I usually don’t care about all the little things about something like the interior of an airplane, whether the utensils were metal or plastic, the entertainment system is updated or does it have an extensive library of international content and what not. To me, I board the plane, I sit in my seat for hours, I alight the plane. I tend to simplify such things so my brain won’t be overloaded with complicated stuff like what colour choices the airline made and my seat is made of synthetic material or fabric etc.
If you ask me to go from one place to the other, I’ll just get the cheapest fare possible and that’s it, job done. But I was asked to do this post because my wife thought that we should share our experience with you guys.
This is about JAL and SIA, I’m only going to talk about the economy flight to and fro Japan, because we have taken that route with both airlines to make this comparison. Its also my personal opinion, so please don’t go around assume one person’s view means the world thinks that way too.
So in 2017, Claire and I went to Japan twice, not bragging because financially its straining. I won’t be recommending this way of travelling unless you really can afford it comfortably. In those two trips, we took JAL and SIA, even though I said I don’t care much about the details, I can’t help but notice a stark difference between the two airlines. Let us get on with the comparing:
Well, boarding the plane is generally the same. How can it be different when everything is done according to aviation guidelines?
Its the economy class, there isn’t much to compare here. The planes we took were Boeing 777-200ER for JAL and Airbus 330-300 for SIA. Both planes were about the size and the seating plan were the same 2-3-2 per row in Economy class. But I did notice the seats for SIA has more leg room, just ever so slightly..
JAL’s entertainment system has a majority of them being Japanese productions and a limited selection of contents in other languages. SIA has a more international make-up and I did notice that SIA has a larger library of content. But JAL’s issue is a.. non-issue to me, because I liked Japanese stuff so I have no qualms there. I have to emphasize this is my opinion ok guys.
Now this is what gave me the deepest impression of all the things added up together.. Both airlines offered 2 menu items, generally either ‘Japanese’ or ‘Western’ ‘cuisine’. We’re flying to Japan so generally the airline will stock food from the destination countries I chose Japanese when the chances presents themselves.
Firstly, I must say that I didn’t have much expectation for airline food. Its mass produced, microwaved food. So they will all come to me hot and dry, mostly tasteless. But its food. So as long as its edible, I will eat it. SIA’s food were ok, within my expectations. Its got salmon in teriyaki sauce, rice and some mixed vegetables. What’s new right?
BUT! JAL exceeded my expectations in its food! Its unpalatable! I took it the first time when we fly over, I was given microwaved rice with minced chicken laced with soy sauce/ajinomoto on top, however for the return flight, we were only given curry bun! What, so Singapore’s specialty food is curry bun??
And this return flight is mostly why it exceeded my expectations, its really low fyi, I placed airline food lower than food in army camp; mass-produced but at least its prepared fresh for hungry army chaps.
And that’s about it for my comparison. The rest of the experiences are in keeping of flying in a ‘bus-with-wings’. The occasion bumps and the struggle to control where your piss is going in the claustrophobia-inducing lavatories. And the sleep disrupting but-at-least-were-polite-enough air stewardesses asking you if you’ll like a drink, etc.
All in all, a flight is still a flight, but if Claire and I were to going to take JAL again, I’ll make sure to smuggle some snacks in my bag before departure..
Till next time people.