Changi Airport News Singapore Airlines Travel VTL

Singapore Airlines launching non-stop Vancouver VTL flights in December

Singapore Airlines is starting non-stop flights to Vancouver in December, with continued service to Seattle, including quarantine-free VTL options, while daily San Francisco - Singapore flights also upgrade to VTL status from 20 October.

With Canada joining the latest Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) expansion, meaning quarantine-free arrivals at both ends of the journey for residents of either country, Singapore Airlines has made the (perhaps unsurprising) decision to return to its Vancouver route for the first time in over 12 years.

A new seasonal service will take wing just in time for popular upcoming holiday periods and the ski season.

This news also means Canada will be served from Singapore non-stop for the first time.

Direct services between Singapore and Vancouver last operated in April 2009, when the airline ceased operating three times weekly Singapore – Seoul – Vancouver flights using Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, citing poor performance due to the economic downturn.

Additionally, SIA will upgrade its daily non-stop flights from San Francisco to Singapore into VTL designated services from 20th October 2021.

Flight schedule

From 2nd December 2021 until 15th February 2022, Singapore Airlines will operate from its Changi Airport hub to Vancouver and Seattle four times per week, using three-class Airbus A350 Long Haul aircraft.

These aircraft have more than enough range for the job, with Singapore – Vancouver leg coming in shorter than Singapore – San Francisco and Singapore – Los Angeles, which use (or have used) the same aircraft type.

The aircraft are configured as follows:

  • 42 Business Class
  • 24 Premium Economy Class
  • 187 Economy Class

Those flying Business Class will have the airline’s popular 2013 product to look forward to on this route.

SIA’s 2013 Business Class. (Photo: High Tech Flight)

See our full review of the product here.

A morning departure from Singapore on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays has travellers touching down in Vancouver at 7.30am the same day, and for those continuing to Seattle just a couple of hours later at 9.30am.

Singapore Vancouver Seattle
Flight Schedule
(2 Dec 2021 – 15 Feb 2022)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ28
A350-900
SIN
09:15
YVR
07:30
SQ28
A350-900
     
YVR
08:40
SEA
09:30

Remember you can take any non-stop flight or direct flight with stops only in VTL countries, to take advantage of the VTL on your return trip to Singapore within 14 days, so this service works whether you’re heading for Canada or the USA.

Singapore Airlines will deploy its three-class Airbus A350 Long Haul variant between Singapore and Vancouver / Seattle. (Photo: Lucas Wunderlich)

All four weekly flights return to Singapore via a reverse routing, but here’s the important bit.

SQ27 flights on Tuesdays and Fridays are non-VTL services, with passengers completing a mandatory SHN period after arriving in Singapore.

In most cases (depending on full travel history) this will be the Category 2 requirements, which is 7 days of home isolation, for those who’ve spent 14+ days in Category 2 countries. Vaccination is not a requirement.

SQ29 flights, however, which share identical timings on the Seattle – Vancouver – Singapore route, are designated VTL flights operating every Thursday and Saturday.

These are the ones you’ll need to pick to benefit from quarantine-free arrival in Singapore.

Seattle Vancouver Singapore
Flight Schedule
(2 Dec 2021 – 15 Feb 2022)

VTL flights highlighted

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ27
A350-900
   
SEA
11:00
YVR
11:45
SQ27
A350-900
         
YVR
13:15
SIN
22:05*
SQ29  VTL
A350-900
         
SEA
11:00
YVR
11:45
SQ29  VTL
A350-900
         
YVR
13:15
SIN
22:05*

* Next day

This seasonal service will allow Singapore Airlines to capture demand for peak ski season travellers, those travelling over the Christmas and New Year period, and also encompasses Chinese New Year (Vancouver has the highest Asian population of any city outside Asia itself).

Vancouver is the gateway to many of Canada’s Rocky Mountain ski resorts, including Whistler.

Vancouver is close to the popular Whistler ski resort. (Photo: Shutterstock)

SIA’s shortest passenger flight

The service between Vancouver and Seattle will also represent Singapore Airlines’ shortest operating passenger flight on the network, at just 45 or 50 minutes gate-to-gate.

Singapore Airlines confirmed to Mainly Miles that it will not have traffic rights to carry passengers solely between Vancouver and Seattle, a short 120-mile journey that takes only around 2.5 hours to drive!

Seattle is only 120 miles from Vancouver. (Photo: Luca Micheli)

That means only passengers originating in Singapore will be on board from Vancouver to Seattle, and only those originating in Seattle and destined for Singapore will be on board from Seattle to Vancouver.

