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Singapore Airlines scraps ‘flights to nowhere’ plan, turns to on-ground experiences

With the "flight to nowhere" plan officially scrapped, SIA is instead offering on-ground experiences in October and November

Singapore Airlines has today launched a new series of events to reconnect with its grounded customers during what’s becoming a prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. The “Discover Your Singapore Airlines” programme comprises three curated experiences for customers and fans in Singapore during October and November 2020.

Given media speculation over this scheme in recent weeks, it’s probably best to get the biggest news out of the way first before we look at the trio of experiences themselves.

There won’t be a “flight to nowhere”

One of the most anticipated possibilities for Singapore Airlines among our readers was the much-rumoured “flight to nowhere”, following in the recent footsteps of airlines including EVA Air, Starlux and Qantas.

Singapore Airlines has confirmed today that it will not pursue the “flight to nowhere”, which we know will be disappointing news for many of our readers.

“The Discover Your Singapore Airlines experiences are the result of a market study and a comprehensive review, which also considered factors such as the attractiveness of the initiatives to SIA’s customers and members of the public, the environmental implications, and their financial viability. An idea for a one-off short tour flight, or a “flight to nowhere”, was also initially considered but not pursued after the review.”

Singapore Airlines
The “flight to nowhere” idea really is going nowhere, with SIA deciding against the concept. (Photo: Skycolors / Shutterstock)

The “flight to nowhere” concept, something we first surmised could be an option for the airline earlier this month, has come under recent criticism on environmental grounds, with some going as far as describing these initiatives as “an insult to the planet”.

That’s a different debate for a different day, however we imagine one of the key reasons SIA threw cold water on the idea was going to be the necessity to justify the environmental aspect.

Discover your Singapore Airlines

With the potentially disappointing news out of the way, let’s focus on what Singapore Airlines is going to offer local residents as a way of engaging and reconnecting them with the iconic brand after many months at home.

“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. These experiences offer something for everyone – from frequent flyers who miss our world-class in-cabin products and service, to couples and families who want an exclusive dining experience, and parents who are after an enjoyable activity-filled day with their children during the school holidays”

SIA Chief Executive Officer Mr Goh Choon Phong

Restaurant A380 @Changi

The closest you might get to an actual flying experience with Singapore Airlines over the coming months is likely to be this first initiative – Restaurant A380 @Changi.

Over two dates in late October 2020, this event will allow you to have “an exclusive dining experience with SIA’s award-winning service inside the Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft”.

“For only two afternoons on 24 and 25 October 2020, our A380 double-decker superjumbo will be hosting diners at Changi Airport. Customers are invited to join us for a memorable dining experience in a cabin class of their choice and experience our award-winning service.”

Singapore Airlines

Each cabin class will enjoy a special menu, including international options in addition to selected Peranakan dishes curated by Singaporean chef Shermay Lee.

Fine wines will be on offer to accompany your meal, as recommended by the airline’s own sommeliers, with two alcoholic beverages and free flow non-alcoholic drinks available.

Highlights will include a showcase of SIA’s cabin crew uniforms through the years. Diners will also receive KrisShop discounts and a limited edition goodie bag, with extra gifts on offer for those sporting their best traditional heritage attire (be sure to wear your finest sarong kebaya or batik shirt!).

There will also be limited slots available for an exclusive pre-lunch tour of the airline’s flagship superjumbo, including a behind-the-scenes look past usually sealed doors in access-only areas. That is likely to be of significant interest to many Singapore Airlines fans, with the long-term future of the carrier’s A380 fleet in a post-COVID recovery still looking uncertain.

The airline is expected to use one of its new or refitted A380s for the experience, giving diners the latest Suites and Business Class seats to look forward to.

Lobster and Champagne in Singapore Airlines’ new A380 Suites. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Furthermore, the aircraft’s IFE system will be powered up giving you the option to tune in to KrisWorld and watch a movie or TV show on-demand during your lunch.

Inflight (or on-ground!) entertainment. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

In line with social distancing and COVID-19 precautions, diners will be required to wear a face mask at all times except when eating or drinking.

Restaurant A380 @Changi
Reservations start: 12th October 2020
Operating dates: 24th October 2020
25th October 2020

Inside Singapore Airlines

The second series of events Singapore Airlines is holding at Changi is for the kids, or the kids at heart!

During the November school holidays the airline will be offering behind-the-scenes tours of its training centre, including a range of family activities.

“Visitors will be brought on a tour of more than 70 years of SIA’s history, get an opportunity to interact with our pilots and cabin crew, and find out more about the intensive training that they undergo.”

Singapore Airlines

Tour highlights include:

  • SIA’s heritage
  • Training facilities
  • Sustainability showcase

Children can enjoy craft activities such as balloon sculpting and making their own batik roses. As a paid add-on option they will also be able to dress up and role play as cabin crew, and take home their very own SIA sarong kebaya uniform.

For mum and dad it’s the ultimate toy – another paid add-on option is to sit at the controls of a multi-million dollar full flight simulator, used to train real Singapore Airlines pilots. After that (hopefully after anyway), they can taste a selection of SIA’s premium in-flight wine labels and even attend a grooming workshop.

In case the flight simulator and the wine leave you feeling a little light headed, some of SIA’s most popular in-flight meals will also be available to purchase on the day.

Inside Singapore Airlines
Reservations start: 1st November 2020
Tour dates: 21st November 2020
22nd November 2020
28th November 2020
29th November 2020

SIA@Home

Finally if staying at home all these months has left you happier not to go out, Singapore Airlines thinks it has a solution for you too.

