Singapore Airlines (SIA) has long been a leader in unparalleled luxury in the skies. Since its establishment in 1972, SIA has been committed to service excellence, product leadership and network connectivity. In 1976, SIA took its in-flight offerings to new heights with the introduction of the Raffles Lounge, which would become a signature offering for First Class passengers travelling aboard its Boeing 747-200 fleet.
While Singapore Airlines retired its Boeing 747-200 fleet in 2012, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the iconic Raffles Lounge at the Travel Lounge, one of three thematic pop-up rooms centred around the themes of transportation, accommodation and the entertainment scenes of Singapore in the 1980s, curated and produced by the National Museum of Singapore. The Travel Lounge offers guests the unique experience of stepping back in time and experiencing one of the most luxurious ways to fly in the ‘70s.
Here are five things not to miss at the remarkably detailed pop-up room.
1. Check out the true-to-era check-in counter at the entry to the pop-up room
Before even entering the pop-up room proper, you’ll have to ‘check-in’ at the airline counter in front of the pop-up room. The counter is also dressed with period-accurate prop pamphlets and even a luggage belt with retro-styled bags on it. You’ll also have a peek at how the check-in counter looked like in the 1980s. While entry to the pop-up rooms is free, make sure to sign up for the immersive audio tour that will take you through the latest pop-up rooms and museum spaces.
2. The exterior of the pop-up room is also styled like an aircraft
Adding to the immersive experience of the Travel Lounge pop-up room is the exterior of the recreated Raffles Lounge. The facade is crafted to look like the hull of a Boeing 747, complete with period-inspired livery and aircraft-style windows that give you a glimpse of its interiors.
3. Snap a photo with the musical trio – another first in in-flight services
On 16 May 1976, SIA introduced live musical entertainment on board all Boeing 747 aircraft – another industry first. Three singers from The Philippines would entertain Economy Class and First Class customers during pre-dinner cocktails and after dinner was served – moving from zone to zone in the course of their performance.
4. The Raffles Lounge was equipped with its own standing bar
Space on board an aircraft is precious, so it’s practically the height of luxury for an aircraft to offer a stand-up bar. This was where passengers could order their favourite mixed cocktails as well as fine wines and beer. In the Travel Lounge pop-up room, you’ll find the musical trio beside the bar, as well as other unique trinkets like an old SIA chess set and a retro copy of the SilverKris in-flight magazine.
5. Experience unparalleled comfort in the slumberettes and spacious lounge seating
The highlight of the Raffles Lounge were the slumberettes, which offered a rare in-flight luxury at the time. While they looked like regular finely upholstered lounge chairs, these specially designed seats could be transformed into beds. Each also came equipped with a sleeping belt for safety as well as bedsheets, pillows, blankets and individual reading lights. There was also an in-flight music socket that allowed passengers to listen to a selection of tracks – a detail considered revolutionary for its time. Customers could also grab a drink from the bar and unwind on the spacious sofa in the lounge.
Keen on taking in more aviation history? While you’re at the National Museum of Singapore, make sure to pop by the Now Boarding exhibition to have a look at SIA’s first-generation A380 Suites cabin seat.