Singapore Airlines has provided details of a range of health and safety initiatives and customer service adjustments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as it ramps up services starting tomorrow from 14 to 24 cities, increasing flight volumes by around 75%. SilkAir and Scoot will also see adjustments, as those carriers progressively add to their networks.
The airline has worked with medical experts and regulators to comprehensively review the end-to-end customer journey, with measures including à la carte meals in lounges, enhanced cleaning measures and on board service adjustments.
“These measures are new #SIAcares initiative, which includes corporate social responsibility projects that will be rolled out in the coming weeks.”
These changes come as all three group airlines begin to significantly add to their flying networks, from the very limited flight schedules that have been operated over the last two months.
Singapore Airlines will serve 24 destinations starting tomorrow, an additional 10 routes, lifting flight volumes by 75% from the historic lows of April and May 2020.
Just 320 passengers per day travelled with the airline in April 2020, when both the flight schedule and demand were almost completely decimated.
The airline has introduced a new online e-brochure, to be sent to all customers before their flight.
You can download the e-brochure here.
For full details of all the changes, you may also wish to read the Singapore Airlines press release.
Singapore Airlines has enhanced the cleaning regime at its premises, including at the Terminal 3 SilverKris lounge, the only one currently open on the network.
Aircraft are also receiving an enhanced cleaning before each flight including:
- Fogging procedures
- All surfaces wiped down with disinfectant
- Headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, bedsheets and blankets washed and replaced
The airline is also keen to point out that cabin airflow patterns and High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in all its aircraft remove more than 99.9% of particles including airborne viruses and bacteria.
The airline is also exploring a trial for an ultra-violet (UVC) light cleaning procedure for its lavatories before each departure.
Currently Singapore Airlines is only offering one lounge on its network – the SilverKris Business Class lounge at Changi’s Terminal 3 (T3).
This is serving First and Business Class passengers departing on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights, both of which are currently operating from T3, plus KrisFlyer Elite Gold members and Star Alliance Gold members and the First and Business Class passengers of Star Alliance member airlines.
There is no more buffet service available, instead à la carte meals will be offered.
In keeping with other hygiene and cleanliness policies, lounge staff will wear masks at all times and gloves when necessary.
On board experience
Each passenger will be provided with a ‘Care Kit’ on board (a sort of ‘Amenity Kit for all’).
Rather than eye shades and fancy toiletries though, these will comprise:
- A surgical mask
- Anti-bacterial hand wipes
- A hand sanitiser
Newspapers will not be provided and seat-back reading materials including magazines and other literature will be removed from the aircraft, with the airline encouraging passengers to download these items from its e-Library via the SingaporeAir mobile app.
SingaporeAir Mobile App
Aside from over 150 newspapers and magazines, the app will also include information on the latest travel restrictions, for easy reference.
There will be no meal service on flights within South East Asia and those to and from Mainland China. Instead on these routes passengers will be provided with a snack bag.
This currently applies to the following Singapore Airlines and SilkAir routes:
- Cebu (SilkAir)
- Chongqing (SilkAir)
- Ho Chi Minh
- Kuala Lumpur (incl. SilkAir)
- Medan (SilkAir)
Update Sep 2020: Simplified meal service has now been rolled out network-wide, replacing snack bags on SE Asia and mainland China flights. Single tray service continues to be offered in Business Class.
On long-haul flights, currently applicable to all other routes not listed above including Hong Kong, a single tray service has been introduced in First Class and Business Class in place of a table layout service.
It’s good news for fans of some favourite dishes, with Singapore Airlines announcing that it intends to progressively reintroduce selections such as satay and garlic bread from mid-June 2020.
The airline has also stated that it aims to return to course-by-course dining at a later stage.
“We will also discuss with the regulators how we can resume a course-by-course dining experience.”
In terms of dining options, the airline is also planning to roll out a digital food ordering system from an e-menu for customers both in the lounge and on board. This “will be introduced in the coming months”.
Finally, though it’s not a new feature, selected Singapore Airlines aircraft allow customers to control the KrisWorld in-flight entertainment (IFE) system using their mobile devices.
The majority of Scoot’s procedures are in line with those being announced today by Singapore Airlines, including the provision of ‘Care Kits’ at each seat on boarding and the removal of in-flight literature.
Also, cabin baggage remains restricted to 3kg per passenger, which must fit under the seat in front of you, to facilitate safe distancing for passengers during security clearance, boarding and disembarkation.
Meals and beverages will not be available for purchase online and onboard, food packs will be pre-placed on seats where applicable.
Other services temporarily suspended for Scoot flights are:
- FlyBagEat and ScootPlus
- Board Me First (priority boarding)
- Extra Cabin Bag
- Online Seat Selection
- Inflight seat upgrade
- Inflight duty-free
- Snooze kit
Update Sep 2020: Scoot has reintroduced ScootPlus, and now allows meal pre-ordering, however in-flight food and beverage service and duty free sales continue to be suspended.
The three SIA Group airlines have all updated their travel waiver policies and refund options through to 31st July 2020. See our article here for details.
Singapore Airlines is clearly keen to reassure passengers that flying is safe, especially as it begins to ramp up its schedule from next week, by launching this new #SIAcares initiative.
These procedures lay the foundation for future flights and lounge openings as the airline is hopefully able to progressively expand its route network and flight frequencies in the coming months.
Additionally we will likely see some future changes depending on regulatory and technological allowances, including a return to course-by-course dining in premium cabins and electronic pre-flight meal ordering for lounge guests.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)