Multi-awarded Singapore Airlines (SIA) took an unconventional route when it launched its new seats and value fares.
Instead of presenting the product showcase in a hotel, the event was held at Ayala Center’s Glorietta Mall, attended by captains of the travel industry, loyal customers and Manila’s who’s who.
Beyond promoting the airline, the occasion underscored the close ties between Singapore and the Philippines. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said, “Singapore is an important bilateral partner of the Philippines.”
Aside from being the fifth largest source of tourist arrivals, Changi Airport hosts 200 flights a week between the two countries. “This gives the Philippines access to the world through Singapore,” Purisima noted.
SIA regional vice president for Southeast Asia Philip Goh said the airline has been serving the Philippines for 48 years. It started with a thrice-a-week service, and today the frequency is four times a day. He attributed the capacity growth to Philippine authorities, SIA’s partners and customers.
“Singapore Airlines is committed to making air travel more comfortable and hassle-free, and we have been investing heavily in new aircraft, seat and cabin products and services,” said Goh. “On our next-generation seats alone, we are investing $150 million to install the new seats for first class, business class and economy class on our latest Boeing 777-300 deliveries.”
He added: “The new seats will also be fitted on the new A350 aircraft joining our fleet next year. A new in-flight entertainment system will be installed on the new aircraft, offering more entertainment choices.”
The seats were created by BMW Designworks, an American firm specializing in transportation design, seating and ergonomics, and JPA (James Park Associates) Design, a British outfit also famous for aviation design. The seats offer greater comfort and space, better lighting, more storage and entertainment options.
Committed to growth
Goh assured that SIA will maintain its commitment to contribute to the growth of Philippine aviation and tourism. He also acknowledged SIA’s partners for the product launch and fare promotion—Ayala Malls, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Globe Telecom, British Council and the Singapore Tourism Board.
Bobby Dy, chief operating officer of Ayala Land, explained that within a certain time period, customers with a receipt of P1,000 at Greenbelt or Glorietta are eligible to purchase the promotional fares.
Maria Cristina Go, BPI vice president, recalled studying a case on Singapore Airlines while she was in business graduate school: “When many established airlines had been struggling and the new low-cost carriers had entered, Singapore Airlines managed to maintain its course, delivering what it does best—personalized customer service.”
She pointed out that BPI’s “Great Seats at Exceptional Fare,” a program for easy payment terms for its customers, was a success. Go also announced that BPI Express Credit cardholders can redeem Krisflyer miles using their Real Thrills rewards points. “This will provide our cardholders not just more options on the use of their points, but more opportunities to experience Singapore Airlines’ brand of service at better value.”
Globe Telecom president Ernest Cu also lauded Singapore Airlines for setting the benchmark in customer service. He added that since Singtel is a shareholder of Globe, he frequently does business in Singapore, flying SIA.
“You are upgrading a seat that is still perfect up to this day. It’s still the benchmark for me as a business class traveler,” said Cu. “The experience you get at Singapore Airlines is something that Globe aspires for…with our network, IT and customer service.”
He added that subscribers of Globe Platinum with the P5,000 plan can get $800 travel credit, while those with the 10,000 plan can get $1,600 travel credit. “You don’t have to buy a ticket. Globe will give it to you as long as you recontract with us,” he said.
The event was capped with a bagpipe and highland dance performance to signify that the new seats are in service on SIA’s flights to London. Meanwhile, guests tried stretching out on the beds of the first class and business class capsules. Even the economy section was pleasurable.
The new seats cradled the body and provided more leg room, pedal-type footrests for long-haul flights, larger touchscreen monitors, more power ports and improved personal storage.
“With all these innovations, we don’t need to have a separate premium economy class,” said Rita Dy, SIA’s director for marketing and public relations.