Move Over Singapore, Now There’s Somethin’ Meatier

Jet Airways, Seats

Singapore Airlines is generally regarded as the king of the premium cabins. I posted on their last upgrade back in October, but now it looks like we have a newcomer to the race.

Jet Airways of India

If you’ve gone to India, you probably know Jet as the full service, high quality airline known for domestic flights. They’ve recently gone international, and now they’ve decided to go nuts on their First Class product. Behold, the birds-eye view of the mini-suite:

07_05_09 jetminisuite

Now, that is one impressive looking seat. If you’d like to see more pictures, head over to an article in where I found this picture. You can also read the press release from Jet here.

You’ll have 26 sq ft of space all to yourself, more than in some New York studio apartments. As you can see, it is a private suite with double doors.  That’s not unlike what Emirates has on some of their planes, but it’s something Singapore has not done. Like Singapore, it has a 23″ LCD screen with a lie-flat bed, but this bed is 3″ longer than Singapore’s at 83″ long. And yes, there is an in-seat massager. The usuals are there as well . . . laptop power, great food, video on demand (with Hollywood and Bollywood films).

The plan is only to install this on the airline’s 777-300 aircraft. You can find one flying between London and Mumbai 5 days a week right now, and as more are delivered, the service will expand. I would assume we’ll see this here in the US as well once they open their new Brussels hub to connect North America with India.

The airline has made it quite clear that they want to be one of the top 5 airlines in the world.  If their reputation for service as a domestic carrier in India is any indication, they might be the right airline to pull this off.

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7 comments on “Move Over Singapore, Now There’s Somethin’ Meatier

  1. I don’t know, it seems kind of claustrophobic. Would be great if you’re prone to drooling during flight or you’re trying to join the mile-high club, but otherwise it seems like you’ve feel like a veal calf in a pen on a long flight. Now if there were also a bar area nearby you could walk around in…

  2. CF,

    1. That measurement for the “bed” for SQ, is that from their new offering or the current/most widely deployed one?

    2. Never realized Jet Airways had such a reputation. Quite surprised actually as my colleague had to fly with them SIN-DEL in C and he was only mildly impressed. Is it possible for an airline to actually have a better domestic than their international service?

    3. I thought “doors” as such are against regulation? I remember Virgin or some other airlines thought of creating pods or some such but it didn’t happen because of some regulation in the US? I believe it had something to do with safety/security–in case of emergency you don’t want doors in the way.

    This is quite an interesting development. I wasn’t too impressed when CX unveiled their product refresh about a few months prior to SQ’s unveiling, but this definitely caught my eye. I’m not sure what their service is like but if they can match SQ’s service (in the air), then SQ’s definitely got competition to keep’em on their toes.

  3. Grrr. I submitted before I was ready …

    Quite interesting that all the “premium” developments are all done out of Asia/Middle East. Europe -may- be able to catch-up. But I wonder if this is it for American airlines. A bit sad to think in a way. But hey– I’m all for survival of the fittest!

  4. Albert,

    The thing about American airlines is this: the reason that they can afford to offer subpar service is because they are all offering subpar service compared to Asian and even some European long-haul carriers, and they are doing it–at least in their coach product–at a lower price than their foreign competitors. I don’t think that American airlines will ever be driven to their knees by the Asia-Mid East players, because there is too great a demand for cheap, frequent service to business destinations in Europe and Asia.

    We may see a strategy shift among American mainline carriers toward the foreign models, much like we are beginning to see among short-haul no-frills airlines, but I would highly doubt that Jet Airways and even the major Asian-Mid East entities like Singapore and Emirates are going to threaten the integrity of U.S. airlines.

    In the end, cramming onto a Northwest-KLM or United flight to Europe or India is still going to be *cheaper* than using the premium product of a foreign carrier, and in the end, this will keep America’s airlines in business and doing what they’re doing. At least, that’s my uneducaated guess.

  5. My bad. I didn’t imply that American airlines would go out of business. I simply meant out of the race for premium air service.

    You are right, there is a huge market for cheap airfare and no frills service, part of the success of the LCCs out there, and that while we can drool over the ever more lavish first/biz class offerings, they are, for the most part, catering to a minority of all the travelers in the world.

    (Okay, I just guessed that but I think that’s probably right.)

    But … well, people talk about the “golden age of traveling” and heck, I read that at one point Delta was an excellent domestic carrier, but they seem to have all gone away. Whenever I fly back to the States (either for personal or work) I always wonder just what’s gonna happen on the trip … wish I didn’t have that uncertainty. But this is now more a bigger picture/issue than just the onboard offerings. :)

  6. Let’s see if I can throw my two cents in . . .

    1) The bed measurement is SQ’s new F seats on the 777-300

    2) Jet has always had a solid reputation for domestic service for sure, but I’m not sure about much beyond that. Their foray into the international world is much more recent, so they’ve likely had to tweak it to get it right.

    3) There’s nothing I know that says doors aren’t ok. Emirates has it, and I believe Etihad followed. They aren’t full doors – if you’re standing up you can see over them.

    4) US airlines simply have not been motivated to keep pace with foreign premium cabin developments because they’re using a different business model. Think about it. Good luck getting an upgrade on BA, but on United you’ll get plenty of people upgrading based on elite status. Combine that with the government traffic that is required to fly on US carriers for not too much money and you have a less revenue-productive premium cabin than other airlines. Conventional wisdom has said that you can’t get enough additional revenue to make it worthwhile. Meanwhile, BA’s first flat bed product in business class was tremendous in generating revenue.

    I would point out that one of the nicest products in the sky is from an American airline – Eos. I have heard great reviews of their offering on the North Atlantic.

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