Actual airborne time on this route varies between 30 minutes and 40 minutes, based on the Alaska Air and Air Canada Express turboprop flights currently operating between the two cities, which are closer together than Singapore and Kuala Lumpur!

SIA’s previous Canada flights

Singapore Airlines stopped flying to Canada over 12 years ago, ceasing service on the Singapore – Seoul – Vancouver route on 25th April 2009.

“The decision to suspend service is most regrettable, as Singapore Airlines has served Canada for over 20 years. However the economic conditions and performance on the route has been badly affected by the global economic downturn.”

Singapore Airlines, 14th January 2009

It marked a withdrawal by the carrier from the Canadian market after 20 years of service, which had also included a Toronto – Singapore routing via Amsterdam and Vienna.

The Toronto route was axed on 30th June 1992 after Air Canada successfully complained to its government that SIA was carrying too much Europe – Canada traffic on its flights.

Canada entry requirements

If you’re interested in taking one of these new flights to Canada, there are a number of requirements for travellers arriving there for leisure travel.

Most Singapore passport holders will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada, at a cost of CAN $7. It is valid for five years, or until your passport expiry date if sooner (new Singapore passports are valid for 10 years).

There re a few extra steps to consider when travelling from Singapore to Canada. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Fully vaccinated tourists are permitted to enter Canada, provided they have received the full course of COVID-19 vaccination at least 14 days before arrival using one of the following:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty (tozinameran, BNT162b2)
  • Moderna Spikevax (mRNA-1273)
  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, AZD1222)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
Note: If you’re fully vaccinated in Singapore using the Sinovac vaccine, this is not currently recognised for entry to Canada.

Those aged five or older flying into Canada are required to provide written or electronic evidence showing they received a negative result from a COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours before the departure time of their last direct flight to Canada.

Acceptable tests are:

  • PCR / RT-PCR – Polymerase chain reaction
  • Nucleic acid test (NAT) or Nucleic acid amplification test (NAATs)
  • Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)

Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted.

A PCR test within 72 hours of the non-stop SQ28 flight departure time will work perfectly for travellers from Singapore on the new non-stop service. Here’s a list of the cheapest options in Singapore, starting at S$125.

All permitted arrivals must use the ArriveCAN app or website to submit travel and contact information, and complete a COVID-19 symptom self-assessment.

On arrival, you will be assessed by a health screening officer to check for any symptoms. You may also be selected for mandatory randomised arrival testing, even though you are fully vaccinated. You do not need to isolate while awaiting the result, and the test is free.

If you’re travelling with children under 12 who are not vaccinated, they will have to conduct an arrival test and a Day 8 test. In a recent development, these travellers will be able to fly to Singapore under the VTL scheme from 19th October 2021, having been excluded originally.

Bookings open 12th October

Before you rush to the Singapore Airlines website to book a seat on one of these new flights, do note that ticket sales for both revenue fares and award redemptions will only commence on 12th October.

Tickets for the Singapore-Vancouver-Seattle service will be made available for sale through various distribution channels from 12 October 2021, 1200hrs (SGT).

Singapore Airlines

If you’re super keen, it may be worth being online as soon as seats are launched, though it’s always worth checking continually as revenue fares vary and award space comes and goes as the departure date approaches.

KrisFlyer awards

Believe it or not, it’s been so long since Singapore Airlines flew to and from Canada that there isn’t an award chart zone including the country for its own flights!

However, SIA confirmed to Mainly Miles earlier today that Vancouver will fall in the USA (West Coast) “Zone 12” redemption region, which is logical and also matches nearby Seattle.

These are therefore the KrisFlyer miles redemption rates for flights between Singapore and Vancouver and between Singapore and Seattle, on these SIA flights.

KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
  SIN

YVR/SEA
Saver
(one way)
SIN

YVR/SEA
Advantage
(one way)
Economy 38,000
70,000
Premium Economy 68,000
n/a
Business 95,000
125,000

If you intend to book a firm ticket in an eligible booking class, here’s how many miles it will then cost you to upgrade, assuming saver upgrade award availability in your proposed cabin class.

Upgrade using KrisFlyer miles
Singapore ⇄ Vancouver / Seattle
Upgrading to 2013 W (Singapore Airlines).jpg
Premium
11A 2
Business
Existing booking
Economy Standard
(Class: M, H, W)
52,000 89,000
Economy Flexi
(Class: Y, B, E)
34,000 70,500
Premium Economy Standard
(Class: P)
63,500
Premium Economy Flexi
(Class: S, T)
50,000

 

 

Lounges – Vancouver

Singapore Airlines has not yet announced which lounge it will be using for Business Class passengers and status holders departing from Vancouver.

