Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - INBOX YOUR LETTERS -

I am writ­ing in reference to Mr Ed­die Ang’s let­ter in the July/Au­gust 2018 is­sue of Busi­ness Trav­eller Asia-Pa­cific, who in turn was writ­ing in reference to Mr Quek’s let­ter en­ti­tled “Ghost Pas­sen­ger” back in Septem­ber 2017.

Af­ter hav­ing read about their con­cerns re­gard­ing re­deem­ing Sin­ga­pore Air­lines (SQ) first class award seats, I re­alised it shouldn’t have come as a sur­prise to me that it was im­pos­si­ble for me to re­deem them us­ing my Asiana Club miles (un­der its part­ner­ship with Star Al­liance), given that even KrisF­lyer mem­bers them­selves have dif­fi­culty.

Yes, I am aware and I do un­der­stand that only a lim­ited num­ber of seats are avail­able for redemp­tion on a first­come first-served ba­sis. But what I found highly sus­pi­cious af­ter book­ing with my lo­cal Asiana Air­lines ticketing of­fice was that there was ab­so­lutely zero avail­abil­ity for SQ first class seats be­tween Manila (MNL) and Sin­ga­pore (SIN) for eight con­sec­u­tive months from Au­gust 2018 to March 2019. I highly doubt that award seats for March 2019 have been booked as early as July 2018, so I be­lieve there was no al­lot­ment in the first place. This makes me ques­tion the point of both air­lines hav­ing an al­liance. Ul­ti­mately, on my MNL-SIN flight on Septem­ber 7, only four of the eight first class seats were oc­cu­pied on SQ917.

Af­ter speak­ing with the lo­cal Asiana Air­lines and Sin­ga­pore Air­lines of­fices, and ul­ti­mately the SQ ticketing of­fice in ION Or­chard Mall Sin­ga­pore, they made it clear that once any two air­lines have agreed and de­cided on a fixed num­ber of seats to be of­fered as award seats, there is ab­so­lutely no way to change that.

To echo the sen­ti­ments of Mr Ang: “The fact that the air­line would rather leave the seats empty than give them up for redemp­tion re­ally dis­ap­points me.” I con­cur.

I don’t doubt that SQ is the best air­line in the world and has the best ser­vice, as con­sis­tently rated by trav­ellers world­wide. But I per­son­ally found that the busi­ness class seats on their Boe­ing 777 and no­tably their B787 (sup­pos­edly their new re­gional busi­ness class prod­uct) were par­tic­u­larly de­void of ex­tra space for com­fort – and this is com­ing from some­one who stands only 165cm tall – es­pe­cially when I com­pare them to the first class-level busi­ness class of some air­lines like Oman Air.

Kevin Tsai, Philip­pines

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