Co-authored by Jeremy Chua Jia Kai and Airways’ Asia Pacific Correspondent
SINGAPORE — Singapore Airlines was founded on May 1, 1947. Despite hailing from a tiny country with a population not more than six million people, the airline is one of the world’s most awarded and has made a name for itself in the industry for its unparalleled inflight hospitality and product innovation.
Constantly striving to outshine herself, Singapore’s national carrier has raised the bar time and time again by its approach to push the frontiers of its in-flight products. As the launch customer of the Airbus A380, Singapore Airlines leveraged the opportunity to introduce an unprecedented in-flight experience that would at once encapsulate the essence of high living and capture the imagination of the world for flying.
The flagship’s Singapore Airlines “Suites” lived up to its namesake, a Class beyond First, featuring an enclosed suite that transposed the salad days of luxury train travel into the heavens. The airline continues to boasts one of the world’s youngest fleets while consistently investing in the comfort of its customers across its different cabins. This was showcased in the airline’s latest brand campaign, “The Lengths We Go To”.
Today, Airways is honored to partner Singapore Airlines to showcase the next generation of the airline’s highly vaunted hardware on its planes. Our Asia Pacific Correspondent was at the media launch, providing “Live” streaming via Twitter.
What is at stake
“Space made personal, experience the difference”, the new cabin offerings provide more space and privacy in all classes, featuring intimate and bespoke elements designed especially for the Singapore Airlines customer.
The products are first slated to debut on what many regard as the “King of the Skies” – the iconic Airbus A380. Singapore Airlines’ decision to keep its fleet to a size of 19 Airbus A380s is in-line with its mandate for having one of the most efficient and youthful fleets in the world.
At press-time, the carrier has retired two of five planned Airbus A380s (9V-SKA • “Kilo-Alpha” to 9V-SKE • “Kilo-Echo”). They would be replaced with spanking roll-outs from Airbus’ Toulouse plant (from 9V-SKU “Kilo-Uniform”).
Fourteen Airbus A380 aircraft (9V-SKF • “Kilo-Foxtrot” to 9V-SKT • “Kilo-Tango”) will undergo retrofit work to offer the new products. The research, design, development and installation of the new products on 19 Singapore Airlines A380s represents an investment of about US$850 million.
Singapore Airlines currently offers five distinct cabin products, including Suites, exclusive to the Airbus A380; First, exclusive to the Boeing 777-300 and -300(ER)s; Business, which has 4 different regional and mid-haul variations in service; and Premium Economy and Economy.
All products will undergo a refresh and customers can expect greater comfort and exciting amenities.
The Suites will finally get its first refresh after a decade. This will include product enhancements that would allow the airline to compete with the likes of Etihad’s The Residence and Air France’s La Premiere cabins.
Despite the introduction of new Business and Economy products on select B77W and across the A350, Business and Economy classes will also both receive brand new design and other amenities.
UPPER DECK OF LUXURY
Twelve Suites are currently located on the Main Forward Deck of the A380. This cabin will be re-housed to the Upper Forward Deck, with the new layout featuring just six seats.
Singapore Airlines’ new Suites are designed by Pierrejean Design Studio and manufactured by Zodiac Seats UK.
Behind its artistically-designed sliding door, lies a personal oasis complete with lavish furnishing and finishes. Each Suite is furnished with a separate full-flat bed with adjustable recline and plush leather chair, enabling customers to lounge comfortably in the chair or rest in bed without the need to convert the bed from a sitting position.
For couples traveling together, the beds in the first two Suites of each aisle can be converted to form a double bed. When not in use, the bed can be stowed completely, creating, even more, personal space within each Suite.
Each seat is upholstered by world-renowned Poltrona Frau in fine leather and is fully adjustable using an electronic control side panel which can accommodate a variety of sitting and lounging positions. The swivel capability of the chair (between 135 and 270 degrees) with recline up to 45 degrees provides added flexibility for dining and relaxation.
Each Suite also has a 32-inch full HD monitor that can swivel for the different viewing angles in seat and bed modes, a full-sized personal wardrobe, customized handbag stowage compartment, amenity box lined with soft leather, specially designed carpet and a feature wall with mood lighting – all exquisitely crafted to give a touch of luxury and intimacy.
