Singapore Airlines Outlines Onboard Service Changes

Filed Under: Singapore

Airlines around the world are adjusting service protocols in light of coronavirus. What’s surprising is the vastly different approaches that airlines are taking.

On one end of the spectrum you have Lufthansa, which will maintain exactly the same service in first class. On the other end of the spectrum you have Turkish Airlines, which will serve cold snack boxes in business class on long haul flights.

Singapore Airlines, known for being one of the world’s best airlines, has revealed some service updates we can expect as the airline ramps up operations. How drastically will things be changing?

Singapore Airlines’ service adjustments

How will the Singapore Airlines passenger experience change in light of COVID-19? There will be some significant changes, outlined in this brochure for passengers.

First, as Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong describes these changes:

“These initiatives help to ensure that, amid the Covid-19 outbreak, our industry-leading health and safety standards remain an integral part of SIA’s world-class service promise. This allows our customers to travel with us with full confidence, knowing that we have taken the necessary steps to safeguard their well-being throughout their journey.

We are also working on a variety of new digital solutions that would further enhance the customer experience, as well as support our health and safety initiatives. These will allow SIA to better meet the evolving expectations of our customers during these times.”

Singapore Airlines A380

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

SilverKris Lounges will offer a la carte service

Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounges will feature a la carte meals instead of the buffet service that was offered in the past. This is a trend we may see at more lounges long term, and I think it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The big question is how substantial the a la carte dining options will be.

Staff in lounges will wear masks at all times, and gloves when necessary.

SilverKris Lounges will offer a la carte dining

All SIA Group passengers will get care kits

All passengers traveling on SIA Group airlines will receive care kits, including a surgical mask, anti-bacterial hand wipes, and hand sanitizer.

Will Singapore Airlines flight attendants wear PPE?

As far as the crew goes, you can expect that they’ll wear face masks throughout the flight, eye goggles when interacting with customers, and gloves during the meal service.

How is Singapore Airlines’ meal service changing?

There will be significant changes to the meal service on Singapore Airlines flights. Changes are being made to reduce the risk of contact for both customers and crews. Here’s what we can expect:

  • Meal services have been suspended for flights within Southeast Asia and services to mainland China, due to regulatory reasons (this is in all cabins); snack bags are provided to customers instead
  • In first and business class on long haul flights, a single tray service will be introduced in place of a table layout service; SIA is also reintroducing first and business class customer favorites, including satay and garlic bread, as of mid-June 2020
  • In economy class on long haul flights, the meal service is being simplified, though no further details have been shared about what that will look like
  • Alcohol offerings have been adjusted across all classes
  • The airline is working with regulators to progressively enhance food and beverage services

Expect a scaled back meal service in all cabins

Bottom line

Airlines around the world are announcing updated service protocols, and Singapore Airlines is no exception. The airline is making significant changes to both their lounge and onboard service offerings.

Unlike with some other airlines, this does seem to at least partly come down to regulations created by the government, so not all of these service cuts are Singapore Airlines’ fault.

As I’ve said before, I respect whatever approach airlines choose to take in the short-term. Flying won’t be fun no matter what for a while, and I recognize that there’s no right or wrong answer in terms of what service should be provided.

What do you make of Singapore Airlines’ updated service?

  1. I feel bad for all the flight attendants who now have to wear goggles. Ugh. I just hope it helps keep them healthier.

  2. So disappointed with SIA. These new “concepts” are cost cuttings on the back of the pax. LH/LX are taking the right approach. Honestly, I do not bother flying premium class with SIA at the moment. I expect more and hoped they will be one of the airlines who will lead us to normality, I am proved wrongly!

  3. Having flown dozens and dozens of flight in First Class last year (paid ticket / no points or tricks), I can tell you that Singapore Airlines is not that good. Better stick to JAL, Cathay and Air France in my humble opinion.

  4. I understand why they are doing this, but as you say Lucky: flying won’t be fun for a while. Once things start to calm down and these measures start going away I’ll start looking at longhaul travel. For now I’ll stay home.

  5. This line….”Flying won’t be fun no matter what for a while”…..makes me wonder what “a while” means, or if it could even mean “ever” or at least “for a decade.”

