Thursday, January 18, 2007

Singapore's luxurious new Boeing 777-300ER

Singapore Airlines logoThis week marked Singapore Airlines' inaugural Boeing 777-300ER service from San Francisco to Seoul, and then on to Singapore. But the aircraft was not just any old Boeing 777-300ER. This one was a new version ordered by Singapore that features a specially designed, ultra-luxurious passenger cabin.

A news article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says that the interior features in the snazzy new cabin originally were intended for the Airbus A380 aircraft, but since Singapore won't be able to take delivery of its first A380 until October, the new 'cabin products' are being introduced on the Boeing 777-300ER instead.
Although the Boeing 777- 300ER has been in airline service since 2004, the version ordered by Singapore Airlines has a number of interior "firsts" for Boeing.

It's the first 777 with no overhead luggage storage bins along the center of the cabin in business class, and no overhead bins at all in first class, giving the cabin a roomier feel.

Also a first is a space-saving lift system that allows the crew to store their luggage and other personal things above the cabin. This was one of the new features that [Ken Davis, an interiors engineer with Boeing Commercial Airplanes] worried might be troublesome since the crew was not familiar with its operation.
Mr. Davis went along on the inaugural flight to assist the cabin crew if needed.
Until they showed up at the San Francisco airport, most of the passengers who took the first flight were not aware they would be flying on the new plane. But they realized the flight was special when they arrived at gate 99 in the international terminal and saw the balloons, free food and beverages -- and the media. Three newspaper reporters went on the flight, as well as the travel editor and a cameraman from a San Francisco TV station.

"We thought maybe someone was having a wedding," Jan Bruneau said when she saw the balloons. She and her husband, Dave, from Alberta, were flying to Singapore and then on to Sydney, Australia, to visit their daughter.

They had seats in the economy class. At 19 inches wide, that's about 2 inches more than passengers have in economy class on Singapore Airlines' other 777 models, and its 747-400s.

Each economy seat also has a 10.6-inch monitor for in-flight entertainment, considerably bigger than the monitors in economy class of Singapore's other jets.
Seats in the first class section are 35 inches wide, and there is an air bag incorporated into the seat belts. The air bag would automatically inflate "to help protect the passenger in a crash or violent event." First class also features bedding by Givenchy.

Business class passengers sit in 30-inch seats that turn into beds.

Singapore Airlines already operates 60 'Triple-7' aircraft. It has ordered 19 of the new 777- 300ERs.
Singapore Airlines is likely to have the same seats in economy and business on the A380 that are on its 777-300ERs. And the Airbus plane will have the same in-flight entertainment system. But the airline is keeping mum about first class on the A380 -- for those who can afford a flying hotel.
Sounds like a game of 'can you top this?' Someone please tel Singapore Airlines I'd be happy to try out the new service and write an official review!