no sex please, we are singaporeans

Posted on November 2, 2007

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Before the Airbus 380 superjumbo actually carried any passengers, Singapore Airlines – the first to fly the plane – had furiously marketed its super luxurious first-class “suites” as the centerpieces of its new planes which would set new standards in air travel.

Each private suite is enclosed with sliding doors and roller blinds for privacy. And within it, double beds.

When that was first unveiled during the delivery of the world’s largest jetliner to Singapore Airlines in mid-October, petals of flowers were seen strewn on the bed, along with luxurious duvets and covers designed by the French fashion house of Givenchy.

So you couldn’t fault anyone for thinking that the set-up was meant to invoke romance and hint of its ability for passengers to join the mile-high club. Even Airbus’ chief executive Thomas Enders was heard telling the media that he would love to book one of those suites for his 25th wedding anniversary.

Amorous couples looking for new heights to scale quickly booked their tickets with Singapore Airlines on the A380 (Each ticket costs around US$7,160 for the Singapore to Sydney route).

But like a leopard doesn’t change its spots, strait-laced Singapore would probably always be prime and proper.

Singapore Airlines found itself in the awkward position of issuing a public statement appealing to passengers of those coveted suites to refrain from sexual activities. Or at least, if they had to, they ought to be quiet. The explanation Singapore Airlines gave for the rule was that the suites were not soundproof and they did not wish to “offend” other passengers or cabin crew with the sounds emanating from the suites. Singapore Airlines also added that the suites are not completely sealed.

“All we ask of customers, wherever they are on our aircraft, is to observe standards that don’t cause offence to other customers and crew,” Singapore Airlines said in a statement. “Nothing different applies for our Singapore Airlines Suites customers.”

“If couples used our double beds to engage in inappropriate activity, we would politely ask them to desist,” the airline’s spokesman told the Times of London.

You just know it’s the sort of rule that is bound to be broken constantly. Afterall, if raunchy couples couldn’t restrain themselves when they only had bathrooms or their seats before, the double beds and designer sheets are going to be even less of a deterrent. And let’s be realistic here, what could the cabin crew do to enforce it? Knock on the door and insist a couple stop? Throw them off the plane? Not only would it be a tough job for the poor cabin crew to enforce the rule, they would probably look the other way and pretend nothing’s going on – unless other passengers complain.

As you can imagine, this new twist has somewhat caused turbulence to some couples’ plans.

“So they’ll sell you a double bed, and give you privacy and endless champagne and then say you can’t do what comes naturally?” Tony Elwood, who booked one of the cabins on the superjet, told the Times of London. “They seem to have done everything they can to make it romantic, short of bringing round oysters,” Mr Elwood’s partner Julie said. “I’d say they shouldn’t really complain, should they?”

At those prices, they shouldn’t, indeed.

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