Airlines Trip Reports

Obsessive observations on SQ’s Premium Economy

I was delighted to fly on SQ’s new premium economy product for the first time on SQ 494 from SIN-DXB. Dario, one of our lovely guestwriters, has already written a full report on the product with plenty of photos, so if you want to see photos, go here.

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In this post I intend to reflect a bit more on the service standards and SOPs I noticed and compare this to those in Economy (Y).

General observations

  • I was wondering whether the cabin would be “protected” in the sense that FAs would have a manifest and know which seats are and are not occupied. I say this because a group of middle eastern men saw it fit to upgrade themselves in an empty row of 4 PY seats. Fortunately the FA was alert to this and chased them away back to Y. I thought that the FAs only really read manifests for J upwards, because of the need to memorise the passengers’ names
  • There are no toilets in the PY cabin (at least on the 77W I flew on), so you have to go through the curtain behind you to use the restrooms in Y
  • During disembarkation, the FAs will seal the curtains in front of the PY cabin (between PY and J) but not the curtains behind the PY cabin (between PY and Y). This means that the passengers from Y will tend to come forward into the PY cabin and crowd the aisles. Quite a few of them pushed to the front of the PY cabin, so priority disembarkation is not part of the SOP for PY
  • The seat is extremely comfortable for lounging. I imagine that when it’s fully reclined with the legrest up, I could decently doze in it. It’s not a replacement for a flat seat, of course
  • The pillows and blankets are a nice upgrade over Y. Perhaps the blanket is the same but the pillows are definitely bigger

Catering

  • The FAs go around before departure with the menu and asking you which option you’d like. This is a nice touch, reminds me of how they take your order personally in J. They have to ask beforehand anyway because  meal service is not from a trolley. The FAs will bring you your meal on a tray individually
  • The main upgrade over Y seems to be in there being 3 choices of meals (as opposed to 2 in economy). Here’s a copy of the menu

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  • There is also a limited BTC menu for PY passengers. I had the  roast chicken rice. It was passable. Note that you also get an additional choice of bread with your meal

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  • The ice cream has also been upgraded. Ben and Jerry’s versus Kit Kat cone in Y

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  • Of course, there is also champagne. The champagne is Ernest Rapeneau, I actually visited the vineyard that makes it when I was in France and it’s not terrible. Not that I know anything about champagne anyway, but it was light and easy to drink. Drinks are unfortunately served in plastic cups and not glassware

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  • The nut mix they serve in PY is the same as in business class (if you recall Y gets peanuts, not cashews and almonds). In business class they serve it in a nice warmed ramekin though

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  • Before landing they served a cold sandwich. No different from in Y. It was terrible

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  • Unlike in business class, there is no snack section in the menu. But if you ask the FAs nicely I’m sure they’ll bring instant noodles and biscuits
  • I find it so funny that SQ felt this important enough to put this in their press release (and even funnier that they starred it and wrote “on medium/long-haul flights), but getting a full bottle of mineral water is apparently an act of extreme generosity that deserves such limelight. So yes, I got a full bottle of mineral water just after meal service. It was the same type of water as they get in J (F gets Evian)
  • The tray table is much bigger than in Y, and even when the idiot infront of you suddenly reclines your laptop screen is safe from crushing

Amenities kit

  • I regret that I threw them away, but the amenities kit is slightly different from Y. How different? Your socks have an anti-slip grip on the bottom. If you’ve gone trampolining before in Singapore you’ll have seen the special socks they sell you so you don’t slip on the canvas. This is somewhat similar, but with a small patch of grip on the bottom. You have no idea what I’m talking about do you. Fine, I’ll get a photo next time

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  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe these are the same brand of headphones they are using in business class. I know First Class has Bose QC15s, but I’m pretty sure they’re using Phitek in J. These were very comfortable and good quality

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  • The new IFE system SQ is using on upgraded aircraft (the one with the touch screen controller) is without a doubt the most buggy and crash-prone system I’ve ever seen. It was common for the system to freeze and self-reset every time I quit a movie. I hope you like seeing this screen

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Random

  • Does anyone else miss the days of coloured boarding passes? One of the SQ beancounters apparently said “Hey, we’re wasting money on coloured printing! Why not change all the Y boarding passes to black and white. Most people who fly Y are anyway so inbred that they’re colorblind, so no one will notice”. PY is not immune from this cost cutting either, as the monochromatic boarding pass below shows

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  • Oh well, at least they’re not resorting to the tissue paper type boarding passes you get from other airlines (although if you use the self check in kiosk at T2 your BP is printed out on tissue paper)
  • You do get priority baggage tags. I don’t think they have special premium economy tags, I got business class tags (although that could have been because of my Star Gold status)
  • The load in the cabin for the SIN-DXB leg was surprisingly poor. In the 28 seater cabin, more than half the seats were empty
  • From DXB-SIN, SQ was selling upgrades at the counter for AED 520 ($200 SGD). This price seemed to be independent of how much you paid for your base Y ticket. I imagine I’d be a bit steamed if I bought a full fare Y ticket and had to pay the same as someone who bought a superdeals fare

So would I pay additional to upgrade to PY if it were my own money? I think on a super long haul flight, yes. Medium haul I can still gut it out in Y, but on a super long haul I think the additional comfort would be well worth it.

Feel free to ask me anything about my PY experience!

 

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14 Comments on "Obsessive observations on SQ’s Premium Economy"

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Nice one, cheers Aaron. I’ll buy my wife PY tickets in the summer with Lufthansa. It’s such a long flight, the money is worth it and who knows, flying via Frankfurt with our status, she might just sneak an upgrade…. Nice report, thanks!

Good article Aaron! I flew premium economy on SQ222 & SQ221 just a few weeks ago. Didn’t bother writing up a trip report but I totally agree with your points. I hate the black and white boarding pass. I thought the food was just okay. The seats are quite comfortable. The services from SQ staff were a bit disappointed though. I think Qantas premium economy is actually better than SQ premium economy.

Hey frequent flyer to SFO – United just announced a nonstop SFO-SIN-SFO service. What do you think of that?

[…] United has something which is laughably called “economy plus”, but it is not a true premium economy product. It is economy seats with a bit more legroom and the same service as […]

Hi aaron!

The upgrade at counter isnt unavailable for discounted tickets, only certain class of Y tickets are eligible. From NRT to SIN, there were plenty seats, but they couldnt sell me the upgarde even though they offered it me. bummer

Flew Cathay in Dec and Jan. Their PY was sold out. Got a free upgrade from Y to PY, unfortunately only for the short HK to SG leg and not LON to HK. Their business model according to the ground staff is to oversell the Y then upgrade ppl to PY if all the Y’s show up

Is it worth paying the extra usd50 for the preferred seats? (Front row ones)

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