Singapore Airlines revises Economy Class baggage allowance, adds new fare type

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Baggage allowances are cut to 25kg on Lite fares, while the newly-introduced Value fare offers more flexibility.

Back in 2018, Singapore Airlines revised its fare types across all cabins, grouping fares into Lite, Standard and Flexi buckets. This saw a change in mileage accrual rates and upgrade entitlements, as well as the introduction of seat selection fees for certain Economy Class tickets. 

Factsheet for 2018 fare changes

Singapore Airlines has now added an additional type of Economy Class fare: Value. This sits between Lite and Standard, with implications for baggage allowances and change/cancellation fees. 

Singapore Airlines’ new Economy fare buckets

With the latest addition, here’s a summary of Singapore Airlines’ Economy Class fare buckets. There is no change to Premium Economy, Business or First Class.

Economy Class Fares
  Lite Value Standard Flexi
Check-in baggage 25kg 25kg 30kg 30kg
Adv. seat selection $ $ Free^ Free^
Earn miles 50% 50% 75% 100%
Upgrade with miles
Cancel $ $ $
Change* $ $ Free
No-show $ $ $
Fare Codes V, K Q, N M, H, W Y, B, E
^Standard fares can select free Standard Seats; Flexi fares can select free Standard and Forward Zone seats
*Singapore Airlines is offering complimentary changes for all tickets issued by 30 June 2021. Unlimited changes can be made to the booking before 30 June 2021.

For the sake of comparison, here’s what this table looked like in March:

The main changes to note:

  • Check-in baggage allowances for Lite fares have been reduced from 30kg to 25kg 
  • Lite fares are no longer changeable (although the current COVID-19 waiver policy supersedes this) and no-show passengers cannot reschedule their flights
  • A “Value” bucket has been created, consisting of the N and Q fare classes which were formerly part of Lite. The rules for Value are largely similar to Lite, except with more flexibility

Since Singapore Airlines is anyways offering free unlimited changes on all tickets up till 30 June 2021 (which may be extended further, depending on the COVID-19 situation), the incremental flexibility that Value offers over Lite is the ability to cancel for a fee, or reschedule a no-show. 

No Show?
A no-show literally means that- not showing up for your flight. If you no-show on a Lite fare, you forfeit your ticket. If you no-show for a Value, Standard or Flexi fare, you can pay a penalty fee (called a no-show fee), then pay a change fee to reschedule the date.

I don’t have the data to make this comparison, but there are two things that could have happened with the introduction of Value fares:

  • Fares which formerly priced as Lite now price as Value, and the new Lite fares are even lower (unlikely)
  • Fares which formerly priced as Lite remain the same, while Value fares are higher (much more likely)

Consider the following examples. 

Below is a Singapore to Hong Kong itinerary. Notice how Economy Value offers a middle ground between Economy Lite and Economy Standard- for an additional S$51, I’m able to cancel my booking (although paying a S$200 cancellation fee on a S$358.10 ticket may not be the best idea!).

All fare buckets have complimentary changes thanks to SIA’s enhanced flexibility policy. Normally, it would not be possible to change Economy Lite bookings.

Economy Value would make more sense when the fare is higher, because the cancellation fee makes up a smaller proportion of total cost. For example, in this Singapore to London itinerary, the cancellation fee for Value is S$400, but the total cost is S$1,069.40. This represents 37% of the total cost, versus 56% in the previous example. 

On certain days/routes, Value fares take the place of Lite, like in this example to San Francisco. 

In any case, neither Lite nor Value fares can be upgraded with KrisFlyer miles, and both will continue to accrue miles at 50% of the actual distance flown. Advance seat selection is available for a fee, which will be waived for elite members. 

What about existing tickets?

The wording on SIA’s webpage suggests this change took place on 22 April 2021:

We recently updated our fare types and conditions, which may affect checked baggage allowance as well as change and cancellation fees for your future bookings. If your ticket was issued before 22 April 2021, the previous fare conditions will apply. Refer to the full fare rules and conditions in your booking confirmation email for details.

All tickets issued before 22 April 2021 will continue to follow the prevailing fare conditions at the time of booking. In other words, if you booked an Economy Lite fare when the luggage allowance was 30kg, you’ll continue to enjoy that 30kg. 

Update: Singapore Airlines has provided the following statement:

  • From 22 April 2021, SIA has revised its Economy Class fare types to offer more options and flexibility for its customers.  
  • A new Economy Class fare type, named Economy Value, will offer more flexibility for changes and cancellations than the Economy Lite fare type.  
  • Accordingly, the ticket conditions for Lite, Standard and Flexi fare types have been adjusted to meet the needs of different customer groups. With four distinct fare types, customers will be able to select the combination of fares, privileges and flexibility that best suits their requirements.  

The good news is that award tickets continue to enjoy the more generous 30kg luggage allowance, regardless of when they were issued. 

Conclusion

Given Singapore Airlines’ ongoing change fee waiver, the main advantage of Value fares is the ability to refund your ticket for a fee. Obviously this may not make sense for a short haul flight, but it could be a hedge for more expensive fares. 

The reduction in luggage allowance from 30kg to 25kg for Lite fares is unlikely to be an issue for most travelers, but it does mean SQ is slightly less generous than Cathay (30kg) in this respect. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Amos

Best thing to do is to have kids. I’ve got 2 young ones who were frequent flyers since they were months old. 100kg of luggage allowance for basically 2 adults, and priority boarding with free seat selection till they hit 12! Hahaha!

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