Dining onboard a grounded Singapore Airlines A380: The Full Experience
Hey everyone! Welcome back to another “flight” review. You would probably think this is just another flight review on the IFC, but this is a unique one that you won’t want to miss. Enjoy!
Ever heard of dining on the World’s Best Airline at the World’s Best Airport in the World’s Largest Aircraft? Today, I’ll bring you through the full experience of dining on the Singapore Airline’s Airbus A380 on the ground of Singapore Changi Airport.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for many industries, especially the aviation sector. With aircraft stuck on the ground, airlines has been bleeding money and a number of them has come up with many creative ways to bring in revenue while gaining some publicity, and Singapore Airlines is one of them.
Back in September, Singapore Airlines announced that they were looking to launch “flights to nowhere” by end October 2020 that departs and lands back at Singapore Changi Airport. However, the plan was scrapped due to concerns on unnecessary carbon emissions (sigh… I was really hoping to get off the ground). Singapore Airlines did not give up though, and instead of launching “flights to nowhere”, they decided to launch a series of activities, dubbed “Discover Your Singapore Airlines”, and one of them included the Restaurant A380 @ Changi Airport, where for 2 weekends only (originally), diners would be able to get a chance to dine on the majestic Airbus A380. Seeing that, I knew I had to get my hands on a ticket.
The menu features international cuisines and a Peranakan menu customised for the temporary restaurant. Each meal will come with two free alcoholic drinks and free flow of other beverages.
Diners will get other perks, such as KrisShop discounts and a goodie bag. Those who turn up in traditional heritage wear, such as sarong kebaya, cheongsam or saree, will get an extra gift.
SIA took precautions to reduce the risk of spread of the Covid-19 virus. These measures include cleaning and sanitising the plane, capping group sizes at five, implementing safe distancing and doing a temperature check.
Both crew and diners was required to wear a face mask at all times when on board, except when eating or drinking. Safe distancing measures were also strictly enforced onboard.
Before the Event
The day before tickets went live, I waited till the clock striked midnight as I knew that there would be many people eager to get a ticket, and I wasn’t wrong. The moment sales started. I immediately purchased a Economy ticket for the 24th October lunch session. Within 30 minutes, tickets had sold out for both 24th October and 25th October’s sessions, which resulted in Singapore Airlines adding more sessions due to the overwhelming demand from customers. A meal in a suite costs S$642 (USD $474), while seats in business class are going for S$321, dropping to S$96.30 for premium economy and S$53.50 for economy. Customers can also pay with frequent-flyer miles.
I woke up on 24th October, sleepy, as I had sacrificed my sleep to control Vancouver for the flash flight yesterday. I was all ready and excited to head to the airport. While I was on my way to the airport, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of grounded planes stuck on the ground, waiting to fly again. It was a really sad sight.
Arrived at Terminal 3, where the event took place. Couldn’t stop myself from taking a picture of the iconic control tower with Jewel in the background. @Thunderbolt, jealous yet?
The process to get onboard the aircraft was just like any other normal flight. We checked in, had our bags checked (I had to throw away my water, just like the usual procedure when you’re flying off) and was directed to the gate B4, where the event was taking place by the ever so friendly Singapore Airlines staff. I really felt like I was flying somewhere for a minute. There were many international media outlets there, such as CNBC, who pointed their cameras at me.
Exclusive Pre-dining Tour
I was lucky to get a slot for an exclusive pre-dining tour, which allowed us to explore the award-winning interiors furnished by renowned international designers. This tour also included a rare behind-the-scenes look at private access areas, such as the cockpit (this is the only time Singapore Airlines would let you in there due to their strict policies) as well as the crew rest stations. I was originally supposed to have my session begin at 1030hrs, but they had overrun sessions and I was only able to go in at 1110hrs (finally!). The friendly Singapore Airlines guide took us around the aircraft, showing off their wide knowledge of their airline while the majority of us rushed to take photos.
The aircraft in use for this event was 9V-SKN and 9V-SKS, with 9V-SKV on standby. These 3 aircrafts are the latest retrofitted aircraft (version 3), so they have that strong new cabin smell.
Entering the upper deck of the A380. I could smell the strong leather from there!
Starting off with the Suites cabin, which we were all wowed by. Can someone please sponsor me a flight in Suites?
Business class was as good! I love the mood lighting, so simple, yet beautiful.
My class for this “flight”, Economy, as well as a wing view from one of the seats.
