Singapore Airlines is opening a restaurant on one if it’s grounded Airbus A380’s giving paying customers the opportunity to enjoy an “exclusive dining experience” with special menus designed for each cabin from First Class right down to Economy. The airline, however, has rejected a proposal for sightseeing ‘flights to nowhere’ which could possibly be down to a local backlash against the idea over environmental concerns.
Along with the temporary restaurant which is being dubbed ‘A380 @Changi’, the airline will also offer behind the scenes tours of its training facilities in Singapore and even an at-home dining experience featuring 10 menus featuring First Class and Business Class meals.
“With Covid-19 drastically reducing the number of flights operated by the SIA Group, we have created unique activities that would allow us to engage with our fans and customers during this time,” explained SIA’s chief executive Goh Choon Phong.
Presumably, the “suite of experiences” will also help the airline monetize existing services and facilities while the vast majority of flights remain grounded.
“There has been a lot of interest in our customer engagement initiatives over the last few weeks, and I would like to thank everyone for their great ideas and suggestions. We are very encouraged by and grateful for the enthusiasm and passion that we have seen. All of us are eagerly looking forward to welcoming you to discover your Singapore Airlines,” Phong continued.
The airline said it had reviewed the idea of a ‘flight to nowhere’ but the proposal was not pursued after a review. Singapore Airlines declined to say why the idea had been rejected but environmentalists had been vocal in their opposition of the idea.
Short sightseeing flights that depart and land at the same airport were first popularised during the COVID-19 pandemic by Taiwan-based carrier Eva Air. Qantas is also set to operate a flight to nowhere next months – the flight was the fastest-selling in the airline’s history with all available seats snapped up in just 10-minutes. Air New Zealand has currently rejected Antarctic sightseeing tours on the grounds that domestic demand is strong.
A380 @Changi will be open for just two afternoons on 24 and 25 October with customers who pay extra having the opportunity experience a behind the scenes tour of the double-deck aircraft before taking their seats for the dining experience.
Meals have been specially created by Singaporean chef Shermay Lee and sommeliers will be on hand to recommend fine wines to accompany the meals.
During November’s school holidays, Singapore Airlines will also open the doors to its pilot and cabin crew training facilities for an ‘Inside Singapore Airlines’ behind the scenes tour. On top of the basic tour price, visitors can also pay extra for a flight simulator experience or a wine appreciation class.
Children will be able to try on the iconic sarong kebaya uniform and become junior cabin crew for the day, while adults can take part in one of SIA’s famous grooming workshops.
A similar money-making plan has already been launched by Thai Airways, offering cabin crew workshops and flight simulator classes.
Finally, Singapore Airlines will offer residents the opportunity to have First and Business Class meals delivered directly to their door. A cabin crew concierge will be on hand to contact customers and guide them through the menu, as well as offering suggestions for wine pairings.
With demand for flights likely to remain suppressed for at least the next 6 to 12 months, airlines are coming up with ever more inventive ways to earn revenue and retain customer loyalty. Expect more ground experiences like this from other airlines as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.