Rose petals, champagne and strawberries for 2B please

Apologies for not posting a follow-up from the Singapore Airlines A380 handover yesterday. That’s partly because I got bogged down in boring old mainstream journalism, but also because of the epic queue to tour the aircraft and in particular to lay eyes on the now legendary double-bed version of the Singapore Suites.Here’s what we’re talking about.

Frankly I’m really not qualified to comment on the niceties of different airlines’ first class products, but even I can see that this – and the single-passenger version – is in a league of its own. But, I hear you wonder, can you actually, you know, make love in it? This was the question that nobody was asking out loud yesterday, but which haunted the proceedings like a saucy spectre.

The answer is that it depends on the weather. You can in fact give yourself and your partner near-total privacy by closing the door and pulling down the blinds. However – and it’s a non-trivial however – be aware that the bottom 3 inches or so of the blinds are actually made of a see-through mesh. This is to meet the regulatory requirement that the flight attendants can peek in to ensure that you’ve buckled up in the event of turbulence.

A senior Singapore Airlines spokesman told me that with a more or less straight face. And I’ll leave you to conjure up your own wonderful mental images of petite ‘Singapore girls’ trying to persuade tipsy and frisky high-net-worth individuals that they need to belt-up.

But seriously, the Singapore A380 on-board product is really quite superb in the suites, business or economy class. In terms of seat-width, leg-room, IFE, electrical provision and all the other specifics it’s terrific. But – and interior furnishings are really not my forte, as Mrs Daly can attest – the overall ambience and design are about as good as it gets on a commercial aircraft. For the first time in years something is happening that really is a step-change for air travel.

To end – my hot economy class tip (this bit is relevant to my life.) SIA is one of the airlines that lets you select your seat online. The ones to go for are the two-abreast rows next to the emergency exits. You could play football in the area next to an A380 door and with the new wider seats, more leg-room than you could actually use, a 10 inch screen with several hundred programming choices, at-seat power, and a USB port with access to a basic suite of office-like software – you will be getting one of the best long-haul bargains in the world. Sex is pretty much out of the question though.

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3 Responses to Rose petals, champagne and strawberries for 2B please

  1. OV-099 October 16, 2007 at 3:51 pm #

    For the first time in years something is happening that really is a step-change for air travel.

    Kieran, this is the primary reason why the A380 may indeed reach 300 orders by the time of next year’s Farnborough air show.

    Looking at 777 orders and deliveries one can see that in 1994 (no orders), Boeing had only orders for 112 airframes. By the end of 1995, some 6 months after the aircraft had entered service, Boeing had received another 101 orders.

    I would advice A380-bashers like Richard Aboulafia, among others, to carefully reexamine the order pattern of the 777.

    Now, unlike the 777, the A380 is a step change, not only in size, but in a level of comfort that can’t be matched by any other airliner. Also, as Max Kingsley-Jones of Flight International has pointed out, there is typically a lull in sales on an aircraft program in the run up to entry-into-service, as potential customers wait to see how the aircraft performs.

    Oh, I forgot to say that Richard Aboulafia appears to have been consulted in the Morgan Stanley report. It beats me, though, why Morgan Stanley would consult someone who has put his name to production cost estimates for the A380 that are at least 75 percent wide off the mark.

  2. ikke man October 16, 2007 at 6:07 pm #

    How’s about those frisky high net-worth passengers ordering room service and getting even more frisky???

  3. tony October 20, 2007 at 4:36 pm #

    I have another question regarding the new sears from A380. Did someone of you see in the presentataion material of SAE any safty material for and accidental turbulent flight?

    I remember that some time ago, one of the officials gouvermet of Grece die on turbulent flight becuse the arcraft was clumbing almost 6000ft in few seconds….(kess that ten)….so fly with SEA on A380 on the VIP area is not a smart think for me to do

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