Singapore Airlines appears to have significantly reduced several aspects of its signature economy class service. While I acknowledge the impact that Covid has had on airlines and their need to reduce losses and increase profitability, I find it concerning when airlines use the pandemic as an excuse for making cutbacks, especially in economy class.
Currently, airfares are at exorbitant levels, and service cutbacks have become the norm in economy class cabins. Unfortunately, SQ is no exception to this trend, as I recently experienced on a flight from Singapore to Melbourne in economy class.
Before the flight, I had the opportunity to visit the recently renovated lounge, which provided a pleasant experience with a variety of food options. I ordered some noodles and dumplings, which were promptly served. In hindsight, I was glad to have had access to the lounge and have a meal before boarding the flight.
The flight, SQ227, departed Singapore at 2200 and arrived in Melbourne at 0725 with a flight time of approximately seven hours. I anticipated that there would be two meal services during the flight, perhaps a hot meal before trying to sleep and a light breakfast after waking up. However, shortly after takeoff, the cabin crew served the only meal of the flight.
Although the meal was a decent serving of food, it was nothing special, consisting of a chicken dish with some rice and vegetables. While I appreciated the real cutlery, I felt that the offering was basic, it lacked a salad/entrée offering or some fresh fruit/dessert, rather than ice cream, but that is only my opinion. It appeares to be a cost-cutting exercise by the airline.
What surprised me the most was the lack of a second meal service. The only breakfast option provided was an assortment of juices, with nothing else offered. The airline did offer snacks in the galley during the flight, such as muesli bars, crackers, and nuts, but there was nothing particularly exciting or substantial.
In the past, when I flew with SQ in economy class, there were nicer trays, glassware, and more food offered. Although I understand that it is a red-eye flight, it seems that passengers who desired something more substantial were out of luck. When I asked the crew about the new service, they explained that the airline had surveyed passengers about what they wanted during the flight. However, it seemed like a typical PR response to minimize bad PR. At the same time, it does allow for more rest time for passengers, as the crew does not turn up the lights and interrupt people sleeping with another meal tray.
However, for me, I disembarked from the aircraft feeling hungry and questioning why an airline like SQ would make drastic cuts to what should be one of the best economy class experiences.
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