Beginning in December, Singapore Airlines will resume its Seattle-to-Singapore flights from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for a limited period designed to cater to holiday travel from Christmas through the Lunar New Year.
From Dec. 2 to Feb. 15, the airline’s 253-seat Airbus A350-90 will take off from Sea-Tac runways four times a week and stop briefly in Vancouver, British Columbia, before crossing the Pacific Ocean to Southeast Asia.
Singapore Airlines originally launched a nonstop flight from Sea-Tac to Singapore in 2019, but the route was canceled in spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
James Boyd, a vice president of public relations for Singapore Airlines, says this seasonal Seattle-to-Singapore flight will give customers “the opportunity to reunite with their loved ones during the holiday season” as well as give people in Seattle and Vancouver another option for a holiday trip. Boyd says the route could continue past the holidays depending on demand.
Two of these weekly seasonal Seattle-to-Singapore flights will operate as part of Singapore’s expanded “vaccinated travel lane” plan. Starting on Oct. 19, it will allow fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and several other countries to visit Singapore without having to quarantine upon arrival — an option that’s been available to travelers from Germany and Brunei since the beginning of September.
Boyd says passengers have to be vaccinated to get on these vaccinated travel lane flights, and passengers on other Singapore Airlines flights from Sea-Tac will have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, even if they’re vaccinated. So the take-away for U.S. travelers hoping to avoid the quarantine in Singapore: If you’re vaccinated, make sure to get on a vaccinated travel lane flight. Singapore previously required travelers from the U.S. to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status.
Perry Cooper, a spokesperson for Sea-Tac airport, says airlines have steadily re-established international routes from Seattle over the last several months. The airport has reached 65% of its prepandemic international flights. Cooper says Delta Air Lines restarted service to Paris on Sept. 14. Icelandair resumed service in May. Condor has been flying Seattleites to Frankfurt, Germany, since July. British Airways also resumed service in July. He says WestJet will start service to Calgary on Nov. 4 and expects Air France to resume service to Paris in December.
Singapore’s vaccinated travel lane program should make it easier for vaccinated U.S. residents to visit in Asia. The 14-day quarantine-upon-arrival requirement in effect until last week meant that Singapore was effectively closed to U.S. residents looking for a quick holiday trip.
Japan recently banned travel from the U.S. and many other countries, except under exceptional circumstances. The few U.S. travelers granted entry to China are forced to quarantine for 14 days. Thailand also is enforcing a 14-day quarantine for U.S. travelers.
Singapore has seen COVID-19 infections rise dramatically since the beginning of September, with the Ministry of Health reporting 3,703 new cases on Oct. 9., the highest single-day increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. But the number of serious cases remains low, with 83% of the country fully vaccinated.