SINGAPORE - Around 520 Singapore Airlines passengers departing from Singapore to Taipei were delayed by Typhoon Nesat, which was last seen approaching Taiwan on Saturday (July 29) night.
The typhoon, the first of the year for Taiwan, caught travellers by surprise and delayed at least three outbound flights.
The affected outbound flights so far are: SQ 876, SQ 878 and China Airlines 758, which is a codeshare flight with KLM 4984, according to information on Changi Airport's flight information board at 6pm today.
Two inbound SIA flights, SQ 877 and 879, were also delayed. A Scoot flight scheduled to depart from Taoyuan International Airport on Sunday morning has also been retimed.
An SIA spokesman said around 520 of its passengers departing from Singapore were affected. "Passengers were informed of the retimed flights through SMS and email alerts. We have also provided hotel accommodation for some passengers."
The China Airlines flight was scheduled to depart at 6.30pm on Saturday and has been re-timed to 6am on Sunday.
At Changi Airport, two dedicated counters were set aside for the affected SIA passengers. At 6pm on Saturday, a steady stream of passengers approached the staff at the counter only to find out that their flight had been delayed.
Singaporeans Miss Jesslyn Nah, 25, and Miss Tan Mei Ling, 30, decided to cancel their trip as a result of the typhoon.
Together with Miss Tan's sister, they were originally supposed to board flight SQ878 at 11.55am on Saturday (July 29).
They were told that their flight was delayed to 9am on Sunday (July 30), but were not confident if that flight might even happen. The three of them had intended to tour Taipei for six days on a holiday.
Said Miss Nah, a tourism attractions operator: "This has never happened to us before as we did not expect the typhoon to happen this early. SIA offered to help us book tickets on another flight for free, but we were not able to extend our leave from work.
"We are disappointed as we were looking forward to shopping there, but are also relieved that we aren't in the air during a typhoon."
Added Miss Tan, a training coordinator: "Thankfully, the SIA staff were very polite and offered full refunds to us."
Several passengers at the SIA check-in counter were frustrated that all they could do was wait.
Some, like Taiwanese television reporter Mr Cheng Ho Ming, 47, did not receive the message that their delayed flight on Saturday would be delayed again.
He arrived from Australia on Friday (July 28) and was supposed to board his transit flight back home at 11.55am on Saturday.
He was told that he could catch a Saturday (July 29) 8pm flight, but that flight was delayed to 9am on Sunday too.
Said Mr Cheng, who was travelling with his family of four: "We were told that there were no more rooms left in the airport hotel, so they offered us to wait in the SIA lounge.
"I don't know how long we have to wait, and I have to go to work on Monday."