By default, these travellers would ordinarily have access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, however this facility is currently closed.

The Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge in Vancouver Airport’s International section is currently closed. (Photo: Air Canada)

There is a Plaza Premium Lounge in the International departures section at Vancouver Airport, though its current limited opening hours and days of the week unfortunately do not coincide with SIA’s departure timing to Singapore, either for VTL (SQ29) or no-VTL (SQ27) flights.

The Plaza Premium lounge in Vancouver’s International Departures section. (Photo: Plaza Premium)

Hopefully this might change by the time these flights commence.

SIA could also strike up a deal with the SkyTeam Lounge at the airport, which has good opening hours to coincide with the departure times. It is also available to Priority Pass holders.

The SkyTeam lounge in Vancouver – also available to Priority Pass holders. (Photo: SkyTeam)

Lounges – Seattle

Singapore Airlines used The Club at SEA (South Satellite) when it operated its short-lived non-stop Seattle services, suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic only six months after they first launched.

That lounge is open from 6am to 6pm each day and we therefore expect eligible travellers will be invited to use it again once services resume in December. It is also available to Priority Pass holders.

Singapore Airlines told us that lounge arrangements at both Seattle and Vancouver have not been finalised yet. We’ll update this section once we have further details.

San Francisco non-stops convert to VTL services

In other news announced today, Singapore Airlines has made the welcome decision to switch all seven of its weekly SQ33 flights from San Francisco to Singapore to operate as designated VTL services, effective 20th October 2021.

All of SIA’s non-stop San Francisco – Singapore flights will be designated VTL services, effective from 20th October 2021. (Photo: Singapore Airlines

20th October 2021 – 30th October 2021

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ33  VTL
A350-900 ULR
SFO
22:05
SIN
05:45*

* Two days later

31st October 2021 – 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ33  VTL
A350-900 ULR
SFO
20:50
SIN
06:25*

* Two days later

“These provide additional quarantine-free travel options for customers who wish to travel to and from North America, on top of the earlier announced VTL services from Los Angeles and New York.”

Singapore Airlines

The addition of San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver expands the SIA Group’s VTL network to 17 cities in total.

We have updated our designated VTL flights page to reflect these new Vancouver / Seattle services and the upcoming inclusion of the San Francisco route to the scheme.


 

 

Summary

It’s fantastic news to see Singapore Airlines returning to Canada, albeit only with seasonal services for now to capture the winter ski season and upcoming festive and New Year demand.

It’s great to have Vancouver back on the SIA network, albeit on a seasonal basis

We flagged Canada, along with Germany, as our initial predictions for quarantine-free travel when the option was first mooted back in July this year, and it’s great that we now have not only both countries among an extensive list of options, but that non-stop SIA flights will be part of the deal.

For now we have no information regarding any continuation of these routes, though we’d expect Seattle non-stops to come back beyond February 2022 before we see year-round Vancouver service.

Will you be online tomorrow trying to book Vancouver or Seattle flights over the holiday season? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: Mike Benna)

13 comments

    1. No confirmation of any extension yet.

      Seattle will probably be extended in our opinion. Vancouver is a different mater, unless the route outperforms it will be difficult for SIA to make money year-round with this one.

    1. Don’t despair if there isn’t any decent space tmrw! We got a saver to HKG when the travel bubble was first announced in 2020, many days after the initial ‘rush’ and zero awards showing.

      It often comes up later once they realise they won’t be full.

    2. Pretty sure there will be saver space since the flights are starting from zero loads, unlike other VTL flights where there are already base loads. Sometimes if there is no award space, give it 1-2 days for the revenue team to sort things out maybe forecasts and what not.

  1. SIA is an Aeroplan/Star Alliance partner, but it always seems to be difficult to get seats as I think they usually give rewards seats to Krisflyer members. Any tips?

  2. Exciting news, and I’m hopeful YVR will stick around/return.

    Just a minor correction – when YVR last operated until ‘09, it was always with a 77E, not 77W.

  3. Thanks Andrew good news just wondering with VTL now open to kids and transit pax what’s the point of non VTL flights anymore? Why not make all US/Canada-SIN flights VTL?

  4. Vindication!

    I flagged this very early on (cos I knew it was gonna happen) but was dismissed on multiple platforms.
    Air Canada’s supposed to come eventually, too, from YUL or YVR.

    VTL is one way because there are multiple definitions to Singapore residents. Hint*

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