|Update: Singapore Airlines has officially announced that there will be no Spontaneous Escapes until further notice. I’ve updated the article title accordingly|
Now, Spontaneous Escapes usually get released around this time of the month, but in the current climate, I just can’t see it happening. (of course, now that I’ve said it aloud I’m sure we’re going to see the biggest list ever released this afternoon…)
Where could you even go?
As of today, Singapore residents and long-term pass holders arriving from the following countries will be issued with a 14-day stay-home notice (SHN):
- Mainland China
- South Korea
- Malaysia (except sea/land crossings)*
*takes effect from 2359 on 16 March 2020
This all but rules them out as potential holiday destinations- who wants to get hit with a 14-day SHN for a short trip? It’s all the worse if the nature of your job doesn’t allow you to work from home, because that’s simply lost income. Keep in mind, the S$100 a day allowance only applies to those under a Quarantine Order, not those served with an SHN.
|For further information on the differences between Leave of Absence, Stay-Hone Notice and Quarantine Order, refer to this very helpful FAQ by the MOH|
While the SHN doesn’t apply to people arriving in Singapore from countries like Australia and New Zealand, you’ll still be subject to a 14-day self-isolation period when you land there. This effectively rules out all vacation plans, unless you fancy lazing in the hotel the whole time.
Add the fact that the coronavirus outbreak is getting worse in the USA, and that doesn’t leave a whole lot of destinations left in the SQ route network.
Let’s not forget that Singapore Airlines has made significant cuts to its route network over the past few weeks, with more than 2,800 flights cancelled in April alone- about 25% of all scheduled flights. The list of flight cancellations now stretches to 27 pages, which says something in itself.
So it’s doubtful there’d be any demand for Spontaneous Escapes awards, nor are there many flights to offer.
Singapore Airlines can’t be seen to be socially irresponsible
Last night, the government advised Singaporeans to defer all non-essential travel abroad for the next 30 days. This isn’t targeted at a specific country- it means everywhere. No road-trips in California, no weekend massages in Bangkok, no safaris in Kenya.
It would therefore be somewhat jarring if a major GLC went on to launch travel deals just days later. In any case, when “social distancing” is the phrase of the day, it doesn’t play well for any company to be seen aggressively pushing travel (unless perhaps you’re offering staycations), whether or not said company is government-linked.
That’s why my educated guess is we won’t see any deals for award or revenue bookings on Singapore Airlines for a while.
As much as I love Spontaneous Escapes, I’d completely understand if they went AWOL for a month or two (or three). It’s just not the right environment for travel right now, and needless to say, all my plans are on hold. I was just about to fly to Kuala Lumpur last night when the government advisory broke, and have been spending most of this morning cancelling bookings and filing insurance claims.
My personal take on the coronavirus situation has also evolved quite a bit since January. I used to buy into the “it’s just flu” comparison, but it’s clear from the way that governments and the scientific community are responding that there’s more to it than that (here’s some articles explaining why Covid-19 is worse than the flu, both in terms of spread as well as lethality).
So stay safe during this time, wash your hands, and scold people who send you fake news over Whatsapp. It sucks to cancel travel plans, but I think we can all agree that there are more important things to resolve right now.