I had no idea there were planes so decked out. I have flown a lot of times, always in coach, so I figured I knew what to expect. Even on international flights I have never been so blown away. But once I flew Singapore Air I knew the meaning of luxury flying! In coach that is. I can only imagine what goes on beyond that curtain up front. Ever seen that one episode of Seinfeld?

First of all, there is a lot more leg room. I'm a long legged woman so I noticed the added freedom immediately. The tray table thing emerges from out of an armrest and then proceeds to unfold up to four times, eventually opening completely over your entire lap. It comfortably allows one to spread out and do a lot of work, or eat a 6 course airplane-food meal.

And the food, my god, the food. Probably if I was Chinese or Indonesian I would turn my nose up at the stuff like Americans tend to do with the airplane food we encounter in this country. But as far as I was concerned it was like dining out in a restaurant. They bring menus around with the choices you'll have for your entire trip. The sixteen hour flight I was on provided something like 4 different meals. There was a choice between several entirely different entrees for all of them, each one featuring the ethnic food of a different culture. Alcoholic beverages with the meals were free of charge! Hello! That was the icing on the cake, let me tell you.

Meanwhile, every passenger gets to have their own personal television screen implanted into the back of the seat in front of them. One of the armrest thingies has a flap that pulls back to reveal a nifty little device: on one side its one of those expensive air-phone thingies and on the other side its a remote control for your TV. There is always a choice of at least 4 different movies (sometimes as many as 9!) you can browse through, and a computerized interface allows you to choose in what language you would like the subtitles to appear. There were mostly American movies but I did get to check out some interesting Asian dramas and even some bizarre comedy from Germany. Its fascinating how the concept of comedy varies across country lines. But anyway.

Now, as if all of this wasn't enough, one of the available channels on the TV was a Nintendo channel, with 4 popular games loaded up for the choosing. The remote control device doubles as a Nintendo controller and you can go crazy playing Mario Brothers for the entire flight for all anyone cares.

Now, America has all kinds of laws that have to do with sexism, agism and other such things when it comes to hiring people. Many Asian countries have no such laws. Singapore Air seems to actually have appearance guidelines that a girl must fall into before she can be considered as a stewardess. Every one of them is beautiful, delicate, and fitted into a uniform most women couldn't dream of putting on. It was almost a little disconcerting how china-doll-like each of the stewardesses was but I didn't let it bother me. I suppose most businessmen must greatly appreciate being served on hand and foot by women such as these. They constantly come around to offer things like warm towels with which to wipe your face, and little plates of sweets donned with a magnolia flower between meals.

The blankets and pillowcases they provide are not of that scratchy hay-like variety, but nice purple silky things you wouldn't be afraid to put your face on. I mean it was all just so nice. I imagine that the creator of this nodeshell must have recently flown somewhere (lucky!) and encountered all of these things. I certainly appreciated them on my way to Southeast Asia. On the way back, however, I wasn't exactly conscious enough to revel in all of this for a second time. My friend from Jakarta had been gracious enough to hook me up with some extremely powerful barbiturates and I was happily in a drug-induced haze on my way back home, unbeknownst to the nice guy from Taiwan sitting next to me.

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