Writer Camelli Tang wrote about how disdain the level of service at Changi Airport was while relating an incident that she encountered at the airport. Apparently, there was a sick passenger on board and she was helping and there was no one around to ask her if she needed assistance. She had to provide her particulars before she was eventually allowed to use the wheel chair and even then, there was no assistance provided at the customs.

Personally, I would like to disagree with what Camelli had experienced because I was very well attended to on 2 of my trips back. On one trip, I was in so much pain in my abdominal that a wheel chair was provided for when I alighted. The request was made known to the stewardess on board and appropriate arrangements were made by them when we landed. On a second occasion, I was not well and was escorted at each transit (at other airports) and at Changi Airport. Assistance was also provided at the Immigrations and Customs to bypass the queue through a side exit (with my passport checked, of course).

With these 2 experiences – coming back from 2 different airlines, I can attest that the service level of Changi Airport is not as bad as the writer had described. In addition, these 2 incidences of mine happened at least 7 years apart – so it’s evident that it’s not a one off thing. I would tend to agree with the commenters that the writer could have brought this to the attention of the cabin crew who would then be more familiar with protocols that would have ensured a smooth journey for the sick passenger, although I would have not have suggested that the writer make the call to the ambulances herself.

After living in Singapore for so many years (not that many if you compare it to our forefathers, but you know what I mean), I learn to understand that there’s something I can do to make a difference, and there are other things that I just have to leave it to the hands of people who are more familiar with it. If mishandled, things may deteriorate and finger pointing will be totally useless.

World-class airport? Not with apathetic service

SINGAPORE’s Changi Airport is recognised as one of the best in the world. However, an incident which took place last Wednesday has left me wondering how world-class it really is.

My China Airlines flight from Taipei landed at Changi Airport at about 8.45pm. A fellow traveller, who had been feeling unwell, was unable to breathe or walk properly. Trying to get help in case she passed out, I went to look for a wheelchair.

I went up to the officer on duty at the customer service counter at the arrival hall

(before the immigration check) and asked for a wheelchair. There was one behind her, all locked up.

This was her reply: ‘The aircraft should arrange for the wheelchair for her since she is a passenger from there. It is not our responsibility… You have to return the wheelchair to me here at this counter…You have to give me all your particulars before we issue you the wheelchair.’

She eventually provided me one – after taking down my particulars. And she got someone to accompany me to take it back after use.

Is a customer service officer not supposed to render assistance to passengers who need it? Why such apathy?

Later, while we were queueing to clear Customs – there was a long line – we were not given any assistance in terms of priority, nor asked if the sick passenger needed an ambulance.

Do the airport staff have any sense of empathy towards a passenger who is unable to walk, has breathing problems and may pass out or even die on the spot?

I used to be proud of our airport but, after this incident, not any more.

Camelli Tang (Miss)

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 16th June 2008

Reader's Comments

  1. ricE | June 16th, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    different people gets different treatment ;o)

  2. Elia Diodati | June 17th, 2008 at 3:44 am

    Ah, the famous slippery slope fallacy.

  3. John | June 19th, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Credible story told by Ms. Camelli Tang???
    I wonder how frequent do Ms. Camelli Tang travel? Yes, she tried to help her fellow traveller, that is kind deed, but lack common sense (or?).
    Quote: “My China Airlines flight from Taipei landed at Changi Airport at about 8.45pm. A fellow traveller, who had been feeling unwell, was unable to breathe or walk properly. Trying to get help in case she passed out, I went to look for a wheelchair.”
    This implied that her fellow traveller must have already felt quite ill way before the plane landed. If she is a season traveller and had some common sense in her, she ought to know, the very first thing she could have done is inform the Flight Attendance of China Airlines. I am sure China Airline’s flight attendance would have done something if they had been approached for assistance. Is anybody’s guess how she approach the Custom Service Officer at Changi Airport(there was no mention of this detail in her article). I have seen too many ugly Singaporeans overseas and at home with absolutely bizzare behavior.

  4. Camelli | August 28th, 2011 at 3:48 am

    I am the writer of this article who shared my experience at the airport arrival hall, and I chanced upon the comments above. Clearly, John was ignorant enough to make comments when he was not even there to witness what happened? Yet he can comment about ugly Singaporeans. There are many ugly foreigners out there, as he may not see since he is always behind the PC. I was approached by the unwell lady after we left the aircraft, I was down with a sore throat which left me voiceless, yet still trying to ask for help from the airport. The comments from John clearly shows his ignorance as he was not present, and should not make judgment and make a fool of himself.

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