Travellers to Hong Kong stranded at Changi Airport put on other flights

When The Straits Times went to Changi Airport on Aug 13, most travellers had been re-booked on the first few morning flights for Hong Kong.
When The Straits Times went to Changi Airport on Aug 13, most travellers had been re-booked on the first few morning flights for Hong Kong.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - A family of five from Hong Kong, including a Filipino maid and two young children, were stranded for about 16 hours in Singapore after their evening flight on Monday (Aug 12) was cancelled.

They managed to depart from Changi Airport only on Tuesday afternoon.

Following the cancellation of six flights from Singapore to Hong Kong on Monday - three by Cathay Pacific, two by Singapore Airlines (SIA) and one by Scoot, said Changi Airport Group - the family was among the thousands of travellers affected when protesters continued to stage a sit-in at Hong Kong International Airport on Monday.

When The Straits Times went to Changi Airport on Tuesday morning, most travellers had been re-booked on the first few morning flights.

Business at the various terminals was back to normal and there was no commotion at the check-in counters.

Filipino maid Flores Feball Castaneda, 34, her employers and their children aged two and four, were waiting at Terminal 4 for their afternoon flight after their evening Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong was cancelled on Monday. They had been vacationing in Singapore for a week.

She said: "We found out about our flight being cancelled on Monday afternoon and we went down to the airport to confirm.

"We had to book a room at a hotel for an extra night. We came early this morning to see if we could get on an earlier flight, but it was full," she added.

 
 
 

They eventually managed to get on a flight that left at 12.55pm.

Mr Granon Cheung Kwan Long, 17, a college student from Hong Kong who was visiting Singapore with his mother and grandparents, was also affected by the mass cancellation of flights.

The family was scheduled to depart on Flight CX636 at 8.10pm on Monday.

He said: "Lucky for me I don't have to go to school because it is the holiday period in Hong Kong. We are not too worried because we have insurance, so hopefully it will cover."

They also managed to get on the 12.55pm flight.

Besides returning Hong Kong citizens, many travellers who were supposed to transit in Hong Kong were also affected.

A 13-year-old student, who did not want to be named, and her father from Beijing were scheduled to depart for Hong Kong early on Tuesday morning.

Due to the cancellation of their flight, they were unable to catch their connecting flight from Hong Kong to Beijing, as well as Beijing to Nanzhou, where she goes to school.

"We are waiting to see if we can get a straight flight to Beijing now, but we are unsure if we can get a seat because a lot of flights are already full. We're just waiting for the airline to get back to us," she said.

There were 20 departures and arrivals scheduled on Tuesday between Singapore and Hong Kong.

In an updated travel advisory on its website on Tuesday, Singapore's Foreign Ministry said protests which are meant to be peaceful could potentially turn violent with little or no notice.

Singaporeans are advised to avoid any reported locations of upcoming protest rallies and other large public gatherings.

MFA also said there are planned protests at the Hong Kong International Airport starting on Tuesday (Aug 13) afternoon.

Flights departing from and arriving at Hong Kong, as well as traffic and public transport around the airport, are expected to be affected.

Singaporeans travelling through Hong Kong are advised to check with their airlines or the airport for the latest flight updates.

Those already in Hong Kong should take all necessary precautions to ensure their personal safety, the advisory added.

Singaporeans in Hong Kong are encouraged to eRegister with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/