A thousand Singapore residents managed to get a rare behind-the-scenes look into the evolution of the national carrier as well as the intricate roles of its crew over the past weekend (21 and 22 November 2020), as part of the hugely popular Inside Singapore Airlines (SIA) tour.
Participants were treated to a showcase of SIA’s heritage and sustainability efforts, as well as tours of their training facilities and a first look, and taste, of the newest Economy class meals. They were also able to gain an insight into crew evacuation training that involves various emergency scenarios on air, land and even water.
Fun-filled activities such as balloon sculpting and making your own batik roses entertained the crowd and gave everyone additional memorabilia to bring home, on top of the custom Discover Your Singapore Airlines totebag that every visitor receives, filled with souvenirs such as a hand sanitiser kit, travel-size toiletries and KrisShop vouchers. An Inside Singapore Airlines passport is also included and visitors who collect a minimum of 5 stamps on them can redeem exclusive iron-on patches.
If that is not enough, you can even purchase KrisShop merchandise and inflight serviceware and equipment at the event. The most unique item you can take home – actual carts used in B747 and B777 aircrafts for almost two decades. Thoroughly washed and cleaned, these carts can be purchased on its own or at an additional cost, they can be filled with your favourite champagne and wines. These carts have probably travelled more than an average traveller, having spent over 57,000 hours in the air. Truly a statement piece to have at home for the aviation enthusiast.
Those who signed up for the add-on options – such as wine appreciation and grooming workshops; the flight simulator; and junior cabin crew and junior pilot experiences – were thrilled by the chance to get a glimpse at the inner workings of SIA and see for themselves how the top-notch service that the airline is known for came into being.
The Inside Singapore Airlines tour received overwhelming demand and was fully booked hours after it was launched. Some 500 people were allowed in each session on Saturday and Sunday, although more than 20,000 people expressed interest in the tour, says SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong.
Two more sessions are slated for the coming weekend of 28 and 29 November 2020, with another 1,000 participants scheduled to participate. Goh says if there is continued interest from the public, the airline might consider offering more similar experiences in future.
Inside Singapore Airlines is one of three initiatives under the Discover Your Singapore Airlines campaign meant to engage its fans on the ground, given the limitations in travel due to the pandemic.
One of the initiatives – Restaurant A380 @Changi, which involved dining on board the world’s largest passenger aircraft – was so popular that seats were sold out just half an hour after they became available online. More sessions were opened up to a waitlist, but those were quickly snapped up as well.
The SIA@Home service, which involves the delivery of SIA’s First Class or Business Class meals created by world-renowned International Culinary Panel chefs, has also received more than 600 orders, with half requesting for the First Class menu, says Goh.
“The key objective of this campaign is for us to engage our customers during the time when we are not able to fly as actively as before. We are still flying at less than 20% of our pre-Covid capacity, so this provides us with the opportunity for our customers to visit us and interact with us,” he says. “I am very touched by the overwhelming support. Not just in terms of them attending the event, but the encouraging words they have expressed to our staff – those were heartfelt, and we truly appreciate them.”
He adds that the staff have also enjoyed the opportunity to interact with their customers once again, and this has been a morale booster for all of them to keep going in these challenging times.
Transport minister Ong Ye Kung, who attended the session, agrees. “I’ve met so many SIA staff from different departments and their fighting spirit is commendable. I’ve also met many families who are here today, and you can see their affinity and love for the brand, what SIA stands for and how SIA represents Singapore. It’s a great event, and I congratulate SIA for holding this.”
As mentioned earlier, visitors were treated to a little bonus during the Inside Singapore Airlines event: they were able to satisfy their cravings for an in-flight meal by digging into a free main course from SIA’s new Economy Class menu, which will be provided for flights under 3.5 hours from 1 December 2020. Visitors were also the first to see the new packaging in which their meals will be served on such flights.
The new packaging comprises a leak-proof box and cup made of Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper, a dessert box and a cutlery pack made of bamboo with a paper wrap. More than 40 new dishes will be available on rotation on different flights, including international options and local favourites such as mee siam and nasi lemak, which proved to be a crowd favourite during the tour.
Certain dishes such as mee siam and laksa, for example, were previously not offered in Economy Class because of the serving ware used. The new packaging, which can retain gravy and soupy dishes without seepage and is also oven-safe and resistant to overheating, allows the aircraft to now serve soup and other liquid items.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for us to introduce this. Even during a difficult time, we continue to innovate and improve the overall experience for our customers as well as contribute towards sustainability,” says Goh.