Of the top ten companies most disapproved of in America, more than half are airlines. Why are so many dissatisfied with airlines, one might be wont to wonder? Anyone reading this that travels frequently has never had to consider this question for more than a moment. Air travel can be one of the most disturbing frustrations a human can experience. From long cattle lines to lost bags (I trusted you…..), missed connections, confusing airports, awful customer service (though admittedly loud-mouth America, that’s probably your fault), turbulence, and just overwhelming anxiety about the whole holy-hell-we’re-in-a-tube-in-the-sky thing, there is almost nothing pretty about routine air travel.
Presenting Singapore Air, a different kind of airline. One that comes from a disciplined nation thriving behind the scenes, one that caters to the human, inside and out! This is the airline I chose to fly into Katmandu exclusively, and 10 hours into my first flight of three, I can already say that I’ve felt more taken care of, more acknowledged and comforted than any airline I’ve taken run by an American company (take your pick of the one you hate).
Seat 47D has, and will be my home, for the next 18 hours total, as I chose the route with the least ‘connections’ possible (we stop for a one hour layover in Seoul for fuel before continuing to Singapore. I remain in my cocoon-on-the-aisle until emerging full bloom en Asia).
While writing this, the lovely Indian flight attendant has offered, seemingly me more than most, more free wine than I’ve ever been offered on a plane. That’s service.
I asked for a gluten-free meal on the plane, if only to avoid the pig whistle of distributed mass-mealing, and it allowed me be served well before anyone else. I asked for pu-urh tea, a special request, but one that resulted in some of the fresh and fantastic. My flight attendant saw me typing the last entry on this tiny tablet, and came and talked to me for almost ten minutes about her life in the sky. And now she’s trying to get me drunk–what luck! (note to mom, I’m not getting drunk.)
Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have made a friend up here in this mighty module soaring above, but everyone is truly considered by a host of truly empathetic caretakers. Hot towels are delivered throughout the flight, at just the right times; free wine and more than passable food (for plane food [it’s still plane food]); a menu containing real options (there were six when I picked mine); tons of movies/TV/music on the screen in front of your face if, that’s your thing; free education seminars, for the jet-setting business tycoon (and their geisha, if that’s their thing); tea, coffee, booze, all free, free, free.
This is all during what is likely one of their flagship travel routes, San Francisco to Seoul, a 12 hour ordeal which tests the very meddle of a flyer. But even so, they have the routine down; though we travel with the sun, the lights in the cabin dim and rise in a perfectly pleasing circadian rhythm.
We are refreshed, and wake up in a cascade of towels, meals, and drinks. I’ve never felt so alive, cooped up in a tube. In the top ten companies most disapproved of in America, Singapore Air is not amongst. (Facebook totally is though. They never give me wine.)