Singapore Airlines to add three weekly Paris flights

SIngapore Airlines A380 at Heathrow

Singapore Airlines will be upping its current daily Paris service to a 10-times-weekly one for the northern winter season.

Beginning October 30 this year and running until March 24, 2018, the new SQ333/SQ334 flights will operate on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, adding to the airline’s existing SQ335/SQ336 daily operations.

The new service will depart slightly later than the current flights, with the outbound SQ334 Singapore-Paris flight departing at 0230 and arriving at 0930 (just over two hours after SQ336). Meanwhile the return leg will depart and arrive in the afternoon, with SQ333 leaving Paris at 1800 and arriving at 1340 the next day, five hours later than SQ335.

However, while the service frequency on the route will increase this winter, the overall weekly capacity of the route will actually drop by 447 seats. That’s because Singapore Airlines will be deploying its B777-300ER on both the new thrice-weekly seats as well as its existing daily service, which is currently served by its four-class, 441-seat A380-800.

The carrier’s B777-300ER, meanwhile, is configured with just 264 seats across four classes by comparison. These include four in first, 48 in business, 28 in premium economy and 184 in economy class.

This would appear to mark the retirement of Singapore Airlines’ first and oldest A380 – a process the airline first announced would happen last September. The carrier has previously stated it would not be renewing the lease of its four oldest A380s, which are on a 10-year lease and will begin expiring this October.

Singapore Airlines has not stated whether the route will revert back to an A380 after the northern winter period or remain operated by the B777-300ER. Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has reached out to Singapore Airlines for comment.

Last month, Business Traveller reported that Singapore Airlines’ old A380s may be set for the private jet market.

singaporeair.com

Singapore Airlines eyes possible job cuts

Singapore Airlines A350-900

Singapore Airlines appears set to be the next major Asia-Pacific carrier to undergo job-cutting measures, with many positions potentially becoming “irrelevant” after it completes a significant business review, the South China Morning Post reports.

The cutting or redeployment of jobs at Singapore Airlines would be the latest indicator of an ongoing struggle facing Asia’s major carriers as they try to contend with competition from airlines in the Middle East and mainland China.

Late last month, fellow legacy carrier Cathay Pacific announced it would be cutting 600 members of staff in both management and non-management roles by the end of the year. The previous month, it had posted a massive HK$575 million (US$74 million) loss in its annual financial result statement for 2016, down from a HK$6 billion (US$773 million) profit in 2015.

At this stage it is unclear whether Singapore Airlines’ review will lead to cuts from management and non-management staff, as with Cathay Pacific, or also frontline employees, pilots and cabin crew.

Earlier this year, Singapore Airlines recorded a net profit more than 50 percent lower than the previous year, at S$360.4 million (US$261 million). In its financial report, the airline attributed this partly to its S$138 million (US$99.8 million) net loss in the fourth quarter – down from a S$225 million (US$163 million) net profit in the same period the previous year.

But it’s not just Asian airlines that are affected by the growing competition posed by Middle Eastern and Chinese carriers, and many US and European airlines have been developing partnerships with carriers in the region in order to contend with these threats.

Among the most notable of these was the decision in March by Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa to begin partnering via codeshare services and frequent flyer programme cooperation, despite being members of rival airline alliances, in a move aimed at competing with Gulf and Chinese carriers.

In another instance of oneworld/Sky Team member airlines coordinating, in March China Southern confirmed a US$200 million sale of 270 million of its shares to American Airlines. The two carriers also began a major codesharing agreement that gave the US carrier access to more than 40 Chinese destinations through connections in Beijing and 30 through connections in Shanghai – a significant boon for the member of the oneworld alliance, which currently has no Chinese member airlines.

In related news, fellow airline alliance Star Alliance recently welcomed Chinese carrier Juneyao Airlines into its fold as a Connecting Partner, giving it key connectivity to and through Shanghai – a blank spot on its network ever since the departure of Shanghai Airlines from the alliance in 2010.

Back in December, meanwhile, Delta Air Lines announced it would be partnering with Korean Air as a means to expand its transpacific network. This most recently took the form of a new route between Delta’s hub at Atlanta to Seoul Incheon, and will be followed this summer by added frequencies on Korean Air’s services to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

singaporeair.com

Singapore Airlines’ A350 flights to Stockholm commence

Crowds of tourists and locals enjoying the summer sunshine beneath the colourful townhouses and quaint restaurants of historic Stortorget, Great Square, the iconic landmark plaza on Gamla Stan in the heart of Stockholm, Sweden's vibrant capital city.

