Singapore Airlines announced on Friday it will introduce premium economy class from the second half of next year. We look at the airline's history with premium economy class.
Singapore Airlines is the first airline to replace all economy seats on a plane with premium economy ones on its two non-stop flights to Los Angeles and New York. These seats are wider and more comfortable, with just seven seats in each row. The flights also offer business class but not first class. The Airbus A340-500 can take more than 300 passengers but the premium economy seats mean there are only 181 seats.
2008: With strong corporate demand, SIA decided to rip out all its economy seats and turned the A-345 into an all-business class aircraft with only 100 seats. Unfortunately by the end of 2008, the global economic crisis caused the premium air travel market to crash. Fuel prices rose.
2012: SIA announced it would pull the plug on its non-stop flights to Los Angeles and New York, ending premium economy options in the airline. In the meantime, however, other airlines had already cottoned on to the possibilities of premium economy. Cathay Pacific Airways introduced its premium economy seats in 2012. It offered wider seats with more legroom and recline as well as a bigger TV screen and priority check-in at airport counters among other sweeteners.
EVA Air was one of the first airlines to introduce the concept in 1992, and by 2013, at least 20 airlines, including Air France, British Airways and United Airlines were offering premium economy.