Does SQ’s survey hint at upcoming improvements in ground services at T3?

I received an invitation from SQ to take part in a survey yesterday that would help “redesign your future pre and post flight experience at Terminal 3 in Singapore”

I think it’s well known that as good as Singapore Airlines is in the sky, its ground services are nowhere near those of some of its competitors. So I’m glad they at least appear to be taking this issue seriously. Although it’s not conclusive, the questions they asked might be indicative of what SQ has planned for its ground experience

You can read a copy of the full survey below, but here are some highlights

Additional Ground Services in the works at T3?

The survey asked my opinion on which of the following ground services would improve my experience at Changi Airport. Among the options were-

  • Manned valet parking at carpark or curbside of premium check-in lounge (doubt this will happen because long term parking at Changi Airport is so expensive it almost always makes more sense to take a cab there)
  • Curbside concierge service (what would this do exactly? Drop off your dry cleaning while you’re away?)
  • Personalised security, passport and customs processes (don’t they already offer this for First Class/Solitaire passengers in Terminal 3?)
  • Buggy service from check-in counter to departure lounge (the lounges are fairly centrally located in the terminal so there isn’t a whole lot of walking, plus they’re up a flight of stairs. I’m not sure how this would work in practice or what benefit it would bring)
  • Buggy service from departure lounge to boarding gate (This might be more beneficial, especially if you’re departing from a gate at the far end of the terminal. Fun fact, you can already request this from the lounge on an ad-hoc basis, but YMMV)
  • Meet and greet from check in counter to departure lounge (this idea makes sense in overseas airports where security is done in a centralized manner and the escort can help you cut to the front of immigration+ security, but given that security in Singapore is decentralized and our immigration queues move so fast, does this really help?)
  • Meet and greet from departure lounge to boarding gate (Not sure what this adds, unless the escort helps you cut the queue at the gate security)

The fact remains that Singapore’s terminal is so efficient these proposed enhancements don’t really add a lot of value. What would be game changing were if SQ were to build an entirely separate First Class terminal, or if that’s too far fetched, maybe it might be possible to drive First Class passengers in a rush directly from the Terminal 3 check in area to the aircraft on the tarmac? That would be all kinds of awesome.

A much more realistic and helpful option would be if they offered First/Business class passengers complimentary airport pickup. I’ve said it before when reviewing the TG First Class lounge, there’s really no reason why other airlines operating out of much bigger countries can offer these services whereas Singapore, which can be traversed in about 40 minutes, can’t. How much would this cost the airline, maybe with bulk volume they could do it at $30 a passenger? And as much as I’d hate to see them do this, they could limit it to only revenue First and Business class passengers. Surely that’s a potential real value add?

What do you want in your lounge?

SQ provided a full list of potential features they might add to a lounge. I’m only going to highlight those they currently don’t offer

  • Concierge service for changing seat assignments, checking on upgrades, changing reservations, verifying connections, tracing baggage, etc. (I included this here but I’m pretty sure the counter staff can already help you with this if they approach you)
  • Automatic reminder to leave lounge for designated boarding gate (I can just see SQ adding this feature while removing some other major perk and trumpeting this as an “enhancement”)
  • Pampering with spa, manicure, and/or massage service(s) (Yes, yes, yes. Please)
  • Children’s play area (If we could soundproof it)
  • Shoe shine services (Why not?)
  • Nice viewing gallery (The aerophile in me would like this very much)
  • Clothes pressing services (Useful perhaps more for arriving passengers who need to go off for a business meeting)
  • Money exchange services (With new and improved rates!)
  • Shop for duty-free goods from within the lounge (physical shop and retail activities) (Changi Airport is already more or less a giant mall with an airstrip, so unless they’re offering something unique you can’t find outside…)
  • Trial new duty-free products (e.g. food and beverage, skincare, etc.) (SQ has started doing this on a small scale basis. I think it’s a nice fun feature to have, and I’m sure they make some money off of it, so why not?)
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Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge pop up booth with Singleton

If SQ added spa services that’d be a major win for me. But I’d also settle for things like day rooms to sleep in or more freshly prepared food items.

