Last week I shared a first look at Singapore’s new 777 first class cabin, with photos taken at the aircraft’s delivery from Boeing.
As with the new first class product, the new business class is an evolution on their current 777-300ER offering, not something completely different.
There are (8) 777 aircraft on order with this new interior. They haven’t announced anything about retrofitting existing 777s, but they have announced it as the product for Singapore’s new Airbus A350s on order.
This first aircraft is being sent to fly Singapore – London. Additional routes for future aircraft haven’t been announced, but there were suggestions that San Francisco or Houston (both currently served by 777s) could get the new interiors.
The aircraft is configured with a 2-row mini-cabin behind first class, and then a galley separating it from the rest of business. Many people prefer the relative privacy of this mini-cabin.
Here’s a look at the business class suite. With a four-across configuration, like in first class, the seats are incredible wide and they are also relatively private.
I like the lighting in the seat, the storage, and the placement of controls.
As well as the little touches like the in-seat mirror (although personally I would think most would do any touching up in the privacy of the lavatory).
The seat’s hook pops out for you, and back in with a simple press.
Here is the seat in all-important bed mode:
There will be some partisans who actually prefer row 14 — the first row of the larger cabin (strike one) which is right behind the galley (strike two) — because it also seemed to have a bit more space.
Compared to a regular business seat:
Here’s the full larger business class cabin:
I’d argue that these seats, combined with Singapore’s service, make business class superior to many airlines’ first class offerings (United, American, at least and there’s a reasonable argument some will make that it’s better than British Airways first class as well).
Interestingly while the ‘shell’ is the same size as in the earlier version of business class, the seat itself lost two inches of width. In exchange for width there’s additional storage space. One of the common complaints, believe it or not, about the old seat was that it was too wide. It remains plenty wide, and addresses some of the accoutrements that were lacking in the earlier version of the seat.
Just how good is this business class? I’d suggest that the only other business class products that can compete are Cathay Pacific’s and EVA Airways’ both of which offer good service and use the Cirrus Sicma Aero reverse herringbone seat. In some ways I like that seat (also used, among others, by American in their new 777-300ER and by US Airways) better, it’s also a 4-across configuration with plenty of space but the angling of the seats give them a somewhat more private feel.
EVA Airways also serves Dom Perignon in long haul business class. I’m not sure those seats have quite as nice finishes, and I’d rate Singapore’s service in business class as top notch and their food better than Cathay’s. But it’s a close race. And an honorable mention goes to Qantas which has announced plans to install a new business class and provides pajamas to customers in that cabin.
This is all rarified company, and the point here isn’t to declare a world’s best but to say that there are cases to be made for each product and certainly including this evolution on the business class seat that Singapore now has.
Full disclosure: while these sorts of events often cover expenses for media, I paid for my own airline ticket, hotel, and meals. I ate a sandwich in Boeing’s conference room. They ran a shuttle bus from the hotel I stayed in (Westin Seattle) to the Everett Delivery Center, and provided a shared van back to the airport. If I had been taking freebies, I would have asked them for a case of Dom Perignon and one of Krug, as well as a lifetime supply of prawn and chicken laksa.