After almost close to 9 months of International Border closure, we are finally seeing some form of tiny light at the end of the tunnel.
Yes, yes, yes….. the Singapore & Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) will see its inaugural flight commencing from 22 November 2020 onwards. With the recent hype and ATB announcement, travellers have been fast snapping up flight tickets and hotel reservation sites have seen a tremendous increasing traffic as well. 😲
Hmm…after all this fanfare, what does it mean to me? 🤔
As much as I wanted (desperately) to take a breather out of the country for leisure travelling (I am pretty certain most of us are in this same plight too), things might not be seen as rosy as it is going to be.
No doubt the most critical part of the quarantine pain is taken care of but there are still underlying factors for consideration too.
First and foremost, the flight tickets are going to cost you a bomb. Ticket prices can shoot as high as up to $1,000 for a return ticket which normally costs less than $300 during pre-Covid days. Thanks to reduce dedicated flight capacity in view of safe management measures. 🤣Haiz…..
Secondly, you need to pay for your own Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before the scheduled departure time. This test may set you back by close to $200.
Thirdly, upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, you are required to do another Covid-19 test and you need to remain in the airport during this time until you receive a negative test result before you can officially start your planned travel. This test will set you back by another $87.
Finally, before you depart Hong Kong back to Singapore, you still need to take another PCR test within 72 hours before your scheduled departure time. You may do the said test at any one of the recognized clinics or testing centres in Hong Kong.
While you are in Hong Kong, you must also comply with their prevailing health and safe distancing measures including mask-wearing and restrictions on group gatherings.
You may refer to the Hong Kong Social Distancing Rules for Covid-19 : What you can and can’t do published by Hong Kong Tatler for the latest policy update. Always good to stay abreast of their latest policy to avoid unnecessary brushes with the local laws.
Importantly, do note that you are to bear for the full cost of any medical treatment, subject to the prevailing medical and healthcare policies should you (unfortunately) be tested positive for Covid-19 while you are in Hong Kong or Singapore.
**Latest news update as of 21 Nov 2020 (a day before the inaugural flight), both countries have decided to postpone and delay the launch of the ATB from the public health standpoint in view of the spike in the number of Covid-19 infections in Hong Kong. The ATB launch will be further reviewed in the next 2 weeks given the evolving situation in Hong Kong.
**On 26 Apr 2021, news on the resumption of the ATB was announced once again by Singapore and Hong Kong to commence the inaugural flight on 26 May 2021. As usual and expected, flight tickets were snapped up in a matter of hours (despite the ridiculously high price) after the ATB news broke out. 🤣🤣
**Latest update on 17 May 2021, news on the deferment of the Singapore and Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble has once again been announced in view of the rising local community cases in Singapore. Travelers’ hopes are once again dashed and will have no choice but to await for the next resumption in time to come. 🤣🤣
Well, after all these inconveniences, are you still excited about leaving for your leisure travel? Is it worth the hassle and pain?
**Latest update as of 20 Aug 2021, hopes on the long-delayed Hong Kong and Singapore Air Travel Bubble is now dashed as it will no longer happen due to the different approach in treating the current Covid-19 handling taken by the respective country. Hong Kong is going for zero cases whereas Singapore is gearing towards the endemic pathway. 🤣
For me, (being a cost conscious and rational thinking animal) guess I will probably hold my reins for now until all the ATB dust has settled before starting to plan for my next trip. What about you?