I had been lucky to experience minimal flight delays or missing flights in my travelling experience. If it ever happened, it was during business trips where I would be alone or with colleagues. However, the hassle of rerouting was always annoying. This “One Night in Paris” post had been going around on Facebook and I truly felt sorry for the poor passengers left stranded at the airport.
I would not want to be caught in such a situation with Z and X in tow for sure.
The lack of customer service was appalling but not surprising. I shall not talk about the few European airlines I had brushes with and that alone made me feel very determined about one thing. No matter how Singapore Airline’s service had seemingly declined over the years, it was still a great way to fly.
Back in 2009, when the gynae had first banned my flight travel due to fear of ectopic pregnancy and it was at the peak of Swine Flu/H1N1 Flu period, all travel operators, despite their no-refund policy had graciously refunded 90%-100% of what we had paid. The only operator which refused initially and eventually grudgingly refunded approximately 25% of the air tickets’ cost was the airline.
At that time, SQ was the only airline which was generously offering free cancellations/postponements/re-routing, simply due to H1N1. Here I was, stuck with my silly decision to save $100 per ticket (and missing out on the then-awesome Krisworld), diagnosed as unfit to travel and had to forfeit 75% of the ticket cost with no other options to delay/re-route. I wished I had booked SQ instead.
From that lesson, I learnt that the savings on taking other airlines could translate to greater wastage in future. Besides, loyalty was would be rewarded in the form of air miles which was always relevant.
Now that we travelled with young children (Z clocked 8 trips & X already clocked 1 trip to date), attentive care and customer service were important. How many times had I seen the gracious air stewardesses playing with young children and even reliving travelling parents of their fussy kids? Or helping to babysit while the solo-travelling mom could go to the toilet?
How about the times when I needed hot water to sterilize milk bottles, warm up milk or to make formula milk? They were ever so prompt with getting us the water. I shall not even talk about other airlines where I could wait 2 hours on the flight and not even get a cup of water which I had asked 3 times for.
How about the time when I erroneous forgot to choose a meal option for Z and the air stewardess still managed to pool some baby food for him despite the lack of allocation? How about all the times when they broke the monotonous drone of the journey by talking to the children?
There were so many more instances where the flight crew made flying with children such a pleasant experience. Z had long associated travelling with flying via the blue air plane and the friendly air stewardesses in their kebayas, so much so that when we took a different airline once, he had a shock when he found the seats were of a different colour and his personal entertainment system was missing.
Hence, child-friendliness was the most important factor for us when choosing the airline for travel.