’t quick, as many economy passengers had gathered at the gate before boarding.
Premium economy class is set behind the Suites’ galley on the main deck, and arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration. My seat was 32G, an aisle seat on the second row. The 19.5-inch-wide seat on the A380 is one inch wider than on SIA’s B777 aircraft. There is a power outlet under the seat, a USB port under the 13.3-inch monitor and a reading light with three levels of brightness attached at one side of the headrest. Another USB port and the headset plug are located under the lamp. The tray table is stored inside the armrest, while the IFE handset is located on the outside. Cushions and blankets are laid out on the seats, and there is a Phitek noise-cancellation headset stored in the armrest compartment.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE
You may like to choose row 31 for extra legroom, but the monitor is set high on the bulkhead wall, meaning you need to raise your head slightly to watch a movie.
All passengers boarded before 2015, but we needed to wait for baggage to be delivered into the cargo deck before pushing back at 2045. We took off at 2100. After the seatbelt sign was off, we were given an SG50 amenity kit, which consisted of toothbrush, toothpaste and socks. Drinks were served, including wine, beer and champagne. I browsed through the entertainment system, and found an interesting tutorial for 22 languages, as well as a photo viewer, media player and PDF reader for viewing material via a USB.
Dinner was served not long after take-off. The appetiser was cold noodles with shrimp, while among the three main courses (one choice more than economy), I chose beef goulash instead of Nonya fish curry or pan-fried chicken with grain mustard sauce, completing the meal with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The appetiser featured lovely fresh shrimp. The size of the main course portion was adequate, but I thought the beef was a little overcooked.
Lights were dimmed about an hour after dinner. I reclined my seat and pulled up the legrest. I didn’t pull down the footrest, as being quite tall it limited the room for my feet. I took a comfortable nap, and the lights turned on again after around three hours.
Breakfast was served and I chose the croissant with muffin and fruits. The muffin was large and delicious.
Our descent was announced at 0505, and the flight touched down at 0540 – a smooth landing. The queue was short at the immigration counter, and my priority-checked baggage arrived in no time.
The leather seat was comfortable, and I found the spaces in two armrests useful for storing small personal items. A good flight, but I would suggest that SIA upgrade its TV to a touchscreen.
- CONFIGURATION 2-4-2
- SEAT PITCH 38in/97cm
- SEAT WIDTH 19.5in/50cm
- SEAT RECLINE 8in/20cm
- PRICE Internet rates for a midweek return premium economy flight from Singapore to Sydney in November start at S$2,403 (US$1,717) including taxes and surcharges.
- CONTACT singaporeair.com