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Keith Austin: When the world is your lobster Stories from a former Travel Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

The fragrance of Changi

ITALY | Thursday, 22 January 2009 | Views [793]

There are two things in the world that should never smell like themselves: fish and toilets. Which is why the toilets at Singapore’s Changi airport are so wonderful – they smell like a fresh summer’s day and have automatic this and automatic that. Indeed, so nice were they that I was tempted to miss the next leg of our flight to Europe and stay there for an extra day or so to give them a good workout.

As it was, we boarded the Lufthansa flight at midnight and finally arrived in a foggy Frankfurt 12 hours later. Perhaps comparisons are unfair but the Lufthansa 747 wasn’t a patch on the Airbus 380 that was the first leg of the journey.

Popsi Bubblehead and myself are in love with the A380. It has wide seats even in economy and all the connectivity bells and whistles you could want. There are USB ports galore in the back of the seats, music from which you can create your own playlists (fantastic!), on-demand films for the kids, films for adults (a choice on 112 in all), TV shows, 3D games, board games. It smells nice, too. Not Changi-bog nice but you can’t have everything.

On the other hand the Lufthansa 747 long haul flight had, er, nothing. Well, there was a TV set high up at the start of every aisle which you could tune to via channel 6 on your headphones but, really, for a 12-hour flight? It was like stepping back in time! According to the in-flight magazine we could have watched a choice of rather exciting new-release films – but on what?

Of course, another reason that Popsi is so taken with the Airbus is that the hostesses kept throwing red wine her way, and she seemed to think they’d lose face if she declined it. She slept well, the girl!

Another interesting comparison is the attitude to Internet connectivity in Changi and Frankfurt. In Changi there are Internet stations where you can log on for free and check emails etc – in Frankfurt there are machines whose sole purpose is to eat Euros while you try to get Windows Messenger working.

And don’t even get me started on Wi-Fi ... so far the new laptop has connected to precisely diddly-squat.

Arrived Venice at 1pm on Thursday, January 22, jetlagged but happy. Weather cold but sunny.

Tags: airbus 380, changi, flying, popsi bubblehead, toilets, wi-fi


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