Singapore Drops Airplane & Airport Mask Rules

Singapore Drops Airplane & Airport Mask Rules

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Singapore will be changing its masking rules as of Monday, and I think this development is pretty noteworthy.

Singapore drops mask requirements on August 29

Among countries in Asia, Singapore has been leading the way when it comes to cautiously reopening. While the country at first took a zero tolerance approach toward the pandemic, the city-state has evolved over time, as vaccines and other treatments for coronavirus have improved.

As of Monday, August 29, 2022, Singapore will be dropping its mask requirements for most indoor settings. With this, private taxis and buses, flights and ferries, indoor retail areas, and retail pharmacies, will no longer require masks. Masks will only continue to be required on public transportation (buses, trains, and subways), and in healthcare facilities.

As it impacts aviation, this means that as of August 29, 2022, masks will no longer be required at Singapore Changi Airport, and masks will no longer be required onboard Singapore Airlines flights (or flights on other airlines to & from Singapore).

Masks will no longer be required at Singapore Changi

The only exception is for flights to & from destinations that still require masks, because in those cases the requirements will continue to be followed (this includes countries like Canada, Indonesia, and South Korea).

This is pretty remarkable, because Singapore is one of the few major countries in Asia that initially took strong precautions against the pandemic, but at this point life has more or less returned to normal, if people so choose.

Masks will no longer be required on flights to & from Singapore

Singapore’s coronavirus response has impressed me

We see a lot of criticism of government responses to the pandemic, but very little praise. Everyone has a different take on how governments should handle something like coronavirus, and there’s not one right or wrong answer.

Yes, most reasonable people don’t want unnecessary deaths, though there has to be a tradeoff between that and allowing people to live their lives in the long run. Similarly, we could also prevent unnecessary deaths by telling people to stay home and not get into cars, but most reasonable people can agree that’s not something the government should mandate.

The way I see things, Singapore did one of the best jobs of any country when it came to managing the pandemic:

  • I think it was important to take strong precautions at first, when treatment options were limited, healthcare systems were overwhelmed, personal protection was in short supply, and the death rate from the pandemic was high
  • However, as treatments to coronavirus emerged, and as we realized that coronavirus isn’t going anywhere, I think it was time to focus on a gradual transition to a new normal

I don’t think any country did that better than Singapore. At first the country took extreme precautions and pursued a zero coronavirus strategy, but as vaccines were rolled out, the country gradually lifted restrictions.

Many people correctly point out that the pandemic isn’t over, and that’s true. In the United States we’re seeing an average of nearly 500 deaths per day. That’s awful and sad. At the same time, when you look at the data:

  • The death rate among unvaccinated people is 6.7 per 100,000 people per week
  • The death rate among fully boosted people is 0.4 per 100,000 people per week

I don’t think more needs to be said there…

Speaking of Singapore, does everyone remember Singapore’s ridiculous [email protected] business travel concept, which was supposed to be expanded over time? I assume that has been scrapped at this point?

Bottom line

Singapore is dropping mask requirements for most indoor settings as of August 29, 2022. This includes both airports and flights, so you can expect that you’ll no longer have to mask at Singapore Changi Airport, or onboard Singapore Airlines (unless masks are required for the destination you’re traveling to).

This certainly makes the thought of taking the world’s longest flight, from New York to Singapore, a bit more pleasant.

What do you make of Singapore dropping mask requirements for air travel?

Conversations (39)
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  1. Andrew Diamond

    I don't know this will make any difference. It's not like anyone was wearing a mask within 300 feet of the Kaya Toast in the Changi terminal, and it was packed to the gills.

  2. Paul Guest

    Could anyone care to send LH the memo. Oh, my bad..they do not have the pilots to fly the pax anyway..

    Die ehemalige 5 Sterne Airline, downgraded to 4 stars! How come??

  3. luke Guest

    singapore had a pretty restrictive policy for a quite a while, there were strong parallels between abu dhabi and singapore's approach. that being said, i'd argue that dubai had a better approach than singapore

    1. JWags Guest

      UAE had mandatory masking OUTDOORS until March of THIS YEAR. Thats a ridiculous, anti-science approach that would exclude them from any discussions of best approach

    2. Stannis Guest

      Umm so did Singapore. Half the people still wear them outside even now.

  4. Alan Gold

    Quit drinking the kool aid. The death rates you mention vaxed vice unvaxed from the CDC are pure garbage. Compare the numbers to countries that actually have good data reporting and you will find that the vaccines are essentially useless which is undoubtedly why Singapore is taking the action it has.
    The CDC finally admitted natural immunity is as good as the vax. It is only a matter of time before they admit the...

    Quit drinking the kool aid. The death rates you mention vaxed vice unvaxed from the CDC are pure garbage. Compare the numbers to countries that actually have good data reporting and you will find that the vaccines are essentially useless which is undoubtedly why Singapore is taking the action it has.
    The CDC finally admitted natural immunity is as good as the vax. It is only a matter of time before they admit the vaccine has been a failure and that early treatment should have been the first approach

  5. glenn t Diamond

    I flew a red-eye SIN-ADL SQ flight 2 weeks ago, and the mask requirement was in place and gently enforced.
    In Business, and an A seat with no neighbour, it seemed ridiculous to attempt to be correctly masked while trying to sleep, especially as there was no movement about the plane. Crew turned a blind eye to non-masking at that point, although they remained masked throughout.
    I have no idea what was going on behind in sardine class though.

