The Not So Long Haul

Tony Soprano isn’t the only one who loses out with the termination of the direct SIA flight from Singapore to Newark, until last week the world’s longest commercial flight at 9,500 miles. The mob boss no longer has easy access to Bedok Reservoir to dispose of his bodies, while New Jersey’s second most famous son (and One True Boss), Bruce Springsteen, will now find it that much harder to buy his tour handkerchiefs on the cheap at Mustafa.But it’s we in Singapore who are really going to feel the pinch. Not so much for the loss of that one route (we’re Knicks not Nets fans anyway), as for what ceding the title to another airline says about the nation’s ability to punch above our weight.Of course, SIA tell us they’ll still be serving NYC via Frankfurt; but frank(furt)ly that’s like a man boasting about jumping from the stratosphere when other men have already been to the moon. And that’s not all! They’re also calling off the world’s longest duration flight; the 18.5 hour snooze-and-movie marathon that is SIN-LAX.Just what the hell’s going on at SIA? Time was when the whole world knew we had the best airline, best airport and best looking air hostesses in the world. Now we have to content ourselves with mooching round the butterfly garden at Changi, while Quantas and Delta steal our records, and Qatar magically offers up both the cheapest and best serviced long distance flights out of here. (As for the hostess thing… an evening at Chijmes for their flight-staff-drink-free promo proves it’s really only the Lufthansa girls who get drunk enough for us to have a chance anyway.)And all this in the same week that even North Korea’s pitiful Air Koryo launched a web booking platform (you see, Tony Soprano’s gonna be just fine…). Expect an announcement any time now. None of this nonsense about new A380s. No, we’ve figured it out: SIA itself is about to be retired, to be replaced in full by… its younger upstart sibling Scoot. If we can’t be the best, we’ll be the brashest. If we can’t do the longest flights, we’ll do the longest pre-launch marketing campaign. Real records? Fugheddaboutit.