Is Singapore Airlines Getting Complacent?

I have lost count of the number of times I have flown Singapore Airlines. Many Indian expatriates living in the US (especially those on the West Coast) almost always fly via Singapore Airlines to India. The Airline has been known for its great customer service among other things.

I don’t consider myself as a “picky” traveler, yet I found enough issues to “blog” about Singapore Airlines.

  • At the San Francisco airport, the ticket agents rather rudely ask you to weigh your cabin baggage the moment you step in front of them. The allowed weight is 7Kgs. If you carry a laptop bag, plus a couple of books, you are certain to be cutting it close. These agents are very strict about not exceeding the weight limit. The same is true for how the agents deal with the check in baggage. Even one extra pound and you are in trouble.
  • If you board the Singapore Airlines flight from SFO, chances are the 70+ percent of the passengers are of Indian origin. Yet almost 100% of the Airline crew starting with the ticketing agents are of Chinese origin. Whatever happened to globalisation? (Emirate Airlines on the other hand has a truly International crew).
  • The airline offers a “Hindu meal” (no beef but with chicken) which happens to be popular. But opting for the Hindu Meal has its drawbacks. The good news is that the Hindu meal is served first. The bad news is that you are stuck with your tray in front of you seemingly forever. Your trays aren’t removed until everyone is served and eaten, the drinks are served and the dessert is served.
  • The Singapore Airlines mileage program is not heavily marketed (not sure if they even had one before). On my way to India I was told that my mileage was going to be credited, however, on my return I was told that it does not apply to my ticket because of how and where I purchased it from. In short, the mileage program could use some improvement.

Thankfully, there are good alternatives to Singapore Airlines these days. Emirate Airlines offers direct flights to India via Dubai starting mid-Dec 2008. Jet Airways already flies to India via Shanghai. There are other flights via Europe as well.

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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