We all know that SIA prides itself in being an industry leader in service and inflight entertainment. However i feel that a leader in the airline industry needs to have a majority of its flights operated in a 3 class, full service configuration.
However, SIA is progressively taking First Class out from many of its flights. Perhaps for regional flights it's understandable but just 3 years ago who would have thought SIA would be operating Trans Pacific, Trans Atlantic and Europe flights with 2 class aircraft?
Such routes include: Las Vegas, Chicago, Vancouver, Amsterdam 4 times a week, soon to be Manchester 4 times a week, Athens, Rome, Copenhagen, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Christchurch, Hong Kong thrice a week, Seoul thrice a week, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Mauritius, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City... I can't think of many more but I think that is QUITE a lot.
The way things are going, First Class might remain on SQ on just key routes such as Sydney, Melbourne, London, Paris, New York, SFO via HKG, Tokyo, Osaka and LAX.
According to some SIA people, First Class yields are only high in select routes. For Europe, First Class is popular only for London, Frankfurt and Paris. The fact that all their Europe-Singapore flights leave at lunch time (with the exception of LHR-SIN and FRA-SIN) means yield is lower on those flights. Businessmen prefer to leave in the evening. Could that be an explanation?
Also, being a business hub and largest airport in the world, I fail to see why First Class is not offered to Chicago. I would not expect it for LAS, but for ORD? I would find it hard to believe that there isn't enough high yield demand for that flight. The only reason businessmen might not like SQ's ORD service is that its frequency is only thrice a week, thus restricting their schedules. UA, even though it leaves at the ungodly hour of 7am, has a daily SIN-ORD flight.
Anyhow, I believe that if SIA progressively gets rid of First Class from more and more of its flights, it would be difficult for them to say that they're an "industry leader" since the least an industry leader could do is offer a full three class service on a majority of their flights.
But then again, if we observe the routes that SIA operates two class aircraft, their competitors on the route offer a two class service too. Or in other cases, there are no competitors at all, such as SIN-South Africa and SIN-LAS.
What are your thoughts?