With Singapore and Australia bringing down barriers to travel, your next overseas trip won’t be far away! But flying to Singapore in the COVID era isn’t the same as it was before.
Along with all the usual requirements of international travel, you’ll need to undergo multiple COVID-19 tests. There are also online travel declarations to complete, which can’t be done last-minute at the airport.
Still, once you’ve navigated the minefield that is international travel right now, there are lots of great experiences waiting for you along your journey. Here’s what you need to know about pre-flight testing, travel permits, vaccination requirements and more. Plus, we explore the lounges and seats you can experience, and the airlines that’ll take you there.
Paperwork and pre-flight COVID testing
Before turning up at check-in for your long-awaited Singapore voyage, there are a few formalities to complete.
Departing Australia for Singapore
Australia itself doesn’t require you to take a pre-flight COVID test in order to jet abroad. However, as Singapore demands a negative PCR test result ahead of your arrival, you’ll need to get one. The test must occur within 48 hours of your flight’s scheduled departure time. As we’ve previously covered, this can’t be a ‘free’ community test. You’ll instead need to pay for your test, which will come with the paperwork needed to prove your result.
Expect to pay in the region of $100 to $150 for that pre-flight text, or even higher for an express result.
Before you get to that stage though, you’ll need to apply to visit Singapore. For most Aussies, this takes the form of a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP). You’ll need to request one no later than seven days before your departure from Australia. However, you can apply up to 60 days in advance, so the sooner the better.
Once granted, your VTP will be valid for the day you’d originally planned to travel, plus a further six days to allow for any changes. As long as you arrive in Singapore within that time frame, there’s no need for a new pass. As an extra rule, Singapore requires that you be insured for a minimum of SG$30,000 in medical expenses related to COVID-19.
A Singaporean policy for that coverage alone usually costs SG$19-24, for a five day stay. Prices are generally higher on Australia-based policies as they include a broader suite insurance. Typically, a single-trip policy with COVID medical cover falls in the AU$50-60 range.
With an approved Vaccinated Travel Pass and a negative pre-flight test, you’ll be able to fly under Vaccinated Travel Lane rules. For the full details – which may change at short notice – head to the Singapore Government website.
Flying into Singapore from Australia
When you do reach Changi Airport, you’ll need to get another COVID-19 test. That’s the case even if you’re fully vaccinated, and travelled under Vaccinated Travel Lane policies. This costs SG$160, which is about AU$161.
After your on-arrival test, you must self-isolate until you get a result. Typically, these come back within 24 hours. Once you’re given the all clear, you’re finally free to roam and enjoy Singapore just like a local!
Before heading out and about, you will just need to set up and use Singapore’s TraceTogether contact tracing app.
Flying from Singapore to Australia
When it comes time to depart Singapore, there’s a similar process in place for entering Australia.
You’ll need to start by completing an ‘Australia Travel Declaration‘ at least 72 hours before your home-bound flight. If your visit is a short one, you may be able to fill this out before you even leave home.
Through that declaration, you’ll be asked to confirm your vaccination status. Before arriving at the airport, you’ll also need to obtain a negative COVID PCR test. Timing is again important on this: the test must be taken within 72 hours of your flight’s scheduled departure time. This test normally costs SG$125 (AU$126).
It’s okay if your flight ends up delayed, even if that pushes your actual departure time beyond 72 hours of your test. However, the rules change if the flight you booked gets cancelled. Once rebooked onto a new flight, you’ll need to make sure the test you’ve taken would still have been within 72 hours of the new scheduled departure time.
If it is, great! But if not, you’ll need to arrange a new test – likely at your own expense. The Australian Government Department of Health website explains all the rules in detail. Always check the latest requirements before travelling.
Restrictions, quarantine requirements and passenger caps still apply to inbound travellers who are not fully vaccinated. If you have had the jab, however, you no longer need an ‘exemption’ to fly.
Flying to Singapore with Qantas
The requirements for jetting abroad aren’t too difficult, provided you’re fully vaccinated. Once you’ve crossed the Ts and dotted the Is, your favourite lounges, cabins and airlines await!
Qantas, for example, will run flights to The Lion City from four Australian ports by early 2022.
|Sydney-Singapore||Daily||Airbus A330-300||Business, Economy|
|Melbourne-Singapore||Four times a week||Airbus A330-300||Business, Economy|
|Brisbane-Singapore||Three times a week||Airbus A330-300||Business, Economy|
|Perth-Singapore||Four times a week||Airbus A330-300||Business, Economy|
Qantas’ aircraft and cabins
In Business, expect the airline’s flagship Business Suite. These combine the comfort of a fully-flat bed with the convenience of direct aisle access at every seat. Back in Economy, seats come in a 2-4-2 layout. That’s ideal for couples and pairs travelling together, who can nab the pairs against the windows, which don’t have a dreaded middle seat.
