Are you a friend of SIA

Are you a friend of SIA

There is a tradition in Asia of not cracking someone else’s rice bowl. In the west they call it ‘live and let live’. Harmony in society is desirable not just because it reduces human conflict and injury but because it makes your neighbour easier to live with. The question is “What is really in the interests of your neighbour and social harmony?” If you answer that correctly you will discover that how you handle others changes dramatically.

Move to your favourite restaurant and you are asked to comment on the food, service and surroundings. You know you will probably go there again. You have heard dreadful things of what staff who don’t like you can do to your food. You comment enthusiastically about the good but don’t mention the bad. No point in risking your health to swing a complaint? But praise without criticism is usually false. And criticism can be helpful.

I have flown Singapore Airlines since 1974, through the Concorde phase, through the beautiful Boeing 747 phase, now into the efficient A380 phase. I have been fortunate. I have always flown first class, now Suites. Singapore Airlines was and still can be the best airline in the world. Their aircraft, pilots, aircrew and ground staff are still first class. They said I had flown a million miles with them many years ago and gave me a bottle of Dom Perignon.

What a shame that three things are pulling down the reputation of SIA today. The first is the food and victualling supplies. They have slipped so badly that passengers – in all classes – are tempted to bring their own sandwiches. There is much hyperbole about world-renowned chefs. Actually what people want on a longhaul flight is plain reliable food and drink when they want it. Fine dining is for ground level and never out of a commissary.

The second drag on SIA’s reputation is the airline’s incessant attempts to sneak in additional charges for things like use of credit cards and costs of preferred seats. Janadas has made this point clearly in one of the Singapore papers so I won’t labour it here. It makes the airline look trivial. Flying with SIA is an important and expensive event not a trip to Lazada.

The third drag on SIA’s reputation is Changi airport. Once the Travellers’ Haven of service it is today becoming a second rate airport with little service (difficult to organise what there is) and poor amenities. I am sure Mr Goh Choon Phong, CEO of SIA, is a good friend of Singapore Airport Transport Services (SATS). Could he please coordinate SIA with them? On the ground the services are SIA’s promotions. On plane or off plane, what happens reflects on Singapore Airlines.

Singapore Airlines is a major mobile advertisement for Singapore. It has to be the best in the world without question. It is slipping – bad for customers, bad for staff, bad for Singapore.

Only your Best friends tell you that you have BO. SIA’s may think theirs is mild. But it is there.

May 2018 bring good, fresh performance from our much loved airline.