It’s been over four months since Singapore Airlines received regulatory approval to allow passengers on selected itineraries to transit through Changi Airport. It marked the first time those on connecting itineraries had been permitted to pass through since the Singapore government vetoed both visitors and transit passengers back in March 2020.
Initially only a small list of valid origin points in Australia and New Zealand were included, however this quickly began to grow with cities in Europe and North Asia soon joining the list.
This week the latest approvals have been added, with New York the most recent city gaining origin approval in anticipation of the airline’s upcoming launch of non-stop JFK services next month.
Let’s take a look at the latest lists for SIA Group transit approvals, with cities falling into one of three categories:
- Origin-only cities
- Origin and destination cities
- Destination-only cities
The following five cities in mainland China are approved as origin-only points for transit itineraries through Changi Airport.
|Valid Origin-only Cities: SIA Group
(for transit through Changi)
While you can board a flight at any of these cities on a connecting flight to another point on the SIA network, you cannot fly to these airports on a transit itinerary through Changi from another country.
“Due to regulatory requirements, transfers to destinations in Mainland China are currently not allowed.”Singapore Airlines
Origin and destination cities
The following 39 cities are currently approved as either origin or destination points for transit itineraries through Changi Airport.
|Valid Origin & Destination Cities: SIA Group
(for transit through Changi)
|Brunei||Bandar Seri Begawan|
|Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|Ho Chi Minh|
For example it is possible to fly from Sydney to Tokyo (via Singapore) or from Tokyo to Sydney (via Singapore), as both of these cities are approved as both origin and destination points for transit itineraries through Changi Airport.Note: Singapore Airlines and Scoot have temporarily suspended passenger flights from Singapore to Melbourne until 21st November 2020 due to Australian Government restrictions. Melbourne to Singapore flights continue as planned.
The following five cities are approved only as final destination points for transit itineraries through Changi Airport.
|Valid Destination-only Cities: SIA Group
(for transit through Changi)
You cannot start your journey at any of these airports and transit through Changi.
For example, it is possible to fly from London to Manila with a transit in Changi, but not from Manila to London, as Manila is a destination-only city, you cannot originate there on a connecting itinerary. London, however, is a valid origin point.
For valid origin cities, these must represent your original point of departure. The exceptions are if your first point of departure is from a domestic destination, or if you are departing from a country in the Schengen area to connect to a SIA flight that is departing from another Schengen country.
For example, you can take a domestic flight from Wellington to Auckland before taking an SIA flight with a valid connecting itinerary through Changi, like Auckland – Singapore – Paris.
Similarly you can fly from Lisbon to Frankfurt, then take an SIA flight with a valid connecting itinerary through Changi, like Frankfurt – Singapore – Taipei, since both Portugal and Germany are in the Schengen area.
However, you would not be able to fly from Madrid to London and then take an SIA flight with a connecting itinerary, because the UK is not in the Schengen area and Madrid – London is an international flight.
Return routings with a transit through Singapore were initially illogical when the arrangement was first started, with only Australia and New Zealand as permitted origin points.
Now that an extensive list of cities are transit approved, a wide range of return trips are possible, subject as always to the entry requirements of your destination.
“Eligible customers may book a return flight only if both the point of origin and the final destination are in the list of cities approved for transit through Singapore.”Singapore Airlines
In fact, your city must be on the list of origin and destination approved cities (the second table above, with 39 current options), since return routings would not be possible to or from the group’s origin-only or destination-only cities.
As before, all sectors must be booked with SIA Group airlines and require passengers to be checked through from their point of origin to their final destination.
For example Sydney to Dhaka via Singapore is fine, but you cannot then return on such a routing as Dhaka is not on the list of approved origin cities.
Assuming you’re eligible to book a transit itinerary through Singapore from one of the above origin-only or origin and destination-approved points, we’ve got a full breakdown of where you can and can’t currently fly with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir.
November and December see significant frequency increases, including 10 times weekly Jakarta and Hong Kong flights, plus increases to and from both Sydney and Melbourne. This will hopefully help the airline to continue to capitalise on these transit passenger approvals.
You can also see where Scoot is currently flying passenger flights from Changi in November 2020, including reinstated Sydney and Melbourne services, however the low-cost carrier yet to confirm its December 2020 schedule.
The transit experience
‘Not as you once knew it’ is the best summary here. If you’re on a connecting flight itinerary through Changi at the moment you’ll have to follow a relatively strict and secluded experience.
Essentially it involves:
- Being provided with a wristband to identify you as a transit passenger.
- Being escorted to a specific transit holding area, with no opportunity to visit any shops, restaurants or lounges.
- Being escorted back to your departure gate around 75 minutes before the departure of your onward flight.
Passengers must remain within the transit holding area for the duration of their connection, though they can order food and drinks to be delivered through an app, and those with PPS Club status or flying in First or Business Class have their own dedicated area with complimentary food and drinks.
Access to the SilverKris lounge is not permitted.
See our article for a full rundown on the new transit experience.
Another available option for those with longer connections is a room at the Aerotel Transit Hotel in Terminal 1 or the Ambassador Transit Hotel in Terminal 3, though in both cases you’ll again have to be escorted to and from the hotel itself and won’t be free to leave your room during your booked time there.
For full updated information on the transit process through Changi Airport, see the airline’s dedicated page here.
When transit connections through Changi were first reintroduced back in June 2020 there were only only seven eligible origin cities for SIA Group passengers.
A series of additions to the list now means almost all the airline’s current network is included, with the exception of the Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines, for a total of 44 valid origin points. The latest additions since our last update include New York, Los Angles and Malé.
These approvals are essential for SIA to remain competitive, with unrestricted transits also permitted through the likes of Doha, Dubai and Hong Kong with other major hub-and-spoke carriers.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, around a third of passengers passing through Changi Airport each year were in transit, however only around 11,000 of the airport’s 84,000 passengers in August were in transit.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)