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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!