My ex-colleagues John & Percy here

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A SPPS passenger clarifies

I’ve been following your website or blog for quite a while now. I’ve read numerous horrible stories on typical Singapore or PPS passengers. However, I thought it might be a good idea to contribute my share of the stories and hopefully to change the mindset or perception of the readers that not all Singapore passenger are “Typical” or nasty “PPS”

I’ve been travelling with Singapore Airlines for about 8 years now. As part of my job, practically I will be on a SQ flight on a weekly basis. Fortunately, my company treats people like me with great care and I will be on Business Class almost 80% of my flight. It took me only 3 years to get my Solitaire PPS. Being a SPPS, I was treated like a VIP and also my fair share of being discriminated by crew as a “Typical” Singaporean and a “Nasty” SPPS.

SPPS is not something I’m proud of.
Throughout my years a PPS & SPPS, I’ve never once behaved like a spoilt brat and never gave any Cabin Crew a hard time. This has got to do with my mindset. Personally, I’m not proud of being a VIP of SQ. Think about it, it took me a lot of travel to earn my status as SPPS. My fellow colleagues will praise me of being a SPPS and how they wish they can enjoy the benefits of VIP status. Contrary to my thinking, it is not something I’m proud of as it reminds me that I’ve been travelling too much at the expense of my time away from my family.

In reality, the only reason I’m fortunate to be a SPPS is my company. There is no way I can be a SPPS travelling First or Business class on my own expense. I’m sure 90% of SQ PPS or SPPS are like me. We owe it to our company. Company is nice enough to not have me squeeze in Cattle Class (Economy class) on a grueling 12 hours flight to London by having me sitting at the forward of the aircraft enjoying the nice seats and amenities. Every long flight, I will walk to Economy class to remind myself how “Lucky” I’m and be thankful. As such, I’ve never attached the status to mine. When I board a flight, I always believe, the status belongs to my company and only my own name belongs to me.

Another reality is, when Singapore Airline awards any PPS & SPPS status to any passengers, they are trying to convey the message “Thank you for you business and hope to have more future revenue from you” rather than saying “You are now the King of SQ”! At the peak of PPS membership in 2008, SQ had about 40,000 PPS globally! So, being PPS is no big deal!

Encounters with Ugly Passengers
Being frequent travelers, I can practically smell ugly Singaporean passengers from miles away! The interesting thing is, majority of the ugly passengers are those who don’t travel regularly and have not seen the world. The most well behaves passengers are those who travel on a regular basis and to them taking planes are like taking MRT or buses.

Being on flights so frequent it gets really monotonous and boring. However, thanks to ugly passengers or typically Singaporean, it made some of the flights very interesting.

I remembered there was one flight, there was a passenger sitting just across the aisle in Economy, He was making a big fuss and insisted on seeing the IFS (Inflight Supervisor).  As part of SQ protocol, any issues will have to be addressed by Leading, followed by the Chief then finally IFS. After all the big fuss, he was complaining about his Gin & Tonic was not up to standard and he was a Gold Card member! That’s a good laugh.  One thing I don’t understand is, why must Singaporean used their status to threaten or get what they want? I have instances where passengers request for newspaper “Get me a Straits Time. I’m a Silver/Gold Member”.

Ugly Business Class or PPS passengers
You would expect passengers sitting in Business Class would behave more professionally and more profound. I’ve seen numerous rude Singapore PPS demanding things and throwing tantrum if they don’t get what they want. I’ve come across Business class passengers on A380 when they got on the plane, even before they settle down on their seats demanding “where’s my drink?!!”  Where is your “please?!” I understand why major of the crew would discriminate typical Singapore or PPS passengers and they would rather serve foreigners who are definitely more profound. For example, Singapore loves to use this sentence which I find is uniquely Singaporean and rude when they request for something “Give me………!” Why can’t we use sentence like “Excuse me Miss, I would like a ………. Please”!

Complain King
Personally, I feel some SPPS passengers use their authority and status to intimate others. Once I was on A380 flight back from Sydney on May 1. There was a SPPS sitting just front of me and he was making sense for at least 1 hour with all the ranking crew trying to calm him down. Then I realized what his problem was. He was complaining why SQ has not showing the last movies on KrisWorld since it was the first day of the month. To spend an hour on issues that I felt there’s nothing the crew can do. Logic will tell you, on the last day of the previous month, the flight was in Sydney and there’s no way the Technician can upload the movies.

