Lessons learned at the Singapore Airlines Training Center – part 2

During a tour of the Singapore Airlines Training Center this week, there was a heavy emphasis on how well-trained the airline crews must be. (See this earlier post for some safety tips.)

But most people are much more interested to learn about the training regimen for the always-beautiful-and- incredibly-poised Singapore Girls that are the hallmark of the Singapore Airlines service.

Becoming a Singapore Girl (that’s the airline’s official term) is not only an honor; it’s hard work. Before taking to the air, Singapore Girls (and boys) must make it through an on-the-ground training course that is 3 1/2 months long – the longest in the industry.

And those chosen to be “transformed from trainees into gems,” explained Foo Juat Fang, assistant manager for cabin crew training – human factors and grooming, must excel in classes designed to teach everything from beauty and deportment to how to handle emergency situations and the age-old tradition of in-flight ‘souveniring’: the tendency of some passengers to pocket anything not tied down.

After watching a short role-playing session in which a class of trainees showed us how they might deal with a variety of stereotypical passengers, our tour group quizzed the instructors:

Q: How would you deal with a passenger complaining about other passengers gathering in the aisle and being too loud?

A: We might encourage the loud passengers to return to their seats ‘for safety’ and offer ear plugs to the person who was complaining.

Q: What would you do if you saw someone pocketing one of the Givenchy plates?

A: We’d assume that they do not know that is not appropriate. And mention that we’ll pass along to the airline the suggestion that there be a way for passengers to purchase these items.

Q: And how do Singapore Girls and all crew members maintain their energy and strength for those long 12-hour flights?

A: We encourage them to get plenty of rest before each flight and stay hydrated during the flight with water, not coffee or tea. And when they are off-duty, we encourage them to be active in sports such as as cycling, dragon boat racing and martial arts.

Q: What other secrets or special skills do you teach them?

A: We teach them to walk without being heard and, especially in business and First Class, we teach them to be there before you push the button – to read your mind.

Tidbits for travelers: Merlion Hotel and other offers

A couple of fun, hotel-related, tidbits for you today:


If you’ve been to Singapore – or seen photos from there – no doubt you’ve seen the country’s mascot: an imaginary animal that has the body of a fish and the head of a lion. The sculpture sits in Merlion Park, overlooking Marina Bay.

For the upcoming Singapore Biennale, – an arts celebration running from March 13 through May 15, 2011 – Japanese installation artist Tatzu Nishi has created the one-room Merlion Hotel: an upscale, temporary suite with a double-bed, a bathroom and a full-range of amenities, including a Merlion Hotel Butler.

Here’s what it will look like:

(artist’s rendering, detail), 2011. Image courtesy of the artist.

Reservations for Merlion Hotel opened last week and sold-out immediately, but you can still get a look inside: the suite will be open to the public each day of the Biennale.

Can’t fly to Singapore right now? Here are a few other unusual hotel events in other cities:

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is hosting a Paw-parazzi Pet Photo Contest: You have until May 31, 2011 to submit a photo of your pet and, every two weeks, prizes will be awarded to the five photos that get the most ‘Like’ votes.  At the end of the contest, one lucky pet (and their persons) will win the grand prize, which will include airline tickets, a hotel room, dining credit and assorted goodies. Here are the details about the Paw-parazzi Pet Photo Contest.

Prefer watches to watchdogs? The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas may be able to help. Once each month from now through Labor Day, a guest booked at the Suite Dreams rate will be find a complimentary Bulgari watch under his or her pillow.

Changi Airport offers free rides on the super slide

October 1st is Children’s Day in Singapore and to celebrate Changi Airport is offering everyone – kids and adults – free rides on the world’s tallest slide in an airport.

Changi Airport Slide

Rides on the one-and-a-half story preview, or kiddie, slide are always free.

But tokens for rides on the four-story Slide @T3 usually require a receipt showing you’ve spent at least $30 in a single airport shop.

From October 1st through 3rd, though, no proof of purchase will be required: all rides will be free.


And here’s some good news: the rules for sliding will change once the Children’s Day free ride promotion is over.

Changi Airport giant slide

Beginning on October 4, 2010, tokens for rides on the big slide will be handed out to anyone spending just $10 at the airport.

You’ll find the entrance to the big slide in Terminal 3, Arrival Hall (Level 1), in the public area.

The entrance to the preview, 1½-story slide is in the Basement 2 area of the airport.

Both slides are open daily from noon until 10:30pm.

Happy Children’s Day!

Vintage postcard kids

(Thank-you Graphics  Fairy)

Dance your way to Singapore with “Where the Hell is Matt?”

Remember Matt Harding? He became a media sensation after posting YouTube videos of himself doing a goofy dance in spots around the world.

Well, he’s going to be in New York City – at Times Square – on Tuesday on March 30th, from noon – 5 pm, as part of the “Dance Your Way to Singapore Experience” promotion.  People will be invited to “dance badly” with Matt and to have their own dance videos posted directly to YouTube – Your Singapore.

The 20 most-viewed videos will be put up for a vote and the winner will get to go to Singapore and bring along a friend.

And when you go – because of course you’ll win – you’ll get to see one of my favorite airports: Singapore’s Changi Airport, which I profiled in What makes Singapore’s Changi so charming? for USA Today.

Are you game?