Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ricardo's story a big hit

Ricardo Rodrigues' story about his unhappy experience on board SQ637 from Narita to Singapore on December 4 was given an airing in The Sunday Times today (Dec 12).

As a result,, was mentioned for reporting it. And -- as a result -- the blog saw a huge spike in the number of hits today.

Ricardo, retired regional manager for bookstore Borders, wrote to me after he was reprimanded by a crew member for using a first-class toilet in the A-380 when he was travelling on economy.

He said he was treated "like a child" for something that he just "could not hold" as he was having a stomach ache and all the economy class toilets were occupied.

The responses that I got when I told the story to my friends and family members over the weekend were mixed. Some said Ricardo should have asked for permission before he went into the first-class toilet. My counter was that he just did not have the time to do it.

Others wanted to know where to draw the line on who should be allowed to use those "higher class toilets". They said it would be difficult for the airline because there was always the risk of abuse if those toilets were opened up to those having "stomach aches".

It also has to consider the reaction of the higher-paying passengers if those from the economy class were allowed to encroach into their space wily-nily?

Well, I guess this is something the airline will have to work it out because we can be sure that such a dilemma --- to allow or not to allow? -- will confront crew members again and again.

But one thing that is not in dispute --- all my respondents were surprised that Ricardo was treated so badly, especially by an airline that is noted for being ultra friendly to its passengers.


  1. Why hasn't Ricardo considered asking the others in the queue to allow him to use the lavatory as he has a "stomachache"? I am sure these graceful passengers would allow him to resolve his issue. Instead of bashing through curtains to use lavatories meant for other classes? In an office building, there are also toilets that are locked up only for the staff to access. Is it not true?

  2. Yes I read that article yesterday and hope that SIA & their crew will be more flexible if such situation happens again.

  3. Perhaps SIA should be given the SNOOTY award. They have bagged most of the awards and this would be ideal to top it off.
    Well, I am wondering if the SIA crew would have reacted or responded differently if it was a Caucasian passenger!!

  4. I agree with Anonymous 1. The fact that he said he saw 2 flight attendants near the toilet before he went in and the fact that he did not ask them for permission was wrong. If as a child should you use something which does not belong to you and if someone in authority reprimands you, I do not think its fair to say that the aberrative actions were not counteracted with kind words and roses.

  5. The crew should be more careful in his words even though it may be his job to stop the passenger from using the toliet. But on the other hand, I don't think it is right for Ricardo to just use the premium class toliet without maybe informing the crew of his situation. Imagine you are a premium class passenger and you have paid more for the service etc... To find the crew can just allow any economy passenger to use the toliet as and when they like, it seems unfair too. I will be upset if I am in business class waiting for my turn to use the toliet only to find that it's economy passenger who has an ' emergency' inside the toliet.

  6. Mr Yinn Lee wrote: "I want to share with you some of the experiences I have had with economy passangers sneaking into the business class toilets even when the flight crew has drawn the curtains on some of the flights, especially long haul flights like those to JFK on sq 26. Some will unbutton the curtains while others will attempt to crawl underneath the curtains when the flightcrew is on standown or when the lights are out.

    I am also a elite gold member with krisflyer and I fly business too. When I fly economy I try to respect the priviledges and benefits of the upper class passengers. That is because a few times on business flights with SIA I have seen economy passengers using the business class toilets and more often than not they will come out of the toilets with a smirk on their faces having semi-experienced a touch of the business class amenities.

    I am very critical of SIA and I had complained numerous times to SIA with regards to their service level. But this time round I am afraid i am on SIA's side."

  7. people only knows how to complain,complain and u know if the crew did not stop him from using the J class toilet then the J class paxs will complain against the crew.