DELHI: As airlines get a breather from plunging oil prices and tech-savvy, mid-level managers accept the fact that their ‘road warrior’ status doesn’t always come with first- or business class benefits, some sage upgrades by airlines are being implemented. Arguably chief among them is the introduction by non-US carriers of premium economy – a class of product that can give regular flyers on a budget a reasonable shot at affordably avoiding the economy class crush.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) is the latest carrier to join the premium economy bandwagon; firstly on its A380s.
But will SIA extend this new product to the new ultra long-range Airbus A350-900ULR, which after an amendment to its A350 orderis now poised to enable the reinstatement of all-premium, non-stop service from Singapore to the US from 2018?
The airline, which pushed for the ULR, isn’t saying explicitly. “We haven’t announced any details on products or configurations as of yet,” SIA spokesman James Boyd tells RGN.
Australian Business Traveler– which broke the story about SIA’s adoption of the A350-900ULR for flights to Los Angeles and New York – says the aircraft will definitely feature the new business class seats that are currently being designed for the carrier’s A380s. It notes that SIA previously said it was looking beyond the former ‘all business class’ model of the A340-500s that flew to Los Angeles and Newark until service was stopped in 2013. Leeham News’analysis of the ULRsuggests that a custom premium configuration of about 170 seats – about 60 more than used on the A340-500 – is likely.
Passengers have mixed opinions about the prospect of SIA reinstating premium non-stops to the US.
Discussing Singapore Airlines’ decision to offer AC in-seat power plus two USB ports for charging devices in premium economy, David Lau, general manager, SIA India, told RGN at a media event in Delhi: “We have taken into consideration people need to remain connected and the fact that they use multiple devices.”
Contributing Editor Neelam Mathews, who is based in Delhi, has been writing about Asian aviation and beyond – including Africa – for over a decade. She has done long stretches of writing for Aviation Week, AIN, Jane’s Airports and many more. With travel as part of her DNA, she has written regularly for inflight magazines... Read More