In keeping with ongoing industry trends, SIA has just announced changes to the fare classes it will use, along with new benefits and privileges for KrisFlyer members.
Economy now uses 3 fare types: Lite, Standard and Flexi
The main things to note here is the removal of Super Saver fares, meaning the minimum mileage accrual level is 50%, a step up from the prior minimum of 10%. Further, as with many other airlines, advance seat selection will now come at a price for the cheapest Economy fares, whilst Standard and Flexi tickets receive complimentary selection, also in priority zones. Whilst this may seem harsh, passengers travelling with children or infants can continue to receive complimentary advance seat selection on any fare type.
KrisFlyer Elite Silver members gain a new benefit (a real step up given the old system had almost no tangible benefits) with the ability to select any standard seat in advance for free.
KrisFlyer Elite Gold members can select any standard or forward seat in advance for free.
PPS Club members are now able to select any standard, forward or extra legroom seats in advance for no charge.
Also to note here is the introduction of staggered baggage allowances, ranging from 30kg to 35kg depending on fare type, akin to what Emirates currently does.
Premium Economy Class
Now using Standard and Flexi fare types, not much has changed apart from mileage accrual levels. The old system delivered 110% mileage for all fare types, whilst the new brings 100% for Standard and 125% for Flexi, the same level as Business Class. Further, only Flexi fares are able to be upgraded to Business Class, making redemptions more difficult.
Business will also now use Lite, Standard, and Flexi levels, however will retain completely complimentary seat selection and uniform baggage allowance across all fares. Whilst Lite fares are no longer upgradeable to First, Standard and Flexi levels are, and also accrue 150% mileage, a jump up from the old 125% rate.
There remains only one fare type for First Class, however the changes to mileage accrual rates in other cabins means all First Class fares will now earn 200%, as opposed to the old 150% rate!
Extra Legroom seats, of course, are those located at the emergency exit, and are now given free of charge to PPS Club members. Otherwise, fees start from US$25.
Forward seats are located in the first few rows, closer to the doors to enable a faster exit from the aircraft. They are free for Flexi fares and KrisFlyer Elite Gold/ PPS members, but otherwise come at a fee starting at US$8.
Standard seats are all the other seats on the aircraft and are free of charge to everyone except Lite ticket holders. Even if holding a Lite fare, if you are a KrisFlyer Elite member or traveling with children/ infants, selection is free. Otherwise, charges will start at US$5.
KrisFlyer Upgrade/ Redemption Changes
Along with commercial fare changes, award tickets are also changing. The previous “Standard” award level will now be called “Advantage”. In Economy, the Saver fares will receive 30kg baggage along with complimentary standard seat selection, whilst Advantage fares will be given 35kg baggage and complimentary standard/ forward seat selection. Benefits remain the same as they were before for the other cabins.
As is shown above, more commercial fare types are now upgradeable to higher cabins… with a catch. Flexi fares will require less miles to upgrade than Standard fares, a move very similar to Qantas’ program. For example, to jump from Economy to Premium Economy on a Singapore-Hong Kong sector will cost 15,000 miles from a Standard ticket, but just 9,000 miles from a Flexi ticket.
The one-class upgrade policy still applies, meaning members are unable to jump from Economy to Business if the aircraft is fitted with Premium Economy.
What does this show?
This is a clear step to increasing price discrimination in order to make consumers pay as close to what they are willing to pay. As with broader developments across the industry, there is a push to increase benefits for higher paying passengers and make lower paying passengers worse off in order to force them to trade up. This includes introducing better and better First and Business products and increasing mileage accrual and flexibility for expensive fares, whilst cutting privileges such as seat selection and flexibility for the lowest end. The Economy Flexi fare, for example, previously offered few additional benefits over Flexi Saver (just the ability to upgrade the ticket), whilst its higher cost is now more justified with greater baggage allowance, mileage accrual and advanced seat selection. It’s a common practice that is the result of rising costs and the emergence of low cost carriers becoming legitimate competitors to full service airlines. Essentially, if you pay more, the extra charges are now far more justified, whilst if you continue to pay at the bottom your frills are being cut.
The new fares will be implemented across the Singapore Airlines/ SilkAir network from 20 January 2018.