Singapore-HK flights back to normal after day of disruption

Earlier yesterday at Changi Airport, several SIA flights to Hong Kong were cancelled or rescheduled because of Typhoon Hato.
Earlier yesterday at Changi Airport, several SIA flights to Hong Kong were cancelled or rescheduled because of Typhoon Hato.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Flights to Hong Kong departed from Changi as scheduled last night, as Typhoon Hato moved past the island towards south-east China.

It was a different story before the category 10 storm made landfall, with hundreds of flights to and from Hong Kong having to be cancelled or rescheduled.

From Changi Airport, eight flights were cancelled and 11 rescheduled, including those operated by Singapore Airlines (SIA), Jetstar Asia and Cathay Pacific.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong's flagship carrier Cathay Pacific said the storm would "severely" impact flight operations, with the majority of flights to and from Hong Kong between 6am and 5pm yesterday to be cancelled.

As airlines scrambled to inform passengers, not everyone got the message, and this created confusion and frustration when travellers turned up at Changi Airport early yesterday morning for flights that were no longer leaving.

Ms Adrian Molcnero, 45, and her husband were taking a short holiday to Hong Kong and were booked on United Airlines' UA896, departing at 6am. They said they never got the e-mail the US carrier said it had sent.

United said it had notified "as many booked customers as possible" through various channels.

An SIA spokesman said it had posted an alert on its website on Monday night. It also sent text messages and e-mails to customers who had provided contact information.

Hong Kong housewife Amy Li, 67, returning home after a week's holiday in Singapore, showed up early for SQ856, scheduled to leave at 9.55am. It was cancelled. She said in Mandarin: "No one contacted us and we had to take the initiative to contact (Singapore Airlines). I didn't get much sleep."

Another passenger of the cancelled United Airlines flight, wedding planner Sharon Meyers, 51, was glad to be safe. Ms Meyers, who lives in the United States, was returning to Chicago via Hong Kong after visiting friends in Singapore.

"Weather happens," she said. "There is no need to be 'kiasu' (Hokkien for 'competitive') about it. I get to enjoy Singapore for another day. Better safe than concerned. (Changi Airport) is not a bad place to be stuck in."

Passengers can get the latest flight information on the Changi Airport website: www.changiairport.com /en/flight/departures.html

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore-HK flights back to normal after day of disruption'. Print Edition | Subscribe