The exclusivity of the Suites cabin is further accentuated by its two stylishly-furnished lavatories, one of which has a sit-down vanity counter.
Created for a distinguished few, each of Singapore Airlines’ Suites will feature a plush mattress bedding, two pillows and a fluffy cotton duvet, complete with embroidery crafted by the French luxury brand, Lalique.
Complemented with a stylish sleeper suit, slippers, eyeshades and socks, customers can lounge in comfort before drifting into peaceful sleep in their private cabin in the sky.
Suites customers on select flights will receive an amenity kit with toiletries and perfumes or a unisex kit containing lifestyle items, specially designed and created under the co-brand partnership with Lalique.
Each of the separate his-and-hers amenity kits will consist of a fragrance, lip balm, and a specially designed pouch. In addition, the ladies’ set includes a face moisturizer and hand cream while the men’s set includes a body lotion and aftershave balm.
The unisex kit containing lifestyle products is designed as a collectible item, featuring a Lalique candle, scented soap, lip balm and body lotion. For a limited period only, the lifestyle kit will also include a miniature ornamental crystal fish from Lalique. The design of all three amenity kits will be refreshed regularly.
Suites customers can freshen up in the two stylishly-furnished lavatories with a special citrus-scented facial mist, body lotion and fragrance by Lalique as well.
To further enhance the culinary experience, Suites customers will dine with Wedgwood serviceware and Lalique-designed crystal glassware. With every meal complemented by a selection of fine wines and champagnes specially put together by a panel of wine experts, customers will be spoilt for choice.
As part of Singapore Airlines’ commitment to enhancing sustainability practices, Suites customers can look forward to meals created by the International Culinary Panel (ICP), featuring more sustainable ingredients and fresh local produce.
The new menus will be initially introduced to Suites customers on selected routes, and progressively made available in other classes.
SINGAPORE AIRLINES’ BUSINESS CLASS
The A380 all-premium upper deck will feature the newly designed Business Class product, which is competitive with some First Class products on other airlines.
James Park Associates Design Consultants (“JPA”) was selected by the carrier to shower the pinnacle of modern comforts and intimate luxury on the Business traveler. The new Business Class cabin will be decked with 78 seats and will feature a modern yet organic color scheme featuring a selection of soothing and classy leather and fabrics, in addition to lightweight carbon composite materials.
Measuring 25 inches in width, the Business Class seat, which has two side wings for better back support, reclines directly into a comfortable full-flat bed (78 inches). Customers may also stretch out fully in a ‘sun-deck’ position to watch movies on the 18-inch high definition touch-screen monitor. The Business Class seat is upholstered by Poltrona Frau as well.
A larger back shell on every seat creates a cocoon-like feel for more privacy while the center divider can be fully lowered to form double beds, making the two center seats an ideal choice for customers such as families traveling together.
A unique feature of the new Business Class seat is that it has a carbon fibre composite shell structure, as compared to conventional aircraft seats, which use metal as the primary support structure. This thinner base structure allows for better optimization of the seat and creates more under-seat storage space to accommodate a full-sized cabin bag and laptop bag or handbag.
Seats in the Business Class cabin are arranged in a forward-facing, four-abreast (1-2-1) configuration that offers all customers direct access to the aisle.
Other features include a business panel equipped with USB ports and in-seat power, reading lights with adjustable brightness level, mood lighting, enlarged dining table designed for flexibility in dining positions, as well as storage space for personal amenities with a thoughtful design that puts everything within easy reach.
The relaxed and contemporary setting in Business Class is enhanced by a stylish combination of padded bed sheets, blankets as well as a larger pillow. These soft furnishings provide a relaxed atmosphere on board, bringing greater comfort for customers as they work or unwind during the flight.
In the Business Class cabin, customers can look forward to an even more refined service and dining experience with all meals served on Narumi-designed chinaware. Coupled with Singapore Airlines’ world-class service, customers will enjoy a truly delightful experience as they wine and dine on board.
MAIN DECK: EXCLUSIVE FOR PREMIUM ECONOMY AND COACH
The main deck of the A380, will be exclusive to both Premium Economy and Economy. Premium Economy passengers will be seated at the front-end of the cabin, occupying the same space that was once exclusive to Suites.
