Holy cow, if this is the service we can get in economy class with Singapore Airlines, what do they have up there in business class — individual suites with a private bathroom and personal assistant??
Singapore is our new favorite airline. Little overnight bags with socks and toothbrush were waiting in our seats, along with a bottle of water, pillow and blanket. No need to wait, nor to ask. Beautifully dressed and always smiling attendants passed out hot towels and headphones before we were even off the ground. Then unlimited cocktails, beer and wine before the first of three meals. (During and after as well, and none of this cost anything extra.) Nonstop water throughout the flight, even in the dead of night. The lavatories were practically cleaned in between each person. Christmas garlands were hung every 3 rows. The seats had adjustments for lumbar and bottom cushion thickness, footrests (my favorite bit on a long flight), and hundreds of entertainment options on your own private screen. No wonder Singapore Air has been voted “best international airline” 15 years straight with Travel & Leisure.
Do I sound like I’m being paid to rave about them? No, it’s just that I’ve experienced enough bad service before to appreciate the difference. I can’t ever forget a miserable trip I took from Mumbai to London with British Airways. Besides having none of the special touches I just described, I remember having to get up after the meal service (I was the unlucky one with the aisle seat) to let the attendants know that they had forgotten to serve our row. But I did it politely, trying my best not to annoy them. (Flight attendants scare me a little bit.) Zero attitude on my part, I promise. Yet when they came back to serve us they practically threw the trays at us. No apologies, no “bon appetit.” As if we had done something wrong. I also remember getting up in the middle of the night to try to find some water. Again the flight attendants sighed as they got up out of their seats to help me, annoyed. Well. I won’t annoy them with another ticket purchase in the future if I can help it.
Overseas flights with Delta and other American airlines are pretty good in business class, but usually not so much in the back. Good, friendly customer service is a thing of the past. And domestic flights with American airlines are a total pain. I know they’re broke and need to drum up revenue, but geez, there’s an extra charge for everything nowadays. Luggage, headphones, a snack, of course the booze; I heard even pillows & blankets all cost extra now.
But Asia is a whole ‘nother thing. I had an almost equally pleasant trip in economy class with Korean Air from L.A. to Seoul. I also flew Chinese airlines twice. Even though they were short domestic flights, all amenities were included. There really is something to the Asian hospitality thing.
We’ve flown several times now with South African Airways between Lubumbashi and Johannesburg, about a 2-hour flight. They’ve got their problems, but poor in-flight service is not one of them. Morning or afternoon flight, doesn’t matter; both include a full meal with free booze and free smiles. That always gets our vacation started in a good way.