Singapore Airlines Review
The trip planning
At the outset I confess that I didn't have it planned and just one random glance on my newspaper on 12th July kicked off what now is turning out to be the most ambitious family vacation for us spreading over full 3 weeks and spanning 5 countries. Phew!!
That was an advertisement of Singapore Airlines offering some special fares to commemorate its 70th anniversary which somehow instantly motivated me to check if there was something for me and what I saw was truly incredible. All these years of being a global tourist I felt an etch about not being able to fly what I reckon is probably the best airlines when it comes to customer service. That was mainly due to the fact that I didn't have to transit through Singapore to explore any of the places I have visited (other than a solitary trip to Tioman Island in Malaysia which through several excitement and emotions and for which I would pen a separate piece).
That's when I found its fares to Hong Kong very lucrative I just couldn't resist the temptation and just went with my heart. After some immediate consultation with my wife I found that we could add Singapore, Phuket, Bali and Legoland Malaysia as well on this trip to make the most of it. That was some domino effect!
Check-in and ground services
12th October i.e., the D-Day came when it was a first for me to fly Airbus A-380 as well. What I had heard about the airline sounded bingo with the first check point itself when at the check-in my family was attended to quite hospitably and as my young daughter had hurt her ankle just the day before the supervisor smilingly brought a wheelchair for her and made her comfortable. All of our seven check-in baggages were handled with kid gloves and within moments we were issued our boarding passes to both Singapore (from Mumbai) and then onwards to Hong Kong.
Now the real servicing part with humane touch came to the fore when we were given two personnel with my daughter, first one to escort us to the immigration and the other one to be with us, hold your breath, until boarding the aircraft's gate!! It would be an understatement to say that it truly was a touching gesture.
Boarding - First impressions
Yeah, it ought to be a beast! I was thrilled like Alice in wonderland to see if it actually was true that I was finally inside the world's biggest passenger aircraft!
It was a neatly done up configuration which was very soothing to the eyes and didn't appear to create claustrophobic anxiety to the senses which was probably the only concern I had before chosing this mammoth jumbo jet. Even our economy class which had a 3X4X3 arrangement didn't look like was cluttered with the motive to make the most of it by the airline. Plenty of legroom was there for all of the seats. Overall great job in keeping the customer comfort as the cornerstone of its philosophy while designing the sitting plan.
Immediately after boarding the staff provided all the passengers with hot towels to freshen up and didn't mind when being asked for another one.
And here what I heard about was in full glory as all of the air hostesses were dressed in their oh-so elegantly designed "Singapore Girl" Avatar. If there ever was a Grammy to give to the airline industry for coming up with the most beautiful looking crew attire, this airline would win it hundred out of hundred times as I am sure it's going to be nearly impossible to design such a masterpiece by any other airline.
None of the air hostesses and the flight stewards had any plastic looks imposed on their faces as professional hazards. They kept an all pleasant vista and welcoming attitude through the whole length and duration of the flight.
The whole coordination among all the crew members looked like was on auto pilot with effortless ease. All of them knew what any customer probably needs and expects. And they did attend to all of their customers very patiently in an accommodative manner. Not that it's a regular feature among all of its rivals but it was a welcome sight to observe that there wasn't even a minor scuffle between any of the passengers and a crew member.
I was served my beer well but there came in a disappointing moment when I realized that the "Veg Indian Meal" I had prebooked for both of my wife and daughter wasn't available for me, and I couldn't find fault with the airline on that as it was my mistake to not have done so for myself! When I told one of the senior (in age) personnel that I won't be able to have anything for my food he felt deeply disturbed and later asked me our flight details for the Hong Kong to Singapore leg in a week's time to get it arranged for me then. That was quite thoughtful on his part.
Both the flights were on time both at the time of departure as well as for arrival. And I didn't see any last minute rush to keep the things this way. Again, it was handled with effortless ease.
If I were to point fingers at just one item which might be in need of some internal review it must be transit which could be done in a slightly more customer friendly manner. Not that it was bad but when it comes to inter-departmental rivalry to earn more brownie points from its customers transit team might just find itself wanting to get back on the drawing board to correct possibly the only chink in the airlines' armour.
I am looking forward to my next couple of flights on Singapore airlines and one on its subsidiary viz Scoot Airlines in next few days. As you would have realized by now that I have very little to complain about Singapore airlines' famed image but the only thing that I expect myself to be able to afford a Suite class journey of a lifetime for my family sooner than later. Amen!