With thousands of flights cancelled, border restrictions and travel advisories firmly in place, and no vaccine yet in sight, COVID-19 has pushed airlines to get creative with revenue generation ideas.
Over the past few months, we’ve seen Qantas selling fully-stocked bar carts from their 747 aircraft, Thai Airways opening an airplane-themed cafe, and EVA Air and Royal Brunei Airlines operating sightseeing flights to nowhere.
Closer to home, rumour had it that Singapore Airlines (SIA) was contemplating its own flights to nowhere, but eventually decided against the idea. Instead, they’ve gone ahead and created ‘Discover Your Singapore Airlines’ — a series of on-ground events that run from October to November 2020.
These events include dining in an A380, visiting the airline’s training facility, and enjoying First/Business Class meals from the comfort of your own home.
Just what are these events about, and are they worth the cost of admission? Let’s find out.
Restaurant A380 @Changi
On 24 and 25 October 2020, SIA will offer Restaurant A380 @Changi, a unique dining experience that takes place onboard an actual Airbus A380 parked at Changi Airport.
Diners will be able to book a ticket in any of the four cabins (Economy, Premium Economy, Business and Suites), each with their own unique menu and program. They’ll even have access to the KrisWorld entertainment system, so they can watch a movie while they dine.
All diners will receive KrisShop discounts, a limited edition goodie bag, and additional gifts if they turn up in traditional heritage wear. In addition, there will be an opportunity to tour the A380 before lunch begins, with special access to behind-the-scenes areas.
Tickets for Restaurant A380 @Changi will be priced as follows (before 7% GST):
- Economy Class: $50
- Premium Economy Class: $90
- Business Class: $300
- Suites: $600
Tickets sales will go live on KrisShop.com at the stroke of midnight on 12 October 2020, and I fully expect them to sell out in minutes.
The downturn in global travel caused by COVID-19 could mean the days of the A380 are numbered, so if you haven’t had a chance to experience the world’s largest passenger aircraft, I wouldn’t wait too long.
Inside Singapore Airlines
Ever wondered what it takes to become a Singapore Girl or a SIA pilot? For the first time ever, members of the public will have an opportunity to catch a glimpse inside Singapore Airlines’ training facility, through Inside Singapore Airlines.
Inside Singapore Airlines runs on 21-22 and 28-29 November 2020 (specially timed to coincide with the school holidays), and features the following activities:
- SIA’s heritage: Visitors can travel back in time and journey with us through over 70 years of SIA’s heritage. Highlights include a showcase of how our iconic cabin crew uniform and cabin products have evolved over the years.
- Training facilities: Perfect for kids and families, this is a rare opportunity to find out from our pilots and cabin crew what it takes to fly and serve in the skies. The tour will feature our latest cabin products and a look at where training on our flight simulators is conducted.
- Sustainability showcase: Get a glimpse into what we have been doing to shape a more sustainable future at SIA, from reducing our carbon footprint to our range of waste management measures. Understand more about our conservation efforts through our partnership with the Harapan Rainforest Initiative.
- Craft activities: Children and adults alike can enjoy fun craft activities, including balloon sculpting and making their own batik roses.
- Satisfy your in-flight cuisine cravings: Choose from a selection of our popular in-flight meals, including our all-time favourite satay, at any time during their visit. Visitors may earn miles for these in-flight meals too, when they use KrisPay.
- Indulge in retail therapy: Visitors can get great deals on KrisShop merchandise, including airline exclusive products. Visitors can download the KrisPay app for contactless payment, and to earn KrisPay miles with their purchases.
- Receive limited edition souvenirs: All visitors will take home a specially prepared goodie bag
Further experiences will be available for an additional charge:
- Flight simulator experience: For aviation enthusiasts, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to experience the training that goes behind being a pilot. Become the pilot in command and go from take-off to landing in the very same flight simulator our pilots use for training. Very limited slots will be available on each day.
