Singapore Airlines Adds Unique Route To Vancouver

Singapore Airlines Adds Unique Route To Vancouver

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It’s now official — after a roughly 12 year hiatus, Singapore Airlines will once again offer regularly scheduled service to Canada. However, the route isn’t necessarily what you’d expect.

Singapore Airlines returning to Canada

Singapore Airlines discontinued flights to Canada in 2009, when the airline pulled its route between Singapore and Vancouver, which operated via Seoul Incheon. That will be changing shortly.

Singapore Airlines will be launching a new 4x weekly seasonal service between Singapore and Vancouver, which will come in the form of an intermediate stop on a Singapore to Seattle route. The service will operate between December 2, 2021, and February 15, 2022. The flight will operate with the following schedule on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, in both directions:

SQ28 Singapore to Vancouver departing 9:15AM arriving 7:30AM
SQ28 Vancouver to Seattle departing 8:40AM arriving 9:30AM

SQ27 Seattle to Vancouver departing 11:00AM arriving 11:45AM
SQ27 Vancouver to Singapore departing 1:15PM arriving 10:05PM (+1 day)

The flight between Singapore and Vancouver will cover a distance of 7,967 miles, while the flight between Vancouver and Seattle will cover a distance of just 127 miles.

Singapore Airlines’ new service from Singapore to Seattle via Vancouver

This means that for the winter, Singapore Airlines will operate its Singapore to Seattle service with a stop in Vancouver. Then again, since the route has otherwise been suspended during the pandemic, this is still a win for customers.

Singapore Airlines will use an Airbus A350-900 for the route, featuring a total of 253 seats. This includes 42 business class seats, 24 premium economy seats, and 187 economy seats.

Singapore Airlines’ A350-900 business class

What’s the logic for this new route?

Singapore is about to open to vaccinated travelers from several countries, including Canada and the United States, but in order to travel you need to take a “Vaccinated Travel Lane” (VTL) flight, which are designated flights between the two countries. The idea is that all travelers on a particular flight are vaccinated and have been tested, to further reduce risk.

Canada had been announced as a country that would take part in the VTL concept, but the problem is that there weren’t actually any flights between the two countries, so there was no way for people to take advantage of this.

With this newly announced route, Singapore Airlines will be able to serve VTL passengers from both the United States and Canada. The airline is going about this in an interesting way, though. Of the 4x weekly flights:

  • All of the flights from Singapore to North America will be open to all travelers, regardless of whether they’re part of the VTL arrangement or not (since it only matters when you’re going to Singapore, and not from Singapore)
  • Of the Seattle to Vancouver to Singapore flights, two of the weekly flights will be for VTL travelers, while two of the weekly flights will be for non-VTL travelers (in other words, those connecting beyond Singapore)

As cool as it would be if Singapore Airlines operated the Vancouver to Seattle service as a fifth freedom flight, I think that’s highly unlikely given the complexity around the VTL agreement.

As of now we only know that this service will be around for the winter season. I’m curious to see how this plays out in the long run, and if Vancouver is able to maintain Singapore Airlines service once things normalize again. With aircraft fuel efficiency and operating costs having improved so much in the past decade, maybe the economics make more sense than in the past.

Singapore Airlines will fly an A350 to Vancouver

Bottom line

Singapore Airlines has announced that it will operate 4x weekly flights between Singapore and Vancouver this winter. Specifically, the airline will operate flights from Singapore to Seattle with a stop in Vancouver in each direction, allowing the airline to tap into both markets.

With Singapore reopening to vaccinated travelers, this route makes sense. Eligible travelers need to take a dedicated flight, so there’s probably not enough demand to operate a flight just to Vancouver, but in conjunction with Seattle, it’s much more likely to be successful.

What do you make of Singapore Airlines’ return to Vancouver?

(Tip of the hat to The Milelion)

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  1. Lk

    Sorry - I’m dumb. Can just YVR-SEA be booked? I’m not seeing it available for purchase.

  2. Kevin

    I took the Seattle-Singapore route once. Even though it says 16.5 hours on paper, it usually takes 17-17.5 hours and the A350 is not as comfortable as the A380 to spend that much time on it. I usually like long haul non stops, but this is one long route I'll never take again. The return trip from Singapore to Seattle is easier, just takes 13.5-14 hours but the immigration in Seattle is very slow and...

    I took the Seattle-Singapore route once. Even though it says 16.5 hours on paper, it usually takes 17-17.5 hours and the A350 is not as comfortable as the A380 to spend that much time on it. I usually like long haul non stops, but this is one long route I'll never take again. The return trip from Singapore to Seattle is easier, just takes 13.5-14 hours but the immigration in Seattle is very slow and can take about a couple of hours. It doesn't even open until 7.30am so no point in flight reaching early.

  3. Sim Han

    I simply love this. Me n my wife make at least one business trip to Vancouver every year. With my kids that is a total of 5 trips.
    This arrangement will certainly have me making more trips.

