This is the moment that everyone has been waiting for - an exclusive first look at the new Business Class seats on Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. As mentioned previously, these new cabin products will be rolled out on selected flights between Singapore and Osaka as well as Perth. They will also be installed on selected Airbus A350s that will be utilised on regional routes (under eight hours of flight time) from Singapore.
Unlike the current regional business class product on the A330-300s, the new Regional Business Class cabin features a 1-2-1 configuration where every seat has direct aisle access. The seats in each row are also staggered which means that depending on the row you choose, you may either be closer to the window or the aisle (assuming you are on a A/K seat). The colour scheme of the new Regional Business Class product seems to mimic the new Business Class products found on the new A380s (even though they would be retrofitted on existing A380s eventually).
Looking only at window seats (A/K), row 11 (which is also where the bassinet seats are) is closer to the aisle and therefore, row 12 is closer to the window (giving you that greater sense of privacy). This pattern alternates between rows 11 through to 20 (skipping 13, of course) for A/K type seats and it is the opposite for D/F seats).
If you prefer a seat with a greater sense of privacy, opt for those (A/K) in rows 12, 15, 17 and 19 since the actual seat is closer to the window. As a friendly reminder, the entire Regional Business Class cabin has been configured in a 1-2-1 layout and therefore every seat has direct aisle access.
The new Regional Business Class seats offer up to 26" in seat width (when both adjustable arm rests are down) which makes it slightly wider than the existing Regional Business Class product (24.5"). The headrests are adjustable so you can find one that suits your preference even when the seat is in lie-flat mode. There is a small leather tab that you can pull on to extend the shoulder strap which you will have to put on during take-off and landing (something new in the Regional Business Class cabin product that Singapore Airlines has just introduced). The adjustable arm rests go either all the way up or all the way down so there is nothing in between (even though you probably do not need it to be). Most importantly, the seats are very comfortable (in seat-mode and in lie-flat mode) - you will even find the Alcantara padding around the seat which is the same material used to fit the interiors of luxury sports cars and yachts.
I do not have the seat pitch so I cannot offer a direct comparison to the 2009 product which offers 60". However, with that being said, I did not feel restricted at all during the delivery flight from Charleston to Singapore.
Beside each seat is a touchscreen panel of controls where you can adjust the seat's recline, reading lights as well as the flight attendant call button. The backlighted panel is touch-sensitive and it dims after ten seconds before going off completely. There is also a button here to switch off the massive screen of the In-flight Entertainment system - always useful during redeye flights when you have forgotten to switch off the screen but do not wish to wake up to do it. I really like the panel as there is even a slight vibration when you press on anyone of the specific buttons. As you would imagine, the third button from the left returns the seat back to its original position and in fact, once that is done, a small plane symbol lights up in blue (perhaps an easy way for the crew to check whether the seat is in an appropriate position for take-off and landing?).
Passengers traveling on Singapore Airlines' new 787-10 Dreamliner will be able to enjoy the latest KrisWorld In-flight Entertainment (IFE) System (these are found on the new A380s as well!) on an 18-inch high-definition touchscreen monitor. This monitor can also be tilted so viewing it in lie-flat mode is a lot more comfortable. Additionally, Business Class passengers will also be able to access additional media content, above the 1,000 choices for movies, TV shows, audio and games. The IFE remote (which is also an impress gamepad) gives you the option to control the IFE using the joysticks and buttons, or via the touchscreen.
Each seat in the new Regional Business Class cabin comes with two USB Charging Ports as well as a universal power outlet which makes it easy to get some work done on the go. I worked on a MacBook Pro during the flight and did not have any issues with utilising the power outlet - even though the charger was massive, it did not block any of the USB ports. If you do have to work on the flight, the 787-10 is equipped with Panasonic's Global Communication Services which means it will only cost you US$21.95 for the full flight (which is fairly reasonable especially on longer routes like Osaka). There is also a small storage space next to the power outlets and USB ports where you can easily keep your travel documents, wallet and mobile phone during takeoff and landing. A light (which turns on when the compartment is open) is also conveniently located inside for you to find what you need easily even during the night.
There is a simple slide-out mirror next to the USB charging ports as well as the universal charger which can be accessed with the simple pull of a tab. This is a fairly basic mirror without any additional bells and whistles so if you need the light (assuming it is a night flight), you may have to switch on a reading light.
There are three buttons (technically four even though one is simply an off button) located by the side of the seat which allows you to adjust not only the angle but the brightness of your reading light. Each of the three buttons have three different settings for lighting intensity adjustments.
One of the designs in the new Regional Business Class seats that I really like is the dining table which is cleverly stowed away. The table can be released by simply pulling the button underneath the stowed-away table to reveal a small table (which is perfect for that pre-departure beverage). What is even more impressive however is the fact that you can double the size of the table by simply flipping the top layer over.
As you can see, the table does open up to a full-sized one which is large enough for a full table set-up. In fact, during the delivery flight (which I will talk about in a separate article), I had my 15" MacBook Pro laptop on the table and still managed to have a glass of Champagne next to it without the fear of knocking it over. If you do have to scoot out of your seat during meal service (as assuming you have a full table set-up), it might be fairly impossible (unless you have a seat that is closer to the aisle and you are incredibly slender).
The seat also converts into a 76" fully-flat bed which is a step-up from the current angled fully-flat bed that can be found on the A330-300 fleet in Business Class. Much like the new Business Class cabin product on the A380s, the seat reclines directly into a bed without the need to flip over the seat at all.
The middle seats (D/F) are staggered so you could either be closer to your neighbour or the aisle depending on which seats you have selected. For the sake of illustration, Seat 12A (window seat) is closer to the window so therefore, Seat 12D (which is located directly across) is located closer to the aisle. In other words, A/K seats follow a similar pattern while D/F seats are directly opposite of them.
For middle seats (D/F) that are located closer to each other, there is an adjustable divider (powered by hydraulics) that can be raised for added privacy. Friends and couples traveling together may opt for these seats as they facilitate conversations better. If you are looking for seats that are closer to each other, opt for D/F seats in Rows 11, 14, 16, 18 and 20. If you are traveling as a couple, the middle seats cannot be converted into a double bed as there is no way to fully lower the adjustable divider. Additionally the entrance to your seats (D/F) in the aforementioned rows are also comparatively narrower due to the staggered layout.
While window seats are typically better-suited for solo-travellers, they may also consider the middle row seats (D/F) in the following rows if the window seats are all taken (possible when it is a last minute flight): Rows 12, 15, 17 and 19. These middle row seats are closer to the aisle than the person sitting next to you so you can enjoy a greater sense of privacy even when you are sitting in the middle row.
Compared to last generation's Regional Business Class product, the new product has way more privacy for a solo traveller. I was seated in Seat 18A on the delivery flight from Charleston to Singapore and even though it was a seat that was closer to the aisle, I felt that it was a lot more private than expected but obviously the seats that are closer to the window feel more private altogether.
At this point, these new Regional Business Class Seats are used for flights under 8 hours only and they are incredibly comfortable and spacious. In fact, I dare say that this product is probably even better than some of the long-haul business class products out there. Due to the layout of the new Regional Business Class cabin, the space may look fairly tight at first glance but the actual seat is a great product with plenty of room to spare. There are a few quirks with the new Regional Business Class seats which I will touch on in a separate article which highlights some of my findings from the delivery flight (where I got to spend over twenty hours in the seat) but that's everything for now!
The Shutterwhale visited Boeing South Carolina Delivery Center as a guest of Singapore Airlines and The Boeing Company.