It’s always fun to watch these games of one-upmanship among the world’s elite airlines.
You may remember this post on Cathay’s new products. It was their new coach class that really caught my eye, but it’s the opposite end of the spectrum that grabbed me with Singapore’s latest announcement.
First of all, check out their new First Class. Actually, before I get into it, just look at this photo taken from their website:
I’m guessing your reaction was the same as mine . . . holy f’in crap! Look at that spread.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the 23″ LCD screen. That thing has full audio/video on demand, video games, and a full business software system. That means you can create documents, spreadsheets or presentations without bringing your own computer. (Ok, I’m not sure why you’d need that. If you did, you’d have your own computer, but whatever.)
Let’s talk more about the seat. It’s 35″ across giving you only 4″ less than a twin bed. For an airplane seat, that’s incredible, at least 7 or 8″ more than the next best out there and probably 14″ more than most. And of course, it turns into a flat bed. And how about this turndown service:
“Passengers travelling on night flights of at least seven hours, and day flights exceeding nine hours can indulge in our exclusive turn-down service. When youâ€™re ready to retire, simply inform your cabin crew, who will promptly turn your seat into a bed, complete with down-filled mattress, duvet, and a large pillow.”
Ok, so that is first class and most of us won’t get to experience it. How about something more reasonable? Yup, even Business Class (apparently no longer called Raffles Class) is incredible. Here is Exhibit A:
It doesn’t even look real. I keep thinking that’s a normal-sized seat with a midget sitting in it, but in reality, it’s huge. This one is 30″ wide, still an impressive size. And it goes fully flat as well. This one only has a 15.4″ screen, but, um, that’s still pretty good.
The big question that comes to my mind is . . . how can they afford to do this? They say they’ll have only four seats across on a 777 in business class. Right now, they have 7 across, as do most airlines in business. That means a lot fewer seats need to make a lot more revenue per seat to make up for the difference. I’m sure Singapore thought about this and ran plenty of models, so it’s a safe bet that fares are going to go up and they don’t think they’ll have trouble making up the difference. Since premium cabin fares have been lower on the Pacific than on the Atlantic in upper cabins anyway, this isn’t a stretch.
Now, coach is also being redone, but there’s nothing special there. That means there is a huge gulf between coach and business. You would think this would create an opening for them to make a fourth “Premium Economy” cabin, but they haven’t done that yet on these planes.
They say these new cabins go into service in December on the Singapore – Paris/Switzerland routes and then it will continue rolling out from there.