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Singapore Airlines upgrades premium economy dining and amenity kits

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The premium economy product on Singapore Airlines is already an elevated experience compared to what you might find on American carriers.

But why stay complacent at the top?

On March 31, Singapore Airlines plans to roll out enhancements to its premium economy dining product on all flights as well as amenity kits on journeys clocking in at seven hours or longer, the company announced Friday morning.

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“Our philosophy is to never stand still,” Yeoh Phee Teik, senior vice president of customer experience at Singapore Airlines, said this week at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). “We have been gathering regular customer feedback, conducting regular customer research [and] keeping our fingers on the pulse of our customers to keep track of their evolving needs and preferences.”

While Singapore Airlines calls this the first comprehensive revamp of its premium economy-class experience since it debuted the cabin class in 2015, consider this more of a nip and tuck with some fillers here and there rather than a complete face-lift. You’ll still have the usual seats, entertainment system and legroom in premium economy as before.

This soft product glow-up will still delight those in the premium economy cabin, though.

a meal is laid out on a tray
The current premium economy meal presentation (above) is smaller than the upcoming offering featuring porcelain dishware (below) at Singapore Airlines. CAMERON SPERANCE/THE POINTS GUY

Enhanced Singapore Airlines premium economy dining

Premium economy meals at the end of this month will include a larger seasonal appetizer, main course, bread, dessert, cheese and crackers, and a small chocolate bar as part of the elevated service.

Singapore Airlines passengers seated in premium economy will have the option of a glass of Charles de Cazanove Brut Tradition NV Champagne after takeoff. Hard menu cards will once again be passed out after a pandemic-fueled hiatus. These will list the meal, snack and beverage options on the flight, but premium economy passengers can also utilize the airline’s Book the Cook menu, which offers as many as 20 dishes on rotation at a time for preorder up to 24 hours before departure.

a table covered in trays of airplane meals
New premium economy Book the Cook selections at Singapore Airlines. CAMERON SPERANCE/THE POINTS GUY

I sampled the Book the Cook bak chor mee — a popular Singapore dish of egg noodles with minced pork, braised mushrooms and chili sauce — for lunch at the press event and was impressed by the spicy flavor. It paired well with a 2023 Wairau River sauvignon blanc, a new wine option for premium economy. Along with the sauvignon blanc and Champagne, Singapore Airlines also added a 2022 St Hallett Faith shiraz to the menu.

Other new dishes in premium economy include beef bourguignon with bacon, mushrooms, vegetables and potato gratin as well as Thai-style crab curry. New appetizers include garlic-roasted prawns with aioli and patatas bravas, broccoli salad with smoked salmon and various Japanese cold noodles depending on the season. You’ll find options like mascarpone cream cake and apple crumble cheesecake on the dessert menu in premium economy — plus a small bar of chocolate and “regionally inspired” cheese and crackers. Even the bread is upgraded, with croissants available for breakfast and garlic bread for lunch and dinner.

Other drink additions include peppermint and chamomile teas — a result of customers requesting more decaffeinated options — and Cadbury hot chocolate. New between-meal snack options in premium economy include almonds and cashews on top of the existing choices like potato chips, sandwiches, muffins and flavored popcorn.

The airline touts the development of more than 200 new appetizers, main courses and desserts (which will vary based on where flights traveling between). But Singapore Airlines leaders at the press event at Changi this week noted that many of these new dishes were plays on options previously available on the airline — albeit with modifications on ingredients.

a tray of airline food

Presentation is everything: The airline is ditching single-use plastic containers for premium economy meal service in favor of gray porcelain — a color that makes both Asian and Western cuisine look good, according to Betty Wong, the airline’s divisional vice president of inflight services and design.

The stoneware’s heat retention is practical in keeping food hot longer during meal service (there would certainly be tears on my end if the bak chor mee arrived cold).

Thanks to the new dishware, that won’t be a concern going forward.

a woman stands behind a podium on a stage
Betty Wong, the divisional vice president of inflight services and design at Singapore Airlines. CAMERON SPERANCE/THE POINTS GUY

New premium economy amenity kits

Singapore Airlines also launched a new premium economy amenity kit for flights longer than seven hours. The new offering is a result of a partnership with U.S. firm Out of the Woods, which makes eco-friendly products. Amenities like eye masks, slippers and lip balm will be stored in a paper fabric pouch in the new offering.

Toiletries like dental kits and moisturizer will be offered in the lavatory, just as before.

a display of personal amenities and toiletries on a table

How it all comes together

Before the new dishes and wine offerings slated for premium economy were served, Singapore Airlines representatives showed off the SATS catering center that serves as its food and beverage hub at Changi. The facility churns out 62,000 meals a day for passengers traveling in economy, premium economy, business class and first class, as well as the suites cabin.

Before you head into the kitchen facility, you go through a strict sanitization process that includes an air shower to remove any particles like hair or dust from personal protective equipment. That’s as far as TPG could go with a camera before a no-filming policy was enforced.

an open door leads into a hallway lined with air nozzles

There’s a designated premium kitchen for first-class meals and Book the Cook, but economy meals make up as much as 80% of any given day’s total cooking volume at the facility. There are also designated kitchens for Thai, Japanese and Chinese cuisine and special meals. An omelet-making machine features three staff members assembling omelets around a rotating lineup of nonstick pans (which must be replaced by new pans weekly due to all that egg churn).

The SATS kitchens also feature a large steel cauldron that mass produces fried rice for inflight meals. Each day, the SATS catering center produces 660 pounds of fried rice for Singapore Airlines flights crisscrossing the globe.

An area designated for first-class dining largely stood out for its attention to detail and subtle taste: A single chef tended to noodles in a wok before plating — providing lucky first-class passengers more of a gourmet, wok-fired taste compared to the mass-produced fried rice just around the corner.

a blue banner with the Singapore Airlines logo

Workers in a main casserole assembly room put all the ingredients into the proper containers based on whether they are heading to economy, business or first class. A final room is where workers load the packed containers onto trolleys to take to waiting aircraft. A control center in this room keeps track of flight delays and changes and adjusts where the trolleys get deployed based on that day’s flight operations.

So, what’s the biggest difference among the food served across the various cabin types at Singapore Airlines? A lot of the ingredients were the same, whether they were heading to Seat 1A or Seat 64B, but airline leaders noted you’ll find presentations get more intricate as you move up the premium-cabin food chain.

While premium economy passengers get prepackaged cheese and crackers, business-class passengers will have plated cheese wedges and fruit. Premium economy Champagne is served in a plastic flute while glassware is doled out toward the front of the plane.

It’s all in the details, even when cruising at 38,000 feet.

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