  6. Fed UP Guest

    The only exception is for flights to & from destinations that still require masks, because in those cases the requirements will continue to be followed (this includes countries like Canada, Indonesia, and South Korea).......

    probably not true... I was just on a flight to Chile, which requires masks, as soon as the plane took off from Chile, everyone took off their masks... inbound, the mask rule was not enforced until landing

  7. Joe Guest

    Are they finally letting their foreign dorm workers roam freely around the country? Or would that be a step too far?! Seriously - look into this. And then say that Singapore has handled Covid well.

    1. Ryan Guest

      Everything for their foreign workers is back to normal - they're even allowed to travel. If you truly cared about such an issue, you would have already known this happened long ago.

  8. Matt Guest

    Yes! I'm flying LAX-SIN next week I just hope that the flight attendants will know about this as well!

  9. Mary Guest

    Thank god! I have a 2 years delayed trip booked in November and was absolutely dreading this. Also thank you OMAAT that I can do this in business class from LAX!

  10. Syd Guest

    This is what real science-based approach looks like. Gotta love Singapore.

  11. echino Gold

    So masks will continue to be required on YVR-SIN-YVR flights?

    1. Canuck70 Guest

      Yep, unfortunately our Canadian government still requires masking on all flights to/from/within Canada.

    2. Roastbeef Guest

      Excellent news, flying MNL>SIN then SIN>ZRH next week and this makes it so much nicer than the trip here 2 weeks ago.

    3. Baliken Guest

      I flew TK to YUL from IST (and back) in June and July. The TK flight attendants were very relaxed in enforcing the Canadian mask rules. I suppose some other airlines act similarly.

    4. Fed UP Guest

      Of course, Justin and his crowd will never let go of control. At least on the ground in YVR... dont forget the controlling ArriveCan, to track you upon your return

  12. Carol Ann Guest

    It’s insane to me that Singapore is basically back to 2019-normal while Japan is still stuck in March 2020. It’s also insane that Ben barely covers Japan’s refusal to meaningfully reopen, given how much he apparently loves the country (or did when you could still visit it).

    1. George Guest

      Umm- what's to cover, really? Post an article a week stating, "Japan still hasn't reopened to tourism"? I don't think that would be very interesting blog content...

  13. Ben Guest

    I'm flying from australia to london on SQ Via SIN on Sep 2. the thought of wearing a mask for 25+ hours was not one i was going to enjoy but this is great news and will make my travel infinitely more conferrable.

    Fantastic news

  14. Jones Guest

    Flew to/from SIN in June. Flight there, *one or two* people wore masks. Flight back, *everyone* was maskless by the time they got on the plane.

    1. George Guest

      You clearly weren't flying SQ, then- every flight I've been on, including LAX-SIN in August, the vast majority of people were masked.

  15. Tommy F Guest

    Hi Ben, I understand you might have wanted to further clarify the data, but I think you typing the percentage is unnecessary. you've already given the link. those who want to know more can click the link. the percentage seems to suggest that it's just number while it's not.

  16. The Joe Guest

    Mathing it out, that's the equivalent of 70K deaths per year in the U.S if everyone was fully boosted.

    About the same as a bad flu year, taking into account both vaccinated and unvaccinated against the flu.

    It is bizarre to see the car argument coming from the left, given that this was the same argument we saw from the right since the beginning of the pandemic.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ The Joe -- I'm not sure why it's bizarre? At the beginning of the pandemic, the death rate from coronavirus was much higher, and there was no vaccine to help lower the death rate. Now the death rate is much lower and more manageable thanks to the available treatments.

      The death rate among boosted people is similar to the death rate of other risks we live with every day, from driving to the flu....

      @ The Joe -- I'm not sure why it's bizarre? At the beginning of the pandemic, the death rate from coronavirus was much higher, and there was no vaccine to help lower the death rate. Now the death rate is much lower and more manageable thanks to the available treatments.

      The death rate among boosted people is similar to the death rate of other risks we live with every day, from driving to the flu. I think the comparison is more reasonable now, but wasn't reasonable without treatments.

    2. The Joe Guest

      I'm not saying I disagree with you, but it is arbitrary, and it makes me reevaluate whether/how much my anger at the right 2 years ago was justified.

      We're saying we're okay with a certain amount of deaths... over 200K this year already. Two years ago a different group of people was ok with a much higher level of deaths. They noted that if you were worried, stay home.
      At the time, I was...

      I'm not saying I disagree with you, but it is arbitrary, and it makes me reevaluate whether/how much my anger at the right 2 years ago was justified.

      We're saying we're okay with a certain amount of deaths... over 200K this year already. Two years ago a different group of people was ok with a much higher level of deaths. They noted that if you were worried, stay home.
      At the time, I was among the throngs of people who balked at those people.

