Dear Singapore Airlines,
I've been a loyal customer for some time now, having flown the SIN-LAX route many times as a college student who left his sweetheart at home. I've always been impressed with the movie selections and airline food that actually tastes good. Yesterday was the first time I flown with my family in tow, and I find my expectations of excellence different from flying alone. I find my expectations simpler and more fundamental, but unmet.
Having a 2 year old means you have no time to catch the Transformers on the inflight entertainment. There's no time to sit down for a full movie. Anne's head was too small to use the headsets, so she had to make do with a Charlie Chaplinised version of Toy Story 2.
Being one of the multitude that isn't able to afford business or first class, leg space is a premium. Flying alone I am able to tolerate small confined spaces for long periods of time – I just hole up and enjoy myself. Economy seats suit us fine – we aren't tall or large, but the problem arises when the tray tables come down. We're forced to sit upright and have a good 70% of the space in front of us occupied by a tray of food.
I'm still unsure about how airlines figure out when to feed you – we had dinner at 11pm Singapore time, which was 4am Auckland time. Anne was just getting settled and ready for bed. The air stewardess asks us which meal Anne'd like, explaining that children had smaller portions of the same meal as adults. I choose the Perch – some sort of fish. The meal arrives promptly. Fish fingers. Not sure if it's "Perch". Our meals come later and I'm sure we didn't get fish fingers. No matter. Anne needs to sleep anyway.
The trays weren't cleared for a long time, so we were unable to have Anne lie down, despite our best efforts. She kicked the table a few times, almost spilling half-drunk orange juice all over the place. Unable to stand it anymore, I requested for the trays to be removed. The steward was nice about it.
We had a couple of bookworms seated on the other side of the aisle from us. In what I can only describe as a crucial design flaw, their reading lights shone right down our entire row of seats. I spent a good portion of the flight trying to eclipse the reading light for Anne to get some shuteye. One of the bookworms even opened the window shade, illuminating the entire cabin.
I'm not a college student anymore. When I fly with my family, it is not my own needs that are the priority. Lovely as the amenities are, my family's comfort is paramount, and I found SIA lacking.
Dear Singapore Airlines,