Passengers arriving on select airlines and specific routes approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) can transit in Singapore if their connecting flight is in less than 48 hours.
Transit passengers are only allowed to enter specific terminal areas and cannot mix with Singapore originating ones. However, there is a transit hotel available for passengers with longer transit times.
You can access Singapore Changi’s information for transit passengers here.
As I was transiting via Singapore yesterday from Paris to Phuket on Singapore Airlines, I thought that LoyaltyLobby readers would be interested to learn about the current experience.
The information and images that the Changi Airport Group has about the transit experience don’t quite match the reality and are a romanticized version of what takes place.
My original transit time in Singapore was going to be more than 75 minutes, and I thought that I could check out the “Premium Transit Area.” Still, most flights from Europe to Singapore are delayed by an hour or so due to Afghan airspace closure or avoidance.
Connecting flights, in my case, the flight to Phuket, are held until all transit passengers have arrived. The flight I was on had 11 passengers from 70 or so from Paris, continuing to this Thai destination.
Singapore-bound passengers in all cabins deboard first. If your destination is not Singapore, sit down and wait for your turn. Even some business class passengers had trouble understanding this.
2. Transit Check
Passengers then line up by the windows in the gate area arranged in groups depending on their destination.
The personnel has a list of all connecting passengers and their destinations.
You get a green wristband
3. Walk To The Gate
Then you walk with the person to the gate holding area first through a temperature check.
4. Gate Transit Area
It looks pretty different from the images provided by the Changi Airport Group.
There are no facilities in this area. Not sure if you can access a toilet if needed. I was surprised that all the passengers in this area were going to Phuket
There are no public announcements, and passengers sitting were confused when some were brought to the gate to board the plane first. I would assume that these were either Singapore originating or those who needed special assistance.
Then those with kids were allowed to board from the Gate Waiting Area. So I just waited and told the gentleman that I would prefer boarding last I was in the first row.
I was the last one to board from the gate area, but there must have been later incoming flights, as a couple of passengers rushed to the plane after taking my assigned seat.
Transit per Changi Airport Group:
That was quite a different Changi transit experience that I have used to in the past. I should be able to test the Premium Transit Area next month when I fly from Bangkok to Paris on SQ, with a transit time in Singapore exceeding two hours.
All the airport employees were very friendly, as one would expect in Singapore, and it is evident that the airport had made sure that most working in the airport were in their 20s.
Although I have been flying and traveling through the entire pandemic, this was the FIRST airport transit experience with this level of control.
Changi and Singapore cannot have this kind of setup if they plan to allow any significant number of transit passengers. It only works if the flights are mostly empty. There were roughly 70 passengers on my flight from Paris, of which 25 to 30 terminated in Singapore.
Singapore Airlines had a good fare on this route that Freddo wrote about, and I ended up purchasing. Otherwise, I would probably take a more direct flight to Phuket, as the experience in Singapore is not optimal.