Sydney. The most beautiful major city in the world. A setting carved by water and just enough pitch and roll to alter the view at every turn with a climate that makes things grow to a perfect level of adundance. The human contribution is graceful from the cottages of Paddington, to the eccentricity of the Opera House, the brutal majesty of the Harbour Bridge and the ocean liners at Circular Quay. Marvellous.
Getting here was interesting, 8 hours from Singapore on the double-deck Airbus A380, the biggest passenger aircraft ever built. My view of the 380 won’t matter to anyone but my observation is that it is a missed opportunity in design at least. On the adjoining gate was a 747-400 Long Reach Big Top the uber-model of the most commercially successful aircraft ever. Big and puposeful for sure but somewhow graceful with a beautiful curve and flow.
The A380 is bigger, quieter, more efficient and tricked out by Singapore Airlines (in business) with ludicrously wide seats, large televisions and lots of toys. Yet somehow it lacks drama and style and looks like a walrus beside a dolphin. Unlike the Harbour Bridge there is not an ounce of romance amid the grandeur.
Having made such a petty point you do have to admire Singapore Airlines or SQ as the locals call it. In some regards its like an empire of the last millenium. It is recognizable wherever it goes and a symbol of the people that created it. Better still it delivers every aspect of the customer experience with huge style and efficiency. The pilots should be Viceroys not Captains. It’s clearly a huge source of national pride and its home, the spanking new Terminal 3 at Changi is, in functional terms a wonder in itself.
It is yet another example of Singapore’s commitment to infrastructure and ability to stay relevant as a nation on world terms with a population around half that of New York City.