Omicron: Singapore suspends sale of VTL flight and bus tickets

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From midnight tonight, Singapore will suspend the sale of new VTL tickets for travel into Singapore from 23 Dec 2021 to 20 Jan 2022.

Singapore is tightening its border control measures by suspending the sale of Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flight and bus tickets for travel into Singapore from 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022. VTL ticket sales for travel from 21 January 2022 will be capped at 50% of the allocated quota. 

However, passengers holding existing VTL tickets for travel during this period will still be able to enter Singapore without quarantine, under the VTL scheme.

Long term pass holders and short term visitors with approved VTPs will continue to be eligible for entry- there is no impact here either. VTP applications will continue to be processed; it’s just the VTL flights that will not be sold.

As per a statement from the CAAS:

With effect from 22 December 2021, 2359 hours (Singapore time), there will be no new ticket sales on designated VTL flights for entry into Singapore from all VTL countries until 20 January 2022, 2359 hours (Singapore time). For entry into Singapore on designated VTL flights from 21 January 2022, CAAS will cap the total ticket sales at 50% of the allocated quota.

Obligatory ministerial post here: 

Singapore suspends VTL ticket sales

Singapore Airlines’ stock price won’t like this…

From midnight tonight, you will no longer be able to book VTL tickets to Singapore which are scheduled for 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022. 

I understand that this move was misread in some quarters as “you cannot buy any VTL tickets at all from 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022, regardless of what date your VTL flight to Singapore is”.

This is incorrect. The idea is to curb the number of entries into Singapore during this holiday period. Why should the authorities care about someone planning to fly to Singapore in September 2022? Why penalise Singapore Airlines more than you have to, by not allowing them to make those future sales?

MOH’s statement provides a much clearer explanation (emphasis mine): 

 To limit our exposure to imported Omicron cases, we will impose limits on the number of VTL arrivals for the time being. We will freeze all new ticket sales for VTL flights and buses for travel into Singapore from 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022, both dates inclusive. All travellers who already hold a ticket on a VTL flight or bus and meet all the other VTL requirements can continue to travel under the VTL. We will also temporarily reduce the VTL quotas and ticket sales for travel after 20 January 2022

In any case, Singapore Airlines has updated their VTL travel page with the following notice:

With effect from 2359hrs (SGT) on 22 December 2021, Singapore Airlines will stop accepting new bookings for all Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flights into Singapore that are scheduled between 23 December 2021 and 20 January 2022 (both dates inclusive). 

Singapore Airlines has further clarified with me that customers with confirmed bookings made before 2359 hours on 22 December 2021 may make changes to their travel dates. This applies even if the revised dates fall within the 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022 period. 

You can still book VTL flights arriving from 21 January 2022

To be absolutely clear, you will still be able to book VTL flights to Singapore even after midnight tonight- just that the date cannot be from 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022. For example, you can still buy tickets for a VTL flight from San Francisco that lands in Singapore on 21 May 2022. 

If you want to travel to Singapore during the 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022 period, you’ll need to have your tickets issued by midnight tonight. That means if you’re waitlisted for an award, the waitlist must clear by midnight tonight (RIP SIA call centres).

As a reminder, here’s the list of current VTL countries:

🌎 VTL Agreements
Current VTL
  • Australia
  • Brunei*
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Fiji
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia*
  • Italy*
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Netherlands
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Postponed
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • UAE
*Brunei and Indonesia do not currently allow Singapore residents to enter without quarantine. Italy does not admit leisure travellers from Singapore

Conclusion

The suspension of VTL ticket sales is arguably the biggest setback to Singapore’s border reopening plan, and I really hope there’s no further extension. The government is clearly taking Omicron very seriously (for a detailed account on what happens if you test positive on arrival, check out this reader contribution), but you have to wonder whether this counts as an overreaction. 

If you’re planning to enter Singapore from 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022, you’ll need to buy your flight tickets before midnight tonight, so get cracking.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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msflyer

This is so frustrating for miles chasers. Even with VTL, travel is hassle for people with kids. Maybe a updated post on how to cash out miles, at modest “loss”?

kopi lim

Leave your kids in Sinkieland lah lee lor

Magda

Hi, to clarify, i had my VTL tickets booked using miles (not purchased), but I don’t have an approved VTP yet as i could not apply for it till closer to the planned travel date (18 Jan). Will I be rejected for entry? Thanks

Peso

Hi, I’m in the exact same situation (getting a new passport with different number). Would VTP applications be suspended alongside, or can those who hold VTL flight tickets still apply for a VTP after today?