- Junior cabin crew experience: Little ones can turn into junior cabin crew for a day in this memorable experience, where they can get a chance to dress up and take home their very own SIA sarong kebaya uniform, learn customer service skills, and role-play in a mock-up of our A380 Business Class cabin.
- Wine appreciation: Learn about the SIA wine sourcing approach and enjoy four wines — including labels from the largest Burgundy cellar in the skies — accompanied with cheese. Designed for wine enthusiasts and conducted by our air sommeliers.
- Grooming workshop: Those who have always admired the impeccable grooming of our cabin crew can learn how to achieve the Singapore Girl look in this workshop conducted by our cabin crew trainers. Participants will be guided through a demonstration on makeup application and the secret behind the perfect Singapore Girl chignon. Customers will also bring home their own makeup palette at the end of the session.
Tickets for Inside Singapore Airlines will be priced as follows:
- Adult: $32.10
- Child: $16.05
Some of the experiences will require a further top up:
- Flight simulator experience: $535 (for up to 3 participants)
- Junior cabin crew experience: $94.16
- Wine appreciation: $40.66
- Grooming workshop: $94.16
Tickets sales will go live on KrisShop.com at the stroke of midnight on 1 November 2020, and just like the A380 dining experience, I expect this to be oversubscribed.
SIA@Home allows travel-starved people to relive the best part of the flying experience: the airline meal. Well, maybe not if you’re in Economy Class, but trust me, the food in Business and First Class is significantly better.
Customers will be able to choose from 10 different Business and First Class menus, and the pre-cooked items will be delivered to your home with instructions on heating and plating. Champagne and dining ware can also be added on to your order.
These packages are already on sale at KrisShop.com, and their prices are steep. Expect to pay at least $448 (before GST) for a First Class meal, and $288 for a Business Class meal (slightly cheaper options are available if you’re vegetarian). For an additional $300, Singapore Airlines will arrange a private chef to come to your home to prepare the items.
The all-inclusive First Class package costs a whopping $888, but at least you’ll have the dinner ware to remember it by?
Should I use my KrisFlyer miles for this?
When browsing the KrisShop website, you may notice that the option exists to pay with your KrisFlyer miles. Given how you can’t fly now, isn’t this the next best thing?
In a word, no. KrisShop gives you a fixed value of 0.8 cents per mile when you use KrisFlyer miles to pay for items. That’s way lower than the 2 to 5 cents per mile you would get if you use it to redeem an award ticket, or the 1 cent you would receive if you used your miles to pay for your cash ticket.
To put matters in perspective, the New Delhi First Class meal would cost 58,500 miles. If you redeemed a First Class flight between Singapore and New Delhi, it’d cost you only 53,000 miles! That’s insane when you think about it, and you are better off spending your miles when leisure travel resumes.
Just remember that during this time, Singapore Airlines is periodically extending miles that are due to expire, so you don’t need to worry about expiring miles.
What credit card should I use to pay for this?
KrisShop purchases will code as online duty free transactions, so you can consider using the following cards to maximize your miles:
- DBS Woman’s World Card: 4 miles per dollar, on the first $2,000 per calendar month
- Citi Rewards Card: 4 miles per dollar, on the first $1,000 per statement month
- UOB Preferred Platinum Visa: 4 miles per dollar, on the first $1,000 per calendar month
- HSBC Revolution: 4 miles per dollar, on the first $1,000 per calendar month
- KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card: 3 miles per dollar, with no cap
- AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend or AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card: 2 miles per dollar, with no cap
While I’m personally excited to discover these new SIA experiences, I’d be hard-pressed to burn my miles on them. You’re much better off paying cash, and earning miles with your credit cards.
If the A380 dining or Singapore Airlines training facility tours interest you, I’d advise you to camp out on the KrisShop website on the night of 11 and/or 31 October at 12 am. These will sell like hotcakes, and it’s going to be a tough fight to get a ticket.
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By Aaron Wong
Aaron started The MileLion to help people travel better for less and impress “chiobu”. He was 50% successful. This is his story.