The race for the best international premium cabins heated up yesterday when Singapore Airlines unveiled a new interior design in their upcoming Boeing 777-300 ER fleet. In a small event at the Boeing delivery facility outside of Seattle, the airline previewed the next phase of their cabin experience set to reach customers later this year.
Though the airline has widely been heralded as one of the best international carriers, it continues to innovate in this long range Boeing aircraft only five years after launching a new product on the A380. Asked about the short development cycle, James Boyd, VP of PR Americas said “We never want to rest our laurels,” and pointed to a tradition of innovation at the company.
While that evolution has resulted in aesthetic changes and inflight entertainment upgrades throughout the entire aircraft, the upgrades are most apparent in the first and business class cabins.
Seats have been redesigned to accommodate the ergonomics and needs of today’s business traveler with power, USB, lights and seat controls all at arm’s reach. There’s now space to stow a tablet computer and noise-cancelling headsets, and the seats have been updated to recline in a wider variety of positions.
At large, these are all updates to an existing premium product to make it even better. First class seats, for example, are still enormously wide at 35” across. Now, however, they also have audio jacks on both sides of the bench to accommodate two passengers.
Updates to the inflight entertainment pump Singapore’s Krisworld platform out through a Panasonic eX3 system. While most passengers won’t recognize the updates compared to the other Singapore aircraft, they will notice the size of the screens. First class screens are now 24” instead of 23”, business goes up to 18” from 15.4” and economy even upgrades from 10.6 to 11.1 inches. Each seat has USB and iPhone connections, and the front two cabins have HDMI inputs. There is also a touchscreen handset in each seat that acts as a handheld menu for the inflight entertainment, something particularly handy in the front cabins where it’s more difficult to reach the televisions.
The updates seem ready to keep Singapore Airlines on top of the heap of premium international carriers. As to when North Americans will see the service, the answer is still unclear. The airline’s 777-300ER will initially operate in late 2013 between Singapore and London, with additional planned routes across the eastern hemisphere. San Francisco and Houston both are serviced by Singapore Airlines on a 777-300, though the airline’s plans to use the new equipment on those routes has not been established.