SilverKris participates in the festivities at the gatehold room before SQ338, Singapore Airlines’ first flight to Dusseldorf, takes off.
One was on his way home after a work trip, another was migrating from Australia to Germany with her two children, and a third was escorting a group of travellers for a packaged holiday he had organised.
Different though their reasons might have been, uniting them was the fact that they were going to board the inaugural Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight from Singapore to Dusseldorf, Germany.
An added bonus: The plane was an Airbus A350, which the airline had taken delivery only earlier this year.
From 9.30pm on July 21, 2016, Gate B8 at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 received the first passengers for flight SQ338.
Greeting passengers was champagne from Ernest Rapeneau, a label served onboard the airline’s Premium Economy class, and a buffet spread featuring Singaporean and German favourites such as chicken satay and black forest ham quiche.
“I live in Munich (which SIA flies directly to), but when I saw it had started this flight, I booked it straightaway because I wanted to try the sector,” said German national Philipp Niehoff. “I’m looking forward to the new business class on the A350; I think they are the best seats in the market.”
Also among the passengers was SIA superfan Danny Ong, who had flown on all inaugural A380 flights, except those to Tokyo and Sydney. Although he had taken the first A350 flight to Amsterdam, he was still bubbling with excitement.
“I can’t wait to experience the ambience and service. The plane has a quieter cabin, lower humidity and wider seats. The airline always sets the standards, especially the crew, who serve from their heart.”
Other activities for the evening included a speech by Senior Vice-President (Marketing Planning) Lee Wen Fen, a quiz, for which those who got the right answers each won a desk fan in the shape of a turbine jet engine, and a photo opportunity where passengers could pose with cabin crew for a polaroid picture.
Chun Hoy Yuen, who runs Germany-focused travel agency Gutereise!, was another passenger who deliberately booked a seat on this flight. The new sector will be a boon for his business, and he intends to offer trips to Dusseldorf via SIA.
“If you’re flying from Singapore, the airline is one of the better options, since it now offers direct flights. Because of this new route, I have created a special holiday package.”
As passengers left the gatehold room to board the plane, they found themselves toting an extra carry-on – a goodie bag containing a certificate thanking them for their support of the inaugural flight, a batik luggage belt attached to a very useful portable weighing scale, and a matchbox-size skyline of Dusseldorf carved out of wood, specially ordered from Germany.
Never mind the 13-hour flight ahead of them. The specially organised festivities to see them off and the delight of taking the new A350 aircraft more than made up for it. Talk about a great way to fly.
– TEXT BY PAMELA WADE
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.