Qantas has dedicated Business and First lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore. Of course, the Business spaces welcome Qantas Business passengers. They’re also home to Qantas Club members plus Qantas Gold and other oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers travelling in Economy.
But if your wallet wields a shinier card, the Qantas First Lounge is calling! On the door list are Qantas Platinum, Platinum One, Chairman’s Lounge and other oneworld Emerald cardholders. Inside, expect an upmarket décor, restaurant-style dining – and when departing Australia, even a day spa.
As a temporary measure, Qantas is using its First lounges to serve all lounge-eligible flyers in Sydney and Melbourne. This means if you’d normally use the Business lounge, you’ll be bumped up to the First lounge. But once the Business lounges are back, the rules return to normal.
Travellers departing Brisbane can instead visit the Qantas Premium Lounge. That’s the Roo’s lingo for a Business Lounge that also serves Platinum-grade frequent flyers. It’s not in the same league as a Qantas First Lounge, but still provides a comfortable pre-flight experience.
Over in Perth, Qantas’ Singapore-bound flights are currently scheduled from Terminal 4. That’s where most Qantas domestic flights depart, along with Perth-London services.
Prior to COVID-19, eligible passengers flying Perth-Singapore could access Qantas’ Domestic Business Lounge, before going through immigration. This includes Qantas Gold and Qantas Club members, who’d normally use the Qantas Club in the same terminal when flying domestically.
Flying to Singapore with Singapore Airlines
With Changi Airport being Singapore Airlines’ home hub, there’s no shortage of flights between Australia and Singapore. In fact, Singapore Airlines offers the most flights of any airline connecting the two countries.
|Sydney-Singapore||Two to three times daily|| Airbus A380-800|
| Suites Class, Business Class, Premium Economy Class, Economy Class|
First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy Class, Economy Class
Business Class (‘medium haul’), Economy Class
|Melbourne-Singapore||Double daily||Boeing 777-300ER||First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy Class, Economy Class|
|Brisbane-Singapore||Double daily||Airbus A350-900|| Most flights: Business Class (‘medium haul’), Economy Class|
Selected flights: Business Class (‘long haul’), Premium Economy Class, Economy Class
|Perth-Singapore||Double daily||Airbus A350-900, Boeing 787-10||Business Class (‘medium haul’), Economy Class|
|Adelaide-Singapore||Four flights a week||Airbus A350-900||Business Class (‘medium haul’), Economy Class|
|Darwin-Singapore||Daily from late March 2022||Boeing 737-800||Business Class (recliner), Economy Class|
|Cairns-Singapore||Daily from late March 2022||Boeing 737-800||Business Class (recliner), Economy Class|
Singapore Airlines’ aircraft and cabins
Singapore Airlines uses a raft of different aircraft types across its Australian routes. Sometimes, individual cities get a range of aircraft, too. By March 2022, Sydney, for example, gets the Airbus A380 on selected flights. But it also gets both the Boeing 777-300ER, and the Boeing 787-10.
On the dates we searched, these Airbus A380 services saw the airline’s ‘older’ style of cabins scheduled. That brings the carrier’s traditional Suites, plus Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class. Sydney’s Boeing 777 flights provide similar seats from Business Class to the back. In First Class, however, it’s more of a seat than a Suite.
When the Boeing 787-10 jets in, the experience differs again. You’ll find the Dreamliner on selected Sydney services, and all Perth departures. It’s also similar to the airline’s ‘medium-haul’ Airbus A350-900s flying to Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. These feature Business Class and Economy Class only. Just note, Business Class on these birds brings a more compact seat than the superjumbos and Boeing 777s.
However, Singapore Airlines also flies ‘long-haul’ Airbus A350-900s on selected flights. Confused? The carrier chose to install different seats on different planes, to suit the routes they’d most often fly. The ‘long-haul’ Business Class seats are wider, while the ‘medium-haul’ seats are cosier. We’re getting fussy here – both still provide a fully-flat bed with direct aisle access, so it’s hard to go wrong. These long-haul planes also add Premium Economy Class into the mix.
It’s a different story again for Darwin and Cairns. Being closer to Singapore makes these flights suitable for the airline’s Boeing 737-800s. That’s right, the same type of single-aisle plane you’d typically take on an Australian domestic flight! Here, you’ll find 12 reclining seats – not beds – in Business Class.
