The Singapore-Thailand VTL began in December 2021, resuming two-way quarantine-free travel to one of the most popular destinations for Singaporeans pre-COVID.
While Singapore Airlines and Scoot initially published plans for VTL flights from Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, the last two were subsequently removed for “regulatory reasons”. Then Omicron hit, and these were put on the backburner even further.
But now there’s some welcome developments. From 4 March 2022, VTL services will commence from Phuket and Krabi, with Chiang Mai commencing on 5 March 2022.
There’s no love for Koh Samui yet (and in any case, only Bangkok Airways operates flights on this route), so passengers who want to avoid an SHN will still need to fly to Singapore via Bangkok. However, CAAS has left the door open for airlines to apply for approval, so we shouldn’t rule this out in the near future.
CAAS will deepen the VTL for Thailand beyond Bangkok to include flights from all cities in Thailand. Airlines that plan to operate from more cities from Thailand under the VTL may submit their plans for designated flights to CAAS for approval.
New VTL flights from Thailand
Singapore Airlines currently operates 2X daily flights between Singapore and Phuket. From 4 March 2022, both return flights from Phuket to Singapore (SQ727 and SQ735) will operate as designated VTL flights.
From 27 March to 31 May 2022, this will increase to a 3X daily service (April will have 4X daily service thanks to a supplementary flight), and from 1 June to 30 September 2022, a 4X daily service. From 1 October 2022, the frequency will ramp up to 5X per day.
All flights from Phuket to Singapore will be designated as VTL services, and operated by the new Boeing 737-8 aircraft. To learn more about the cabin products you can expect on this aircraft, refer to the dedicated articles below:
Scoot currently operates 3X weekly services between Singapore and Phuket. From 4 March 2022, this will increase to a daily service. TR653 will be designated as a VTL flight from Phuket to Singapore.
Scoot currently operates 3X weekly services between Singapore and Krabi. From 4 March 2022, TR689 will be designated as a VTL flight from Krabi to Singapore.
Scoot currently operates 4X weekly services between Singapore and Chiang Mai. From 5 March 2022, TR677 and TR675 will operate as designated VTL flights from Chiang Mai to Singapore.
What about other airlines?
Prior to COVID, Jetstar Asia and Thai AirAsia were operating flights between Phuket and Singapore. Thai AirAsia also operated flights between Krabi and Singapore. No announcements have been made yet, but those looking for budget options should keep an eye open.
I reached out to Bangkok Airways for a comment, and was told they have no plans to start VTL flights from Koh Samui to Singapore at the moment.
Thailand Test & Go scheme
Thailand resumed its quarantine-free Test & Go scheme from 1 February, and enhanced it in March by replacing the Day 5 PCR test requirement with a self-administered ART.
A summary of the Test & Go requirements can be found below.
|🇹🇭 Thailand Test & Go Requirements|
I recently travelled to Bangkok for Test & Go v2.0, and while I’ve not finished writing the hotel reviews, you can learn more about the logistics involved in the articles below:
- Test & Go & Come Back & Test & Go Again: Trip Planning
- Walkthrough: Thailand Pass Test & Go Application
- Test & Go Bangkok: Arrivals & Testing Process
- Day 5 and Pre-departure Testing
In case you were wondering, Test & Go is available for all ports of entry into Thailand; there’s no need to fly to Bangkok specifically.
Holiday goers to Thailand will finally have a wider selection of VTL options back to Singapore, with Phuket, Krabi and Chiang Mai flights added from March 2022. This helps avoid an inconvenient transit in Bangkok, streamlining the return process.
There’s no word on VTL flights from Koh Samui yet, but I’m hopefully we’ll hear some news in the near future- no sense in losing out on the business!