Since early June, Singapore Airlines has had regulatory approval from CAAS to carry transit passengers through Changi Airport once more.
The first batch of eligible countries from which transit passengers could embark was limited to Australia and New Zealand. That quickly grew to China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and now it’s possible to transit from selected European cities in the SIA network.
Four European cities now approved for Changi transit
From 29 June 2020, Singapore Airlines can now carry passengers from the following cities through Changi:
Barcelona and Zurich, however, remain invalid starting points for now.
This brings the total list of cities from which passengers can book transits through Changi to 19.
|Hong Kong||Singapore Airlines & Scoot|
|New Zealand||Auckland||Singapore Airlines|
|South Korea||Seoul||Singapore Airlines|
|United Kingdom||London||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 destinations that Singapore Airlines and Scoot are serving in June and July:
Restrictions on return flights
Although the addition of these cities 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 – Zurich would not be a valid routing (as the return leg would violate the regulations).
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.
Although not directly relevant to those of us in Singapore, more transit passengers traveling through Changi is good news for those employed in the aviation sector. It means more opportunities to take staff off furloughs, more business for the airport concessions, and greater utilization of Singapore Airlines’ fleet.
For what it’s worth, the Kangaroo Route is now back as well, with Australia and the UK now connected via Singapore. Hopefully this should translate into much better passenger figures for Changi (and SIA)- but we’ll know next month.