Singapore Airlines’ previously reported A350 service to Stockholm took off Tuesday, May 30, marking the introduction of the carrier’s second Scandinavian destination to its network.

Unlike its current non-stop flights to Copenhagen, however, the new five-times-weekly Stockholm service has a stopover in Moscow (which also gives the Russian capital an extra weekly service). The overall journey takes about 14 hours, with the layover in Moscow Domodedovo airport lasting between an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes, depending on direction.

The new flights are part of Singapore Airlines’ 2013 joint-venture agreement with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) covering flights between Scandinavia and Singapore, with SAS codesharing on the new route.

Singapore Airlines, for its part, has been placing increasing focus on Europe, particularly with regards to its A350s, which it says “will form a key part of the airline’s fleet in the years ahead”. In January, it began flying the aircraft to Manchester as part of a wider route between Singapore and Houston.

Meanwhile earlier this month the airline confirmed to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that it would be launching a supplementary non-stop A350 service between Singapore and Barcelona this July that would offer a twice-weekly alternative to its existing flights that fly through Milan-Malpensa Airport.

Singapore Airlines’ A350s are currently configured with 42 business, 24 premium economy and 187 economy class seats.

[Click here for Business Traveller’s review of Singapore Airlines’ A350 business class on its Singapore-San Francisco route.]

European destinations not served by the aircraft are also set to receive boosts, notably its Rome flights which will be upped from twice weekly to four-times weekly starting in July.

Details of the new Singapore (SIN)-Moscow (DME)-Stockholm (ARN) service are as follows (all times local):

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
SQ362SINDME20600Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat
DMEARN715825
SQ361ARNDME10251330Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat
DMESIN15050620+1

singaporeair.com

TSA Precheck now available for Singapore Airlines customers

TSA-agent

Singapore Airlines has become the latest – and first Asian – carrier to enable travellers to go through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Precheck security screening when travelling from US airports.

The TSA Precheck system allows low-risk known travellers to pass through a separate security-screening lane during departure. These lanes offer expedited screening and reduced wait times, notably by not requiring travellers to remove their jackets, belts, laptops, liquids and shoes when passing through security.

While all US citizens and lawful permanent residents are able to make use of the system, certain non-US citizens can also enrol via Customs Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveller programmes. These notably include Nexus, Sentri and Global Entry, the latter of which is open to citizens from Singapore as well as Colombia, Germany, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, the UK and Mexico.

Travellers should present their Known Traveller Number to the airline during booking or check-in following enrolment in the TSA Precheck or other CBP programmes. Meanwhile over the next few months, Singapore Airlines will be introducing the option of self-printed as well as mobile boarding passes to passengers to and from the US, further speeding up the pre-travel experience particularly for those with no check-in bags.

Singapore Airlines is not the only non-US carrier to join the TSA Precheck programme. Earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic became the first UK airline to offer the TSA Precheck service for passengers on its flights departing the US.

Security screening at US airports is itself undergoing a number of modernisations and improvements also. In January, airport security company Clear announced it would begin offering biometric scanning to a further four US airports in 2017, bringing the total number of airports using the technology to 22. Biometric scanning comprises fingerprinting and iris scanning, and enables travellers to proceed through security screening without the need to show a boarding pass or ID.

Meanwhile in August last year, United Airlines began working with the TSA to upgrade airport security at its key US hubs, notably with the addition of automated screening lanes and redesigned security checkpoints, along with TSA Precheck enrolment centres.

singaporeair.com; tsa.gov/precheck

Singapore Airlines to fly A350 direct to Barcelona

Singapore Airlines' A350

Singapore Airlines will begin flying direct between Singapore and Barcelona this July, providing a non-stop service that cuts out its existing transit via Milan-Malpensa Airport.

The new service looks due to launch on July 2, according to Singapore Airlines’ online schedule, and tickets are currently available to book. The route will be flown two times a week – Thursday and Sunday on the SQ388 Singapore (SIN)-Barcelona (BCN) flight, and Monday and Friday on the SQ387 BCN-SIN leg.

Prices for a return trip currently start from S$1,778 for economy, S$4,450 for premium economy and S$5,368 for business class.

