I was invited by Singapore Airlines to review their brand new Boeing 777 and the next generation cabin products and Inflight Entertainment system. The aircraft with all the bells and whistles was launched on the London – Singapore route in August.
The Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-ER’s interior has been redesigned throughout the aircraft. First class was designed by Designworks; Business Class by James Park Associates; and Economy by Singapore Airlines own design team.
The inflight Entertainment system, introduced across all three classes, is based on a Panasonic Avionics hardware platform. Having flown economy with Singapore Airlines recently the biggest visible difference is the inflight entertainment system. The TV is larger a 28cm; not a big difference but it makes a world of difference. The picture is much clearer and a great deal sharper.
The TVs in business and first are the same hi-definition screens; crystal clear and sharp with full colour saturation and a true white balance. The difference is the size; 46cm and 61cm respectively. All three classes have a new touch screen remote handset to move through over 1000 SilverKris inflight entertainment options.
One of the new innovations is the ability to multi-task by using the seat-back screen for one task while using the handset screen for another. The KrisWorld entertainment is not just limited to music, TV and movies but includes fast moving interactive 3D games and a news feed. As a travel writer I particularly liked the availability of DK Travel Guides and an enhanced flight path monitor with points of interest appearing as you fly over them.
Apart from USB and eXPort connections across all classes, business and first classes also have an HDMI connection so passengers can use their own media players and view them on the larger screens.
The real benefit for me of business or first class is the extra room and, on an overnight flight, the ability to sleep in a comfortable relaxed position. The beds in Singapore Airlines’ first and business are both lie-flat beds which have become an industry standard. Usually you lie on the seat you have taken off in. With the new innovative design adopted by Singapore Airlines you have one surface ideal for maximum comfort and support when seated and another ideal for sleeping. This is achieved by flipping the seat over longways by means of some clever mechanics. The resultant bed now has a mattress layer specifically designed for comfort while sleeping.
The bed sizes are more than adequate for all except the tallest person. First class beds are a spacious 35″ x 82″ with business class an ample 28″ x 79″. The 1-2-1 configuration in both classes means there is a need for a privacy screen between the two central seats. In first this is full length and rises up from between the two seats. The privacy screen in business is only three-quarters length and slides along the between the two seats. This might pose a privacy issue with the placement of a mirrored door right beside the gap.
Seats through out the three classes have all been updated to give better lumbar and neck and head support. The seats in business and first have a great range of seating options allowing passengers to work or relax in their preferred position. Trying out all three classes I was impressed by the comfort levels. My personal preference was for the seats in business for sitting though when converted to a bed first class was my choice for a night’s sleep.
In the more spacious seats of business and economy Singapore Airlines and their design partners have, provided a lot more storage for personal items like laptops and iPads. This all within easy reach of the seat and has a power supply for charging of personal equipment.
The decor throughout the aircraft is in muted tones for maximum relaxation. A great deal of though has gone into the lighting, particularly the personal and night lights in business and first class. First class lighting and decor is modern and welcoming while that in business is a little more warm and inviting. In both the upper classes the lighting is adjustable in the personal seating area.
Unfortunately the aircraft never left the ground so I was unable to test out the seats on a real journey, nor was I able to sample the other perks of flying Singapore Airlines’ business or first class. Having briefly sampled the cabin products I can only hope that one day I will be given an upgrade and have the opportunity to travel up the front of the aircraft. Meanwhile the improved offerings in economy will certainly encourage me to fly SIngapore AIrlines again – probably on a planned trip to Perth or Adelaide in Australia.
Link: For more on Singapore Airlines www.singaporeair.com