  4. Di Hass

    What will be the promotion fare round trip ticket

  5. Fred Ho

    Wow, I think it’s great to see Singapore Airlines is resuming its flight to Vancouver. I will possibly consider Singapore Airline to Singapore provided its airfare is competitive with other rival airlines.

  6. YULtide

    So does this mean that a SIN-YVR passenger will need to go through the "we're flying to the paranoid US so we need extra security theatre" extra security theatre in SIN? Or will that joy be reserved for the YVR connection?

    1. Brendan McCullough

      Seattle destined pax will probably clear US Customs & Immigration in Vancouver. It would be interesting if SQ flights arrive in the US as domestic.

    2. Andy 11235

      I'm actually not sure that they would. Looking at the schedule, they only plan for an hour-ish on the ground in Vancouver, so I doubt they would have both passengers and the aircraft itself clear to the transborder area. Remember, this would first require passengers clearing Canadian customs and immigration, before then going through US preclearance. I would guess Seattle passengers would remain onboard the aircraft, and that all passengers would clear in SIN as...

      I'm actually not sure that they would. Looking at the schedule, they only plan for an hour-ish on the ground in Vancouver, so I doubt they would have both passengers and the aircraft itself clear to the transborder area. Remember, this would first require passengers clearing Canadian customs and immigration, before then going through US preclearance. I would guess Seattle passengers would remain onboard the aircraft, and that all passengers would clear in SIN as US-bound.

    3. Kevin

      I feel with this Singapore Airlines has basically lost the connections traffic to and from Seattle and Singapore. Seattle passengers will need to sit a couple of extra hours both ways which is not ideal on a ultra long haul 17 hour flight like this. Now imagine that for people coming from other US cities to Seattle or wanting to go to other parts of Asia from Singapore.

      The Singapore Airlines connections was stealing a...

      I feel with this Singapore Airlines has basically lost the connections traffic to and from Seattle and Singapore. Seattle passengers will need to sit a couple of extra hours both ways which is not ideal on a ultra long haul 17 hour flight like this. Now imagine that for people coming from other US cities to Seattle or wanting to go to other parts of Asia from Singapore.

      The Singapore Airlines connections was stealing a large chunk of traffic from Emirates for connections to South Asia but this will make it difficult. That is sad because Singapore Airlines offers much better service than the now declining Emirates.

  7. hanwarrior

    Can't seem to book yet but was look for A Winter points trips so maybe

  8. RTA

    Does it land in YVR first because if it is Seattle first then you have to go through the pain in the butt US clearance first to get to the YVR part unless you can stay on the plane.

  9. tjp74

    Damn... we were booked on SEA-SIN this December break which got canceled and I had to be rebooked on SFO-SIN route instead and then book SEA-SFO on separate ticket on cash as there wasn't any award availability on united or alask to add onto the Singapore booking.
    Now this changes the whole plan... if there are spaces for 4 and it fits the timing of onward travel from SIN. (To Phuket)

    1. tjp74

      damn again.. just realized it's 4x weekly and we have to leave on weekends... oh well. :(

    2. tjp74

      stupid me... 4x weekly doesn't means 4x weekdays only. Looks like 2 flights out of 4 are VTL designated, Thursday and Saturday departure from Seattle... which should work for us but they haven't loaded the schedule yet? I didn't see a single award space yet. And this VTL thing is a welcomed change even for transit passengers like us... we are no longer restricted to a designated holding area at Singapore... we are now free...

      stupid me... 4x weekly doesn't means 4x weekdays only. Looks like 2 flights out of 4 are VTL designated, Thursday and Saturday departure from Seattle... which should work for us but they haven't loaded the schedule yet? I didn't see a single award space yet. And this VTL thing is a welcomed change even for transit passengers like us... we are no longer restricted to a designated holding area at Singapore... we are now free to roam the airport. I wanted to checkout the new water fall but previously told I couldn't.

    3. Sam G

      You won't be able to access the Jewel unless you enter Singapore for a stopover (and only after you quarantine awaiting your PCR result). You can catch a glimpse from the transit trains if you are allowed to use those

  10. Greg

    Wonder if you can fly this just on Seattle to Vancouver segment

  11. MIchael R Karpiel

    With only 1 hour between arrival in YVR and departure for SEA there is NO WAY you can do pre-clearance come on people use your brains a bit.

    1. Sam G

      I'd guess these flights will be like Milan-Barcelona, the "thru" passengers remain onboard, no fifth freedom passengers so they don't need to worry about resetting the seats etc just a quick tidy

    2. KC

      It’ll probably be like Cathay’s old YVR-JFK flights. YVR is already set up for these types of flights. This also means that passengers won’t be pre-cleared, and the flight arrives into SEA as an international flight. Would be nice if there was fifth freedom YVR-SEA, but even then they won’t be precleared.