The Premium Economy Class seat was manufactured by ZIM Flugsitz GmbH and customized by design firm JPA Design.
Premium Economy Class seats are 19.5 inches wide, with eight-inch recline and seat pitch of 38 inches. The cabin, introduced by Singapore Airlines recently in 2016 will not have any refresh or cosmetic enhancements in 2017.
However, Singapore Airlines’ entertainment system Krisworld will be touch-screen enabled. This feature, currently unavailable in the existing A380 configuration, is already a standard-fit on the airlines’ Airbus A350 fleet.
Customers will be treated to an enhanced in-flight entertainment experience with the provision of active noise-canceling headphones and a sleek 13.3-inch full HD monitor.
Other features include a full leather finishing, calf-rest and foot-bar for every seat, individual in-seat power supply, two USB ports, personal in-seat reading light, cocktail table, and more storage space for personal items.
Customers traveling in Premium Economy Class will receive an amenity kit featuring a special A380 livery to commemorate the launch. The amenity kit consists of a toothbrush, toothpaste, and anti-slip socks.
Seating 343 in Singapore Airlines’ Economy class, passengers will also be treated to ergonomic enhancements and refreshed look.
The Economy Class seat, designed and built by Recaro, offers more space and greater comfort through an improved design.
Leveraging on advanced technology and ergonomics, seats offer more legroom and back support, with a six-way adjustable headrest with foldable wings. The Economy Class seat also features a more contemporary fabric seat cover design.
An 11.1-inch touch-screen monitor eliminates the need for handsets and offers more convenience to customers who wish to catch the latest movies on KrisWorld, Singapore Airlines’ award-winning in-flight entertainment system.
Other features include a patented non-intrusive reading light installed underneath the seatback screen, personal storage space for small personal items, a coat hook, in-seat power supply and ergonomically designed footrest with adjustable positions.
In Economy Class, customers on selected flights will receive an amenity kit, which includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, and socks. Children’s amenities from Disney will be available in all cabin classes for our young customers.
KrisWorld In-Flight Entertainment System
Customers flying on the new A380s entering Singapore Airlines’ fleet in the coming months will be offered even greater control over their in-flight entertainment (IFE) experience with the launch of myKrisWorld, a new IFE interactive feature.
This personalized IFE experience includes features, which are new in the industry, making the Airline the first to offer these to our customers. Such features include content recommendations based on customer preferences and viewing history, and KrisFlyer members being able to bookmark and resume content, as well as customise and save preferences and playlists on myKrisWorld for subsequent flights.
KrisFlyer members traveling across all classes can also select their choice of playlists from the SingaporeAir mobile app prior to the flight, and transfer their selections to the onboard system when they connect to myKrisWorld to continue with their IFE experience.
KrisFlyer members, as well as Suites and Business Class customers, will also have access to additional in-flight entertainment content choices. In addition, KrisFlyer members traveling in Suites will be able to control the lighting in their private cabin, and save their lighting preferences for future flights.
Customers can also experience high-speed in-flight WiFi service on Singapore Airlines’ new A380, the world’s first GX-enabled A380 aircraft.
The aircraft will be equipped with Inmarsat GX Aviation’s broadband connectivity system, offered through SITAONAIR.
Currently available on selected Boeing 777-300(ER) aircraft in Singapore Airlines’ fleet, this service will be progressively introduced on aircraft that are equipped with SITAONAIR’s Internet and mobile in-flight connectivity.
What to expect?
What Singapore Airlines has demonstrated at today’s media event is its commitment to constantly innovate in seat comfort and luxury.
Customers, aviation enthusiasts, and other airlines should be excited as they look to Singapore Airlines taking its next steps in redefining the travel space again.
Thoughtfully scripted, in its 2013 media campaign, Singapore Airlines has indeed achieved what it set out to showcase: “The Lengths We Go To”; “Understanding Your Needs”; “Creating Around You”; “Bringing You the World” – with the comfort of the traveler in mind, for:
“We search for what’s special;
For what lives an experience to another level;
And that unspoken feeling doesn’t happen by chance;
So no matter what changes, this commitment holds true;
We will find what truly matters, to make you feel at home.” – TBWA, 2013 Singapore Airlines Branding Content