Monday, January 12, 2009

Silk Air... Smooth As Silk? Not!


I hate complaining. Oh yes i do... I hate complaining about stuff and just being a grouch over every single thing, like some people can. But a good feedback, is always... you know, good.

My maiden flight into KL on Silk Air, while it was a smooth, almost turbulence-free journey, was as claustrophobic as i expected. Why do i even have expectations? It is a budget carrier flying to "exotic destinations within Asia..." Fine. Fine. Fine.

Since the opening of the skies agreement to enable more competition to one of Asia most restricted air sectors (Singapore-KL route), a lot of budget carriers have been sprouting up air travels that cost as much as a coach ticket into the city - we have Air Asia, Jetstar, Tiger... all benefiting in a way or another, from Asia's most lucrative air destination.

As a result, low fares from these budget carriers have eaten away a large segment of an expensive pie that before this, only Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines get to enjoy. These price wars means Good News to travellers but not so good news to SIA and MAS.

But the giants are not sleeping. SIA and MAS had to react. I mean, the price war is one thing, the recent hike in fuel prices is another big issue. Smaller planes consumes less fuel and therefore, more savings.

So since November 2008, Singapore Airlines (which is the parent of Ms. Exotic Silk Air) has since launched code-sharing flights with Silk Air and MAS. The latter went even further, giving in to the pressure, and have long started this "fly for free" frenzy - which i personally think is one of the dumbest idea MAS ever came up with. I mean come on! You are a full-fledged airline with a reputation. So what if you are priced higher than your competitors? You have an edge that low-cost carriers don't offer, like.. like.. mileage for example! Sheesh...

Speaking of which, i am glad SIA did not follow suit. Its ridiculous.

Ok back to Silk Air, its not that i have an issue with Silk Air. Its just that... its really, really small, and cramped and people with long legs or fat bottom will not have much choice but to sit completely still the next 45 minutes of their flight.

Oh i tell you my experience... When the plane touched down, like in all planes that touched down, ALL pasengers scrambled to get their luggages from the overhead compartment. Your humble savant here was actually pushed aside by this mad-probably-Chinese-Japanese-business man just so he can get to to his luggage out in the front (which he could have easily taken on the way out). Before i could even gather my surprise, i bumped again into another man behind me, and then pushed again by a lady reaching out for her Louis Vitton. Like what in God's name is this world coming to??!!

I looked around me, and i realise, that it wasn't just the people behaving abnoxiously, it was the sheer small size-ness of the plane. It was like... It was like flying on Air Asia, in turquoise blue! BAH!!!!!

While SIA isn't any better in its service, in fact, it sucks even more than Silk Air. But i'd give a one star above Silk Air for the size of the fleet. I always give SIA a star above all other airlines for size. I get to sit comfortably and when i stand, i don't get pushed around like an unwanted teddy bear. I hate people pushing me around!! Bleargh...

The price war is ugly and will get uglier as Tony Fernandez (CEO of Air Asia) buys more fleet and letting people sit on it for free, while inspiring more and more low cost carriers to follow suit. So said the man himself, "Now Everyone Can Fly...".

In fact, SIA is now charging only S$293 each, under 2-to-go promotions and so on - there's no better time to fly to KL than now. These heavily discounted prices are way wayyyyyy below the old S$400 per head for a seat on the plane.

Just... Not Silk Air. I would so love for SIA to remove Silk Air from the code-sharing thing and do what every good parent would do... Let them fly to other exotic, dreamy destinations.



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