Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taking a second look at Singapore Airlines Fares and Features

When I was still employed with an accounting and consulting firm, I had several chances to travel to Singapore to conduct lectures and most of my trips were on Singapore Airlines. Those flights were very pleasant because not only were the planes new and modern but there were little pluses all over like orchids with the meals.

But I guess over the decades, the airline industry became more price competitive and for some reason, it seems that Singapore Airlines acquired a reputation for being one of the more expensive airlines. Even during a blogger get-together with Singapore Airlines, a blogger said the same thing when asked what was the first thing that popped into her head when she heard the words "Singapore Airlines".

But guess what! For this whole afternoon with them, we got a personal and close-up interaction with the executives of Singapore Airlines in the Philippines and learned that, contrary to the popular view, Singapore Airlines really had price-competitive rates!!! And to prove it, you could check out their air fare till November 30, 2013 and you'll find out that they may actually be a lot cheaper than the usual budget airline promos you get out there.

Their fares are good till Nov. 30, 2013 purchase but travel can be till March 31, 2014 for Singapore, Southeast Asia and Indian Subcontinent or May 31, 2014 for travel to Australia and Europe.

Check out their lowest fare at US$210. That is already an all-in, round-trip fare (so you do not get fooled by promos that catch you with dirt cheap fares but actually have a lot of add-ons) and the only thing not there is the travel tax because some travellers do not need to pay the tax. And guess what. It includes gourmet cuisine in-flight. How much lower can you go?

The Singapore Airlines team did not just present to us their very affordable fares. They also showed us the new cabin features on their initial fleet of eight Boeing 777-300ER planes that recently debuted with the Singapore-London leg.

Almost PhP 7-B has been poured into the creation of new products in these planes like the most advanced in-flight entertainment system, larger screens, touch-screen handsets, USB and HDMI ports and more spacious and comfortable seats across all classes.


In First Class, they've increased the width of seats to 35 inches wide and 82 inches long when opened up. You can literally curl up in this spacious seat (more like a couch with those dimensions) while reading a good book. The 82 inch length ensures the comfort of extra-tall passengers. Just check out the next few slides to see all the new features.



But hold on. That is not the only good news. They have actually slashed their fares to several destinations till Nov. 30, 2013. Budget airlines often cut out a lot of comforts to bring prices down. Other airlines appear to have very low prices but once you start adding up surcharges, they actually end up costing a lot more than what you expect. Singapore Airlines told us that whatever fares they offer till Nov. 30 are all-in -- that means it includes gourmet meals. The only thing not in their fare is the travel tax since some travelers are exempt from paying it.

Just look at these fares and tell me they aren't reasonable.

US$ 210 to Singapore (there are 4 daily flights out of Manila on an A330 or B777 wide body aircraft)
US$ 310 to Southeast Asia destinations (other than Singapore)
US$ 700 to Indian Subcontinent
US$ 780 to Australia
US$ 990 to Europe

The fares are payable in KrisFlyer miles (starting at 5,000 miles) and one can even mix miles and cash.

The message of Singapore Airlines to all would-be travelers is really this: Before you book passage on another airline, do not fail to check out their website. You may be totally surprised to find that their fares (all-in) are actually competitive enough and may even be lower than the usual budget airlines you have been taking.

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