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