Singapore Airlines recently took delivery of the new extended version of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner. More specifically they are now the first airline to fly the 787-10 series, with the initial plan to have 20 of these planes equipped with 337 seats spread over two classes – 36 in Business Class and 301 in Economy Class. Some of these planes are expected to replace the routes currently served by the Airbus A330-300 which has 285 seats, of which 30 is is Business Class. For a start, the new 787-10 operated by Singapore Airlines will fly route to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok for training purposes before being tasked to ferry passengers from Singapore to Osaka and Perth.
The big news here is for Business Class travellers as they will now be able to fly on full lie-flat seats with direct aisle access from every seat in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration. This is a configuration that has been seen before in Delta’s 767 Business Class or ANA’s 787 long-haul Business Class. However the seats are new and created by Stelia Aerospace. The seats recline to a 76-inch fully-flat bed and up to 26-inch in width with retractable armrests and dividers between the seats. Fitted with a personal 18” full HD monitor running on Panasonic’s latest eX3 system, that would certainly give passengers direct access to the great KrisWorld entertainment system.
What makes these seats really good is just that it is a step up from Singapore Airlines’ current fleet of A330s that still uses angled-flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration even for long-haul red-eye flights to Osaka. And it is of no surprise that Osaka is one of the first destinations to get this plane as it certainly allows Business Class passengers on this flight to rest comfortably for the late night flight between Osaka and Singapore. In addition with Singapore Airlines taking delivery of up to 20 of these planes into their fleet, that would certainly enhance their regional flights for Business Class passengers as no other premium airlines in Asia-Pacific has that much planes to offer a consistent lie-flat product for regional routings.
Below, one can also find a short YouTube video showcasing the New Business Class on the 787-10s.
However, I mention the enhancement only for Business Class passengers as Economy Class passengers might get the short end of the stick here. This is because the new 787-10 Economy Class in Singapore Airlines comes at a 3-3-3 seating configuration. Do take a moment to realize that the 787 is a narrower plane than the 777 and the A350, both of which has the same seating configuration of 9 seats abreast. That means the seats is expected to be narrower and less comfortable than the 2-4-2 configuration onboard the regional A330s that currently fly between Singapore and Osaka or Perth. Even though they feature more adjustable headrests and the new entertainment system, I believe the A330s might be a better plane to fly onboard if one is seated at the back when flying with Singapore Airlines.
While Singapore Airlines seems to make its Business Class really world-leading, they are moving to be similar to the rest of the airlines in putting more seats into Economy Class. I believe all of the 787s operating regional routes uses a 9-abreast seating on Economy Class so there really is no difference with which airline one flies when booked in the back. And if I do fly Economy Class on the regional Singapore Airlines route, I might choose to fly with the A330s instead for more space. That is until I redeem my Krisflyer miles for the Business Class seats and then I would choose the 787s!