A380 both ways

Travel Digest - - EDITORIAL - Lor­raine Thom­son Pub­lisher / Ed­i­tor

Air travel is ever evolv­ing. Dou­ble decker A380 planes are now ar­riv­ing in New Zealand with dou­ble daily flights in and out on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. The most re­cent air­line to join this trend in Auck­land – Sin­ga­pore Air­lines – was ac­tu­ally the first com­mer­cial air­line to fly A380 planes. It was seven years ago I trav­elled on the in­au­gu­ral flight from Syd­ney to Sin­ga­pore on the sparkling new dou­ble decker – and at the time there was much fan­fare around this new ar­rival. More re­cently I flew on the Sin­ga­pore Air­lines A380 from Auck­land, all the way to London [ to at­tend the World Travel Mar­ket] and back. On the way over I was on the top deck and on the way back I was on the lower deck. I was trav­el­ling with the majority of pas­sen­gers – in Econ­omy – but some­how it seemed “spe­cial”. The first thing I no­ticed was the fa­cil­ity to plug in your iPhone or lap­top. Yes, you could use the in­ter­net and send and re­ceive emails while fly­ing! The sec­ond fea­ture for me was the “spe­cial” din­ing ser­vice. As I had put in a re­quest for gluten- free meals, I seemed to be served first, along with other peo­ple who had re­quested veg­e­tar­ian or other di­etary re­quests. The menu fea­tured au­then­tic Asian flavours from tra­di­tional recipes, as well as Western cui­sine with a mod­ern touch. A wide va­ri­ety of bev­er­ages on of­fer in­cluded the sig­na­ture Sin­ga­pore Sling. This is a clas­sic cre­ated in 1915 at the Long Bar of Sin­ga­pore’s Raf­fles Ho­tel and is now fa­mous world­wide. It is a con­coc­tion of dry gin, Dom Bene­dic­tine, orange liqueur and cherry brandy shaken up with lime and pineap­ple juices and a dash of An­gos­tura bit­ters and Grena­dine. There was a choice of aper­i­tifs, cock­tails, spir­its, liqueurs, wines, beers, soft drinks, fruit juices and hot drinks. So plenty of ways to keep hy­drated. No need to be hun­gry ei­ther. On the flight to Sin­ga­pore I was served two meals and on the next leg to London, another two meals. In- be­tween all th­ese de­li­cious meals I took the op­por­tu­nity to re­cline the seat, close my eyes and do a mix­ture of dream­ing, schem­ing and dos­ing – as the A380 is both smooth and quiet. Be­ing a long- haul flight, there was also plenty of time to watch a movie, read a book – and sim­ply do noth­ing! How many other times do we get to do noth­ing? In this day and age we are al­ways rush­ing around with not enough time in the day to do ev­ery­thing on the “to do” list. Now as the year comes to a close, I would like to wish all read­ers a happy Christ­mas and a pros­per­ous and stim­u­lat­ing New Year.

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