Why Amenity Kits In Singapore Airlines’ Premium Economy Proves First Class Is Doomed Forever

The bitter end for first-class travellers.

Why Amenity Kits In Singapore Airlines’ Premium Economy Proves First Class Is Doomed Forever

Image: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is introducing amenity kits in Premium Economy alongside more Champagne and food options… but here’s why that spells the bitter end for first-class travellers.

Singapore Airlines is set to level up its Premium Economy service from 31st March this year, marking its first major update to the cabin class since its introduction in 2015. The revamp not only includes upgraded catering and beverage options — most notably a massive range of champagnes and sparkling wines for flyers to enjoy — but also the introduction of amenity kits for passengers on flights longer than seven hours.

The new amenity kit, produced in partnership with self-proclaimed sustainable brand Out of the Woods, features eco-friendly eyeshades, slippers, and lip balm. Premium Economy passengers can also look forward to an upgraded selection of Champagne and wines, including a new non-vintage Charles de Cazanove Brut Tradition Tête de Cuvée Champagne.

“We have undertaken this comprehensive revamp of our Premium Economy Class in-flight offerings, which we believe will delight our customers. The result reflects Singapore Airlines’ dedication to enhancing the Premium Economy Class experience to a class of its own.” 

Yeoh Phee Teik, Senior Vice President Of Customer Experience, quoted in Mainly Miles

Dining will also enjoy over 200 new appetizers, main courses, and desserts, served on linen-lined trays with porcelain dishes. The ‘Book The Cook’ menu will be expanded, offering up to 20 dishes for pre-order.

RELATED: Emirates Finally Bows To Qantas Peer Pressure With New Business Class Drip

While the cabin’s hard product won’t see an upgrade until the second-generation seat rolls out on the Boeing 777-9, it is safe to say that these enhancements go a long way to elevate the Premium Economy experience to new heights…

But could that be bad news for those further up the pointy end?

Why this is good news for Premium Economy but the beginning of the end for First Class

Back in 2019, Harry Hohmeister — now chairman of Eurowings and formerly board member at Lufthansa — gave premium economy an enviable new moniker: “A money-generating machine”.

RELATED: Business Class Vs. Premium Economy – Meet The New “Money-Making Machine”

Since he first made this comment way back in 2019, premium economy has continually proven to be a lucrative endeavour for airlines. If you stop to think about it, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise: premium economy allows airlines to maximize revenue without the need for all the additional luxuries and services you’d expect from business class.

Believe it or not, this is what luxury air travel looks like in 2023. Image: Lufthansa

A typical premium economy seat generates a massive 33% more revenue than a traditional economy seat and — more shockingly — 6% more than a business-class seat, all while occupying a near-identical amount of cabin space.

Perhaps this bumper profit margin also goes someway to explaining why airlines have been so keen to push their new ‘in-between class’ seating options — a handy moniker coined by The Sydney Morning Herald — potentially viewing them as a way to double-down on this model of maximising profits with as little spatial or financial investment as possible.

These new seats — known variously as Economy Plus, Comfort+, Main Cabin Extra, and Economy Space — primarily focused on offering extra legroom for those passengers that want or need it, but could transform into a money-making machine of their own should airlines be able to tweak the offer enough to coax in customers.

But what does this have to do with amenity kits on Singapore Airlines? My theory is this: Singapore Airlines, and many others soon to follow, are looking to continually upgrade the amenities available on their increasingly profitable ‘inbetween classes’ because they’re looking to phase out their much-less-profitable first-class cabins.

In fact, it’s a process that some airlines have already begun…

Qatar Airlines has already ditched first class… and others are likely to follow

Last year, Qatar Airways announced that it will no longer offer first-class seats on its next generation of long-haul aircraft. This decision came directly from their CEO, who believes that the investment in luxurious first-class seats does not justify the returns…

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker declared that the airline will no longer provide first-class seats for its planes in a strategically risky and divergent move that starkly contrasts with other airlines like Lufthansa, Qantas and Air France, who have all doubled down on their high-end offer in recent years.

While Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, believes that more travellers are seeking a special treat, creating higher demand for the first-class experience — and, for the record, Lufthansa’s first-class cabins have never been fuller — Al Baker’s rationale stems from his belief that the investment in opulent first-class seating fails to yield sufficient returns, especially considering the immense perks offered in their business class.

Al Baker puts it this way:

“Why [wouldn’t] you invest in a subclass of an airplane that already gives you all the amenities that first class gives you? I don’t see the necessity.”

Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO

Following this rationale, we think that airlines will be looking to slowly phase out first class seats, subsequently elevate business class into the hallowed position that first-clas once held, begin to market premium economy as the ‘new’ business class, and make a hell of a lot more money in the process by ditching their least profitable pointy-end seats.

And that’s precisely what Singapore’s latest move marks: they’re phasing in business-class-level amenities into premium economy as a means to slowly but surely increase its profile before first class gets the chop… do you think we’re onto something? or do we need to take a break from our tin foil hats? Let us know…