SINGAPORE - Travellers scrambled to book seats on quarantine-free flights between Singapore and Malaysia on the first day of such bookings, with Singapore Airlines (SIA) and its budget arm Scoot reporting high demand.
An SIA spokesman told The Straits Times that bookings for its vaccinated travel lane (VTL) flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were opened at 10am on Friday (Nov 19) and by about 11.20am, several flights were sold out.
It did not disclose specific figures as it said the information is commercially sensitive.
Seats on the flights were also taken by customers with existing bookings made directly with SIA for travel from Nov 29 to March 26 next year.
Such rebookings may have resulted in VTL flights on certain dates being unavailable on its booking system, said the spokesman.
The airline said it will e-mail customers when they are rebooked on VTL flights.
A Scoot spokesman said it has received an increase in queries from customers, and noted the pent-up demand from both leisure and business travellers across Singapore and Malaysia.
Mr Chong Yee Shen, 38, a Singapore permanent resident, was one of those who scored VTL tickets to KL on a Scoot flight. He will be visiting his parents and brother there over the Christmas and Chinese New Year holidays, after nearly two years apart.
"I miss them a lot. I actually haven't told them yet, I intend to give them a big surprise by just appearing out of nowhere," said the embryologist.
Recruiter Austin Hoo also secured tickets on a VTL flight on Scoot to KL next month. The 26-year-old Malaysian will be heading there with his girlfriend, who is Singaporean. His family home is across the Causeway in Johor and he will spend a month in KL before taking a road trip to Johor and around Malaysia with his family.
"I want to see my family, I worry because my parents and grandparents are getting older," he said.
"I'm looking forward to it, I'm very grateful."
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore had said on Thursday that travellers will be able to choose from six designated services in each direction when the Malaysia-Singapore VTL scheme kicks off on Nov 29.
AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Scoot and SIA will operate these services.
SIA said it will operate 10 weekly return VTL services between Singapore and KL from Nov 29. These flights are SQ108, SQ107, SQ122 and SQ121.
Scoot will operate designated flights between Singapore and KL four times a week. These flights are TR472 and T473.
Low-cost airline Jetstar Asia also said on Friday that seven of its 15 weekly return services between KL and Singapore will be designated VTL flights, after receiving approval to operate the flights.
The flights are 3K683 and 3K684.