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
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|
|*Brunei and Indonesia do not currently allow Singapore residents to enter without quarantine. Italy does not admit leisure travellers from Singapore|
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.