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Budget airlines want leeway in 10-minute passenger check-in time limit

Boom in air travel strains resources and affects turnaround time, they say

Published on Jan 21, 2014 8:48 AM
 
Passengers waiting to check in at the AirAsia counter at Changi Airport Terminal 1. Budget carriers say it is not fair to expect them to meet the same standards as full-service airlines. -- ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

If it were up to some budget airlines, low-cost travellers at Changi Airport would have to wait longer to check in than those who fly full-service carriers.

While Changi has proven to be a bustling hub for budget air travel, some airlines do not care for its "10-minute rule".

The standard, set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), requires all carriers to ensure travellers do not wait more than 10 minutes, from the time they join the queue, to check in.

Some budget airlines have asked the CAAS to let them bust that limit, arguing that they do not offer the same product and experience as full-service airlines.

 
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Background story

WHAT WATCHDOG SAYS

Why should the standards differ?... If they take too long to clear people, travellers will end up being left behind. We have had people giving us such feedback.

- Mr Seah Seng Choon, executive director of the Consumers Association of Singapore

WHAT AIRLINE SAYS

Why not give us 15 minutes? It is a reasonable waiting time and makes a difference to our costs. It is only by keeping our costs down that we can offer our customers low fares and allow more people to travel.

- Mr Logan Velaitham, who heads AirAsia's Singapore office

WHAT TRAVELLER SAYS

I fly budget carriers because the fares are attractive, and I understand this means I forgo certain things like complimentary food and drinks. But at the airport, there should be no difference in service standards.

- Marketing executive Jane Lum