Crazy Rich Asians: Is Pacific Asean a Real Airline? Is Samsara an Actual Island?

In Jon M. Chu’s romantic comedy film ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ Rachel Chu and Nick Young board a Pacific Asean Airlines flight to Singapore from New York City. After experiencing the opulent services the airline offers its priority customers, Rachel is stunned, especially since she expects to travel in economy class. The airline returns to their lives once again later in the movie, specifically in the scene in which Nick proposes to her inside the company’s airplane. Another fascinating detail the rom-com offers is the beauty of Samsara Island, where Rachel deals with Amanda’s threatening behavior! Both Pacific Asean Airlines and Samsara Island have interesting backstories to offer!

Singapore Airlines Became Pacific Asean

Singapore Airlines, the flag carrier of Singapore, is widely regarded as one of the best airlines with five-star facilities and services. In Kevin Kwan’s novel ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ the source text of the film, Rachel and Nick travel on a Singapore Airlines flight. Nick even “steered her onto the plush red carpet of the Singapore Airlines first-class counter at JFK,” as per the novel. When the film adaptation of the book was in the works, producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson approached the airline for a partnership. However, the company decided against partnering with the romantic comedy.

“We were shocked. It was going to be an ad for Singapore Airlines!” Simpson told TheWrap. “But they were not sure the movie would represent the airline and their customers in a good light. People want what Richard Curtis’ movies (‘Love Actually’ and ‘Notting Hill’) do for England — they make you want to visit the country,” the producer added. When the real airline turned down the advertisement partnership, the creative heads behind the film decided to conceive a fictional company for Rachel and Nick to travel to Singapore, which paved the way for the birth of Pacific Asean.

In the context of Asia, the word “Asean” can be traced back to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a political and economic union that includes Singapore. The particular word fits well since it connects the company to Asia, the primary setting of the movie. Even though the airline is fictional, the facilities it offers really exist. Enthusiasts can experience these services by boarding the Singapore Airlines A380 flight, which offers luxury suits to its passengers.

The Fictional Samsara Island

Even though Rawa, where Nick and Colin go to celebrate the latter’s bachelor party, is a real island, Samsara is a fictional one. The scenes set on the island were shot on Langkawi, an archipelago off Malaysia’s northwest coast. The beaches and clear waters around the region make it a captivating choice for celebrations and getaways. The scene in which Nick and Colin share beers is also filmed on the Langkawi archipelago. The captivating resort where Araminta’s friends celebrate her upcoming wedding is Four Seasons Resort on the island. Its location within the Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark makes it an ideal establishment for nature enthusiasts. The resort has five pavilions and eight villas.

Most of the non-stop flights from Singapore to Langkawi don’t even take two hours to reach the archipelago. Jon shot the raft scene with a minimal crew. “We took a boat around some bends in Langkawi where all of these rocks just jut out of the water. We only took a small crew, like ten of us, to shoot the scene on the raft,” the director told Condé Nast Traveller. In Buddhism, Samsara refers to the rebirth of an individual. The name makes sense, considering that Rachel opens a new chapter of her life on the island after getting targeted by Amanda and her peers. The fictional island doesn’t have any connection with Samsara Beach on Turks & Caicos Islands, British Overseas Territories, or Samarai Island in Papua New Guinea.


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