The introduction of Premium Economy Class was a welcome development for the airline industry. And while Singapore Airlines was an early adopter of the cabin, it had more of an ‘Economy plus’ feel to it than an outright separate cabin in its early years.

Have things changed? Is the Premium Economy cabin now Premium Economy? I get the opportunity to find out, being a guest of Singapore Airlines on their Boeing 777 service from Sydney to Singapore.

Check-in and boarding

Checking in to my flight is a relative breeze. The check-in area for Singapore Airlines in Sydney is located in Zone E, and this is well-signed. So, too, are the lanes in the Singapore Airlines check-in area, with clear posting for the Premium Economy lane as well as for other cabin classes.

The lines in all three premium lanes have nobody waiting in them so I am able to walk straight up to the Premium Economy counter and check in. This is in contrast to the Economy lane, which has what I estimate to be a 15 to 30-minute wait to check in.

I didn’t get to witness the boarding process, as I arranged to board the aircraft early to take uninterrupted images of the Premium Economy cabin. However, the airline follows a sequential boarding process arranged by class of travel and KrisFlyer status level. Premium Economy guests not holding KrisFlyer, Star Alliance, or partner status are able to board ahead of non-status Economy passengers.

Airport lounge access

Unfortunately, Premium Economy by itself does not afford any lounge access. However, if you hold premium status in any Star Alliance or partner airline of Singapore Airlines, then lounge doors will open for you. And don’t forget that Virgin Australia is a partner of Singapore Airlines. So, if you hold a Velocity Platinum or Gold card, you’re in luck!

Lounge options in Sydney

You qualify for entry to the following six lounges when flying Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Premium Economy from Sydney:

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class Lounge Sydney
Sydney’s SilverKris Lounge has a premium feel as you walk inside. [Image courtesy of Singapore Airlines]

Don’t already have a shiny frequent flyer card that works with Singapore Airlines? You could fast-track your way to Star Alliance Gold with the HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card. This could be your ticket to enjoying airport lounge access year-round, including when flying Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Premium Economy.

Premium Economy seating

As I enter the Premium Economy cabin, I’m struck by the colouring. The bright orange cushions and trims are complemented by the pastel grey tone, creating a very refined feel.

The cabin is laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration, a clear upgrade to the 3-4-3 Economy cabin. Aside from a greater seat pitch (the space between the front of my seat and the back of the seat in front), I am graced with a larger tray table and in-flight entertainment screen.

The seats are incredibly comfortable and offer eight inches of seat recline. The recline allows for a more comfortable resting position, and I have no trouble conforming my body to the seat. The fold-down footrest also helps to provide a respite from my feet being continuously flushed against the floor. Overall, the seat definitely meets its objective of being Economy, but with a premium tinge to it.

Food and beverage

Singapore Airlines has greatly improved its food and beverage offerings in Premium Economy. In the first iteration of Premium Economy, food and beverage were identical to Economy. Now, this is not a bad thing, as the quality of dining in all Singapore Airlines cabins is high.

However, when you are paying a material premium to an Economy fare for an upgraded Premium Economy experience, it is reasonable to expect the dining options to be more substantial than those offered in Economy. Especially since its main rival on the Australian routes, Qantas, has been offering better than Economy dining for Premium passengers since the inception of its Premium cabin.

Therefore, it is great to see that Singapore Airlines did see the need to catch up in this regard.

Dining from Sydney to Singapore

Just after takeoff, the drink service begins. Wanting to get into the spirit of Singapore, I order a Singapore Sling. The drink is accompanied by a packet of almonds and cashews, and while not warmed like those served in Business Class, still goes down a treat.

I am thoroughly impressed with the lunch service. The meal is quite substantial, beginning with Cold Soba Noodles with Yuzu Dressing and Smoked Salmon.

For the main, I opt for the Japanese Curry with Chicken Cutlet. This meal is served with steamed rice, Japanese pickles and green peas. It’s incredibly tasty. With Chicken Curry, I sometimes worry that it can be overcooked and taste a bit dry. But not this time. The chicken is perfectly cooked, and I accompany the dish with a glass of white wine. The other main option is a Classic Beef Bourguignon with Creamy Mash and Broccolini. Both sound so good, and it does take me some time to actually decide.

There is no separate dessert service. Rather, the dessert comes out with the main meal. On this flight, it is an Apple Crumble with Vanilla Sauce and the traditional cheese and crackers. A great excuse to top up my white!

Just before landing in Singapore, I am served a lighter refreshment. It is a Butter Chicken Roti, which satisfies the slight peckishness that I start to experience after not eating for several hours. I’m definitely not left hungry on this flight.

Inflight entertainment and service

It’s not just the meals that are larger in Premium Economy Class compared to its Economy Class sibling. So, too, are the in-flight entertainment screens. Modern and extremely responsive, the IFE includes an extensive array of content. From the traditional categories of movies, television, music, and games to flight-related information such as the flight path, in-flight menus, and arrival information, there is something there for everyone.

Having said that, I still prefer to bring my own downloaded content onto flights and put the flight path on the IFE in the background. I always like to know exactly where I am flying over at any given time.

How to book this flight using frequent flyer points

Using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles is the most obvious way to redeem this flight. To snag a Premium Economy seat, you will need to part with 51,000 miles and just over $104 in taxes, fees and charges as of June 2024.

There are a number of ways to earn KrisFlyer Miles in Australia. This includes the Kris+ program and, of course, everyday spending via a KrisFlyer earning credit card.

Another option is to use Velocity Points. However, at the time of writing, I cannot find any seats available for the following 12 months as standard Reward Seats. There are ‘Any Seat’ reward seats available but at a much higher cost. This appears to be a glitch, though, and hopefully rectified by the time you read this! When Reward Seats come back online, it will set you back 52,500 Velocity Points for a Premium Economy seat and a similar cost to KrisFlyer in taxes, fees and charges.

Don’t forget that Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance. If you have points accumulated in a Star Alliance airline program, you can also use these for this flight.

Taxes, fees and charges are low using KrisFlyer Miles.

Summing up

It is clear that Singapore Airlines has invested heavily in its Premium Economy product. From larger meals to a more polished service, the airline’s offering definitely rivals that of its competitors.

It’s the small touches that make the Premium Economy worthy of consideration. That slightly greater legroom with fold-down footrest is just enough to keep the Economy Class leg pains from being cramped into one position at bay. The slightly greater meals are just enough to not continuously feel peckish throughout the flight. And the slightly greater sized in-flight entertainment screen is just enough to heighten the IFE experience.

All-in-all, a compelling proposition. If you are looking to upgrade your Economy Class experience for a reasonable cost, then Premium Economy Class may just be for you.

All photography by Daniel Sciberras, who travelled as a guest of Singapore Airlines.

Also read: Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Premium Economy (Sydney – Singapore – London)

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Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Premium Economy (Sydney – Singapore) was last modified: July 11th, 2024 by Daniel Sciberras