MIAMI — Singapore-based Singapore Airlines launched its suite of next-generation cabin products on Monday June 9th, including an overhaul of its in-flight entertainment system, KrisWorld. Interestingly the airline chose to make the first announcement on Twitter and Facebook at around 10:50pm EST. This is the first major product update since 2006 when the 777 received “The New Business Class” and then in 2007 when the A380 launched the well-known “Singapore Suites” concept. Singapore is committing $165 Million to the initial phase of the project.
According to SIA’s Executive Vice President – Commercial, Mak Swee Wah, “The significant investment in our next generation of cabin products reaffirms our commitment to product innovation and leadership, and demonstrates our confidence in the future for premium full-service air travel.”
The airline’s commitment to quality is reflected in their choice of design firms. BMW Group DesignWorks USA assisted with the new First class, and James Park Associates (known for their work on the Cathay Pacific Biz suite, among others) contributed to the next-gen Business class seat.
BMW Group DesignWorks Director of Creative Consulting Magnus Aspegren noted that customer feedback was “used … as a core to understand” in the design process, and that the new First seat “has positive surprises for passengers.”
James Park Associates Design Director John Tighe had similar comments, stating that the Business class seat featured a “fresh look,” but still retained the “warmth that Singapore Airlines passengers expect.”
The new products are initially slated to roll out on Boeing 777-300ER flights between Singapore and London this coming September. Naturally, these next-gen seats will be fitted on new-delivery 777-300s, as well as Singapore’s incoming A350s. However, there are no firm plans to retrofit existing aircraft such as the Airbus A380 where Singapore pioneered the famous enclosed “Singapore Suites” concept, nor the Airbus A330-300s or Boeing 777-200s. The Airbus A340-500s are due for retirement.
Without further ado, join us as we delve into the new Singapore Airlines onboard experience.
The new First class features a fixed-back shell design with high, curved side-panels, adding privacy. The bed has been extended by two inches to a whopping 82″, while seat width remains at 35″.
The seat retains a deep, rich color pattern, featuring a warm brown leather, chic orange accent piping, and a polished grey exterior shell. Singapore’s new First class creation is further accented by smartly placed ambient lighting, as well as the standard reading lights.
The airline’s KrisWorld IFE system is shown across a 24″ monitor with an accompanying touchscreen handset remote control. Now featuring an HDMI input, KrisWorld will allow you to watch your own content onscreen. The seat also features eXport and USB ports.
Remember those passenger-friendly touches we discussed earlier? The handheld remote now features an easy-off switch, disabling their KrisWorld monitor and ensuring a more restful sleep.
Already one of the widest Business class seats in the sky, the new Business class product features four degrees of increased recline, coming in at 132 degrees. Singapore has also introduced two new recline settings between the “seat” and “lie-flat” modes, termed “Lazy-Z” and “Sundeck.”
The side console also features new laptop and amenity stowage areas, as well as the host of USB/eXport/HDMI ports. The size of this cabin’s KrisWorld screen has increased nearly three inches, to 18″.
There are only so many improvements that can be made to today’s Economy class seats. The largest improvement to Singapore’s new product is the 11.1″ touchscreen seatback monitor, as well as the winged headrests, which feature adjustable “wings,” as well as a variety of different heights. Further, a touchscreen handset is now standard equipment.
Singapore’s in-flight entertainment system, KrisWorld, received an across-the-board overhaul, with screen size upgrades in all three classes. The system now features a social element, which allows users to share their travel details, and read reviews and recommendations from other passengers. Also included are DK Travel Guide sets, live news from Channel News Asia, and an improved airshow, with popular landmarks noted and explained during flyover.
It seems as if Singapore has done a really good job in updating their cabin product. There are extensive hardware upgrades, and the passenger-friendly features are a nice touch. From afar, it appears to us that Singapore has kept the right balance between form and function — the new seats are very aesthetically pleasing, but don’t cut corners when it comes to usability.