Singapore Airlines pressed its latest A350 configuration into service this week. The A350-900 middle-haul layout began operations on flight SQ279 from Changi Airport to Adelaide, Australia on 17 December served by aircraft 9V-SHB. The combination of new seats and updated entertainment and connectivity offerings deliver an improved passenger experience throughout the plane.
The 40 business class passengers have direct aisle access with the 1-2-1 seating layout and 17-inch high definition touch screen monitors on board. All 263 economy class seats include 11.6″ monitors. The screens are backed by Thales‘s AVANT IFE system, delivering a new and innovative user experience designed specifically for Singapore Airlines. This begins with the “Signature” user interface and extends to improved navigation and content selection options on board.
“Innovation has always been at the forefront for Singapore Airlines in delivering the best experience for our customers. Through this partnership with Thales, we are excited to equip our new A350-900 medium haul aircraft with the latest IFEC innovation systems to reinforce SIA’s product leadership and ensure a differentiated experience for SIA customers.” – SVP Customer Experience Mr Yeoh Phee Teik
Singapore Airlines’ focus on personalization and surfacing more relevant content is not new. The carrier allows travelers to define playlists in an app prior to the flight or to bookmark movies to continue watching on a future trip. This system integrated into the Panasonic eX3 entertainment system on board most of the company’s planes. The new regional layout A350s match and extend these options.
KrisFlyer members and passengers traveling in premium classes gain access to additional content. Recommendations for what to watch next are tuned based on prior behavior on board. Bringing those features to the Thales AVANT platform keeps the experience (relatively) consistent for passengers. The complexity in delivering that across multiple providers should not be underestimated.
For inflight wifi connectivity Singapore Airlines and Thales chose the Inmarsat GX solution on the new sub-fleet. Singapore Airlines is one of many carriers today flying a mixed fleet of connectivity solutions. The new A350ULR planes serving the nonstop flights to the United States carry the Panasonic Avionics entertainment and connectivity kit on board.
The aircraft also flew a turn to Jakarta after returning from Adelaide and before returning to Australia on its second day of service. Expect similar routings for the foreseeable future. Singapore Airlines expects Brisbane to be added as the second regional destination as more new aircraft are delivered. The second frame (9V-SHA) was delivered this week.