The SIA Training Centre, by the numbers:
· 3.5 months.
Walking the aisles of the SIA Centre near Singapore-Changi International Airport, it becomes quite apparent that this is a school. Girls and guys of excellent posture walk from classrooms to mock fuselages for practices of in-flight service, or even onboard meal plating. The girls are fully made up, with the SIA recommended makeup and hairstyles, though they haven't yet earned their kebayas (traditional batik outfit that is the SIA uniform). They are required to train for 3.5 months, longer than any other airline, and are even taught how to properly walk down the aisles of an aircraft (it's a silent glide).
· 60 people.
SIA's water evacuation practice pool is 3 meters deep and has the ability to simulate wave conditions to make the experience as realistic and challenging as possible (on a scale of 1-10, we saw 3-level waves). Though the 6,000 crew must retrain here every year, take heart in the knowledge that Singapore Airlines has never once had a water ditching and a good 60 people can fit in one of the 25' rafts. Need more reassurance? Airbus conducted a test evacuation of 555 passengers onboard an A380 and managed to get everybody out in 78 seconds. Lickety-split, that is.
· 80 sommeliers.
There is a door at the SIA Centre that remained closed to us. That door was labeled "Wine Room." It just wasn't part of our tour, but for SIA's 80 trained sommeliers, it's a center of continued learning. Whenever the menus change, this is where they come to get acquainted with the new vintages, and where all flight crew must learn to "explain the characteristics and what makes each wine different." Pro tip: Look for a bunch of grapes pin on the lapel of the crew to distinguish the sommelier on your flight.
The water evacuation practice pool.
Want to know more? Then you must see our Singapore Airlines A380 coverage from onboard the first JFK-FRA-SIN flight using the superjumbo.
Disclosure: Access was as a guest of Singapore Airlines. Regardless, all photos and opinions presented are utterly and completely our very own.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]