Friday, August 19, 2011

Singapore Airlines - Most arrogant airline in the sky, just got worse!

As some of you may know, Singapore Airlines has recently undergone refurbishment of its Terminal 2 lounges at it's hub Singapore Changi. As a part of this refurbishment Star Alliance and Krisflyer Gold members now have their own Krisflyer Gold lounge in Terminal 2, much like the one in Terminal 3 which has existed for a couple of years now. Great news, right? Well........ NO!

Let me explain.... at Changi, Singapore Airlines passengers flying economy class have not been entitled to use the business class lounges for as long as I have been a regular customer. Instead, in terminal 2 we were directed to the SATS Premier lounge which was used by various airlines and featured PRIVATE toilets and showers! Admittedly these showers are really showing their age these days but at least they were available. When terminal 3 opened, Star Gold passengers had a new Krisflyer Gold lounge to use but it lacks toilet and showers. Instead you have to use the public toilets and if you want a shower, forget it.This was really disappointing but at least if you were desperate enough you could trundle over to terminal 2 and use the SATS lounge for a shower. With this latest round of changes this is no longer an option and the Thai Airways lounge which is the only other Star Alliance lounge at the airport does not have showers either.

So, for those of us who are regular customers of Singapore Airlines on routes like Melbourne - Singapore - London in economy class you can forget having a shower during the transit time. There are paid for shower services available in the airport but for customers who have shown loyalty to the airline you really don't expect this at the hub of an airline like Singapore. It is unlike almost any other airline I know of... Thai Airways have showers freely available at Bangkok, Cathay have them in their lounges in Hong Kong, Qantas offer them in almost every large Qantas lounge including hubs Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

As a result of this I now refuse to fly on Singapore Airlines where I am connecting at Changi between two long haul flights in economy class. I can accept no shower on a route like Bangkok-Singapore-Melbourne, but that is about it. I will move any such business to Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Malaysia Airlines (once they join oneworld).

A few last words about Singapore Airlines - still refusing saver awards on NEW products that have been around for 5 years, website barely functional this year when they launched a new design, catering in economy getting downsized continually and now coming in tin foil containers regularly, no showers for gold members at their only hub, changing equipment out of Melbourne every fortnight (nil consistency).... they have just about lost me....

Lift your game SQ.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Royal Tour Part 11 - Qantas Business Bangkok to Sydney QF2 (Boeing 747-400)

VH-OJO in transit from London at Bangkok




AIRCRAFT: Boeing 747-400 (VH-OJO) 20 years old



SEAT: 16J (Upper Deck Business Class)


As part of my journey home from the Royal Wedding I flew Qantas from Bangkok to Sydney in business class. I was lucky to also have an emergency exit seat on the upper deck. The flight was ready to go at the scheduled departure time although we did hold at the gate for a while to ensure we would arrive after curfew time in Sydney the following morning.

Welcome Champagne and Hot Towel

View looking forward from my seat
 The Boeing 747-400 business class seats are skybeds but they are angled and not completely lie flat like the newer version found on the Qantas A380's. They are comfortable nevertheless. Inflight entertainment is available by pullout screens as is usual in exit rows.

QF2 offers a full hot dinner service after takeoff and a continental breakfast in the morning. The breakfast is ordered in a very similar way to a hotel in room breakfast with a form given to each passenger to fill in, selecting which breakfast items you want. You then give this to the crew who keep it for the morning and wake you up for your chosen breakfast at the right time. Alternatively you can ask for an express breakfast just before landing, or to not be woken up at all.

First course - Thai soup with salad and bread, taste was good

Crumbed veal with asparagus and potato
 The main course was presented on a proper plate which had been neatly arranged and looked quite nice. The taste was actually very good and the asparagus was a highlight. I wish Thai Airways presented it's business mains like this instead of the casserole dishes they use.

After dinner trays were removed and crew came around offering fruit OR dessert. They seemed to ask for your choice rather than offer both, but I just said I'll have both and it was no problem:

Sticky date cake and fruit selection
 With dinner done I headed off to sleep and managed a few hours before it was time for breakfast. I had muesli, croissant, muffin, breakfast shake and coffee:

Although there was no hot breakfast I was quite content with this offering. Breakfast was cleared away and we commenced our descent into Sydney. The captain came on to announce there would be a short hold just west of Newcastle due to Air Traffic Control restrictions.

In a hold
We made a routine landing on runway 16R at Sydney and taxi'ed to the gate. I was back home in Australia, since I left I had seen so much and been a part of history in the crowds outside Buckingham Palace for one of the biggest royal weddings of my lifetime. I had an absolutely marvellous time and can't wait to return to the UK.