Singapore Airlines’ lounges
In Sydney and Melbourne, Singapore Airlines operates separate Business Class and First Class lounges. The Business side caters to most eligible travellers, with buffet dining a staple. The First Class section is instead exclusively for First Class and Suites passengers, and the airline’s highest echelon of frequent flyers. Only a Solitaire PPS Club card gets you through these frosted doors! Dining is both buffet and à la carte, so do make time for the scrumptious satay!
Brisbane and Perth are instead home to catch-all SilverKris Lounges. Welcoming all premium travellers and eligible frequent flyers, they’re a relaxing place to await your flight. Expect nibbles and more substantial bites, with Brisbane featuring the airline’s modern ‘home away from home’ styling.
With Singapore Airlines’ former Adelaide lounge permanently closed, the domestic Virgin Australia Lounge instead awaits in the SA capital. It’s a great new space, and one that opened in early 2021. Given the layout of Adelaide Airport, this lounge is before passport control, so allow plenty of time to reach your gate ahead of boarding.
Up in Cairns, the independent Reef Lounge is the go-to. But in our experience, it’s not worth arriving early for. Across in Darwin, the airport’s international Catalina Lounge is temporarily unavailable, as Qantas has repurposed the space into a transit lounge for now.
At Singapore Airlines’ home hub, there are four categories of lounges, depending on your ticket class and status.
- The KrisFlyer Gold Lounge, for most frequent flyers travelling in Premium Economy or Economy Class.
- The SilverKris Business Class Lounge, for Business Class flyers and PPS Club members on Singapore Airlines.
- The SilverKris First Class Lounge, interestingly, for Solitaire PPS Club members not flying First Class.
- The Private Room, for all passengers flying Singapore Airlines First Class and Suites.
As you climb the ‘lounge ladder’, the experience progresses from bustling buffets to delectable dining and sumptuous Champagne. Why not find out for yourself?
Flying to Singapore with British Airways
Come 29 March 2022, British Airways will once again link Australia and Singapore. It’s part of its service onwards to London, but can be booked without travelling to the UK.
|Sydney-Singapore||Daily from March 29 2022||Boeing 787-9||First, Club World, World Traveller Plus, World Traveller|
British Airways’ aircraft and cabins
Zipping between Sydney and Singapore will be BA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner. These jets come with First, Club World (Business Class), World Traveller Plus (Premium Economy) and World Traveller (Economy Class).
In First, you can settle into one of eight relatively private seats. They’re certainly not on-par with Singapore Airlines’ Suites, but the focus is more on the dining and service. In Club, there’s a little less privacy, owing to the zig-zag seating layout.
World Traveller Plus and World Traveller offer standard reclining seats.
British Airways’ lounges
As a oneworld alliance partner of Qantas, eligible BA guests can use Qantas’ lounges in Sydney.
For Club World and oneworld Sapphire cardholders (including BA Silver and Qantas Gold), that’s the Qantas Business Lounge. Those in First or with oneworld Emerald status (e.g. BA Gold and Qantas Platinum) can instead look forward to the Qantas First Lounge. Don’t forget to ask about a spa treatment!
In Singapore, the British Airways lounge is the go-to for most flyers. With a separate Concorde Bar for First guests, it’s an overall modern space with plenty of distinct zones.
Travellers may also have access to the Qantas or Qatar Airways lounges here as an alternative. For instance, Singapore’s Qatar Airways Premium Lounge normally welcomes BA Club and First. Separately, the Qantas First Lounge and Qantas Business Lounge at Changi adopt similar access policies as in Sydney.
Flying to Singapore with Jetstar
From March 2022, Jetstar is back with flights between Australia and Singapore. Travellers can earn Qantas Points and Status Credits on eligible fares, and spend Qantas Points with Jetstar.
On the earning side, you’ll need to book a Business Max fare if travelling Business Class. Fares instead branded ‘Business Class’ don’t earn Qantas Points. In economy, Starter Max and Starter Plus tickets serve up those rewards, while Starter and Starter Flex tickets don’t on these Singapore routes.
|Melbourne-Singapore||Six times a week||Boeing 787-8||Business Class, Economy Class|
|Darwin-Singapore||Four times a week||Airbus A320||Economy Class only|
Jetstar’s aircraft and cabins
On those longer flights from Melbourne, Jetstar’s Boeing 787-8 contains both Business Class and Economy Class.
Being a low-cost airline, Business Class on Jetstar resembles the Premium Economy of many other airlines. It’s also similar to Qantas domestic Business Class on the Boeing 737, with a reclining seat, rather than a bed. Economy offers standard seats with video entertainment and USB power for your devices. You can book both Business Class and Economy Class using your Qantas Points.