Magda

I managed to apply for the VTP right after I posted. Was approved almost immediately, thankfully. Now just fingers crossed my non-SQ VTL flight doesn’t get cancelled or rescheduled!

LCT

Any idea if ticket can be changed after 23 Dec and travel within this period?

LCT

Thanks a lot for the infos 👍

wowza

Hear! Hear!

Daniel

I really hope there’s no extension to this either and test requirements go down during or right after this pause.

ZYX

wayang wayang and calm some conservative ppl in the ST/CNA comment sections

Healthcare worker.

I see an entitled bunch of people here trying to think the government is trying to “play safe” and destroy all your travel plans. Us healthcare workers have not gone overseas and have been working like dogs for the past 2 years. Keep your complaints to yourself, and think of us before you go overseas and catch COVID – then whine that our service isn’t good. Sorry that your miles can’t check you into a private hospital.

JW19

It’s most unfortunate that we have healthcare professionals like you. What make you think these people using their miles are not trying to go overseas to check on or be together with their loved ones which they have not met for over 2 years, babies grown up never having seen their parents in person, old people left behind just so that their children can give them a better life. It’s incredibly selfish to think of how much work that only you seem to have when you knowingly chose this profession which is supposed to be passion driven. I wished my… Read more »

ZYX

Have you ever thought about local travel agencies, tour guides, hotels, attractions, souvenir shops?

anon

all done alr lol

freedom

Have you thought about local residents’ plan for New Year and Chinese New Year? Freedom of millions in Singapore can be disrupted by continuing VTL in current form. Most cases of new variant is brought into Singapore.

VTL should absolutely give way to plans of local residents for unrestricted coming holidays.

anon

everyone else is suffering too.. I personally became depressed coz i couldnt even leave the country.. I know many like me who fortunately have families/houses overseas to escape to..

This is suffocation.

cheesecake

Think the main “target” to curb is land VTL – but the government doesn’t want to say so explicitly.

Max

Surely omicron is coming through US/Europe/Australia much more than through land VTL although the impact may be larger on land VTL as people are more likely to plan longer flights in advance. Imported cases are rising quickly and will presumably hit triple digits soon even with these adjustments. Maybe they think because most people have already made plans so this is not that disruptive to individuals and/or unlikely to lead to diplomatic blowback?

Low Seow Boon

Hi all. Let us all calm down. There will be light at the end of the tunnel. For us who are mile collectors, let us concentrate on collecting more miles and give ourselves a long wonderful in a few year times.

Counti

Hey. I will be flying to Singapur next week via VTL. In case of a positive PCR test for the omicron variant will all passengers on the plane have to go into quarantine?

Thomas

Currently abroad and

June

I am currently abroad through the VTL (Germany), will return to Singapore next week and 2 days later embark on another trip (VTL to South Korea).
My biggest concern is that MOH will chase me for day 3,4,5,6 and 7 tests though I won’t be even in SG by that time anymore. Anyone experienced that?
Also: can the on-arrival test result be used the next day as a „pre-departure“ for South Korea?

alian

MOH may chase just tell them to check with ICA and your passport chop in Korea. That would prove you are not in breach of any laws

My understanding is on arrival test cannot be used for PDT – it can’t be notarized either. You only get an email notification of result, no official letter so that would not be accepted for PDT. Just got back home and did the on arrival test.

alian

Gosh with this the VTL for KUL to SIN on 21 Jan has gone up 300% based on my last check. There is now only 1 VTL

Needed to book a flight for a colleague to come back to SG. Guess this is the price on uncertainties in uncertain times.

Gideon

Interesting aspect is that changing award flights within the suspension period should be no issue since SQ cannot sell those seats anyway so there should be no “sorry there is no award space on that flight” issues. Would be good to understand if anyone has any experiences with this yet (am on hold now for 30+ min to change my flight).

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