Singapore Airlines is opening up two of its Airbus A-380s at Changi Airport as temporary restaurants for two weekends later this month, offering dishes from its menu, two complimentary alcoholic drinks and free flow of other beverages.
A meal in a suite costs $642, while prices are $321 for a business-class seat, $96.30 for premium economy and $53.50 for economy.
At the top end, that sort of money would easily buy you an eight-course degustation at Odette, consistently ranked as one of the world's best restaurants, or a dinner for two, plus wine, at Cut, the Marina Bay Sands steak house that is part of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's stable.
Mr Mayur Patel was willing to apply for the sweet suite seat. The regional sales director for travel data provider OAG Aviation Worldwide said he wanted to experience the suite again after flying in one once from Sydney to Singapore.
As a member of Singapore Airlines' top-tier Solitaire PPS Club for 21 years, Mr Patel also wanted to support the carrier because he feels attached to the brand.
Here are some more of his insights into what attracted people to the offer:
What motivates people to spend hundreds of dollars on this when they could go to a five-star restaurant or hotel in town?
The SIA A-380 dining experience was something that surprised many. Why anybody would spend $50 for economy class to $600 for suites was mind-boggling for some. However, there are many aspects to looking at this.
The economy class price point was not too bad at all considering you get to experience the A-380, perhaps for the first time, and get a meal, drinks and inflight entertainment.
Some would say you can do all this at home with Netflix and a takeaway meal, but there is a sense of national pride and a patriotic aspect to support SIA given the headlines on its financial struggles.
For some, it would be like going to the movies with extra legroom (for those opting for premium economy) with value-added thrown in.
There are also novelty-seekers wanting to try business class or suites who may otherwise not be able to afford the premium cabin experience in the air.
Some are social media influencers or want Instagram moments from the splurge.
What does Singapore Airlines get out of it?
In addition to capturing new revenue streams, this is a publicity event to showcase the A-380 flagship product to travellers.
The A-380 economy class and other cabins were overhauled in the past few years, so it is relatively new.
It allows people who may not have travelled on long haul flights to experience the new cabins.
The airline can then hook potential travellers with their service and product offerings once travel rebounds.
It is not expected to generate significant cash as there are food and beverage costs that need to be taken into account. Airlines typically allocate $20 a meal for economy class, and there are related costs so the contribution is not significant. What they achieve is publicity.
Any idea of the most popular class of seating?
Business class and suites have proved the most popular for those who could afford it, but premium economy got the same level of attention given the price point.
Mr Patel did not get his suite in the end due to the high demand for reservations and because prior commitments meant he could not change to another date offered.
Source: Straits Times