Between Melbourne and Singapore, you’re looking at a precise 51,300 Qantas Points for Business Class, one-way. Economy Class requires just 21,500 Qantas Points in each direction. Taxes, fees and charges apply.
From Darwin to Singapore, expect Jetstar’s Airbus A320s instead. As on Jetstar domestic routes, these come in an all-Economy layout. There’s also just the one aisle, so patience is often required when wandering to the bathroom.
As you’d expect, Jetstar doesn’t offer its own-brand lounges. However, you may be able to access a lounge through your ticket type, frequent flyer status or lounge membership.
Purchasing a Jetstar Business Max fare unlocks access to the Qantas Business Lounges in both Melbourne and Singapore. Economy Starter Max fares offer this too. Those same facilities are also open to Qantas Gold and Qantas Club members on any Jetstar fare.
There’s a nicer treat waiting for Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge flyers. The salubrious Qantas First Lounges in Melbourne and Singapore are yours to enjoy, even when flying on Jetstar! There’s simply no better start to a low-cost flight than from the heights of the Qantas First Lounge.
Lounge access in Darwin is trickier, as the only Qantas-branded lounge is the domestic Qantas Club. Being before immigration, leave plenty of time before boarding to get through the formalities.
Also note that Qantas’ lounges aren’t always open for Jetstar flights. Usually, their doors are unlocked when Qantas flights are due to depart, and those timings don’t always align with Jetstar.
As a backup, you could instead visit the likes of Melbourne’s American Express Lounge, Plaza Premium Lounge or Marhaba lounge. There’s also a Plaza Premium Lounge in Singapore. Access to these lounges isn’t included with your Jetstar flight, but may be available to you through credit cards or separate lounge memberships. American Express Platinum Card members receive complimentary access to all these facilities, for example.
Flying to Singapore with Scoot
As the low-cost carrier of Singapore Airlines, Scoot passengers can earn and spend KrisFlyer miles. KrisFlyer Elite miles can also be earned on paid Scoot flights.
By April 2022, residents of four Australian cities will be able to fly to Singapore with Scoot.
|Sydney-Singapore||Daily or twice daily||Boeing 787||ScootPlus (Business Class), Economy Class|
|Melbourne-Singapore||Twice daily||Boeing 787||ScootPlus (Business Class), Economy Class|
|Perth-Singapore||Daily or twice daily||Boeing 787||ScootPlus (Business Class), Economy Class|
|Gold Coast-Singapore||Daily or twice daily||Boeing 787||ScootPlus (Business Class), Economy Class|
Scoot’s aircraft and cabins
All Scoot flights to Australia use the airline’s Boeing 787s, which offer ScootPlus (Business Class) and Economy Class.
Up front, ScootPlus competes with Jetstar Business Class. Stretch out in a wide reclining seat, with plenty of legroom. Inflight entertainment, however, is BYO. In Economy, seats adopt a typical 3-3-3 layout, as on Jetstar.
If you’re sitting down the back, consider paying a little extra for ‘ScootinSilence’. It’s a dedicated part of the cabin where babies are banned! That certainly makes these long flights more enjoyable. Added to that, your seat also gains an adjustable headrest for added comfort, which regular Economy lacks.
You may be offered lounge privileges at an additional price during the booking process, but it’s not a standard inclusion with ScootPlus. These lounges are all operated by third parties, in any case. That means you may already have access by way of a credit card or lounge membership.
For example, in Sydney and Melbourne, you may have access to the Centurion Lounges via your American Express card. Amex Platinum Card and Centurion Card members have the added option of the Plaza Premium Lounges, too.
Separately, Melbourne’s Marhaba Lounge welcomes Priority Pass members. Once it opens, Perth’s new international Aspire Lounge is also expected to join Priority Pass – mirroring its domestic cousin.
In summary: flying to Singapore
When you’re next able to travel, there are plenty of ways to earn and burn points to Singapore.
Qantas Frequent Flyer members can take their pick of Qantas, British Airways and Jetstar. For now, however, Emirates isn’t offering Melbourne-Singapore flights as it did before COVID-19.
Those with KrisFlyer miles also get their pick of Singapore Airlines and Scoot. Once Singapore Airlines comes back online with Velocity, you’ll be able to use Velocity Points to book on Singapore Airlines, too.
There’s no denying that international travel still looks a little different than it did pre-pandemic. But obligatory testing aside, it’s great to see that things are starting to find a ‘new normal’, with travellers getting back into the skies.
One thing’s for sure – whichever airline you fly, touching down in Singapore is going to feel fantastic.