Covid 19 was a world pandemic that brought air travel to a sudden and abrupt halt, and our Singapore Travel Blog was no exception. It was almost as if travel for 2020 was suddenly cancelled and yearly holidays were no longer going to happen. It has been close to 9 months since covid hit our lives and while we understand that such closures were for the better and safety for all, it was hard to rid that travel bug out of our system, especially when we were all confined to the premises of our home for most parts of the year.
The good news is that Singapore government has just announced today that they have finalise an air travel bubble beyond Singapore and Hong Kong, with the first flights happening on the 22nd of Nov where both countries would have a plane taking off thats bound for the other. This is truly an exceptional achievement made possible only through exceptional planning by both the Hong Kong and Singapore government.
Singapore – Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble Benefits
In the words of our local ministers, its with due to the fact that Hong Kong themselves take such high levels of precautions towards Covid that traveling from Hong Kong to Singapore via a plane, should be no different than traveling from Jurong to Changi via car.
This air bubble would allow for residents of both countries to freely travel to and fro from both countries without having to be under any quarantine, stay home notice, itinerary restrictions of any sort, for both business and leisure travels; A first of 2 aviation hub in the region.
Anyone who has been in their respective country for the last 14 days would be eligible to make use of this travel bubble, with the exception of work permit and s pass holders in marine, shipping, construction and process sectors.
Aside from the covid tests + the need to wear mask, it almost seems as thou we are back to precovid traveling times.
Singapore – Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble Cons
As good as traveling sounds, the truth is that we are not out of the pandemic yet so there are still certain downsides if you wish to travel during this period. For a start at least, there will only be one flight a day arriving in each city with each plane carrying a maximum capacity of just 200 passengers, with plans to increase that to 2 flights a day from dec onwards, if things go well during the initial stages.
Aside from the increased in cost, which we will cover in abit, another downside of this Air Travel Bubble is that if in the worst case scenario if you are infected because of the travel, travelers will have to bear the full cost of treatments by themselves. And if the rate of unlinked local infections increase by more than 5 over a 7 day period because of the air travel bubble, the bubble will then be suspended for a period of 2 weeks and will only resume under close monitoring whether the numbers fall back to below 5.
Singapore – Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble Cost
Well the elephant in the room of this entire Air Travel Bubble is the cost. Air tickets for one has shot up, which we primarily believe it’s due to the limited amount of passengers that they are able to carry per flight, hence the need to marginalised the cost.
At the very beginning of this launch, it also seems like there would only be 2 carriers operating, Singapore Airlines (SQ) and Cathay Pacific (CX). And at the point of writing, our editorial team has checked for the SQ prices each way to cost between $650 to $800, a total of almost $1,600 for a 1 pax trip that would have cost no more than $800 a year ago, before covid.
However, the good news is that, at the point of writing, our travel blog editorial team has also realised that scoot seems to be opening flights in dec that range from $250 to $500 each way, a total of almost $1000 for a 2 way trip. Still a signifcant jump from pre covid days where we remembered we only paid a maximum of $600 for a 2 way trip during one of our year end peak period Hong Kong Travels.
Aside from air fares, part of the deal of this entire air travel bubble is the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Covid tests to ensure the passengers are safe to travel between both countries, and yes these covid tests will be bound by the passengers themselves.
For a Singapore to Hong Kong Travel, a pre departure Covid 19 test kit in Singapore will cost $200 and a post arrival test kit when you arrive at Hong Kong is HKD499 (SG$86.66).
For Hong Kong back to Singapore, a pre departure test kit in Hong Kong cost between HK$240 to HK$2000 which works out to be approximately SG$41.68 to SG$347.33. Post arrival Covid test kit upon arrival in Singapore airport cost SG$300.
Needless to say, you would have to be Negative for all tests in order to be eligible to travel.
Upon booking your confirmed flight to Hong Kong, you would then need to apply to take the above mentioned tests minimally 7 days before departure. Application has to be done through this link. Upon approval to take the tests, you then have to take your test 72 hours before your flight at any of the 406 approved clinics in Singapore. When in Hong Kong, these are the approved clinics to take the PCR Covid test.
For more information on the Hong Kong side, travelers can also refer to the dedicated Air Travel Bubble (ATB) website created for this.
So to answer the elephant in the room, the sub total and total cost of a flight to and fro Hong Kong would be:
$628.34 (for all Covid PCR Test) + $1600 (SQ air fares) = $2,228.34 per pax!
That cheap local authentic dim sum in Hong Kong dont seem that cheap any more. Whether thats a reasonable price to travel to Hong Kong, that’s really highly subjective and we’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s worth it. However, with Covid not going away anytime soon, it does seem like to head to anywhere fun for entertainment, a covid 19 test seems unavoidable. Case in point, Singapore is also opening up their Bars, clubs & nightlife but entrants too have to undergo tests before they are allowed on premise.