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20 Mar, Monday
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singapore airlines

Singapore Airlines (or Scoot) should start selling their in-flight meals

It’s no wonder why so many of us miss the taste of flight. After all, Singaporeans are the very definition of frequent flyers. Tropika Club found a 2018 study by Visa, the digital payments provider, that stated in the previous two years, Singaporeans took an average of 6.62 international trips. The average of 2.7 trips for the rest of the Asia Pacific region and the global average of 2.5 trips pale in comparison.

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It may be a while before we can take to the skies again. And when we do, the world of travelling post-COVID-19 will look very different from what we know. 

But some Asian airlines have taken a pretty smart approach to cater to the wanderlusts across the region – by selling their in-flight meals. 

Thai Airways started to advertise their meal boxes back in April, touting delicacies including beef cheek with cumin sauce and stir-fried tiger prawns. Cathay Pacific sold its meals to airport staff, and Garuda, Indonesia’s national airline, is offering its meals as if it’s for a flight, which is provided by their catering company Aerofood ACS.

Meanwhile from across the causeway, AirAsia stayed ahead of the times. In line with its enterprising spirit, the Malaysian budget airline opened a restaurant selling its in-flight food. It even has plans for international expansion. And through its catering subsidiary Santan, it’s selling nasi lemak and beef rendang at its Kuala Lumpur hub.

So, for now, you can only have in-flight meals on the ground, because even if you do get on a flight now you can’t eat any in-flight food on board. And you might be tasting food with flavours different from what you might expect, and in-flight meals never have the best reputation. And, these are meals prepared for in-flight passengers, whose abilities to pick up sweet flavours drop by 15 to 20 per cent, and saltiness by up to 20 to 30 per cent because of cabin pressurisation at high altitudes. 

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Going the Distance

To satisfy the fantasy of some unsatiable travellers, some airlines offered flights that depart and land at the same airport. Taiwanese airline EVA Air sold tickets to a flight that landed where it departed. After paying NT$5,288 (for economy class) or NT$6,288 ( for business class), passengers boarded EVA Air flight A330. The plane took off from Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport, flew up north to circle Japan’s Ryukyu Islands, heading back only after flying around Taiwan’s southeast coast. During the two hours and 45 minutes flight, passengers onboard enjoyed Wi-Fi, a standard in-flight meal, and duty-free shopping.

Then Songshan Airport, another Taipei airport, even offered flights to nowhere – passengers just checked in and boarded a plane that didn’t even leave the ground.

So far, Singapore Airlines have yet to offer its in-flight delights. Although SATS,  the airline catering company, had more noble ideas. During the brunt of the pandemic in April, it helped provide meals for foreign workers.

Meanwhile, check out Tropika Club’s Ecosystem of Websites

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Terence is Tropika Club Magazine's deputy editor who loves learning about animals and their behavior. He is also an anthropologist, so he is very interested in how different cultures interact with animals. He has worked in the publishing industry for over 10 years, and have been lucky enough to work with some amazing authors and editors.

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