    It just seems like with the combination of health concerns (which with luck will abate by next year) and economic concerns (which could last for several years) we are going to see air travel become much more utilitarian….and things we have enjoyed like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal and other extravagances just won’t be sustainable. The market pressure on even more practical things, like steadily improving business class hard products, might come to a halt.

    Not to be downbeat, but would be curious here or in a separate column for your appraisal of whether we might be looking at a “Lost Decade” in air travel.

  6. This is expected. It’s just an extension of Singapore’s general overreaction to the covid issue which has seen a Wuhan-length lockdown despite only 3 people in the ICU with it right now, 20ish deaths and cases holding steady at 10-20 or so a day outside of the dorm fiasco.

    SIA is an extension of the government’s mentality. I wouldn’t extrapolate what SIA do with what the wider industry does. Singapore will be a follower, not a leader, in how countries/businesses/airlines pull out of this crisis. But I imagine they’ll catch up fast once global competition mounts. So Lufthansa’s update is a positive first step.

  7. Well, borders are still closed in Singapore, and non citizens nor PRs can’t even venture out or they risk not being allowed back into the country except they work in essential services. A colleague’s daughter who was away before the border closure has not been allowed back into the country for months now as they are neither citizens nor PR. Hopefully, by the time the govt allows travel (by Sept I hope) SQ would have also eased some of the restrictions. Anyone travelling on SQ at the moment is probably only transiting or doing some business/essential travel on one of the green lanes established by SG govt and some countries..China for now, others to follow shortly

  8. “Alcohol offerings have been adjusted across all classes”

    That is not information. Any specifics Lucky?

  9. This sounds like an excuse to cut costs.

    “Alcohol offerings will be reduced in all cabins”

    Oh yeah because everyone knows Coronavirus spreads quickly in the vicinity of expensive Champaign. I believe it was the WHO who said “the best way to fight Coronavirus is to serve cheap Champaign to high paying customers and fill the middle seat on every flight”

  10. So thankful that @Endre always takes the time to clarify that he pays for his F tickets instead of flying with points. I would have been unable to focus on the rest of my life today if not for this clarification. Especially pertinent when discussing the details of service that have nothing to do with how the ticket was obtained.

  11. if flying won’t be fun for a while – whats the point to fly? only “essential” trips should be allowed; I understand airlines are desperate to fly again but they have to provide proper service even in covid 19 times..if Qatar and Emirates or even LH/LX can keep the standards – others should as well

  12. @ Travel Manager

    This is really funny!..does @Endre really remind himself and the others here that he explicitly paid his premium fares with cash and not by points, as in never??

  13. @Ben (Lucky)….
    when you say that ” As I’ve said before, I respect whatever approach airlines choose to take in the short-term.” re inflight catering ( in J& F ) in this case; how can you apply that to Turkish and their obvious use of covid-19 safety, as a smoke screen to their cost cutting ?
    I mean is this virus that may get on board a LH or SQ and others flight, different than the same virus possibly getting on board a Turkish flight? Of course not. So why ” respect” Turkish Airline’s clear cost cutting masquerading as covid-19 “safety” measures?

  14. I Hope all these airlines cutting service go bankrupt, as there probably will be competition providing reasonable catering. It’s awful that under coranovirus ‘bullshit’ safety they perform cost cutting.

  15. We are a family in the “service side” of COVID-19. We feel all the grandstanding by some of our fellow healthcare providers is a bit too melodramatic and self serving. We knew what this was about when we chose this career path.
    We have been tested over 20 times since this started, go to “hot spots” every day.
    This, we still believe,is a massive and catastrophic global overreaction. Poorly planned, with unrealistic expectations, poorly defined goals, and no clear exit planning.
    Our conclusion?
    The “cure” has been enormously worse than the disease.
    Many poor, underdeveloped countries are suffering as totalitarian governments use this as an excuse to tighten their oppression and grip while no one will question their draconian measures.

  16. Random musings:

    1. For me, travel is primarily about the destination. The plane just gets me there.
    2. F/J for me first and foremost is about the bigger seat.
    3. “The market” will dictate what services carriers offer and at what price. TBH, I’d take a “low frills” service at a cheaper price, as long as I still have the flat bed.

