Singapore’s Response to Defective IFE, Broken Seats, and Meal Mishaps

The response from Singapore Airlines regarding the non-functioning TV, broken seat, and food incidents experienced on my first class IAH-DME-SIN-DPS 70k United MileagePlus award trip:

Dear Mr Adam

I am writing to follow up on my colleague’s interim email of 2January 2013, as he is currently away from office. We appreciate your patience and understanding while we carried out our investigations. From our records, we understand that you were booked to travel on flight SQ61 /10 January 2013. We are sorry to learn of the inconvenience caused on this occasion, when you had encountered some issues with our cabin products and inflight meal. Based on our investigation findings, we gathered that the audio function of your inflight entertainment system at seat 2F was not working properly,despite our crew member’s attempts to reset the system. Our crew member had then offered a seat change for you to 1A. We note your comments that you had, however, encountered some issues with the seat control at this seat thereafter. On a separate note, we are also concerned to learn that you had found a strand of hair in your entree dish.

Mr Adam, we would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and disappointment caused. We would also like to take this opportunity to assure you that we do have established procedures in place to conduct pre-flight checks on our cabin facilities before the aircraft is deployed for operation. However, there are occasions where the systems do not show any tell-tale signs of defects during the checks and they may have developed during the flight. On the other hand, our appointed caterers are expected to comply with the strict quality control and hygiene standards imposed on the preparation and handling of our inflight meals. In addition, our cabin crew is expected to
prepare the meals onboard according to standard procedures which do emphasize the importance of the hygiene and quality of our inflight meals.

Notwithstanding the above, we acknowledge the inconvenience you had experienced in this instance. Mr Adam, we have forwarded your comments on the various aspects of your travel to our Engineers, Food & Beverage Manager and Cabin Crew Manager for their internal follow-up respectively. We will definitely take extra care to ensure that we meet a consistently high level of service and food safety standard.

In addition, as a token of our apologies for the disappointment caused, we would like to offer you a transportation voucher valuing SGD300 ($242). The voucher can be used towards payment of a future flight ticket for travel on Singapore Airlines and is applicable for bookings made directly with us (through our Reservations and Ticketing Office, or our website). You may bring along the voucher to any our Reservations and Ticketing Office for a refund of the value indicated on the voucher once you have a confirmed booking for your future travel.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to explain. We hope to be of service to you again soon.

Yours sincerely,
Customer Affairs Manager
Singapore Airlines Limited

Thoughts? It’s a very genuine apology and it seems like they certainly did forward the comments on to the appropriate departments. As I’ve mentioned, I’m happy I didn’t pay the average first class fare ($8000+) for this flight. If I had, a $242 voucher would not have made me happy. To put things in perspective, I’ve received $250 vouchers from Delta for non functioning TVs on short BusinessElite flights from JFK-Europe that were much shorter and cheaper. However, the rest of the service was outstanding, I loved many aspects of the trip, and I paid with miles. Hmm…

Comments

  1. As you put it, to receive a personal reply that shows they understand the issues you had goes a long way in my book. While the voucher itself is small, and I personally would want more, having someone send a message that acknowledges all of the issues says that they care. On the other hand, this is Singapore Airlines, and while problems exist, this many should not occur on their airlines. Glad you posted this and I would be interested in seeing any future replies from SA if they are received.

  2. I was on a paid Y ticket SIN-SFO on SQ. IFE malfunction, full flight, compensated SGD75 voucher for use only on in-flight purchases, which was… sorely disappointing. Compared to a fuel dump fare from LHR-ORD in Y on UA, where I had a seat that refused to recline, UA issued a USD225 electronic voucher when I wrote in to notify them. I’d say SQ is very stingy with compensation. As a Singaporean, I love to compare UA and SQ as such with my friends:

    SQ: fantastic in the air. Ground services extremely pathetic. Glitchy website and inability to book award flights on partners on their website, plus tacky fuel surcharges.

    UA: Well, service-wise in the air is a big *ahem*, but their ground services, including the MileagePlus programme is a big plus. To heck with earning KF miles just to fly SQ longhaul F… who needs it when you can get TG and LH F, seriously? And when one can use MileagrPlus to book extremely long complicated F routings that one won’t want to do with KF miles because of all those fuel surcharges?

    Bottomline: Fly SQ as much as possible, credit to UA as much as possible, then throw in 4 short UA segments to qualify for elite UA status. MP miles are so much better than SQ miles, and the only redeeming thing about SQ is the service up in the air! Otherwise… ahem.

  3. Getting some mileage in your ff account would have been better.

    AA sent me 5k miles for a 4 hour flight delay ( lax/san)

    I did not even send them a complaint. they just gave me the credit and a brief email.

  4. If I read the reports correctly, an alternative seat was offered or provided in both instances. As for the errant hair, wasn’t the dish also immediately replaced?

    I agree that $250 doesn’t seem like much, but I also don’t see where SIA really let you down.

    Things like this happen from time to time, in Y, C or F. What matters to me is how these things are dealt with on the spot. It seems that at every point, the airline apologized and tried to make things right for you.

  5. I’m surprised they didn’t say that your safety and comfort is of utmost importance to them 😉

    The letter seems sincere and they noted each of the issues you experienced. The compensation seems extremely small for the severity of the issues. Perhaps it’s dialed back because it was an award and they don’t get much revenue. I would have thought a free future flight might have been a more appropriate gesture.

  6. Just because a person is flying on an award ticket does not mean they shouldn’t get a compensation commensurate with someone who paid a regular fare, when something goes wrong. Firstly air-miles do equate to real money; at least $0.04 a mile. Secondly I don’t think anyone would accept it if the airline told you that you are not entitled to the Krug Grand Reserve champagne since because you are flying on an award flight. If something goes wrong the airlines should treat compensation of award, flex, super saver flights all the same. IMO.

    I think the compensation is a little small, after all the audio visual entertainment is a huge part of the on board experience. I would have been happy with 10000 KF points.

    With regards to the food — they replaced the food. I don’t expect any compensation due here.

    As for the apology. It’s a good email, but nothing unexpected. Its pretty formulaic, Four Seasons etc all do he same thing – acknowledge the problem, outline the suggested solution, detail why it was not acceptable and apologize.

  7. Personalized apology noted but I think they should have given you one free biz class round trip flight to be taken w/in one year on their metal. The marginal cost in giving you a ticket is probably worth about $243.

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