Flights via Milan will continue to operate three times per week, with SQ378 to Barcelona flying on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and SQ377 to Singapore flying on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

As with Singapore Airlines’ above one-stop service through Milan, the airline will be deploying its A350 on the route, which it configures with 42 business class seats in a 1-2-1 set up, 24 premium economy seats laid out eight across in a 2-4-2 format, and 187 economy class seats in a nine-across 3-3-3 set up.

Late last year, Singapore Airlines began flying one of its A350s between Singapore and San Francisco, which Business Traveller reviewed.

Full details of the direct Singapore-Barcelona service are as follows (all times local):

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
SQ388SINBCN23350655+1Thu, Sun
SQ387BCNSIN12050700+1Mon, Fri

Barcelona recently has seen an increase in direct services operated by Asia-Pacific carriers. Earlier this month, Korean Air began flying non-stop from Seoul, while from July 2 until October 27 Cathay Pacific is due to start its four-times-weekly seasonal service from Hong Kong.

singaporeair.com

In-flight wifi on Asia-Pacific airlines: what you need to know

Cathay Pacific business class

Air New Zealand

Wifi?
Launching second half of 2017

Pricing
Expected to be announced in first half of 2017

In October last year, Air New Zealand announced it would begin introducing inflight wifi on board its flights starting from the second half of 2017. Flights between New Zealand and Australia are set to be the first to receive the service, with wifi progressively being made available aboard its Tasman, Pacific Island and long-haul jet fleets from the end of 2017. Domestic flights will the last to get the service, with introduction set for 2018.

Traditionally low satellite service quality across oceanic areas (over which many of Air New Zealand’s flights travel) has meant the airline has held back on introducing an inflight wifi offering until a service of suitably high quality became available. The airline’s wifi will be provided by Inmarsat’s global GX satellite constellation, and integrated with the Air New Zealand’s Panasonic Avionics system.

airnewzealand.com

ANA

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B767-300ER (only those configured with 202 seats), B787-9, B787-8 (only those configured with 240 seats), A320neo

Pricing
B777-300ER and B767-300ER:

US$4.95 – 30 minutes, 15MB limit
US$8.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$19.95 – full flight, 100MB limit

B787-9, B787-8 and A320neo:

US$6.95 – 30 minutes
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – full flight (max 24 hours)

All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) inflight wifi offering gives access to functions such as web browsing and email functions. Video streaming is not supported, and image loading is likely to burn through your data quite quickly.

For travellers flying on ANA’s B777-300ER and B767-300ER, the service is only available when flying over transoceanic airspace and countries that permit the use of satellite activity, while B787 and A320 inflight connectivity is available in all airspaces.

ana.co.jp

Cathay Pacific

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A350

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
US$9.95 – one hour continuous use on all flights
US$12.95 – flights of six hours or less
US$19.95 – flights of six hours or more

Cathay Pacific currently offers wifi only on its fleet of A350s, the first of which it deployed to Auckland in October 2016. A few services are available complimentary – including the airline’s own website, its duty free catalogue, and destination information – though for functions such as general web browsing and email, a fee is required.

cathaypacific.com

China Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A350

Pricing
TW$350 (US$11.6) – one hour
TW$500 (US$16.5) – three hours
TW$650 (US$21.5) – 24 hours

Inflight wifi on China Airlines has no data limit and while the overall speed may make certain functions difficult, this does provide reassurance for those that tend to quickly eat through data that they won’t be prematurely cut off from the service.

Purchasing wifi can be done on the flight or ahead of time via the airline’s website.

china-airlines.com

Eva Air

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER (select aircraft)

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

It is worth noting that Taiwan-based Eva Air’s service provider is currently applying for an operating permit with the Chinese Government, however until then internet connectivity gets temporarily disconnected when flying over mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau with the carrier.

On the plus side, however, for longer journeys across multiple segments, travellers can re-connect to Eva Air’s wifi network using the same account information, provided the ensuing leg is also operated by an Eva Wifi-enabled aircraft.

evaair.com

Garuda Indonesia

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A330-300, A330-200

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$16.95 – three hours, 50MB limit
US$21.95 – 24 hours (whole flight on A330-300 and A330-200), 100MB limit

Garuda Indonesia’s wifi offering is provided on a time-based system with varying caps depending on the duration. In addition to the service being complimentary to all first class passengers, those in other classes travelling on Garuda’s wifi-equipped Airbus aircraft are able to get 15 minutes’ free wifi connectivity.

