I have always been impressed by the high standards set by Singapore Airlines (SIA).

My first flight with SIA was in January 1973 from Singapore to Melbourne, not long after the airline was founded. (Previously SIA and Malaysia Airlines operated jointly as MSA).

But enough of the history lesson. Sadly, and in common with other airlines, economy class standards of the 1970s and 1980s have been slowly watered down over the years and I do feel they have reached a low point.

Singapore’s CNA Asia reports that its national carrier is trialling “paper serviceware” for onboard catering. Bamboo, rather than metal cutlery, is provided.

Initially I thought this paper serviceware would be used only on regional routes and then only for economy class passengers.

But I was mistaken. SIA is also trialling it on long-haul routes to London and even San Francisco, in both economy and premium economy classes.

Other routes for the trial include Mumbai, Sydney, Hong Kong and Seoul, reports CNA Asia.

Readers may wonder about Seoul and Sydney but SIA classifies both as “regional” even though Singapore-Sydney is a longer sector than London-New York.

As might be expected there has been much negative feedback.

SIA told CNA, “SIA will take on board customer feedback as well as operational considerations before deciding if this will be expanded across all medium- and long-haul flights”.

SIA says the use of paper serviceware costs more than traditional utensils but “it allows us to act on customer feedback by improving and expanding our in-flight meal offerings”.

The carrier also said that the move would “help to reduce the amount of single-use plastics on board the aircraft”.

Readers can read the full story along with photos of the new catering presentation by following the link above.

While I understand SIA’s rationale in respect to regional routes it must be hard to justify on two leading long-haul services: Singapore to London and San Francisco.

Fares on both routes are very high at the present time as airlines capitalise on demand for travel.

For example, I checked London-Singapore return in March for a typical working week (out March 18, back March 24) and the economy and premium economy prices were around £2,200 and £6,700 respectively.

The trial will end on March 25. Personally I will be surprised if it continues to apply on the London route.