News Travel VTL

Your VTL flight options with Qatar Airways, Etihad and Emirates

The 'Middle East 3' have revealed their designated VTL flight schedules to Singapore, including the Qsuite with Qatar Airways.

This week Singapore’s deferred Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will finally get up and running, with the first designated flights touching down at Changi on Friday 25th February 2022.

There wasn’t much notice this time round for Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates to finalise their VTL flight schedules, but they have all now done so.

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This will allow quarantine-free travel on routes like Paris – Doha – Singapore or New York – Abu Dhabi – Singapore at potentially lower costs or miles rates than you may face when flying Singapore Airlines or European carriers.

Qatar Airways VTL flights

Qatar Airways is currently operating daily Doha – Singapore flights, however only four of these seven weekly services will join the designated VTL list from 26th February 2022.

Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday departures will be VTL designated.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday departures from Doha will continue to serve those not eligible for the VTL.

Qatar Airways is using its Airbus A350-900 on its Singapore flights until 26th March. (Photo: Qatar Airways)

Do be careful when booking to ensure you’re departing Doha on an eligible VTL day, since Qatar Airways does not currently label its VTL flights and you will probably be in transit having departed Europe the previous day.

This is a designated VTL flight (green), but Qatar Airways doesn’t tell you that. Note also that you’ll leave Paris the previous day.

Remember, seven days of SHN at home awaits if you travel on a non-VTL service.

Doha – Singapore
VTL Flights

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= QR946
A350-900
DOH
02:35
SIN

15:45

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

Doha Singapore
Non-VTL

  • QR946 (Tue, Wed & Fri) are not designated VTL flights.

Initially Qatar Airways is using its Airbus A350-900s with the older Collins Super Diamond product installed, in a 1-2-1 configuration, on VTL flights between late February and late March.

The Collins Super Diamond seat on Qatar’s Airbus A350-900s (Photo: Qatar Airways)

Though there’s nothing particularly wrong with the seat, there’s nothing all that special about it either these days, and privacy in particular is lacking compared to the Qsuite.

We reviewed the product in September 2019 on an A350-900 flight from Athens to Doha.

The good news is the airline is planning to use the Airbus A350-1000 on its Singapore services from 27th March 2022, which all have the excellent Qsuite installed.

We reviewed the product a year earlier, in September 2018, on an A350-1000 flight from Frankfurt to Doha.

The Qsuite isn’t perfect, but it is a fantastic product nonetheless and it’s great to see it coming to the quarantine-free VTL flights, even if it’s not from day one.

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You can also score the Qsuite on the flights between other VTL countries and Doha, for example on the London – Doha and Boston – Doha routes, while retaining VTL eligibility for your journey between Doha and Singapore.

You might be able to fly the Qsuite all the way from the USA to Singapore on the VTL. (Photo: Qatar Airways)

There are also opportunities to fly on Qatar’s Airbus A380 on routes like London and Paris, which include a bar in Business Class but otherwise have the Collins seat installed.

Etihad Airways VTL flights

Etihad Airways currently operates three times weekly on the Abu Dhabi – Singapore route. From 26th February 2022 all three of these flights join the VTL, using Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Etihad features the ‘Business Studio’ on its Boeing 787-9, with direct aisle access for all passengers in this cabin. (Photo: Upgraded Points)

Note that the operating days of Etihad’s service change from the start of the IATA summer season schedule on 27th March 2022.

Abu Dhabi – Singapore
VTL Flights

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= EY470
787-9
AUH
22:25
SIN

09:55*

* Next day

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

Abu Dhabi Singapore
Non-VTL

  • None

This three times weekly operation is initially loaded until 30th June 2022.

Etihad requires a PCR test

One important point to note is that all Etihad passengers must have a negative PCR test conducted at least 72 hours before departure (48 hours if your destination is Abu Dhabi), regardless of your vaccination status and regardless of your destination country’s requirements.

Etihad Airways has a ‘no test, no fly’ policy for all its passengers. (Photo: Etihad)

If you’re taking a pre-departure PCR test anyway there’s probably little impact here, but if your destination accepts a cheaper pre-departure ART (Antigen Rapid Test), or doesn’t require pre-departure testing at all for fully vaccinated travellers, this will be a significant added expense when taking an Etihad flight.

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For the latest rundown of the cheapest pre-departure PCR tests in Singapore, starting at S$96 for in-clinic and S$128 for home visit tests, see our latest analysis here.

Emirates VTL flights

Emirates is deploying its Boeing 777-300ERs on the Singapore route, but unfortunately its latest products including the most recent fully enclosed First Class suite is not planned for these VTL flights.

Emirates is using its older Boeing 777 cabins on the Singapore route, though this still includes Suites with closing doors in First Class. (Photo: Emirates)

Note that Singapore Airlines will also offer a daily Dubai – Singapore designated VTL flight from 24th February 2022. See our full list of all VTL flights for details of other airlines’ flights.

Dubai – Singapore
VTL Flights

27th March 2022 - 31st March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= EK352
777-300ER
DXB
09:30
SIN

20:55
 bgcolor= SQ495
A350 Regional
DXB
20:00
SIN

07:30*

* Next day

Important

From 1st April 2022, there will be no more designated VTL flights to Singapore.
All fully vaccinated travellers can enter quarantine-free on any flight operated by any airline on any route.

Dubai Singapore
Non-VTL

  • EK354 (Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat) are not designated VTL flights.



 


 

Summary

Once again we have confirmation of the VTL flight schedules for the big three Middle East carriers, this time starting on 25th February, with a total of 11 weekly options from (or through) the major Middle East hubs to Changi.

Provided you’re departing from a VTL country, like Spain or the USA, you can tag these VTL flights to the end of your itinerary and have a quarantine-free arrival in Singapore under the VTL programme, if you meet all the other eligibility criteria.

This should provide you with a range of more flexible options (additional cities) and competitive fares on your VTL trip, plus hopefully some more award redemption options too.