I should also add that there was a separate section on potential new entertainment options that mentioned the following

  1. Movie screening zone
  2. Games zone
  3. Gym and fitness classes
  4. Short promotional events (e.g. food, art, wine tasting, cocktail making workshops, etc.)

 

You can already watch movies in the main terminal and play games on PS4 consoles, so that might not add too much. A gym would be very welcome to a lot of people. Could SQ be the first airline lounge to have a full outdoor pool…(?)

What can we copy from other lounges?

They asked me to name up to 3 overseas lounges I really enjoyed visiting and upload some photos of said lounges. I can’t believe SQ doesn’t already have a mystery shopping team doing this, but just for laughs and giggles I uploaded photos of the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. Come on SQ, be all you can be

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I also mentioned the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in JFK as another lounge worth emulating (full report on that coming!)

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Should have mentioned the Turkish Airlines IST lounge too…

Is SQ considering an arrivals lounge?

Traditionally, SQ doesn’t really “do” arrival lounges. Currently, PPS Solitaire members can use the First Class lounge in Singapore as an arrivals lounge, together with a guest. They also get to access the Plaza Premium Lounge in Heathrow upon arrival on SQ306 or SQ322 (but, in typical magnanimous SQ fashion, only give with one hand- guests are not allowed). Everyone else, even arriving First Class passengers, are out of luck.

But as more and more airlines start offering these services (at last recollection, British Airways, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Turkish Airlines,  United, Delta and Qantas offered these services in some form or another. Heck, even South African Airways operates a small arrivals lounge at JNB), SQ may be starting to realise they need a more substantial offering to remain competitive for business traffic.

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This is how SQ phrases its proposal for an arrivals lounge

Conveniently located after Customs & Immigrations, the arrival lounge will offer shower facilities, light refreshments and work terminals for passengers to freshen up upon arriving into Singapore.

What would you use the arrival lounge for? (Select all that apply)

Shower
Food & beverage
Place to rest and relax before heading directly for an appointment
Reclaim baggage (arrival lounge with integrated baggage reclaim belt)
In-lounge limo and car rental counter

I think it’s long overdue for SQ to operate a proper arrivals lounge, at least in its home base of SIN. I can’t see myself using it a lot, but I think business travellers do value having a place to grab a quick bite and shower before heading straight off for meetings. Having an arrivals lounge also allows business travellers to maiximse sleep on the plane by skipping meal service, instead taking something from the lounge.

Conclusion

I’m glad to know that SQ is taking a serious look at its ground facilities because they’re a weak spot in an otherwise excellent product. Let’s hope this is more than just mere talk and some of these proposed enhancements really do come into place.