The Premium Economy cabin was pretty impressive. I loved the extra wide legroom and the spaciousness of the seat.
That’s it for the pre-dining tour! We left the aircraft and went back to the gate hold room to wait for our turn to board again, this time for the actual dining experience. The gate hold room had many different activities for customers to enjoy while waiting, and some of them included taking photos with cabin crew, or even getting a tattoo on your face!
One of the many media outlets present at the event interviewing a customer.
All ready to serve passengers!
The Dining Experience
As mentioned above earlier, due to the pre-dining tours being overrun, the boarding of the aircraft for the dining experience was also delayed. Boarding was scheduled to commence at 1400hrs, but boarding started 30 minutes late. The seat I was assigned to was 78J, which was the very last row of the aircraft. Not complaining though, since it was a window seat :)
The restaurant features many international cuisines, but most of the passengers opted for the Peranakan menu, which was specially designed by acclaimed Singaporean chef Shermay Lee who kindly volunteered her time for the event. If you’re interested in the delicious food Singapore Airlines had to offer for each class, you can check the menu below:
The 8 course Suites menu consists of SIA’s signature satay and oscietra caviar as starters, two appetisers, choice of a main course, dessert, a cheese platter, and a fruit platter. Main course options include nasi lemak, lobster thermidor, and grass-fed beef tenderloin.
The 6 courses business class meal includes a starter of satay, an appetiser, choice of a main course, dessert, a cheese platter, and a fruit platter. The main course options for business class include nasi lemak, pan seared prawns and scallops, grilled beef fillet with black pepper sauce, and Japanese-style grilled Chilean sea bass.
Premium Economy & Economy
The 3 course premium economy and economy meals include an appetiser, a main course, and dessert. Main course options include Japanese-style miso-flavoured stewed pork, pan-fried salmon, or — for premium economy diners — Lee’s Itek Siow and Chap Chai dish, a classic Peranakan braised duck dish.
What a beautiful aircraft!
Welcome onboard SQ380, from Singapore to Singapore. Singapore Airlines never fails to impress. Even though we were not getting off the ground, we had a safety briefing for the “flight”, as well as the routine welcome speech from the pilots, just like any routine flight.
Even though we were not flying, we were provided with economy earpieces as well as a complimentary care kit, which consisted of a face mask, hand sanitiser and disinfectant surface wipes.
Meal service began shortly after seating. The Appetiser was Roasted Chicken with Potato and Pumpkin Salad, and for the main choice, I chose the Pan-Fried Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce. Singapore Airlines also used metal plates and glass cups for this event, instead of its usual plastic ones (in Economy), which was a nice touch. We ended off the meal with a creamy Haagen-Dazs Vanilla ice cream (not pictured).
The cabin was rather quiet after the meal as everyone was enjoying the wide selection of in-flight entertainment available.
Singapore Airlines doesn’t forget about your birthday. Usually, they would prepare a cake for you if you happen to be flying with them on the day of your birthday. This event was no exception! A birthday cake was specially made for customers who were celebrating their birthdays (they didn’t even request it!), and the birthday boy/girl got the whole cake to him/herselves. Lucky. You would imagine that an airline would do this only for their Business or First class passengers, but believe it or not, this was for a customer in Economy class.
After the Event
At last, we left the aircraft, 45 minutes late due to the overrun. It was completely understandable though, as this was the first session. I’m sure the other sessions would be much better. Needless to say, we left the aircraft happy, but yet sad that the experience had come to an end so quickly. There was a transit area shopping tour after the event, which meant no tax on goods, but as I didn’t want to burn my wallet further, I decided against it.
Singapore Airlines provided a goodie bag (varies for every class) for all customers at the end of the event, which contained a lot of goodies.
Leaving the transit area.
If you’ve stayed till here, then great job! That concludes my review of Singapore Airline’s Restaurant A380 @ Changi Airport. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience here, and I left the airport impressed with how Singapore Airlines pulled this event off (apart from the slight delays) from check-in to ensuring you enjoy your birthday with them. Throughout the whole experience, I really felt like I was flying off to somewhere. I guess this is not how we expected 2020 to be like, but well, I’m happy I got the chance to step onboard a aircraft this year. If you’re reading this and you’re in Singapore, I do recommend signing yourself up for this one in a lifetime opportunity. It’s not everyday where you get to dine on a grounded A380!
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Thanks for viewing! Since you stayed, I’ll leave you with this cute Singapore Airlines bear :)