Flights to Hong Kong back to normal

Flights to Hong Kong have been delayed or cancelled because of Typhoon Hato. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - Flights to Hong Kong Wednesday afternoon and evening have largely returned to normalcy, with most departing as scheduled.
This comes as the typhoon moves past Hong Kong and towards southeast China.
As of 8.45 pm, eight flights to Hong Kong were cancelled and 11 flights were rescheduled. Most of these affected flights were in the morning, though a 8.10pm flight by Cathay Pacific was cancelled too.

In the morning, passengers were left confused and frustrated on Wednesday (Aug 23) when they turned up at Changi Airport not realising that their early morning flights to Hong Kong had been cancelled or delayed in the wake of Typhoon Hato.

Hundreds of flights to and from Hong Kong were affected by the typhoon, including those from Singapore to Hong Kong. As of 9.45am on Wednesday, 14 flights from Changi Airport were cancelled, while another 14 were rescheduled.

On Wednesday morning, Ms Adrian Q. Molcnero, 45, and her husband, who both live in Brussels, Belgium, had planned to take United Airlines Flight UA896 at 6am to Hong Kong for a short holiday.

They said that they did not receive any information on the flight's cancellation despite being told by airline staff that an e-mail should have been sent to them. The couple told The Straits Times that they did not receive any compensation.

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."

People walk through a flooded street in the Heng Fa Chuen area as Typhoon Hato hits Hong Kong, on Aug 23, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

A Singapore Airlines spokesman said that it posted an alert on its website on Monday night. It also sent text messages and emails to affected customers who had provided information allowing the airline to contact them about affected flights.

Meanwhile, Jetstar - which had two flights scheduled - said that it had given its customers new flight timings in the evening.
United Airlines said that it had notified "as many booked customers as possible... ahead of the scheduled departure" through various channels.

Hong Kong's weather observatory issued a signal 8, its third-highest weather warning, early Wednesday morning and said Typhoon Hato was expected to make landfall around 100km west of the city in the afternoon, Reuters reported.

Later on Wednesday morning, the Hong Kong weather observatory issued a signal 9 storm warning, and subsequently upgraded this to a signal 10, its highest weather warning, at 9.10am.

It is the first time since Typhoon Vicente in July 2012 that Hong Kong has issued the highest storm warning, Bloomberg reported.

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

A board showing the rescheduled or cancelled flights to Hong Kong at Changi Airport. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Some passengers were also affected by delayed Singapore Airlines flights to Hong Kong.

Retiree W.M. Chan, 75, a Singaporean who lives in Hong Kong, said there was no notice on Singapore Airlines' website, and he could not contact the airline either.

He had woken up at 4am to travel to the airport for Flight SQ856 to Hong Kong, which was originally scheduled to depart at 9.55am. The flight was cancelled.

Housewife Amy Li, 67, from Hong Kong, was another affected SIA passenger. She was on a seven-day holiday in Singapore and was slated to also take Flight SQ856.

She said in Mandarin: "No one contacted us and we had to take the initiative to contact (Singapore Airlines). We didn't have much sleep, I am frustrated."

But some passengers cited more positive experiences.

Madam Sy Lai Yuen, 64, and her husband, both Singaporeans, were supposed to leave Singapore on Flight SQ860. The flight was scheduled to leave Singapore for Hong Kong at 8.40am, but it was retimed to depart at 12.50pm.

"The typhoon is a work of God, the airline isn't to be blamed. I am satisfied with its service. They informed us by SMS last night after 10pm," said the retiree, who was to fly to Hong Kong for about two weeks to visit relatives.

Passengers can get the latest flight information on the Changi Airport website:

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