SIA further widens gap between business and economy

SIA-New-Economy-Class_Seat7.gifSingapore Airlines (SIA) will be introducing from December the industry’s widest business class and first class seats but its new economy product falls short of the trendsetting product being introduced by rival Cathay Pacific Airways.

Cathay’s new economy class seat, unveiled last week (see my blog from 11 October) and being introduced from January, features a fixed back design which will allow passengers to recline without compromising the space of the passenger sitting behind. SIA’s seat (see picture on the left), unveiled today, does not have this design but provides more personal space and legroom as well as a larger monitor compared to its existing design.

SIA’s new business class and first class seats are more innovative and should meet its goal of becoming the industry benchmark for premium air travel.

The first class seat is 35-inches wide, which according to SIA makes it the most spacious first class product ever introduced by a commercial airline. It can be used as a daybed for lounging and as a full-sized flat bed for sleeping at night.

SIA says at 30-inches, its new business class seat is also the widest in the airline industry and is almost 50% wider than the business class seats offered by most other airlines. The seats will be arranged in an innovative forward-facing four-abreast configuration (see bottom picture) on SIA’s new fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs. The seat can be turned into the largest full-flat business class bed in the industry and comes with a 15.4-inch LCD monitor.

SIA spent four years and $360 million developing the new seats, which initially were slated to debut on the Airbus A380. But A380 delivery delays have forced SIA to first introduce the new seats on its 19 777-300ERs, the first of which will enter service from December on the Singapore-Paris route. The seats will be the baseline product for SIA’s A380s, now scheduled to enter service late next year, with some additional enhancements to be announced later. 

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