Singapore Airlines has received regulatory approval to carry transit passengers from China, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea and Taiwan through Changi Airport. These join an approved list that already includes cities in Australia and New Zealand.
This change took effect yesterday, and tickets will go live on the Singapore Airlines website today.
Which cities can Singapore Airlines passengers now transit from?
With the latest changes, passengers can now transit from the following cities:
|Hong Kong||Singapore Airlines & Scoot|
|New Zealand||Auckland||Singapore Airlines|
|South Korea||Seoul||Singapore Airlines|
Do note the “from” qualification- transit flights are only valid for outbound journeys from these selected cities. Passengers will not be able to transit from any other points in the SIA Group network through Singapore into these cities.
From Singapore, these transit passengers will be able to connect to the following destinations:
For further details, refer to the following articles about the cities that Singapore Airlines and Scoot are serving in June and July:
Restrictions on return flights
Although the addition of China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea opens up more routing options, do note that return flights can only be booked if both the origin and final destination are in the list of approved cities for transit via Singapore.
For example, Tokyo – Singapore – Sydney would be a valid itinerary, as both Tokyo and Sydney are in the approved city list. However, Sydney – Singapore – Copenhagen would not be a valid routing.
To meet the regulatory requirements, customers will need to book their full journey on one ticket, instead of splitting it up into separate tickets. In any case, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to split up their tickets- transit flights through Singapore on Singapore Airlines would almost certainly be cheaper than two separate point-to-point tickets terminating and starting in Singapore.
What can you expect during the transit experience?
Changi Airport has produced a video showcasing what passengers can expect during their transit.
Transit passengers will be kept as sterile as possible, with minimal interaction with passengers for whom Singapore is their final destination.
The process starts before passengers have even stepped foot in Changi. Passengers will be screened for any signs of illness and asked to make a health declaration.
Those transiting in Singapore will be the first group to board the aircraft (regardless of cabin class). They will be assigned seating in a designated zone, which they must stay in throughout the flight.
During transit in Changi
On arrival at Changi, transit customers will disembark last, after passengers for whom Singapore is the final destination. All arriving passengers will be temperature screened, and transit passengers will receive a wristband which grants them access to the designated transit holding area.
If transit time is less than 75 minutes, customers will be ushered directly to the boarding gate. For transits longer than 75 minutes, customers will be ushered to a designated transit holding area before boarding.
Changi has designated two separate transit holding areas:
- Terminal 1’s will be at Gates C1 to C3
- Terminal 3’s will be outside Gate A15
Customers will not be able to make any stops along the way, and will have to stay in the transit holding area at all times. This area will have food kiosks, vending machines, restrooms, a smoking room and a snooze corner, with complimentary Wi-Fi. Passengers with young children will be relieved to know there’s an entertainment one with game machines at the Terminal 3 holding area.
Changi will allow transit passengers to make duty-free purchases using the airport’s shopping concierge service. Products offered include those sold by Shilla Cosmetics and Perfumes, Lotte, and Gift by Changi Airport. These will be delivered directly to the holding area. There will also be an option to order food from outlets in Changi Airport.
PPS Club members, Suites, First, and Business Class passengers will not be able to access the SilverKris Lounge in Changi Airport due to regulatory requirements. They will instead be invited to a “premium waiting area” in the transit holding area, where complimentary food and beverages will be provided.
There’s no mention of any access for KrisFlyer Elite Gold or Star Gold members traveling in Economy Class, so I think it’s best to not expect any love.
For passengers with a longer layover, the Aerotel hotel in Changi Terminal 1 is now open for bookings, with a minimum stay of 1 hour. Transit passengers who have made bookings should inform the Changi Experience Ambassador on duty for assistance, who will escort them to the hotel.
Departing from Changi
When the time comes to board, transit passengers will be ushered in groups from the transit holding area directly to the boarding gate, and board the aircraft first.
Once again, transit passengers will be seated separately from non-transit passengers, and upon arrival, non-transit passengers will disembark first, followed by transit passengers.
Changi Airport has just announced some extremely dismal passenger figures for May, so the expansion of transit possibilities can only be a good thing.
|Passenger Movements (in ‘000s)|
|Source: Changi Airport Group|
Transit passengers shouldn’t expect the “classic” Changi Airport experience, with movie theaters, butterfly gardens and swimming pools, but travel in the current climate is more about getting from Point A to Point B than really enjoying the experience.