Travel | Singapore Airlines Premium Economy Review - SQ305 London to Singapore


Singapore Airlines launched its Premium Economy cabin in August 2015 and along with the updated cabin and seat, you get an additional 5 Kg of baggage allowance, priority check-in/boarding, unlimited on-board Champagne and a scaled down "Book the Cook" option for your meal(s).  

I flew in this cabin in November 2015 back to Singapore from London and below is a review of my experience. Enjoy.









The side pocket for the on-ear noise cancelling headphones

The meal trays are located in the arm rests rather than in the seat in front of you



The seats are much nicer than in economy and are reasonably larger, with a width of 19.5 inches coupled with an 8 inch recline and a seat pitch of 38 inches versus an 18 inch width, 6 inch recline, 32 inch seat pitch in economy.  In real world usage, there's a quite a bit of leg room, so much so that my knees were never in danger of touching the front seat (which it often does in economy).  The seat is also wider than what one usually will find in economy.  I had about an inch or so on either side, so I never felt crammed in.

Whilst the seat is certainly more comfortable, attaining a decent night's sleep still remains exclusive to the realm of business class and above with their fully flat beds.  




The mechanical switches releasing the calf and back rests

There are nooks and crannies everywhere to store your various electronic gadgets.  There's two front pockets for your smartphone and they can easily fit a iPhone 6 Plus.



The seats also include adjustable calf rests that are released by mechanical switches rather being controlled by electric motors (which would have been a nice touch) and it makes the journey more comfortable.

The seats are in a 2-4-2 configuration, so one is still faced with the hassle of having to climb over someone if one travels alone and sits in the middle.




Along with their new Business class (reviewed here), Premium Economy has been designed with the modern traveler in mind who has a plethora of gadgets that guzzle electricity.  There are powered USB ports to the middle of the seat and a power plug at the bottom which makes charging all your electrical devices easy.

All these power outlets allow for one to get some work done in Premium Economy.  The meal tray also is large enough (and sturdy enough) to accommodate a 15" Macbook Pro easily and it's set low enough that the laptop's screen doesn't impede viewing of the In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) screen. 




There is also an adjustable head side lamp so one can point the light directly where it's needed rather than have it shine overhead.  An amenities bag is also handed out (which used to be offered to economy passengers but they've cruelly taken that away from them) that contains basic items such as socks.




The IFE unit is exactly the same as on all the other refurbished cabins. 

The new screen in Premium Economy is 13.3" (largest in it's class) and is touch sensitive as well.  The response is what one would expect from a touchscreen device these days and the interface interacted smoothly with a gentle touch from my finger.  

The screen is bright, vivid and extremely sharp; watching movies on it was an extremely pleasant experience.




Singapore Airlines also offers active noise cancelling headphones to those flying in this class.  Whilst this sounds good on paper, in reality it’s horrible.  I thoroughly dislike the Singapore Airlines’ choice for compact, on-ear headphones.  They are so small and press too tightly against the head which produce unbearable heat and pressure after about one hour – especially if one wears glasses like I do.

I was also surprised to find out that they were active, not passive, noise cancelling headphones because the incessant hum of the plane wasn't dampened out at all.  These are truly atrocious headphones and if you have your own, use them instead of these. 




One unique selling point for Premium Economy is the availability of a scaled down 'book the cook' service.  Initially I was quite excited for this due to my past experience with their service (albeit in Business Class).  However, I was left rather disgruntled.  There is no real appreciable difference between this and their economy servings (that's a testament to how good their economy food is) and what's worse is that my food was served cold; and when I asked for a reheat, they blindly replaced my dish with a non-BTC dish rather than actually reheating my dish.  Poor form.




The usually impeccably high Singapore Airline's service quality also takes a hit.  Rather than having dedicated staff to overlook Premium Economy, the staff merely start serving the Premium Economy passengers first and then make their way through to economy.  During quieter times, this manageable (although it takes longer to get their attention) but it makes getting the attention of staff practically impossible during busier times (for both non and Premium Economy passengers) as they're just overwhelmed. 




Is premium economy worth spending that little extra?  No, it’s probably better spent elsewhere – such as a better hotel room.  Whilst the seat is objectively better and more comfortable, that alone isn't enough to justify the 2-2.5x price premium they are charging.  The 5 Kg extra luggage allowance is pathetic, the food is no different from economy and the service is dire.  Singapore Airline's needs to offer more to make it worthwhile rather that selling it on unnecessary gimmicks like unlimited champagne (As point of comparison, BA offers 100% increase in luggage allowance).  They are world renowned at being the best in every cabin they operate in and their name would assure quality; sadly, however, their latest cabin does not live up to that lofty reputation.