I want my food!
Another typical problem Singapore Business Class passenger will complain is on their choice of meals. All hell will break loose if they don’t get their meal choice. Crew will always has SPPS, PPS, and then other business class passengers on their meal choices. You can imagine if any particular flight if there are overwhelming number of SPPS and as a result, PPS will not get their choices. I remembered on particular flight, I was asked if I wanted my dinner choice, which I declined. However, I changed my mind after almost all the other passengers have made their choices, I requested for steak. The crew said “Very sorry Mr Boo. We have ran out of steak. Would you like other choices?”. My respond to the crew surprised the crew and it was simply logic. I said to her “Go to EY, get me one of the steak from there if there are still available.” In the end, I got a steak which look exactly as the one served in Business class.

Hungry Ghosts
Why typical Singaporean loves to eat all the time in Business Class. This was what I encountered during flight from the new route Haneda to Singapore. This was a red eye flight. The flight departs at 1230am to 7am with two meal services. You would have thought on a red eye flight, most of the passengers would sleep the whole flight. I was wrong! Most of the Singaporeans were eating their heart out! I wonder, do they usually two meals between 12-7am when are at home?! I have also seen passengers falling sleep while eating on red eye flight! Ridiculous Hungry Ghosts!

Another instance, I remembered a SPPS requested for his steak to be cooked Medium Well and of caused he couldn’t get what he wished for and started threatening and complaining about the steak. My points, the food that you are served is as good as it gets. Get real, this isn’t Fine Dinning!
Be nice and you will be treated nice
This is my strong believe in life. Through my years of flying as a passenger, I can see that being a cabin crew is not easy. Especially when dealing with rude and demanding passengers. They have to put of the image as Singapore Girl and smile at all times. Whenever I fly, I made a conscious effort by treating them how I want others to treat me especially with respect. Simple smile and saying “Thank you” by looking in their eyes to show my sincerity means a lot to them. Some extra ordinary flights, I would even go to the gallery to shake their hands. One perks or curse that SPPS has is, the level of seriousness the Singapore Airlines takes our feedback. Armed with this privilege, I try to help as many crews as possible; only when they truly deserved it, and write to the company to praise on their performance. I remembered that once an IFS came to me and said how I’ve just helped one crew clear her probation by writing a positive comment.  Of caused I’ve also written one bad comment about 2 crews on a flight whom the flight was “unbelievably” bad!

As a SPPS, a little gesture meant a lot to the crew. For example, there was one flight to Hong Kong in Cattle Class, there was a woman sitting across my aisle was making a huge fuss on why the crew moved a bag above the cabin to create more space for others. The crew did not moved bag to another compartment but simply arranged it to create more space. The woman passenger was making hell for the crew and the leading.  Even the Chief got involved. You could see the faces of the crew and they were distressed. What I did was, I called for the Chief and told him, his crew did the right thing and the woman was being unreasonable. I rendered my help by telling giving them my email just in case the woman complains and I was ready to vouch for them. Immediately, I could sense a great sight of relieve from the crew.

Some passengers are just simply rude in the way they acted. You will be surprised how childish passengers can behave. A simple greeting from crew such as “Good morning, welcome onboard” can have a negative repercussion. I’ve passenger responded by saying “What’s so good about the morning?!” These are simply unacceptable! Most of the behaviors are being shown by Singapore passengers. That’s why I don’t blame crew for wanting to serve foreigners or westerners more than Singaporeans.

What would you do if the seat you are sitting has a faulty console or KrisWorld? A typical response from would be “I want an upgrade!” or simply create hell for the crew. Well, think about it, crew has no authority to give upgrades onboard flight anymore. They can only offer you a change of seat of there is one available. Faulty seats consoles are a common occurrence now especially when majority of SQ 777-200 fleet are about 10 years old. I’ve never asked for an upgrade or demand compensation in any ways. All I asked was for my seat to be checked by the crew or reset the configuration. If all means fail, I will just tell the crew “It’s ok. Don’t worry about it. I will just play with my iphone or read my book.” After this, trust me, I will be treated with great care by the crew. It all started by treating others nice. I will always get a comment “You are one of the nicest PPS we have ever met. Mr Boo.” I will always respond by “PPS belongs to my company. Not me. Only Mr Boo belongs to me. I’m just a passenger.”