While the service is suitable for social media as well as general web browsing, regular image loading will likely drain your data quite quickly.

garuda-indonesia.com

Japan Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B777-200ER, B767-300ER, B787

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Pricing
US$10.15 – one hour
US$14.40 – three hours
US$18.80 – 24 hours

Japan Airlines offers inflight wifi based on overall duration used, with its 24-hour offering also including connecting flights for 24 hours from the initial log in. Data caps are also not present regardless of payment category.

A full list of the routes on which Japan Airlines offers wifi can be found here, with many only being available until and from certain dates. The airline’s fleet of B787s is also not fully equipped with wifi, so connectivity is not guaranteed, though travellers on these aircraft can check whether inflight wifi will be available on their flight the day before they travel.

jal.co.jp

Korean Air

Wifi?
No

Korea’s national carrier currently doesn’t offer inflight wifi across any of its aircraft, and has not issued plans to do so in the forseeable future.

In an interview with the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), Korean Air’s senior innovation technology manager, Dante Dionne, shed some light on why this is the case: “In Korea, the wireless infrastructure is so advanced (significantly faster than the US average) that in-flight internet services based on existing commercial satellite technology would be disappointing to them. That is a primary reason why Korean Air has not implemented in-flight internet.”

koreanair.com

Malaysia Airlines

Wifi?
No

Malaysia Airlines also doesn’t offer inflight wifi on its flights at present. That said, the airline plans to introduce the service onboard its new A350s, the first of which it is expecting to take delivery of this year. Auckland is currently scheduled to be the first long-haul route served by its new A350. Details of the inflight wifi service have yet to be announced.

malaysiaairlines.com

Philippine Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
Select aircraft on international flights

Pricing
US$10 – 35MB/one hour
US$40 – 150MB/flight duration

Up until February 28, 2017, Philippine Airlines offered the first 30 minutes of inflight wifi (limited to 15MB) free of charge to all passengers. The hourly rate and data offered is also reasonably priced, compared to other airlines in Asia-Pacific.

The full-flight bracket, however, is particularly expensive. While it does offer 150MB of data (caps for full-flight/24-hour purchases typically stand at 100MB), the US$40 price is noticeably more expensive than most other carriers in the region.

Purchases can be made either by credit card or by purchasing a scratch card from cabin crew.

philippineairlines.com

Qantas

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 7, 2017

Class
Available to all classes on domestic flights

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800 aircraft; to be rolled out to 80 aircraft by end of 2018

Pricing
Free

Qantas launched a beta mode of its new Viasat and Nbn’s Sky Muster-enabled inflight wifi service earlier this month. Outfitted on a single B737-800 aircraft that will be flying domestic routes during the trial phase, the high-speed wifi is being offered free of charge for travellers on board the aircraft (due to likely last-minute changes, the specific routes the aircraft will be flying are subject to change, and passengers won’t be able to select a flight on board the wifi-enabled aircraft at this time).

Perhaps the most notable two features of Qantas’ new wifi offering are its speed and its price. Qantas claims that the new offering will be ten times faster than conventional onboard wifi, enabling functions such as video and music streaming (services such as Netflix, Spotify, Stan and Foxtel will be available through partnerships). The other is that the airline aims to keep the service included as part of the ticket fare.

Qantas expects to roll out wifi across 80 of its aircraft, for completion by the end of 2018. The airline is also currently in discussions with suppliers to develop a product for its international fleet.

qantas.com.au

Singapore Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A380, A350, B777-300ER (progressively)

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
Volume-based (all A380 and select B777-300ER)

US$6.99 – 15MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$19.99 – 50MB

Time-based (All A350 and select B777-300ER)

US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

Singapore Airlines has a somewhat confusing pricing structure regarding its inflight wifi, owing largely to its partnership with two different providers, Onair and Panasonic. As such, price plans come in two variations, depending on provider and the type of aircraft – volume based or time based.

Prices tend to be more expensive than the majority of other Asia-Pacific airlines – most notably its highest-volume 50MB bracket offering about half as much data as that offered by most other airlines’ top bracket (100MB), but still costing a similar price.

