Blogger called out over report on $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites trip

A screenshot of Mr Derek Low's account of travelling in Singapore Airlines' Suites class from a mirror site, Medium.com. Mr Low has been accused online by netizens of plagiarising other people's reviews.  -- PHOTO: MEDIUM.COM
A screenshot of Mr Derek Low's account of travelling in Singapore Airlines' Suites class from a mirror site, Medium.com. Mr Low has been accused online by netizens of plagiarising other people's reviews.  -- PHOTO: MEDIUM.COM

SINGAPORE - A Singapore blogger who wrote about his experiences aboard a $23,000 flight from Singapore to New York in Singapore Airlines' luxury Suites class has been called out online over what netizens say are plagiarised comments.

Mr Derek Low's account, published in September 2014 at http://dereklow.co and picked up on Wednesday by Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, details his journey leaving Sept 23 and returning Sept 26 in Suites - voted the most luxurious cabin in the world by Conde Nast Traveller readers - with full-size beds, Givenchy tableware and gourmet dining.

Mr Low - described on his website as a "an engineer and entrepreneur" - says he cashed in his frequent flier miles to travel in Suites.

In his account, he describes, among other things, champagne and baked Boston lobster with gruyere, emmenthal and cheddar enjoyed in the Private Room before boarding, and being served with Dom Perignon on board after being escorted to his middle suite.

He points out the Bose headphones, Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit, Givenchy pyjamas and blue mountain gourmet coffee, illustrating his account with photos that show in detail the luxuries he enjoyed on board.

Mr Low, who says he is from Singapore on his Facebook page, says he studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and now lives in San Francisco.

"As we finally landed at New York, a huge problem presented itself - I didn’t want to leave the plane", he says.

But netizens on social news site Reddit claim lines have been lifted from blogs written in May 2013, one of which is called Gatsby's Green Light, in which writer "Rebecca"  travels in Suites from London to Singapore.

Rebecca claims her luggage was not weighed, remarking: "Interestingly enough, my suitcases were not even weighed. I suppose when you fly Suites, you can pack a suitcase with lead bars and get away with it." 

Mr Low says much the same in his blog: "Interestingly enough, my suitcases were not even weighed. I suppose when you fly Suites, you can pack a luggage filled with rocks and get away with it."

A Reddit poster named stainless13 claims that Mr Low also "plagiarised from three of my posts", and describes himself as "another blogger that this guy ripped off".

Stainless13 provides three links to "Andy's Travel Blog".

In one post from Andy's Travel Blog, dated May 9, 2013, the writer describes his first-class trip from Hong Kong to San Francisco aboard a Cathay Pacific jet:

"I found the check-in areas for Cathay Pacific and made my way towards a regular desk, where I was promptly greeted by an attendant, 'Good morning, how can I help you sir?'  I had a sudden mental lightbulb and said 'HI, OOPS, SORRY, NO YOU CAN’T HELP ME' and businessmanishly walked away, leaving a bewildered attendant."

In his own account, Mr Low describes his experience thus:

"As I joined the line for check-in, I was promptly greeted by a staff. 'Good evening sir, how may I help you?' A sudden realisation hit me and I went 'OH NOPE SORRY' and briskly walked away, leaving the lady astonished."

Andy's Travel Blog regarding an SIA first-class trip from Singapore to Hong Kong posted May 5, 2013 recalls: "Finally, after about a mile walk (it’s a huge lounge complex) and having your documents inspected by 8000 people, you arrive at The Private Room."

Mr Low's experience: "Finally, after 10 miles of secret passageways and being escorted by 3000 people, I arrived at The Private Room."

Netizens have cried foul, calling Mr Low "spoiled" and unethical.

"First class trip report, lower class behaviour. Absolutely pathetic" remarked a Reddit poster named Monsieurlee.

"Colleges expel students for this," said poster infinitus.

But stainless13 gives Mr Low credit nevertheless for what is still "a great story" and monsieurlee praises his "nice photos".

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