  12. Willem

    With only 2 weekly flights being VTL flights... I hope there's big lettering somewhere in the booking process about that. Otherwise I guarantee you we'll see people intending to travel to Singapore who accidentally book the non-VTL ones and are mad as hell when denied boarding or perhaps forced to quarantine on arrival in Singapore itself

    1. Sam G

      As long as you are otherwise eligible - i.e. are vaccinated, been in Canada or USA for the last 14 days, had a PCR test then you can now travel on a VTL flight and connect onwards (this is a change from the initial flights from Germany) . So this scenario is pretty unlikely as I imagine most travelers are vaxxed, though the flights are marked in the SQ booking engine accordingly clearly as well...

      As long as you are otherwise eligible - i.e. are vaccinated, been in Canada or USA for the last 14 days, had a PCR test then you can now travel on a VTL flight and connect onwards (this is a change from the initial flights from Germany) . So this scenario is pretty unlikely as I imagine most travelers are vaxxed, though the flights are marked in the SQ booking engine accordingly clearly as well

      @Ben slight mistake - even if there weren't direct flights from Canada then travelers could still use a VTL - they'd just need to connect in in a VTL country - onto SQ in the US most likely & indeed are still welcome too if it's cheaper or the days work better etc

  13. mike

    so no immigration or leaving the aircraft in YVR both ways? and returning to Seattle immigration in Seattle instead of preclearance?

  14. Damian Tan

    Not sure if passengers can do USA pre clearance in Canada prior to continuing the journey?

  15. Fa

    I wish SIA flew this route going back to even the 1990’s. Many of us in the Indian community would drive or even fly up to Vancouver from Seattle just to fly on SIA to India via SIN. It was well worth it. Of course this long before Emirates and others started flights to SEA.

  16. SINJim

    SIA LAUNCHES SEASONAL FLIGHTS TO SEATTLE
    AND VANCOUVER, ADDS SAN FRANCISCO TO
    VACCINATED TRAVEL LANE NETWORK
    Singapore Airlines (SIA) is launching four-times weekly seasonal services to
    Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, the United States of America (USA), from 2
    December 2021 to 15 February 2022. Two of the weekly Seattle-Vancouver-
    Singapore flights will operate as Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) services, providing eligible customers quarantine-free entry into Singapore.

    SIA LAUNCHES SEASONAL FLIGHTS TO SEATTLE
    AND VANCOUVER, ADDS SAN FRANCISCO TO
    VACCINATED TRAVEL LANE NETWORK
    Singapore Airlines (SIA) is launching four-times weekly seasonal services to
    Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, the United States of America (USA), from 2
    December 2021 to 15 February 2022. Two of the weekly Seattle-Vancouver-
    Singapore flights will operate as Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) services, providing eligible customers quarantine-free entry into Singapore.

  17. Eric

    I'm hoping for a fifth freedom route to the US from Vancouver. A YVR-JFK will fill the niche that CX Left, although AC has historically operated a 787 for YVR-EWR with "through service" to SYD- and advertised as the fastest way from NYC-SYD.

    I would also love it if SQ tried SIN-YVR-BOS

    1. Trey

      @Eric. If SQ is gonna be nostalgic about resuming once terminated service - 5th Freedom to Chicago (ORD) would be nice.

    2. Ken

      Eric, I believe that Air Canada 787 from EWR continued on to Brisbane, not Sydney. The Sydney flight originated in Toronto, as YYZ-YVR-SYD.

  18. Sean M.

    I was a regular traveler on the SIN-ICN-YVR route back in the early 2000s (just after they switched the route from A340 to B777) and it always had a very strange mix of passengers back then. Surprisingly a large number of Canadians traveling to/from Australia/NZ used to use this route. Also a bunch of Indians of course, even though there wasn't ideal connectivity on the return leg. It will be interesting to see how things work out for them this time.

  19. Ray

    I came to the same conclusion that commenter did.

    “Why announce Canada as part of VTL when there’re no nonstop flights between Singapore and Canada?

    Oh… hang on… are we to expect an announcement soon?”

Featured Comments Load all 30 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Lk

Sorry - I’m dumb. Can just YVR-SEA be booked? I’m not seeing it available for purchase.

Kevin

I feel with this Singapore Airlines has basically lost the connections traffic to and from Seattle and Singapore. Seattle passengers will need to sit a couple of extra hours both ways which is not ideal on a ultra long haul 17 hour flight like this. Now imagine that for people coming from other US cities to Seattle or wanting to go to other parts of Asia from Singapore. The Singapore Airlines connections was stealing a large chunk of traffic from Emirates for connections to South Asia but this will make it difficult. That is sad because Singapore Airlines offers much better service than the now declining Emirates.

Kevin

I took the Seattle-Singapore route once. Even though it says 16.5 hours on paper, it usually takes 17-17.5 hours and the A350 is not as comfortable as the A380 to spend that much time on it. I usually like long haul non stops, but this is one long route I'll never take again. The return trip from Singapore to Seattle is easier, just takes 13.5-14 hours but the immigration in Seattle is very slow and can take about a couple of hours. It doesn't even open until 7.30am so no point in flight reaching early.

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