Singapore Airlines Travel VTL

Germany – Singapore VTL Report: Part 2 – The departure airport process

Checking in for the inaugural Germany - Singapore VTL was never going to be seamless, but we made it through without too much fuss.

With vaccination certificates and negative PCR test results in hand, we headed to Frankfurt Airport nice and early in preparation for the inaugural Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flight between Germany and Singapore.

This was an exciting trip, marking the first time in 18 months that travellers on board arriving in Singapore from Frankfurt would be doing so quarantine-free under the new VTL scheme.

The pilot programme is designed for further expansion, hopefully covering arrivals from other COVID-safe countries in the months ahead, so we were obviously keen to jump on board the first service to share our experience with you all.

Pre-departure checklist

Here’s a reminder of the checklist of items you’ll need to have with you before you head to the airport to check in for your VTL flight.

VTL Departure checklist
(Germany to Singapore)

COVID-19 vaccination certificate
Valid passport
Valid visa / VTP (if required)
Negative COVID-19 PCR test result (within 48h)
QR code receipt of Singapore Health Declaration
S$30,000+ COVID-19 insurance coverage (visitors only)
Mobile device with the TraceTogether app

Check-in

We arrived at Frankfurt Airport at around 6.15pm, well in advance of the flight departure time of 10pm, just in case there were any issues with our PCR tests.

SIA’s check in counters at Frankfurt Airport open 3 hours before the scheduled flight departure time according to the Singapore Airlines website, though we called ahead to check and in fact they are currently opening 4 hours before departure.

SIA’s check-in counters at Frankfurt T1’s ‘C’ zone open at least 3 hours prior to departure time, but it was closer to 4 hours the day we travelled. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Whether that’s a temporary arrangement due to the additional VTL paperwork we’re not sure, but we find that counter opening times at many airports on the network are often earlier than SIA states on its website.

There’s a testing facility at the airport we had used the previous day (Centogene), so we thought it would be a good idea to check in for the flight while that as still open, just in case we had to have any corrections to our certificates made, or in the worst case take another (expensive) test with a quick 35/75 minute turnaround time!

It’s worth bearing in mind if you’re departing from Frankfurt that the Centogene test centre at the airport closes at 8pm, with the last 35-minute test available at 7pm and the last 75-minute test available at 8pm.

As it turned out the PCR tests were perfectly fine, it was the vaccination element the check-in staff were more concerned with.

VTL flowchart displayed at the check-in desks. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

In the Singapore Airlines VTL guide it mentions that you can show your vaccination status through the HealthHub app at check-in, but frankly it was simpler just to hand a printed copy of the Singapore vaccination certificate from the Notarise service.

The agents really need to see where you were vaccinated (i.e. in Singapore or Germany), so unfortunately the TraceTogether app doesn’t cut it here, since it does not mention your vaccination location like the full certificate does.

Staff were excited about the launch of the VTL, but the additional checks were taking some time.

In total it took about 30 minutes to complete the check-in process, which is obviously far longer than usual, but this was the inaugural VTL service and the staff were still ‘feeling their way’ a little with the requirements and ensuring all the relevant certificates and approvals were in place before checking each passenger in.

Check-in was slower than usual, but that should improve as staff become used to the VTL process and requirements. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Be prepared to provide:

  • Passport
  • Identity Card (for Singapore PRs and LTP holders)
  • Vaccination certificate
  • Negative PCR test
  • TraceTogether app
  • VTP approval (for visitors and LTP holders)

One passenger checking in alongside us was unfortunately refused for the flight, because he had been in another country (other than Singapore or Germany) during the last 21 days. This is the first question the check-in staff will ask you.

Immigration and security

Immigration is the next hurdle, but there are no additional steps required when travelling on a VTL flight compared to a normal international departure.

After check-in, simply follow the ‘Departures’ signs to clear immigration and security. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Security at Frankfurt Airport has separate lane for Business and First Class passengers, though when we passed through it was quiet and so there was no major benefit.

In common with most European airports, it’s a full body scan method, and you’ll have to take out any liquids, laptops and tablets for separate screening.

With all the high touch surfaces around it didn’t feel very clean, so it’s worth having your own hand sanitiser to apply once you’ve passed through. Dispensers are provided in the terminal, but we found they don’t always have any liquid left!

Lounge

Once we passed through immigration and security screening we made our way to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge in the B gates area.

It’s worth noting that most shops in the airside area were closed as we passed through, however there were some convenience stores and restaurants available for those who don’t have lounge access.


 

 

To access the Lufthansa Senator Lounge near gate B43, you also need to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. Alternatively, you must have a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or ART, maximum 24 hours old), or proof of recovery.

Lounge health requirements. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

For passengers using the VTL, full vaccination is a requirement anyway – so this is not a big concern.

Unlike at check-in, in this instance the lounge staff were happy with the fully vaccinated status shown on our TraceTogether app as proof of vaccination, which makes life a bit easier.

The TraceTogether status is sufficient for entry into the Lufthansa lounge
Entrance to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Germany uses the ‘luca’ app for contact tracing in locations like bars and restaurants, and in the Lufthansa lounges themselves.

Unfortunately, while you can download this app even if your mobile device is registered in Singapore, the OTP (TAN) activation code will only send to a European phone number, so like most of our readers, we couldn’t use it.

At the Lufthansa lounge, we were therefore handed a registration form to complete (one per person / couple or family), to aid with contact tracing if required.

Lounge registration form for guests without the ‘luca’ app. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The lounge itself has a manned bar, several seating and relaxation areas, and some dining options.

Armchair seating in the Lufthansa lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Perhaps most importantly though, if you’ve had to leave your hotel at lunchtime and are taking the 10pm SQ325 departure to Frankfurt, there are plenty of spacious shower suites to freshen up before the journey.

A pre-flight shower is the main highlight of the Lufthansa Senator Lounge. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Watch out for our full review of the Lufthansa Senator lounge coming soon.

Boarding

Once it came to boarding itself there were no further checks made specific to the VTL nature of the flight, and we settled in to First Class for the long flight home.

Seat 1A ready and waiting on boarding. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
Once on board… relax! (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Since all the appropriate documents had been verified at the check-in desk, it was boarding as usual, and you can then settle in and relax until the next stage of the journey… the arrival process!

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

6 comments

  1. Which lounge in Frankfurt airport Biz class passenger eligible to go to? I presume this lounge you visited is meant for first class passengers?

    1. No it’s the Senator Lounge for all. Lufthansa’s F Class lounge is only for LH Group F pax and members, plus it’s closed anyway right now.

      LH First Class Terminal is open but is only for LH/Swiss F pax.

      Personal Star Alliance preference in FRA is the Air Canada lounge (also for Qatar pax), but it’s closed right now.

  2. Thanks Andrew!

    I have been trying to confirm this point which you said when you wrote “…he had been in another country (other than Singapore or Germany) during the last 21 days. This is the first question the check-in staff will ask you.”

    So do they ask “have you been in Germany (and/or Singapore) in the past 21 days, and then you simply reply “yes”. Or do you have to declare (with a signature) or prove (how?) that you’ve been in Germany (and/or Singapore) since 19 August?

    And does it come to as granular as exactly from 0001 hours, or 1830 hours or the evening of 19 August to prove the 21 days?

  3. Does anyone know if someone on a LH business class ticket within Schengen can join me in the lounge if I am SQ gold departing to SG? The other person departing on a different flight.

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