      I don't know if there are readily available statistics on vaccinated Vs unvaccinated flu deaths, but in terms of overall deaths, it's still 50K flu vs more than 200K covid yearly.

      There are yet still others who think going back to normal now is callous and inconsiderate of those with health issues.

      And, one could still point their finger and say just because people aren't dying as frequently, doesn't mean people aren't experiencing severe health complications.

      Anyway, it's just bizarre to me, even if there is reasoning behind it.

      I'm happy to be mask free and traveling without restrictions now, it just makes me question my past views, and question whether I'm in the right today (if I go just by the crowd, then I have no shame about my position then or now)

    3. David Guest

      I think there is a pretty solid reasoning. Heavy border restrictions and lockdowns have their own cost, and even lives have their monetary value (that's basically actuarial science) even if we don't like to think like that. When deaths were going to go into millions and hospitals get overwhelmed, shutting down much of the economy and border makes sense. Now it just doesn't, because the harms of border closure and lockdowns (businesses going under, international...

      I think there is a pretty solid reasoning. Heavy border restrictions and lockdowns have their own cost, and even lives have their monetary value (that's basically actuarial science) even if we don't like to think like that. When deaths were going to go into millions and hospitals get overwhelmed, shutting down much of the economy and border makes sense. Now it just doesn't, because the harms of border closure and lockdowns (businesses going under, international trade being slowed, children not getting proper socialization, inflation, freedom etc.) far outweigh the benefits. Also, if it was just a lockdown for a definite amount of time, I think we'd be more willing to bite the bullet, but seeing as corona is out of control and not going anywhere, the cost of indefinite lockdown is just far too great.

    4. glenn t Diamond

      Ther is a cohort of people who are fully vaccinated (3 or more doses) who are especially vulnerable to dying from coronavirus, despite treatments being available. They are the older folk, 70 and up. Unfortunately the vaccines are not anything like 100% effective as we once hoped, and are not really keeping pace with all the variants and sub-variants.
      Masking it really effective despite what your political bent is, but I do understand that...

      Ther is a cohort of people who are fully vaccinated (3 or more doses) who are especially vulnerable to dying from coronavirus, despite treatments being available. They are the older folk, 70 and up. Unfortunately the vaccines are not anything like 100% effective as we once hoped, and are not really keeping pace with all the variants and sub-variants.
      Masking it really effective despite what your political bent is, but I do understand that everyone is pretty much over it.
      Statistics in Australia show that the main culprits for transmission now are those +/- 30 years old, who don't wear masks even where they are legally obliged to do so, never get tested and socialise like it's 2019. I guess it's the same in the US.

  17. Jan Guest

    Great news. The rest of Southeast Asia should follow Singapore’s lead. I can’t wait to go back.

  18. InceptionCat Guest

    Meanwhile Germany has confirmed the mask mandate to be extended till April 7 2023. Masks are compulsory on long distance trains and all flights. Sad.

    1. Omar Guest

      Does this mean masks are required on SQ's JFK-FRA-SIN flight?

    2. Ryan Guest

      @Omar

      That is indeed correct

    3. Peter Guest

      Flew DFW to FRA in early May without mask requirement. No masks required within FRA airport or LH lounge but were required through security. Thinking that was a city vs. Federal policy at the time.

      Don’t recall wearing mask from FRA back to JFK either (SQ suite) after takeoff.

    4. Jan Guest

      no again: it hasn't. only the proposal of the goverment (Gesetztesvorschlag) is official today. Now it goes to the Bundestag and Bundesrat and FDP want the mask mandate in planes to be scrapped. So as a person living in Germany I don't think the mask mandate will live longer than September 23rd.

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

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ The Joe -- I'm not sure why it's bizarre? At the beginning of the pandemic, the death rate from coronavirus was much higher, and there was no vaccine to help lower the death rate. Now the death rate is much lower and more manageable thanks to the available treatments. The death rate among boosted people is similar to the death rate of other risks we live with every day, from driving to the flu. I think the comparison is more reasonable now, but wasn't reasonable without treatments.

4
InceptionCat Guest

Meanwhile Germany has confirmed the mask mandate to be extended till April 7 2023. Masks are compulsory on long distance trains and all flights. Sad.

4
The Joe Guest

I'm not saying I disagree with you, but it is arbitrary, and it makes me reevaluate whether/how much my anger at the right 2 years ago was justified. We're saying we're okay with a certain amount of deaths... over 200K this year already. Two years ago a different group of people was ok with a much higher level of deaths. They noted that if you were worried, stay home. At the time, I was among the throngs of people who balked at those people. I don't know if there are readily available statistics on vaccinated Vs unvaccinated flu deaths, but in terms of overall deaths, it's still 50K flu vs more than 200K covid yearly. There are yet still others who think going back to normal now is callous and inconsiderate of those with health issues. And, one could still point their finger and say just because people aren't dying as frequently, doesn't mean people aren't experiencing severe health complications. Anyway, it's just bizarre to me, even if there is reasoning behind it. I'm happy to be mask free and traveling without restrictions now, it just makes me question my past views, and question whether I'm in the right today (if I go just by the crowd, then I have no shame about my position then or now)

3
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