Though being nice does not equate to nice treatment from the crew. I have my fair share of discrimination just because I was a PPS or SPPS.  I know of a famous IFS who flies only Beijing because his partner lives there (by now some of you may know); whom I’ve met numerous times on flight (just my luck); who hates and totally discriminate PPS or SPPS!

As years passed, my seniority as SPPS grows; which means higher chance of UG (Up Grade). Whenever there’s an upgrade, I know there will be an abbreviation UG next to my name. An UG will always be an UG. Don’t take for granted that you have purchased the seat and make your demands like you have paid for them.

I hope by writing this, it will give you an insight of a SPPS. I want readers of this blog to know, that there still a few of us out there who are nice to crew and truly appreciate their work and effort. Please do not have the stereotype or have this stigma that all PPS/SPPS are nasty.

Jason Boo



Nice report Mr. Boo and thank you Uncle BT for posting (I have been tracking this blog for some time... very interesting and sometimes informative) hehee

boh tong said...

Thank U KRIS

Anonymous said...

Spot on Jason. I agree there are always black sheep around us.If everyone in this little red dot behaves like you then it would become a Gracious society.
Look at the behaviour of the drivers on the road and commuters taking the subway.
Lack of courtesy shown.
Ever wonder why is it so?
I reckon most of them are suffering from mild to acute depression.
Only time will tell.


BookLover said...

BT, most PPS and solitaire passengers are nice. Maybe once in a while someone just loses it. Luckily for me in all my flights I have not seen any of this kind of behaviour. You know I do travel a fair bit.

Anonymous said...

BT, actually those very rich or high ranking PPS passenger are very polite and would not lose their cool. It's those "in between" that like to throw their weight around.

boh tong said...

Anonymous said...
BT, actually those very rich or high ranking PPS passenger are very polite and would not lose their cool. It's those "in between" that like to throw their weight around...................

BT: oh really i din know tat?

boh tong said...

BookLover said...
BT, most PPS and solitaire passengers are nice. Maybe once in a while someone just loses it. Luckily for me in all my flights I have not seen any of this kind of behaviour. You know I do travel a fair bit................................

BT: aiya Booklover i seldom meet a nice and good PPS like u b4 la. As a snr crew I had bin even threatened by PPS etc

Anonymous said...

Once, when I was operating a flight to BKK,I was shouted at by a SPPS because he was separated from the rest of his family - he was upgraded to business class. He knew it when he checked in. Why didn't he decline the upgrading there and then? Another time this Life PPS asked me to upgrade his friend to First Class. I said I couldn't do it. He said, "who is to know?" There were 2 other passengers in FCL. When again I refused to do it, he called me names. What if I were to upgrade another passenger's friend? Would he just keep quiet? I doubt so. In a way, I am not sad to have left the airline.

Anonymous said...

PPS SPPS are all a big A-hole

Anonymous said...

this article makes me smile.

its always good to read report from our pax's perspective, rather than those jingoistic rantings by my fellow crew members.

perhaps someone can post this article to Lots of PPSs over there and hopefully they can behave better after reading it.

and if someone says 'whats so good about the morning?' at the door.. I'd probably reply " becoz I don't have a better word for you!" ( can i actually say that?? haha)

cheers everyone! GXFC !

Anonymous said...

When I was still flying with SIA, I had served quite a few stars and
celebrities on my flights. The bigger their billing, the nicer they are. There was Erik Estrada("Punch", one half of California highway patrol pair on "CHiPs" which was very popular on TV those days), who was on my flight about 20 years ag. He was super nice. After he woke up from his sleep, he came to the galley to get a cup of coffee. He stayed and chit-chatted with us like old friends. There was Tom Jones who was very sincere, polite and appreciative. There was Jet Li who, though did not speak much because we did not converse with him in Mandarin, was humble and did not hesitate to get up from his seat to take a picture with us.
Then, there was Chow Yuen Fatt who ate a little, then rested. After landing, he obliged us with a picture-taking session, giving us his famous Kodak smile. Some of these celebrities who always smile in front of the camera, suddenly have frozen jaws when they came on board. One of our home-grown singers who is very popular in Taiwan and China never even looked up when she addressed us. No please, no thank you. One of our local TV actresses kicked up such a big fuss when a couple of droplets of aircon condensation fell on her, when she was travelling in EY. But, my best VIP passenger of all was Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, who showed concern for our welfare - asking us if we had rested or eaten. She always wiped the basin dry after she used the toilet.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mr Boo!!!! 90% of the PPS status belongs to your company.. not you "PPS" out there ! stop acting like 1 big pui pui ass

Anonymous said...

