Inside tours at SIA's facility take off

Participants get to visit training centre; girls don sarong kebaya, learn customer service

Kate Lai, three, being assisted by in-flight manager Ann Ong as she greets her father, Mr Kenneth Lai, 36, while taking part in the junior cabin crew experience during the Inside Singapore Airlines tour at the SIA Training Centre.
Kate Lai, three, being assisted by in-flight manager Ann Ong as she greets her father, Mr Kenneth Lai, 36, while taking part in the junior cabin crew experience during the Inside Singapore Airlines tour at the SIA Training Centre.ST PHOTOS: JASON QUAH
Tour participants having their photo taken. SIA is operating four sessions of the Inside SIA tour over two weekends - yesterday and today, as well as on Nov 28 and 29. Each session has a maximum capacity of 500 people.
Tour participants having their photo taken. SIA is operating four sessions of the Inside SIA tour over two weekends - yesterday and today, as well as on Nov 28 and 29. Each session has a maximum capacity of 500 people. ST PHOTOS: JASON QUAH
Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung posing for a photo with junior cabin crew experience participants yesterday. As part of the tour, participants got a look at pilot and cabin crew training, such as for emergency situations when the plane lands on water,
Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung posing for a photo with junior cabin crew experience participants yesterday. As part of the tour, participants got a look at pilot and cabin crew training, such as for emergency situations when the plane lands on water, and took part in craft activities like balloon sculpting.ST PHOTOS: JASON QUAH
Nicole Goh, seven, assisted by Ms Ong, serving her mother as part of the junior cabin crew experience, where the girls donned the airline's iconic sarong kebaya and learnt customer service skills from SIA stewardesses.
Nicole Goh, seven, assisted by Ms Ong, serving her mother as part of the junior cabin crew experience, where the girls donned the airline's iconic sarong kebaya and learnt customer service skills from SIA stewardesses. ST PHOTOS: JASON QUAH
Nicole (at right) making a cabin announcement with the help of Ms Ong as Kate looks on.
Nicole (at right) making a cabin announcement with the help of Ms Ong as Kate looks on.ST PHOTOS: JASON QUAH

For Isabelle Chan, eight, and her six-year-old sister, Natalya, the highlight of their Inside Singapore Airlines (SIA) tour was when they got to serve food and drinks to their mother while dressed in the airline's iconic sarong kebaya.

The two girls were among 500 participants who secured a slot for the first tour session, which was held yesterday.

Their mother, Mrs Rowena Chan, said: "I thought it'd be good for them to have a chance to experience it behind the scenes.

"I don't think this is normally open to the public, and since there was an opportunity, I decided to go ahead and book this experience for them," added the 44-year-old executive assistant.

The girls donned the sarong kebaya and learnt customer service skills from SIA stewardesses as part of the junior cabin crew experience, one of the add-on options of the tour programme, which provides visitors with a look around SIA's training centre in Changi.

A basic tour ticket to the centre, which is normally closed to the public, costs $30 for those aged 12 and above, and $15 for children aged three to 12, excluding goods and services tax (GST).

The junior cabin crew experience costs $88, excluding GST, and includes the SIA sarong kebaya.

The national carrier is operating four sessions of the Inside SIA tour over two weekends - yesterday and today, as well as on Nov 28 and 29. Each session has a maximum capacity of 500 people.

More than 20,000 people had expressed interest in the tour, said SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong.

"We are going to focus on making sure that whoever visits us gets a great experience," he added.

Despite the overwhelming response, he said the airline has no plans to open up further sessions for now.

As part of the tour, participants get a look at pilot and cabin crew training, such as for emergency situations when the plane lands on water, as well as take part in craft activities like balloon sculpting.

One of SIA's latest training equipment, which simulates situations where the aircraft lands on water, was on display. The large metal container resembles part of a cabin. It is expected to be commissioned and used for training from next year.

The carrier also launched a new range of dishes for flights lasting less than 31/2 hours in economy class yesterday.

Among the food options on rotation are Singapore favourites such as laksa and mee siam, which were not previously available in economy class, SIA said.

The airline has also replaced its plastic serving ware with a new packaging solution, which includes a bamboo cutlery pack and a leak-proof paper box for all short-haul economy flights.

This means that the airline is now able to serve soup and other liquid items, which the previous serving ware could not accommodate.

In addition, the airline said the new serving ware reduces the amount of single-use plastics on the meal tray by 80 per cent, based on the weight of the items.

There are other benefits, the airline said.

Leftovers on the tray, including the serving ware, will be taken back to ground handler Sats' Singapore facility and converted into pellets that can be used as alternative fuel.

On-site processing of waste reduces about 60 per cent of catering waste and also emissions from transporting waste to the incinerator.

The lighter paper packaging also helps to reduce fuel consumption on flights, SIA noted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2020, with the headline 'Inside tours at SIA's facility take off'. Print Edition | Subscribe