Even as long-haul carriers enter a sort-of arms race to lure business travelers, piling ever more luxuries into their cabins (or "residences," in the parlance of Etihad), Singapore Airlines continues to stay ahead.
Legendary for its in-flight service and culinary program, the carrier began installing new cabin amenities last fall that will be rolled out to the entire 101-aircraft fleet by the end of next year. Every seat is getting a new entertainment system, with video touch screens that start at an industry-leading 11.1 inches in economy; multitasking handsets; social media functionality; and content recommendations based on user preferences.
Experienced fliers agree that Singapore Airlines is the one to beat, voting it the No. 1 international airline in the Best in Business Travel survey conducted by Travel + Leisure and Fortune. Virgin Atlantic came in second, with Emirates, Qantas, and Cathay Pacific rounding out the top five.
In Singapore Airlines' business class, 78-inch lie-flat beds come with improved storage for personal items, including laptops, and smarter placement of lighting and outlets. BMW Group Designworks developed the new first-class seating with a curvy shell shape for added privacy, a mattress layer, and an 82-by-35-inch bed that is now one of the industry's largest.
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The airline is also creating a premium economy cabin, which will launch in the second half of 2015 on Boeing 777's and soon after on the Airbus A380. Expect it, like everything else Singapore develops, to reset the bar. —Greg Oates