Singapore Airlines and SilkAir have announced new measures for passengers that affect flights from 11 May 2020 onwards.
In accordance with a CAAS directive, all passengers will be required to bring and wear their own masks throughout the flight. Furthermore, meal services on selected routes will be suspended.
Face masks now mandatory for all passengers
Singapore Airlines joins other carriers like Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, Delta, Emirates, KLM, Lufthansa, and United in making face masks compulsory.
All passengers on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, and Scoot flights must bring their own face mask and wear it throughout the flight. They’ll presumably be allowed to remove it when consuming food and drink.
Passengers will also be required to observe safe-distancing measures when boarding or disembarking from a flight, as well as when queuing for the lavatory. They can expect to undergo a basic health assessment prior to boarding, with temperature checks and a verbal health declaration.
Meal services suspended for SEA & China flights
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir will suspend meal services for flights within South East Asia and to China. Passengers will instead receive a snack bag with a bottle of water and other refreshments upon boarding.
The longest affected flight is SQ830 to Shanghai (PVG). This is blocked at 5h 25 mins, but thanks to unusually low air traffic these days, takes only about 4h 40 mins.
The suspension of meal service affects all cabins, which means that First and Business Class passengers on these routes will not be able to pre-select Book The Cook items. In any case, Singapore Airlines has been serving a much-reduced Book The Cook menu out of Singapore for a while now.
Meals will continue to be served on other flights outside these regions. However, hot towel service is suspended across the network, and menu cards and seatback literature have been removed from all flights.
It’s not surprising that face masks are now mandatory on Singapore Airlines flights, and I suspect this will be the new normal for some time to come.
The cut in meal service will no doubt detract from the overall premium cabin experience, but I doubt that will weigh too heavily on most people’s minds at the moment. First and Business Class passengers will still be able to grab a bite before flying at the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3 (the only one open in the whole world right now).
It’s quite clear that flying for now will be “lite mode”, with minimal crew/passenger interactions, cuts in catering, and the removal of other frills we enjoyed in normal times.