Singapore Airlines' new Boeing 737 business class

Even the shortest flights now feel very much like a premium Singapore Airlines experience.

By David Flynn, April 7 2021
Singapore Airlines' new Boeing 737 business class

While Singapore Airlines is known as a globe-striding colossus, connecting all corners of the globe with the largest jets from both Airbus and Boeing – including the latest A380 superjumbo and the long retired but fondly remembered Boeing 747 'Megatop' jumbo – it's now doing short hops around Asia on the modest single-aisle Boeing 737.

This comes as the Singaporean flag-carrier begins taking over the fleet and routes of regional sibling SilkAir, which will be wound down over the coming 12 months.

Nine of SilkAir's Boeing 737-800 jets are being redressed in the familiar Singapore Airlines livery, flown by Singapore Airlines crew and – from what one Executive Traveller reader tells us – now offer very much a premium Singapore Airlines experience.

The Boeing 737 is now part of Singapore Airlines' fleet.
The Boeing 737 is now part of Singapore Airlines' fleet.

Martin Memo is a regular traveller with both Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, and his most recent business trip was on one of SQ's Boeing 737s.

The 12 business class seats have been recovered with fresh upholstery and present themselves with familiar touches like those compact pillows seen in Singapore Airlines' long-range business class.

Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 business class.
Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 business class.

Business class passengers are also provided with a tablet for wirelessly connecting to the onboard KrisWorld entertainment system, although their own device can do likewise.

Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 business class IFE kit.
Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 business class IFE kit.

Memo told ET that while he initially expected this to be more like a "rebrand",  "it really was a Singapore Airlines flight, like one of their regional flights to Manila or Hong Kong, and not a SilkAir flight - and there was nothing wrong with SilkAir."

"The cabin felt brand new, and I very much felt like I was flying SQ," Memo added.

Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 business class meals are up to expectations.
Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 business class meals are up to expectations.

As before, row 1 is your pick for extra legroom and enjoying the added ambience provided by three windows.

Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 business class legroom at row 1.
Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 business class legroom at row 1.

This is just the stage one of Singapore Airlines' Boeing 737 rollout: the Star Alliance member will also take up SilkAir's order for the Boeing 737 MAX, which will swap today's business class recliners for fully lie-flat seats using Thompson Aero's popular Vantage design.

One of Boeing's promotional concept images for the Vantage seats which will be fitted to SQ's 737 MAX jets.
One of Boeing's promotional concept images for the Vantage seats which will be fitted to SQ's 737 MAX jets.

With staggered rows of forward-facing seats, most passengers will have direct aisle access, while there'll also be four 'throne' seats giving solo flyers more privacy as well as more room to spread out and get down to work.

The staggered arrangement of the forthcoming Singapore Airlines Boeing 737 business class cabin.
The staggered arrangement of the forthcoming Singapore Airlines Boeing 737 business class cabin.

The move is intended to provide Singapore Airlines’ business class passengers with 100% consistency in their premium experience.

Offering a business class bed on relatively short regional flights is also intended to one-up Asian competitor Cathay Pacific, which has settled for a business class recliner on its regional Airbus A321neo jets.

Also read: Flight of fancy? Here are Singapore Airlines' Airbus A380 first class concepts

Send your Singapore Airlines miles soaring with these top credit card deals, beginning at a hefty 100,000 KrisFlyer mile sign-up bonus.

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 134

As a regular (in normal times) SQ flyer I'm excited about the rebrand although I'm also a little sad to see the Silkair brand dissapear. I thought they were a great airline and had many great trips with them!

Very smart move by SQ to go for flatbeds on regional Boeing 737s, some of these 'regional' flights can be quite long and involve early starts out of Singapore or late night returns.

Great to see a rollout of lie flat seats in narrowbodies. Come on Qantas!

Etihad - Etihad Guest

27 Jun 2019

Total posts 12

The whether it would be needed debate aside, I saw a vlog on Gulf Air new A321neoLR and those are the type of business class seats they should be aiming for in my opinion. These on SQ do look fantastic though 

25 Mar 2021

Total posts 1

Maybe some flights are long like Darwin I guess. But for most I find it ridiculous to put flat beds on 737 flying around south east Asia in a matter of 1-2 hour. I guess there are many couch potatoes around ...

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 213

They're definitely not needed for 1-2 hour flights or even 3-4 hour flights when you get right down to it. But SilkAir used to fly some routes of 5-6-7 hours, and some of those also involve an early start or late return as mentioned above due to Changi being a 24-hour airport.

The thing is, if you split the Boeing 737 fleet so it has two separate types of business class, like recliners in some jets for <4 hours and flat beds in others for +4 hours, it's more expensive than having a single type of seat and also makes it a lot harder to manage the fleet when it comes to moving aircraft around, or substituting one jet for another in the event of a technical or operational issue. So SQ is better off just putting the best product in all of the Boeing 737s.

I didn't know that 737's could fly 7 hours straight without refuelling 

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 213

SilkAir used to fly from Singapore to Cairns on a 737, that's just over 7 hours, also Singapore-Busan, which was an average 7 hours (6h45 up, 7h15m back).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Mar 2015

Total posts 226

The B737 endurance depends upon the model and of course what tanks are fitted. The standard B737-800 has 7  hrs endurance , the B737-ER can do 9 hrs or up to 12 with long range tanks fitted.


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