  17. This is not good enough SQ

    we hv flown RTW in F class last 18 years.
    From Us west coast to Hkg or Sin and then back to Europe often SQ
    Down to Cpt and back to the us With LH/LX,never UA

    LH/LX “package “better and more enjoyable overall
    Lh terminal in Fra is fantastic,just miss massage as in BKK/TG and more quiet bedrooms.

  18. @ Dan. Tend to agree with you. The lie flat seat and the space is the priority for me. Aside of course from the destination.

  19. Get prepared for “kosher style” wrapped meals for the next future in business and economy class…. The only fancy will be pre-order them before flight. Normal service will be too risky without a covid19 vaccine

  20. (see, I’m an inny, not an outty, so…)

    @docntx “The “cure” has been enormously worse than the disease.”

    Yeah, tell that to the 400,000 people who have died of it so far. And the half million of more who probably will die of it in the next year or two.

  21. This is not right! It is so atypical of SIA. This ridiculous new “cheapen” catering policy has to end now. How could they even assume premium pax will approve these cost cutting measures masked as Covid-19 measures and expect revenue from it?? Do they really think people are so stupid? Even the loyals of SIA are turning eyes and wondering whom from the Board is or are so foolish to imply such idiocy!
    SIA is a premium airline, it has reputation to uphold and not become a cheapen LCC.
    We have enough of those nowadys. These are becoming more and more to my regret.

  22. @ Lucky,

    I have heard from a friend that SIA is not offering First class till Sept/Oct this year and the SIA Suites in the A380 will be back not sooner than Spring 2021??
    Can you verify that?? Thanks!!

  23. Crikey!

    Im a very frequent traveller, luckily in premium.

    Im a bit perplexed by the vitriol (and people reading in so much more than was even stated). People seem so angry about everything right now, its not good for your own health.

    Sure ill miss the lounge respite for the moment but that’s often the airports governance decision.

    All i read was they are serving on trays to minimise interaction.

    The alcohol change was unspecific.

    I put SQ 100 points above US and European airlines (LH are major grumpy pants). Arabic airlines have snazzier products but unreliable service. SQ premium staff have always been like hotel trained butlers to me.

  24. what is a single tray service? a wheeled tray? how is that better than individual meals like the normally serve?! i am a business and first SIA traveler and i won’t accept much less. i don’t mind the buffet gone with a menu. they do it in the private room, jal first, etc etc. i kinda don’t like it as much but it is ok. i actually really liked korean air first lounge/rooms….little pods and a nice menu and service. this was done pre-covid but it is a relevant design today.

    but back to sia…..serve the dam meal like it was previously. maybe you don’t have the bread basket but this can be easy to handle. flying is already stressful and tough on long-haul. decrease this experience and demand will drop. and customers will search out the best service or best safety (clean) that is important to them. i am getting sick and tired of this over-the-top reactions. instead of water bottle waiting at seat, make it a small spray bottle of alcohol. just be mindful of basic changes and keep business and first class a premium experience.

  25. I don’t think Singapore Airlines is in a position to choose to upset customers by cutting costs at the expense of the brand. They know this from a few years ago, when they attempted to remove the warm towel service etc.

    Without an image of the product, it’s hard to tell. The above could describe the same about Japan Airlines short-haul international service, but the presentation of the meal box is so luxurious and exquisite, recalling a kaiseki or bento, which was introduced prior to COVID19. China Eastern Airlines also introduced a very expensive looking but essentially the same as joint venture partner Japan Airlines and China Airlines.

    I personally thought Air France’s eurobusiness meal box design was genius, using the transparent boxes that Airbus serves on delivery flights.

    To be honest, for some routes, this will be an upgrade, particularly on Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta where Singapore Airlines pales in comparison to Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia (they get a lot of meal orders on breakfast n dinner time flights previously), Batik Air/ Malindo.

    Even for Bangkok n Ho Chi Minh where meal service is rushed in all classes.

    You wanna who’s bad? ANA. A ziploc bag of Japanese only snacks n a kiddy juice box.

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