SIA@Home will be a selection of 10 menus featuring the airline’s exclusive First Class and Business Class in-flight meals, available for delivery to your home.

“The experience is made complete by the inclusion of a First Class or Business Class amenity kit, welcome videos, instructional guides on how to heat and plate the dishes, as well as a specially curated playlist to recreate the SIA onboard experience at home. Customers also have the opportunity to bundle in limited edition products such as our Wedgwood and Narumi dining ware, Lalique crystal glasses, our First Class Lalique sleeper suits and other onboard amenities.”

Singapore Airlines
(Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Dishes are inspired by SIA’s destinations including France, Australia, Japan and India.

These will come complete with wine or Champagne for the full experience, with packages also including the airline’s own limited edition tableware and Business Class or First Class Lalique amenity kits.

The following options will be available:

  • Wine and Dine
    A First Class or Business Class meal for two based on your choice of menu, plus amenity kits. Customers who opt for the First Class menu may select either a bottle of Burgundy red or white wine. Those who opt for a Business Class menu may select either a bottle of French wine or brut champagne.
  • Champagne and Dine
    A First Class meal for two based on your choice of menu, a bottle of 2008 Dom Perignon champagne and Lalique amenity kits.
  • Wine, Dine and Tableware
    A First Class meal for two based on your choice of menu, a bottle of Burgundy red or white wine, Lalique amenity kits, and a 22-piece tableware set which includes Wedgwood dining ware and Lalique crystal ware.
  • All-Inclusive First Class Experience
    A First Class meal for two based on your choice of menu, a bottle of Burgundy red or white wine, a bottle of 2008 Dom Perignon champagne, a 22-piece tableware set which includes Wedgwood dining ware and Lalique crystal ware, and Lalique amenities for two, including sleeper suits.
  • All-Inclusive Business Class Experience
    A Business Class meal for two based on your choice of menu, a bottle of French wine or brut champagne, a 22-piece tableware set, which includes Narumi dining ware and Penhaligon’s amenity kits for two.
  • First Class Signatures
    An experience for two, comprising two of our signature First Class offerings of Oscietra caviar, satay, a bottle of 2008 Dom Perignon champagne and Lalique amenity kits.

If you really want to push the boat out, there’s also the option to Book-the-Chef through SIA’s cabin crew concierge, to enjoy the services of a private chef who will reheat, plate and serve the meal for you in your home.

Book the Chef for the ultimate at-home dining experience. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)
SIA@Home
Bookings start: 5th October 2020
Operating dates: TBC

Experiences will be sold via KrisShop

All three of these experiences will be sold exclusively through KrisShop, SIA’s inflight and online shopping portal.

There will be the option to redeem your KrisFlyer miles for the experiences, or depending on your balance and the value offered, opt instead to pay by cash and earn KrisFlyer miles at KrisShop’s regular 1.5 miles per dollar accrual rate.

That’s in addition to your usual credit card points, so pick a card giving you the best rate in this category to maximise your overall earning if you can, assuming you opt to pay in cash rather than miles.

Health and safety measures

As you would expect, SIA will implement enhanced cleaning procedures at all premises, as well as precautionary measures such as temperature screening, safe distancing and the SafeEntry digital check-in system, to ensure the health and safety of all customers during these experiences.

Further details

We’ll be sure to update you as more information becomes available regarding the pricing and various purchase options for these new experiences.

You can also check the airline’s dedicated Discover Your Singapore Airlines website via the following link:

  singaporeair.com/DiscoverYourSIA

Summary

It’s a shame Singapore Airlines has decided against the “flight to nowhere” concept, which would have been extremely popular with our readers and no doubt many others.

With the operating cost of an Airbus A350 sitting at around S$16,000 per hour, however, this was always likely to be more about PR than profitability. With growing criticism on the environmental front, the PR part was no doubt starting to look harder for the airline to pull off, and we’re not too surprised to see them shun the idea.

On-ground events are the next best thing and these dining experiences and behind-the-scenes tours are sure to be popular with those yearning to travel again, or curious about some of the background workings of the airline.

“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.”

SIA Chief Executive Officer Mr Goh Choon Phong
(Photo: Singapore Airlines)

We’ll be eager to see how the cash and KrisFlyer miles pricing options look for these experiences once revealed, and will be sure to update you with the latest information.

Will you be trying to secure one of the “Discover Your Singapore Airlines” experiences, and if so which ones interest you most? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)

6 comments

  1. If environment is a justification for not having a flight-to-nowhere, then I suggest SIA should get out of the airline business. What a crap reason. Don’t tell me when you are flying your full schedule you don’t have environmental impact. Just a hypocritical reason.

    1. Your argument that since flying pollutes, let’s pollute as much as possible, holds no water.

      Every economic activity pollutes. It’s a matter of how egregious a business wants to be. Flights to nowhere are far more pointless than from point A to B, where travellers need to get somewhere.

      SQ needs to be mindful about the backlash it will receive and the damage to it’s brand if it is seen as polluting indiscriminately.

      I’m really appalled at your indignation. We really need more people who think about the planet and our future than those who are interested in satiating their own selfish, immediate desires at whatever cost to the environment.

  2. I wonder how they can sell the economy or premium economy experience. Suite and Business class experience should not be a problem with competitive price.

  3. So happy SIA decided to scrap the flights to nowhere nonsense. We fully support SIA, our national pride and we fully support our planet when it comes to unnecessary carbon emissions. I will try to go for all of these experiences although I’m pretty sure they will be sold out

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