Could Singapore Airlines introduce ‘unbundled’ business class?

The Star Alliance carrier says it is “always looking at what's in the market”…

By David Flynn, June 1 2022
Could Singapore Airlines introduce ‘unbundled’ business class?
Executive Traveller exclusive

Emirates, Qatar Airways and Finnair are among the airlines to have adopted an ‘unbundled’ approach to business class which strips out many conventional features of business class – such as lounge access, seat selection and a full serve of frequent flyer points or status credits – in exchange for a cheaper ticket.

And now Singapore Airlines says it’s also keeping an eye on the concept, with a senior SQ exec telling Executive Traveller “we are always looking at what's in the market.”

Lee Lik Hsin, Singapore Airlines’ Executive Vice President Commercial, wouldn’t rule such a fare in or out, saying only "Obviously at this time you will see that we have not introduced any of those features, and that remains our stand for now.”

The possible debut of an unbundled Singapore Airlines business class in the future would depend on what travellers want, Lee told Executive Traveller during a visit to SQ’s new First Class and The Private Room lounges at Changi T3.

“(We) also listen to our customers as to what's best for them, what's most appropriate for them and what they want in terms of our product features.”

“So we always review what's happening in the market. And we adapt to the times and we change as, and when we feel we need to.”

On the broader premium travel front, Lee said Singapore Airlines continued soaring into a welcome recovery from the past two years, and the benchmark of reaching pre-pandemic 2019 levels of traffic is on the horizon.

“We have had a very, very fast uptick from just barely a year ago or even six months ago… we are actually seeing the momentum of bookings pick up for the upcoming few months to be similar to that of pre-Covid.”

On the flagship route to New York, for example, “we now have three flights a day… and even in the past, pre_Covid, we were only two flights a day. We are having very good growth to the US, to Europe.”

In common with many other international full-service airlines, Lee noted continued high demand for premium cabins was now being driven by leisure travellers.

“Especially in the earliest phases of recovery, from late last year all the way through early part of this year, we seeing a lot of take up in the upper cabins, in the business and the first cabin, from ‘non-corporates’, although we are also seeing the corporate travel come back as well.”

As previously reported, Singapore Airlines now has all-new first and business class suites waiting in the wings for the Boeing 777-9, which Boeing now expects to begin hanging over to airlines sometime in 2025.

“We have to wait to see what happens with Boeing, but we are very excited and waiting to unveil those brand new products to the world,” Lee said.