What’s also worth noting here is that volume-based plans are only valid for the leg on which they are purchased. An onward journey, even if it is on the next sector of the same flight, requires another purchase. Time-based purchases, however, can be transferred across multi-sector flights.

singaporeair.com

Thai Airways

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
A350-900XWD, A380-800, A330-300

Pricing
US$4.99 – 10MB
US$8.99 – 20MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$34.99 – 100MB

Thai Airways offers inflight wifi on a number of its aircraft, with its A350s powered by Panasonic and its A380 and A330s provided by Sitaonair. The airline’s six wifi-enabled A380s currently operate flights to Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo Narita, London and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile its seven wifi-enabled A330s fly to Tokyo Narita, Taipei-Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Yangon, Beijing, Hanoi, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo Haneda, Kuala Lumpur and Fukuoka.

The airline’s data-based rather than duration-focused pricing structure may confuse some flyers less familiar with average data-consumption rates. As a rough guide, 10MB will likely get you through roughly 30 minutes of general web browsing and email. Similarly to Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways’ prices are also quite expensive compared to many other Asia-Pacific airlines, with its US$34.99 for 100MB top-tier price being noticeably pricier than most other carriers’ highest wifi brackets.

thaiairways.com

Virgin Australia

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 20, 2017

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800; to be rolled out across B737-800s, A330s and B777s

Pricing
To be confirmed after trial period completes

Less than two weeks after rival Australian carrier Qantas began trialling a new domestic inflight wifi offering, Virgin Australia launched its own domestic three-month testing period using the same aircraft, a B737-800. During the testing period, passengers will be able to use the wifi free of charge, though the final pricing of the service has yet to be announced and will be determined following customer feedback during the trial.

As with Qantas’ wifi offering, Virgin Australia’s will support video and music streaming, notably through Netflix, Pandora and Stan. Unlike Qantas’, however, Virgin Australia’s wifi is expected to be rolled out across its fleet of B737-800s, A330s and B777s for both domestic and international flights.

virginaustralia.com

Krisflyer and UOB launch new miles-earning debit card account

Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer frequent flyer programme and United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) have launched a new Krisflyer UOB Account that allows consumers to earn miles for every dollar they save or spend.

The new account is the first in Singapore to enable earning Krisflyer miles and is particularly aimed at debit card users and those ineligible for a credit card, such as young professionals at the beginning of their career.

“We have seen spend on UOB debit cards grow 40 per cent over the past two years,” said Jacquelyn Tan, the bank’s head of personal financial services Singapore. “Travel spend on debit cards also increased 15 per cent in the corresponding period as our customers make more trips abroad.”

According to the bank, in 2016 travel accounted for 22 per cent of all spend made on UOB credit and debit cards, with 37 per cent of this spent on flights.

“From our credit card base, air miles are one of our most frequent reward redemption categories and Krisflyer miles in particular are very popular, accounting for more than half of all the UNI$ [UOB’s own loyalty programme currency] rewards redemptions made last year,” Tan added.

With the new account, miles accrual will be proportional to the account’s current balance:

  • Balance of S$3,000 (US$2,100)-S$100,000 (US$71,500) will earn 1.4 miles per dollar spent
  • Balance of S$100,000-S$350,000 (US$250,200) will earn 3.4 miles per dollar spent
  • Balance of S$350,000+ will earn 5.4 miles per dollar spent

Singapore Airlines claims the rates are among the highest in the market. Under these earning rates, a customer with a monthly average balance of S$100,000 and a S$1,500 (US$1,070) monthly spend can earn 60,000 miles in a year – the value of a business class return ticket from Singapore to Taipei.

Krisflyer miles earned by users can be redeemed for award flights and upgrades on Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary Silkair, in addition to travel vouchers on budget carriers Scoot and Tigerair.

singaporeair.com

Singapore Airlines improves digital offering

Man using tablet (SITA stock image)

Singapore Airlines has enhanced its mobile app to allow passengers to access a range of free digital magazines on their own devices before, during and after the flight.

Powered by SITA Digital Media using Adaptive technology, the feature is available on both iOS and Android devices.

In addition to improving customer experience, the move supports the airline’s ambitions to go green.

According to SITA, the airline industry loads up to 100,000 kilograms of newspapers and magazines every day, which is costly to both supply and dispose of.

At the same time, the SITA Passenger IT trends survey 2016 found that 65 per cent of passengers would access entertainment services on their own device while 46 per cent would watch a movie on-board using mobile devices.

