Friday, 24 April 2009

Singapore Airlines

As you know, I've just been to Aus. More on that later. This is a blog I need to write to get it out there - my anger that is.

In this part of the woods, Singapore Airlines has been the Queen airlines as far as our family is concerned. If travelling by economy, we will chose it over any other airlines - having travelled with them to Vancouver and back over christmas and every other time we have had the option.

When travelling back from Aus, we got to the airport counter just over 2 hours before the flight was set to leave. Oh my goodness. The line almost went out the door.

I was travelling alone with 3 kids and was in the Melbourne International Airport - one I have never been in before (besides arriving there 10 days earlier). We dutifully lined up, being told by the nice man in front of us that they had only just opened the counters to "save money".

5 counters for normal check in, 3 counters for internet check in - then on the other side of the line, all alone, was 1 first class check in and 2 business class check ins. Don't get me started on the ratio of check in counters to passengers - we don't really need to go there do we? Having just spent a week in hicksville, the internet checkin had not been an option (and this line was obscene also at the time). We waited.

I sent the two girls over to the business class counter when it was free of a line, to ask if we could check in there - no they were told, gold card only. I turned to face the business class counters. For over half of the time one or both of the counters was empty - vacant, the ladies twidling their thumbs. They didn't take a single passenger out of the line.

What happened next disgusts me the most. I let my children go to the toilet alone in an airport in Australia. Not only am I already totally ashamed of myself (very bad things have occured in toilets in Australia) but disgusted as well - was catching that plane really worth their safety? I should have gone with them and then come back to the end of the line (don't worry about the logistics of getting two trolleys with 4 suitcases out of that line).

When the fine man in front of me got to the front of the cue, the lady from business class came over and took him to her counter. That was 60 minutes after we had asked and 75 minutes after we lined up. He was the first one she had done this to. The actual check in time wasn't too long. I had an odd box that needed to go into a cage. I waited at the service counter for another 5 minutes. One person was "busy" on her computer and wouldn't make eye contact. When the other person finished their customer and I said - just need a key for this - she said - oh, I'll open it for you (I just needed the key passed over) - she shot the other person a deadly look for me.

With three children we ran through customs (not a pleasant experience) and made the plane as one of the last people on the plane. The 20 or so people behind us in the cue were the last ones on - obviously.

My question: Why hasn't singapore airlines in Australia heard of Computers at the airport that you check in with and print the tickets out, then drop off your luggage at a counter. I don't know - how about like the ones Singapore Airlines use in Canada? Or the ones the airlines use in London (for at least the last 2 years)???? If you are saving costs - why not try some technology.

The fact that the business class check ins only started to take people over to check in when it was obvious the plane was going to be held up is DISGUSTING. And the fact that they didn't take the families first is ABSOLUTELY SHAMEFUL.

Do I want special consideration because I've got kids - let's put it this way. On the 7 1/2 hour flight, who is responsible for making sure the kids are quiet, behaved and fed. Does anyone other than the child's parents take that responsibility? There's no village up there on that plane. Is the experience not traumatic enough (the poor people in front of us had a 6 mth - 1 year old that screamed the entire flight - they were exhausted by the end).

So yes - families should take preference for things like a quicker check in (NZ understand this with customs). As if an international flight isn't something that is already traumatic.

If they are saving money - maybe they need to rethink their strategy - I don't know - like when there are no business class passengers checking in, one of the two check in's could be used for families? Not rocket science I would have thought.

So - sorry Singapore Airlines - not going to travel with you again. Especially not when with the kids by myself. And I will warn everyone I know that they are taking cost cutting to a new level. A very pathetic, annoying, leaves a bad taste in my mouth level.


Kathryn said...

My husband is from Melbourne and so we are regular once a year travellers through Melbourne airport - I'm not sure if it's Singapore airlines or just that Melbourne is crap re. check in. We've flown Emirates, Cathay, Thai amongst others and always seem to wait at least an hour at check in, if not more. Sucks big time.
I feel your pain though! Although I have never done it without my husband with me (in laws factor!) Kudos to you for going it alone!

Jakarta Rocks said...

Thanks - and good to know that it is all of the airlines. I don't intend to fly out of Melbourne as a habit - but think I will need to in the near future - not with kids though.