Once, I had a family of 4 traveling in EY, dad, mum and two late teens sons. Somehow, the parents got upgraded as the last row of Business class was vacant (777-300ER). This idiot stood there and refused to sit saying why only only he and his wife are upgraded? Why not the two sons since there are two other seats? Shouted and demanded to see higher authority. Ground staff tried to calm him down until AC doors almost close but the idiot still refuse to give in. Ground staff tu lan told him off," sir, you can choose to sit here or go back to economy class and join your sons" Needless to say, the asshole was embarrass and wanted to complain throughout the whole flight.

My 2 cents worth to this idiot:
"Sir, if your house is vacant when you and your family is away, does that mean that i can come and stay there?"

Anonymous said...

My 2 cents worth to this idiot:
"Sir, if your house is vacant when you and your family is away, does that mean that i can come and stay there?"

I like the above comment about that stupid PPS lah...haha such idiots we also have as passengers.

Anonymous said...

Those misbehaving Singaporeans are a minority. It pains me when the rest of us are discriminated against because of a few black sheep.

White Sheep said...

"Misbehaving Singaporeans are a minority"???
There are many many misbehaving black sheeps!

Anonymous said...

Well say. Ugly Singaporean should take note of this. In fact lots of place does not welcome us at all !

Anonymous said...

Well, unfortunately most of these A-holers are seated in JCL..neither here nor there, these like glut,boorish behaviour and there will always be at least one, testing the limits of the crew..
Much unlike the real wheeler dealers in First or Suites..very specific requirements, yet minimum fuss..
When u hv had or cud hv everything, wud you be bothered or even interested in the best airline food and drinks? Nope..
There was this concierge of a well known hotel in S'pore who always squeeze to travel on JCL only to brag to his friends and even took photos of the nuts being served on board..
Such are the people who thrash the crew everytime they come on board.. Some make downright uncalled for remarks about the crew as they board, as if to prove a point or having a bone to pick..i have seen female passengers who literally run down the girls all the time but were somewhat nice to the guys..Their PPS status made them even worse.. I do pity their partners and children..Sickos who were at one time rejected by SQ or by the crew in their pathetic lives..
Envy is a powerful disease that lives inside people like cancer...

TPP Blah said...

I have been a PPS and now TPP for about 11 years now. I find the PPS status is good only for lounge access. The treatment on board is quite indifferent whether you are PPS or not. For eg, if you are already seated in J, the crew will address you by name, get you things etc. whether or not you are PPS. OK, you will be asked your meal choice 1st - not a big deal for me!

However, if you are in Y, forget about your PPS status. Maybe if you are lucky, you get greeted by name (long-haul flights). For short-haul flights, you are treated just like the rest in the cabin.

So play nice and don't create trouble regardless of the class you are seated in and say your "Please"s and "Thank you"s.

Anonymous said...

thank you, Mr. Boo for your kind understanding of situations faced by the crew but this is something you ought to know, anyway. In a typical aircraft, there is three configuration....PCL/JCL/ECL. In the economy, the passengers know where they are and what they have paid, accepting with ease, the goodwill and services of the crew. In the PCL, most of these passengers are well known people of wealth or status, some having achieved their stations in life in the companies that they worked for and perhaps owned, meaning they have 'arrived'...well, in the JCL, and I said,well,because most of these people are 'up and coming', they do not know where they are, whether coming or going, always using their new found status to 'coerce' the crew in getting upgrades and freebies though thankfully as the group 'matured' with time, hopefully the meanies get lesser as well.....the crew are human too and if they are adequately well treated, they will definitely reciprocate with kindness too, no one including the crew at large would want to spoil their flights bickering with passengers but then again sometimes...