Thanks to an invitation by Singapore Airlines, I spent the last two days in Charleston, South Carolina where I got to tour the Boeing South Carolina facility and meet some of the biggest names in the travel industry. As some of you may know, Singapore Airlines' very first 787-10 Dreamliner landed in Changi Airport, Singapore this morning and with this, the airline has also introduced brand new regional cabin products that will will slowly replace the existing ones that are operated on the A330-300 and the 777-200. Singapore Airlines is also looking at the possibility of introducing new routes with the 787-10 Dreamliner.
I have already covered the new Regional Business Class product in a separate article and this article is really to summarise my thoughts on the product after spending more than 20 hours on it (in Seat 18A) from Charleston (CHS) to Singapore (SIN) via Osaka (KIX). While Singapore Airlines currently plan to use the 787-10 for regional flights under eight hours, the plane is capable of going much further than that. In fact, it is estimated by The Boeing Company that the plane can reach 80% of the world's population from Singapore.
1. Game Changer in Regional Business Class
You probably hear a lot of people say this but the new Regional Business Class product that I have experienced on Singapore Airlines' 787-10 Dreamliner is truly a game changer. The seats are very comfortable and I have had no issues sitting on them throughout the long-haul flight (even though the airline designed these seats for flights under eight hours). Moving from a 2-2-2 cabin configuration to a much more generous 1-2-1 configuration for regional flights put Singapore Airlines at the forefront once again in terms of competition. The seats are a result of thoughtful-planning as well as careful research and it is not difficult to see that once you have been in them.
2. Perfect for Business Travellers
While a lot of passengers traveling in Business Class do not travel for business, there are many that do as well. During my flight from Charleston back to Singapore, I have found these seats to be suited for travellers wanting to get work done. The table is large enough for your laptop (and I am using a 15" MacBook Pro so it is quite massive), your mobile phone as well as a beverage or snack. Panasonic's Global Communication Services which can be found on Singapore Airlines' 787-10 is also a much better alternative to the older OnAir systems - I have found the WiFi to be stable enough to get work done even though you will probably struggle with sending and receiving large files still. Being able to transition between work and rest at the simple touch of a button makes the flight so much more enjoyable.
3. Selected Seats have Narrow Entry Point
Due to the way seats are staggered in the new Regional Business Class cabin, some seats have a much narrower entry point which may potentially be an annoyance to travellers who are above average-build. If you are looking at a window seat, these are seats that are closer to the window. If you are looking at middle seats, these are seats that are closer to each other and have an adjustable divider. Additionally, since it was a delivery flight and everyone onboard was excited to move around the cabin, I did notice that some effort was needed to give way to others. The seats itself are great but the aisle seems to feel slightly narrower but I cannot confirm in terms of absolute width at this point.
4. Arm Rest and Lie-flat Bed
As mentioned in my [previous article on Singapore Airlines' new Regional Business Class], the seat width varies and it goes up to 26" when both adjustable armrests are down. While this translates into a little more space when you convert the seat into a lie-flat bed, I did notice that my right arm hung out of the seat during sleep when I lowered the right armrest down (remember I was in Seat 18A so the seat was closer to the aisle than window). Obviously this is not a problem when you are in one of those cocoon-like seats where the seat is closer to the window but I just thought it might be an interesting fact to share. Additionally, I did find the screen from the seat diagonally across from me (Seat 17D) to be slightly glaring when the seat was in lie-flat mode (obviously nothing you can't fix with an eyeshade).
5. Recommend Seats for Most Privacy (Solo Travellers)
If you are traveling alone, you are going to want a window seat and since the new Regional Business Cabin is in a staggered configuration, you should pick the seats that are closer to the window instead of the aisle for that cocoon-feel (do note that these seats have a slightly narrower entry point which I have highlighted above). The seats that you are looking for are:
- 12A or 12K
- 15A or 15K
- 17A or 17K
- 19A or 19K
6. Recommended Seats for Couples (wanting to Seat Together)
If you are traveling as a couple or you simply with to sit together with a friend, the middle row seats are best suited for this purpose. Remember some of the D/F middle row seats are closer to the aisle while alternating ones are closer to each other (with an adjustable divider that can be raised or lowered). The middle row seats alternate in a directly-opposite fashion as the window seats and therefore, the seats that you should be looking for are:
- 11D and 11F
- 14D and 14F
- 16D and 16F
- 18D and 18F
- 20D and 20F
The Shutterwhale travelled from Charleston to Singapore as a guest of Singapore Airlines.