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KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines Travel Bubbles

Singapore Airlines extends First Class on the Hong Kong ATB until 30 September

Drowning in KrisFlyer miles? You can now 'bubble in style' to or from Hong Kong on designated ATB flights in First Class, right through to the end of September.

Later this month Singapore and Hong Kong are planning to launch the first all-purpose travel bubble in Asia, allowing those who’ve spent at least 14 days in either city and test negative for COVID-19 to travel freely between the two cities on designated ‘bubble flights’.

It’s more or less a reboot of the original travel bubble proposal that was set to get started in November 2020, but then suffered a lengthy postponement due to a ‘fourth wave’ of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, which took until March 2021 to be quashed.

One of the differences this time round is that Boeing 777-300ERs will be taking charge of the ‘bubble flights’ schedule for Singapore Airlines from 2nd June 2021, just a week after its initial launch, meaning First Class will be on offer for the first time since it was pulled from the airline’s passenger flights network-wide one year earlier, in June 2020.

SIA’s Boeing 777-300ERs will be used on ATB flights from June 2021. (Photo: Alex Beltyukov)

Initially First Class availability was only loaded on the Singapore – Hong Kong ATB flights for the month of June 2021, with the aircraft type in published flight schedules reverting to a three-class Airbus A350 from 1st July 2021.


 

 

First Class is now available through 30th September

In SIA’s latest schedule update for the Hong Kong ATB flights, Boeing 777-300ERs will operate right through to 30th September 2021, after which the ATB arrangement is subject to further government review.

Singapore    Hong Kong

2nd June – 9th June 2021
First Class available on highlighted flights

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ882
777-300ER
SIN
08:40
HKG
12:40

10th June – 30th September 2021
First Class available on highlighted flights

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ882
777-300ER
SIN
08:40
HKG
12:40

Hong Kong    Singapore

2nd June – 9th June 2021
First Class available on highlighted flights

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ883
777-300ER
HKG
14:25
SIN
18:20

10th June – 30th September 2021
First Class available on highlighted flights

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ883
777-300ER
LHR
14:25
SIN
18:20

Singapore Airlines is also operating four ATB-designated flights in late May 2021, including its inaugural services, though these are operated by three-class Airbus A350 aircraft without a First Class section installed.

Designated Cathay Pacific ATB flights are operated by Airbus A350-900s and therefore do not feature a First Class option.

For the full ATB flight schedule, click here.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER First Class. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

With only four First Class seats available on each flight, and huge pent-up demand for travel from residents of both cities, it’s not surprising that Singapore Airlines is still only making Advantage redemption rates available to KrisFlyer members.

The airline is generally making two First Class seats available for immediate redemption at Advantage rates on ATB flights, with the ability to waitlist for three or four seats.

KrisFlyer award pricing

Here are the one-way redemption rates payable for both Saver and Advantage awards, assuming the former category might come back at some stage.

  This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Seats-1CD-2-Small-MM.jpgFirst
SIN > HKG HKG > SIN
Saver 40,500
(+S$41.50)
40,500
(+S$56.70)
Advantage 73,000
(+S$41.50)
73,000
(+S$56.70)

Note that taxes from Hong Kong are charged in HKD and will fluctuate slightly due to exchange rates. The latest IATA consolidated exchange rates as of 11th May 2021 are assumed in the above table.

Not using miles? Cash pricing is of course not cheap, at around S$3,000 one-way from Singapore to Hong Kong or S$4,700 for a round-trip in this cabin.

In the other direction it’s even more expensive, from Hong Kong to Singapore starting at S$3,300 one-way or S$5,000 for a round-trip.

Thankfully if you’re happy to settle with the Boeing 777-300ER’s Business Class cabin on your bubble flights there is some Saver award space loaded, though on many dates it’s still a case of waitlisting that rate or locking in immediately at the Advantage level.

Our review

SIA’s 2013 First Class seat may not live up to ‘Suite Standards’, but it remains one of our favourite products and we’ve always really enjoyed our trips in this cabin.

Furthermore, with Airbus A380s probably mothballed for another 12+ months, this is likely to be the most premium cabin SIA offers for the foreseeable future.

The intimate single-row section has only four seats in a 1-2-1 layout, including a large void behind the middle pair for the cabin crew to pass between the two aisles while remaining out of sight.

Singapore Airlines’ 2013 First Class cabin. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

In mid-2018 we concluded our round-the-world trip in First Class on SQ1 from San Francisco to Singapore via Hong Kong in this excellent cabin, and had the chance to thoroughly review it including both a long-haul and short-haul experience across the two stages of the journey.

If you haven’t tried the product, while we can’t recommend parting with Advantage award rates, we don’t think you’d be disappointed.

Aside from Suites on the A380, this First Class product is now the only one fitted to Singapore Airlines aircraft, following the retirement of older 2006 First Class seats on the Boeing 777-300 (non-ERs).

It’s also worth bearing in mind that SIA’s Boeing 777-300ERs have slightly roomier versions of the popular 2013 Business Class seats, meaning some passengers prefer the 777 over the A350, even when travelling in the ‘second best’ cabin!

More about the ATB

If you’re still undecided about travelling on the ATB this summer, it’s sadly not quite as simple as dishing out a heap of miles and turning up at the airport on the right day at the right time!

At least four (costly) COVID-19 tests are required for a round-trip, plus a short self-isolation period after arrival in Singapore, and there are some implications if the bubble bursts while you’re away from home.

Don’t miss our comprehensive article covering everything you need to know about the arrangement, to help you decide if it’s worth the hassle for what might be your first overseas trip in over a year.


 

 

Summary

The Singapore – Hong Kong ATB isn’t quite up and running yet, and there is certainly time for the COVID-19 situation in either city (probably Singapore this time round) to scupper the plans once again before the intended launch on 26th May.

Nonetheless the average unlinked case totals are still well below the upper limit for ATB operation at this stage (0.14 in Hong Kong and 1.71 in Singapore, with a threshold of 5), so we can remain reasonably confident for the time being at least.

While the price isn’t cheap, either using cash or miles, it’s good to see a daily First Class cabin on Singapore Airlines’ designated ATB flights loaded through to the end of September 2021, allowing you the option to spoil yourself to one of the carrier’s most exclusive seats as part of the journey.

(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)

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