Every Singapore Airlines flight is a performance by the crew. The second passengers start boarding, the flight attendants start playing the role of the “Singapore Girl” (or guy, though I’m not sure what they call them). I’ve run into Singapore Airlines flight attendants at hotels before, and while they’re not rude, their smiles aren’t as wide as aboard and they’ll gladly cut you off in the elevator queue if it saves them a few seconds. And I’m fine with that, because I realize no human beings are genuinely consistently that polished and nice. Instead, each Singapore Airlines flight should be judged in the same way that someone that likes theater might judge a show.
Secretly, the flight on this trip I was most looking forward to was from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, a journey of under 200 miles. It’s just a bit over half the distance of a flight between Los Angeles and San Francisco, so I was quite excited to see what they could fit into this 37 minute “show.”
If you’re an American and haven’t flown within Europe or Asia before, you’re probably saying “c’mon now, they can’t serve anything on a flight of that length.” But they most definitely can… and do. A couple of years back I flew from Munich to Zurich (which is even shorter) and received the following in business class on a 28 minute Swiss flight, including two drink refills, hot towels, and chocolate before arrival:
Then there was this Singapore flight, about ten minutes longer. First of all, the flight was operated by one of Singapore’s fairly new A330-300s, which have a very nice configuration for a regional aircraft:
The ground experience was the usual — hot towels, newspapers, magazines, pre-departure beverages, etc. As we taxied out, flight attendants took “refreshment” orders. The choices were a chicken focaccia sandwich or some sort of a curry wrap. The guy in the row in front of me indicated he didn’t want to have the snack, so she asked him what he wanted to drink. My seatmate and I both went with the sandwich, and weren’t asked what we wanted to drink, which we assumed was an oversight.
As it turns out, you either get a drink OR sandwich. The sandwich is wrapped in plastic (yet on a plate) and has nothing accompanying it. My seatmate and I both kind of gave each other a confused look as it was plopped down on our trays. You’re offered coffee or tea, but no other drink, other than water which is already on the tray. Once the flight attendants came through with the snack cart, they quickly brought out packaged nuts, but only for those that didn’t have the snack.
Anyway, it’s no big deal because it’s a short flight, and they certainly don’t need to serve anything, but if they do, they should do it right. The whole process was just painful to watch, as there was no grace to it. They were nearly sprinting through the aisles, yelling back to the galley constantly to get things, and not smiling.
It’s of course a tough situation since the moment we leveled off the captain announced “flight attendants, prepare the cabin for arrival.” But they should at least be able to offer everyone a drink… or unwrap the darn sandwich. Now I’m curious to see how Sri Lankan business class is from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore on the way back.