SINGAPORE – An article in The Straits Times features an interview with Singapore Airlines’s (SIA) Chief Executive, Goh Choon Phong on how the airline company will handle business in the time of Covid-19.
The aviation industry has taken one of the biggest hits due to the pandemic, and companies like Singapore Airlines are now finding new ways to handle these unparalleled times in order to help travellers feel safe enough to fly again.
According to Mr Phong, technology is going to play an immense role when it comes to safety when flying. He said, “Our top priority is ensuring that the safety and health concerns are addressed, both for our customers and staff… We are looking at every single detail and in a holistic manner; from the start to the end of a customer’s journey.”
So what exactly can customers expect when they take an SIA flight?
For one, by the end of July, passengers flying SIA can use their personal mobile phones to manage the check-in kiosks when they arrive at the Changi Airport. This will allow them to print both their boarding passes and required bag tags.
Customers should also download the SingaporeAir mobile app before their flight in order to be privy to the latest travel information, as well as transit restrictions to lessen the chances of issues with flights or other types of travel changes.
In their efforts for a “contactless journey,” Mr Phong intends to release digital versions of any in-flight and shopping menus by the end of August. This will also help lessen contact between staff and passengers.
The article also shares how SIA is working with the Changi airport and other partners on a new system that will allow them to “alert” their passengers when it’s their boarding time. This method will lessen the chances of passengers crowding together in the departure area before boarding their flight.
The SingaporeAir mobile app will also be used to manipulate the in-flight entertainment system, which will now include at least 150 titles in their electronic library due to the removal of actual newspapers and magazines. Passengers will also be happy to know that this access comes from free Wi-Fi onboard.
Aside from making sure to clean the entire aircraft – including consistent bathroom checks – the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has made some new regulatory guidelines, including safe distancing rules.
This includes SIA making some adjustments to their in-flight service. All cabin crew must wear masks throughout the entire flight. They must also wear goggles when dealing with passengers, which they should attempt to keep at a minimum. They also need to wear gloves when serving customers’ meals.
For those seated in the business class section during long-haul flights, they will only be served one-tray meals rather than a number of courses, like how it was before the pandemic struck. But for flights to mainland China and Southeast Asia, a snack bag will be provided instead.
The article also stipulates that despite the changes to the airline service, especially for the highly-acclaimed SIA, Mr Phong “is confident the airline can retain its edge over its rivals when it comes to service in the air.”
“I think the customers are still able to sense the attentiveness, the warmth and the friendliness of our crew when they serve them. We continue to receive very good feedback from our customers… Some of them tell us that despite the crew wearing masks, for example, they can sense that the crew are smiling and are very friendly,” said Mr Phong.
He added, “This is an opportunity for us to be innovative and to think creatively about how, despite the constraints, we can continue to deliver good service and also good quality meals for our customers.”
The question of whether SIA flights will be cheaper due to less service, the answer is no. This is because “We believe that we will… continue to deliver a good and valued service to our customers,” shared Mr Phong.
The straitstimes.com report also shared that despite all the recent safety measures put in place, not all travellers will actually take a flight until certain travel restrictions are lifted, like needing to do a 14-day quarantine upon arrival at their destination. Aside from that, Singaporean residents and citizens must also foot the bill should they get sick with Covid-19 and require treatment after their flight.
Regardless of the roadblocks and difficulties SIA is currently facing, Mr Phong still believes that the company will come out “stronger.” He said, “We have never shied from competition; we have always looked at challenges practically and made the necessary adjustments in order to not just meet the competition but to emerge stronger.” / TISG
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