Fly Above The Storm

Luxury service has helped SIA beat the airline slump--and target new cities in the U.S.

Munshi Ahmed for TIME

Hermann Freidanck, the food and beverage director of Singapore Airlines

Late last year, three world-renowned wine experts gathered in a nondescript, windowless room at Changi Airport in Singapore. For two days, they methodically worked their way through some 400 unmarked bottles of Champagne, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot from around the world, pausing only to record scores on a 20-point scale. The test was one that required not only a trained palate but also a certain imagination. The judges had already sampled wines in a pressurized room that replicates the taste-deadening conditions at 30,000 ft., so they knew to choose softer, fruitier wines. After six bottles had been chosen, their foil coverings...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!