SIA Premium Economy to Seoul Full Review

When my Korean friend first invited me for her wedding, I decided to book a return business class flight to Seoul via Spontaneous Escapes. Even though I was slightly late, I still managed to find a space on Krisflyer Savers.

Because this trip was fairly impromptu, I had to deconflict any potential work, hence I was delayed. When I finally got the ‘green light’ to book half an hour later, I realised that business class savers were all wait-listed. The next best option was to try finding space for Premium Economy. Thankfully, spaces were still available!

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8,750 miles is the difference between luxury and pseudo luxury
Ticket ICN SIN
One Way: 24,150 miles + KRW 28,000 (~ $28 SGD)

After I booked my flight, I received a prompt via email on my partial reservation on business class. It was then I realised that I wait-listed myself! Oh well, at least that gives me a chance to review PE.

Upon reaching the airport, I was pleased that there wasn’t a queue at all.

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I’m starting to think that Premium Economy might actually be worth it after all!
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Just two people in front of me

Premium Economy doesn’t provide lounge access but I wasn’t fussed as I have unlimited access to Airport lounges via my MCO card.

After luggage check, I was surprised to see clear segregation of classes to facilitate boarding.

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Still feels good knowing that I’m 3rd group in.

These days, you can actually start watching movies the moment you enter the aircraft, unlike in the “old days” where your TV terminal will only work once the aircraft is cruising at 30,000 feet. That’s if you even have a TV to start with.

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It’s been a while since I’ve stepped into  ‘economy lane’
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Last two rows on Premium Economy

As I entered the aircraft, it was evident that I’m still in economy, albeit “premium,” with the four middle and two window seats. If not for the excitement of trying a new product, it’s a serious downgrade from business class.

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First impressions
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33C, My seat for this red eye flight

Seat pitch for premium economy is at (38 inches), width (19.5 inches) and seat incline at (8 inches). I fitted comfortably and this is definitely sufficient for me. Caucasians and bigger sized Asians will still find this small but it’s still better than being in economy.

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Economy class is right behind me

Despite champagne being available on PE, I wasn’t served champagne, or any drinks for that matter. Maybe SIA really wants to differentiate between PE and Business class passengers. PE isn’t cheap either so this is definitely a wasted opportunity especially when they’ve been heavily marketing PE.

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Ample legroom with a footrest
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13.3 inch HD inflight entertainment system

The TV aka inflight entertainment system reminds me of my own Apple Macbook Air laptop. This is definitely sufficient and I love the screen. I watched half a Korean movie (Default) before trying to get as much sleep as possible as I had a wedding to attend. This is a really powerful movie btw and I highly encourage anyone who is interested in finance to watch it.

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There are two options: Seat incline and rest for your lower legs

Whilst blogging, I realised how silly I was: I totally failed to utilise the incline for my lower legs on both flights!

I was surprised to see that a basic noise reducing headphone was provided.

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Wasn’t expecting this. This is a +1 for me
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The nice girl beside me pointed out the headphone jack location when I was trying to locate it
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Similar menu with Business Class except for the change of words
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Beverages offered
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Singapore to Seoul: 3 main course options

After takeoff, drinks were offered but there was no champagne. I had to ask. This is disappointing from the standpoint that champagne is being marketed as a differentiating factor between economy and premium economy.

Not that I was really interested in having champagne per se as I wanted to get as much rest as possible, but it’s little things like this that could be done better. PE is a few hundred dollars on top of economy and little things can mean a difference between a customer choosing to pay premium (pun intended) for better seats.

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Only when I requested. Drinking champagne from plastic reminds me of low budget parties. Quite uninspiring

For meals, I was told that I was going to be served at breakfast, which is okay since I was planning to sleep first anyway. I chose the assorted dim sum option from Book The Cook (BTC) a month before. Silly me, I was expecting business class styled dim sum because I haven’t tried it before. I should have known better.

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Four BTC options to choose pre flight
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Really SIA? This looks completely like an economy meal with no differentiation at all. The only difference is the croissant provided instead of the standard bun, which was a tad burnt. To be fair, they sometimes serve over-baked croissants on business class too

BTC is marketed as a premium experience that PE passengers can enjoy. I see nothing premium about it. In fact, being presented 3 choices might actually be better especially when you can sneak a peek at what fellow passengers are having if they are served before you.

Return Flight: Seoul to Singapore 

My return flight was also on Premium Economy. It was pretty much the same experience, just without the pretty Korean stewardess serving my aisle ex SIN. She was on the same flight though and I was pretty sure she recognised me from a day ago.

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Priority boarding lane for Premium Economy passengers
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I was seated by the window this time. Mealtime means I have to wait for the person seated beside me to finish before I can utilise the restroom. I didn’t end up going for the whole flight. It was just too troublesome

 

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My very uninspiring BTC Bulgogi

I slept most of this flight as I used my energy on “credit” as my time in Seoul over the weekend was just too amazing. Well, at least there’s a greater seat incline.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the priority queue and the priority lanes. The seat incline, pitch and width was also welcoming. However, the food options failed miserably. There was no lounge access, and food and drinks were mediocre. The champagne didn’t even taste good.

I’d be hard pressed to pay a premium for this experience unless it is a red eye flight in which the seat incline might be a deciding factor on whether you have a good day ahead.

Even though I only paid 70% of the miles needed for this flight via the now permanent Spontaneous Escapes programme rolled out by SIA, I’m unlikely to touch PE again unless a 50% discount is offered.

Nevertheless, it was a good experience, and definitely one to add to my portfolio as a luxury lifestyle blogger. Perhaps more accurately, this is only a “whisper” of luxury.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

 

Cheers,

SGGOODLIFE

 

 

 

 

 

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