Lessons learned from the Singapore Airlines Training Center – part 1

It’s been fun this week to learn about and, better yet, experience, the plush seats and top notch service offered to business and first class passengers on board Singapore Airlines’ new A380 service from JFK to Frankfurt and Singapore.

Demo of bed in First Class suite on Singapore AIrlines A380

But there’s also a serious side to these giant airplanes: safety.

That’s why I was so interested – and so attentive – on a tour of the Singapore Airlines Training Center.

A mock-up of the A380 is set up here and, on a tour of the facilities, we learned that not only is the drop from the door to the floor exactly the same height as it would be out in the ‘real ‘ world, but that every member of the Singapore Airline’s crew must return here each year for a training ‘check-up’ that includes deploying and going down these slides.

That way, if there’s an emergency, crew members “don’t think; they respond,” the trainer on duty told us.

I wondered what the famously polite Singapore Airlines crew members are taught to do in an emergency with a passenger who might balk at going down a slide.

“Those passengers would feel a gentle, but firm, push,” the trainer told us.

I would have liked to try out that evacuation slide, but thought twice about even asking to jump into the cold, choppy waves outside the water evacuation pod used for practice in the next room:

Noticing the heels and the outfits some members of our tour group were wearing, the trainer also offered some “dress for success” tips in case of a flying emergency: Thumbs up on loose slacks and low heels. Thumbs down on pantyhose, high heels and clothing apt to be flammable.

I’d heard those tips before – and mostly ignored them – but after getting a close look at these evacuation paths – and heights – I’m going shopping for new, safer, travel outfits.

Next up: Transforming flight attendant trainees into crew-worthy gems.


Note: I’m in Singapore as a guest of Singapore Airlines.