Although knowing our luck we’ll probably just get automated boarding reminders…

Appendix- Full Survey

  • Which of the following best describes your typical experience at Changi Airport?
    • I am departing from Singapore.
    • I am transiting in Singapore, en-route to another destination.
  • On the day of your flight, what are your main concerns from the time you arrive at Changi Airport, till the time you board your plane? (Select all that apply.)
  1. Knowing which door is closest to your check-in counter, upon arriving at the airport
  2. Efficiency at the check-in counter
  3. Queue at immigration/ passport control
  4. Walking distance from the check-in counter to the departure lounge
  5. Wayfinding from the check-in counter to  the departure lounge
  6. Finding shops and restaurants
  7. When to start making your way to the boarding gate
  8. Walking distance from the departure lounge to the boarding gate
  9. Wayfinding from the departure lounge to the boarding gate
  10. Efficiency at security control and boarding
  11. Notification when there is a change in the boarding gate
  12. Notification when there is a delay
  13. Others, please specify
  • Which of the following if offered when you are departing from Changi Airport, will help address some of your concerns? (Select all that apply)
  1. Manned valet parking provided at the car park or curbside of premium check-in lounge
  2. Curbside concierge service
  3. Personalised security, passport and customs processes
  4. Private meeting rooms for last-minute business meetings
  5. Buggy service from the check-in counter to the departure lounge
  6. Buggy service from the departure lounge to the boarding gate
  7. “Meet and Greet” (guide and personal assistant) from the check-in counter to the departure lounge
  8. “Meet and Greet” (guide and personal assistant) from the departure lounge to the boarding gate
  9. Others, please specify
  • Do you typically visit a lounge at Changi Airport on your day of departure?
  • Which lounge do you typically visit at Changi Airport on your day of travel?
  • When do you typically visit the lounge? (Select all that apply)
  1. When I have a long-haul flight (>=6 hours)
  2. When I have a short-haul flight (<6 hours)
  3. When I have an overnight flight
  4. When I have a morning flight
  5. When I have a mid-day flight
  6. At my destination
  7. In my home country
  8. On business trips
  9. On leisure trips
  10. During transit
  11. Whenever I can
  12. Others, please specify
  • What do you look for in a departure lounge? (Select all that apply)
  1. Peace and quiet to rest and relax before your flight
  2. Open space as a respite from the crowds at the airport
  3. Place to work and clear emails
  4. Place to access WIFI for the purpose of messaging or to browse the Internet
  5. Concierge service for changing seat assignments, checking on upgrades, changing reservations, verifying connections, tracing baggage, etc.
  6. Automatic reminder to leave lounge for designated boarding gate.
  7. Entertainment
  8. Food
  9. Alcoholic drinks
  10. Non-alcoholic drinks
  11. Shower facilities
  12. Pampering with spa, manicure, and/or massage service(s)
  13. Children’s play area
  14. Shoe shine services
  15. Nice viewing gallery
  16. Clothes pressing services
  17. Money exchange services
  18. To be able to bring additional guests into the lounge
  19. Shop for duty-free goods from within the lounge (physical shop and retail activities)
  20. Trial new duty-free products (e.g. food and beverage, skincare, etc.)
  21. Others, please specify
  • What types of entertainment would you be interested to see in the lounge? (Select all that apply)
  1. Movie screening zone
  2. Games zone
  3. Gym and fitness classes
  4. Short promotional events (e.g. food, art, wine tasting, cocktail making workshops, etc.)
  5. Others, please specify
  • How would you like the food in the lounge to be presented?
  1. Self-service buffet selections
  2. Ala-carte menu with restaurant service
  3. Self-service buffet selections, with “Live” food stations where some items, e.g. roast beef, Laksa, etc. are prepared on the spot
  • What type(s) of food would you like to see in the lounge? (Select all that apply.)
  1. Light meals/ snacks
  2. Full meals/ main course
  3. Healthy meals (whole-grain/ gluten-free/ low carbohydrates)
  4. Singapore local cusine
  5. Western cuisine
  6. Japanese cuisine
  7. Korean cuisine
  8. Indian cuisine
  9. Vegetarian meals
  10. Desserts
  11. Others, please specify
  • Rank the following attributes in order of importance to you (1=Most important):
  1. Variety of food
  2. Frequency of menu refresh
  3. Visual appeal of food
  4. Taste of food
  5. Food is freshly prepared upon order
  • How would you like to enjoy the alcoholic drinks at the lounge?
  1. Bar counter with a professional bartender
  2. Self-help bar counter
  3. Others, please specify
  • What do you like about the current Singapore Airlines’ lounge at Changi Airport?
  • If there’s one major change/enhancement you could make to the Singapore Airlines’ lounge at Changi Airport, what would it be?
  • How can we improve our service at the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3?
  • Have you visited airline/airport/hotel club lounges, other than that of Singapore Airlines?
  • Please name your top 3 favorite lounges (excluding Singapore Airlines lounges), and which city you visited them in.
  • Have you visited an arrival lounge before? Have you visited an arrival lounge before?
  • If Singapore Airlines were to offer an arrival lounge at Changi Airport, how much would it help in enhancing your travel experience?
  • What would you use the arrival lounge for? (Select all that apply)
  1. Shower
  2. Food & beverage
  3. Place to rest and relax before heading directly for an appointment
  4. Reclaim baggage (arrival lounge with integrated baggage reclaim belt)
  5. In-lounge limo and car rental counter
  6. Others, please specify
  • Is there anywhere else you feel we can work on to improve your on ground travel experience?Is there anywhere else you feel we can work on to improve your on ground travel experience?

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