- Singapore Airlines is converting one of its Airbus A380 aircraft into a restaurant, catering to travel-starved residents of the island nation.
- The Discover Your Singapore Airlines program aims to create unique aviation experiences while the population is largely grounded.
- The airline has severely cut its international flying schedule due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with visitors from most countries barred from entry without quarantining for 14 days.
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Singapore Airlines just unveiled its take on the "flight to nowhere" that airlines have been offering in lieu of actual travel amid a pandemic: an exclusive dining experience aboard its largest aircraft that might finally put to bed the age-old question of "what's the deal with airline food?"
Restaurant A380@Changi will be Singapore's most exclusive restaurant for a weekend in late October as Singapore Airlines turns to on-the-ground experiences to satisfy a travel-starved population while Covid-19 has stripped flying of its appeal. Diners-turned-passengers will have the opportunity to enjoy a meal aboard a Singapore Airlines A380 the weekend of October 24, crafted by chef Shermay Lee.
Patrons can choose from international cuisine or traditional Singaporean meals as they settle into the airline's extravagant A380 seats. And just as if flying across the Pacific Ocean, the airline will provide complimentary alcohol and soft drinks. A press release did not include the cost of the experience, and the carrier did not immediately respond to a request for pricing information.
Entertainment will be primarily provided through the seat-back entertainment screens, as guests will be treated to a history of Singapore Airlines' cabin crew. Passengers will also learn the secrets of the A380 with a tour of the aircraft that includes the hidden rest areas for cabin crew.
Completing the experience is the inclusion of a Singapore Airlines premium cabin amenity kit, an airline-curated playlist, and a choice of wine or champagne. The airline's dining ware will also be available for purchase.
The jet is popular among aviation enthusiasts, given its status as one of the most luxurious in the sky. From swanky first class suites with double beds to a sprawling economy class cabin, the Singapore Airlines A380 has it all.
Those who can't make the "flight" can still buy Singapore Airlines meals through the airline's SIA@Home experience. First and business class meals, also crafted by Lee, will be delivered with instructions on how to cook and plate the meals just as if they were being served on an aircraft.
Grounded airline, meet obsolete plane
Singapore Airlines, which only flies international routes, has been especially hard hit by the pandemic, and has parked most of its long-range jets. Most foreign visitors to Singapore are forced to quarantine for 14 days at their expense, limiting tourism and business opportunities — and forcing the suspension of the world's longest flight, between Singapore and Newark.
Singapore's flag carrier has the longest relationship with the A380 out of any airline, as the launch customer and operator of Airbus' largest aircraft. October 15 will see the airline mark 13 years of flying the plane, but will not be cause for celebration as the aircraft has wound up a short-lived status symbol for international carriers that will likely disappear from the skies in the next few decades. Airbus has stopped building the superjumbo, which failed to surpass 300 orders, as smaller, fuel-efficient planes like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 XWBrender four-engine aircraft obsolete.
The coronavirus pandemic has only accelerated the aircraft's demise. German flag carrier Lufthansa made the decision to retire its A380 fleet while Australian flag carrier Qantas has sent its A380s to California for storage, likely through 2022.
The dining experiences are just some of the opportunities on offer through the Discover Your Singapore Airlines program that also includes a behind the scene tour of the airline's operation. Participants will visit the flight attendant and pilot training centers, with a flight simulator session also on offer.
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