Sumesh Patel, SITA president, Asia Pacific, said: “Singapore Airlines is renowned for its great service and constant desire to enhance the travel experience of its customers. SITA Digital Media is just one of the ways we are assisting Singapore Airlines in delivering this experience by providing entertainment easily and efficiently through its airline app.”

sita.com, singaporeairlines.com

Vistara signs codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir

Vistara-SIA codeshare signing

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir have signed an agreement to codeshare on Indian domestic flights operated by Vistara, effective March 14. This means, all SIA and SilkAir passengers will now be issued tickets that go beyond the cities at which these carriers lands.

Phee Teik Yeoh, Vistara’s CEO says, “We are delighted to establish our first codeshare partnership with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir. As we continuously work towards eventually becoming a globally renowned airline, codeshare partnerships will play a very important role in helping us get closer to realising that aspiration.”

Under the agreement, SIA will add the SQ code to its Vistara-operated flights from Mumbai and Delhi to ten Indian cities, namely Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Kochi, Kolkata and Port Blair. SIA also flies directly from Singapore to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata, but doesn’t have codeshare flights from these cities.

SilkAir will add the MI code to its Vitara-operated flights from Bengaluru and Kolkata to six Indian destinations, namely Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kochi, Mumbai, New Delhi and Port Blair. SilkAir directly connects Singapore to Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi and Kolkata, but doesn’t have codeshare flights from these cities.

This is the first of its kind agreement for all three airlines — the first codeshare agreement for Vistara and the first codeshare agreement for the SIA group (SIA and SilkAir) with an Indian-based domestic carrier.

Tan Kai Ping, SIA’s senior VP of marketing planning says, “Through the new codeshare agreement, both SIA and SilkAir are able to expand our network reach in the important India market, providing our customers even more travel options and enhanced KrisFlyer benefits.”

As a result of the codeshare partnership, members of KrisFlyer and Club Vistara will enjoy additional tier benefits. A release by Vistara explains that SIA group’s “KrisFlyer Elite Gold and PPS Club members will enjoy lounge access, increased baggage allowance, and priority baggage handling, check-in and boarding when travelling on Vistara-operated flights. Likewise, Club Vistara Platinum and Gold members will enjoy the same benefits when travelling on SIA-operated flights. PPS Club and KrisFlyer members will earn Elite miles when travelling on SIA codeshare flights operated by Vistara”. KrisFlyer members can also redeem their miles for Vistara flights, and vice versa.

Vistara is a New Delhi-based joint venture between Tata Sons and SIA. It marked its second anniversary of operations on January 9, 2017.

airvistara.com 

singaporeair.com 

silkair.com

 

Singapore Airlines makes Krisflyer redemption changes

Singapore Airlines A350-900 business class seat

Fuel and insurance surcharges will no longer apply to Krisflyer redemption bookings, beginning March 23 this year. The change to the Singapore Airlines frequent flyer programme comes as the airline and its subsidiary Silkair look to fold in fuel and insurance surcharges into their base fares.

In addition to the removal of these surcharges to redemptions, members of Singapore Airlines’ frequent flyer programme Krisflyer will no longer receive a 15 per cent discount on redemptions when booking online as opposed to via the call centre, also starting March 23. The same redemption fare will now be applied across all booking channels.

According to Singapore Airlines, both it and Silkair have been showing the full price payable in their airfare advertising since 2008, though the folding in of the fuel and insurance charges is set to be implemented progressively by region starting March 28 and completing by May this year. Customers will now be shown a single base airfare when purchasing tickets, though applicable airport taxes and fees will continue to apply for redemption awards.

The change is potentially bad news for Krisflyer members, as it effectively increases the number of miles required to redeem for flights in certain zones. The flipside to the change is that the removal of fuel and insurance surcharges will mean cash savings when paying for redemption tickets.

Meanwhile, “all-in” fares are not expected to be immediately affected by the change, since these are determined by market supply and demand, the airline says.

Along with these changes, Singapore Airlines is also making adjustments to redemption award charts in the Saver category for certain zones. These include Zone 7, 9, 11, 12 and 13 for first, business and economy class cabins. A list of examples showcasing how the expected changes will affect the Saver award chart can be viewed on Singapore Airlines’ website.

Travellers booking codeshare flights or making redemption bookings on flights operated by other airlines may still encounter surcharges.

singaporeair.com