There are many people out there who travel on a regular basis as part of their jobs, or perhaps even as part of their lives. As a foreign student for more than half of my life, most of my journeys include trans-Atlantic journeys home. When people hear that I travel mostly on Singapore Airlines, most assume that my family must be rich. We are not. I was simply lucky because I’m what is known as a SQ brat.
My father worked for Singapore Airlines from when it was formed and most workers under the old contract got a sweet deal where your immediate family members get to fly for free on a balloted ticket once a year. It is expected that all members who fly on a balloted ticket, or even a subsidized ticket remember that it is a privilage to fly on SQ. Hence, we are perhaps one of the most meek passengers every time we board an SQ flight. I’m also a by-product of an era where flying was a novelty, a treat, and we always dressed appropriately for it. When I was a child, we wore dresses, always neatly pressed. And my mom always wore make up. When we got a bit older and flying became a bit more uncomfortable, we moved to wearing jeans (no holes, non-faded), and nice blouses. Sweat pants, jeans with holes in them, flip flops never even crossed our minds. It never even crossed our minds to complain if we were separated in our seating arrangements.
Even when I started having to pay for my flights home, I hardly ever ask for anything beyond what is served to me because I appreciate that these trans-Atlantic flights are difficult, not only for the passengers, but for the crew as well. And I always appreciate the amazing (well, not always, but compared to most other airlines) food that is served to me. Its always nice and warm, 3 courses, with proper utensils.
Coming from this background, you can imagine how difficult it is for me to fly on any other airline, especially the American ones. I find myself reacting to their bad food and bad service with equally bad behavior. I realize that tit-for-tat behavior does not reflect well on me, but on a 24-hour flight, when I’m tired, and experiencing cabin fever, well, it doesn’t excuse my irritation, but it does explain it when I’m served a cold sandwich, or given food that tastes worse than chinese left-overs from take out the night before.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when yesterday, I was on an American Airlines flight from LHR to JFK, and I was served beef stroganoff that was actually edible, and imagine my delight when we were served a pre-landing dinner of hot piping pizza! Granted, not as good as Singapore Airlines cuisine, but at least it was hot, and I didn’t feel like throwing it against the window when I was served! Is it too optimistic to hope that the food from JFK to LHR will be just as good? *cross fingers*