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BACK IN THE AIR Flying with confidence with Singapore Airlines

I’m heading to Perth International Airport for the first time in more than two years.

For what must be the fifth time, I check that my passport is valid and that I have all the COVID-19 documentation required.

I’ve been looking forward to visiting family and friends back in Denmark for ages. I’m usually quite a frequent visitor, but it’s been three long years since my last visit and I feel strangely nervous.

Not about the flight. It’s more about the whole process of travelling overseas again after confined to fortress WA for the majority of the last two years.

Flying Singapore Airlines and transiting through Changi Airport has been my preferred option when travelling to Europe ever since I immigrated to Australia more than 40 years ago.

This is for a combination of reasons. The service on board Singapore Airlines is always first class, regardless of whether you travel economy, premium economy or business class, and the connections onwards from the Changi hub are frequent and varied.

And a stopover in Singapore is always a pleasant option if I want to break up the trip.

For years, Singapore Airlines’ mantra has been “travel with confidence”, and now, as we enter what is hopefully a post-pandemic phase, choosing a trusted airline when heading overseas is paramount.

You want a safe and seamless journey from the moment you check in to when you arrive at your destination.

Singapore Airlines has stepped up their already high cleanliness standards inside the aircraft cabin. The aircraft is thoroughly cleaned before every flight.

High touchpoint surfaces are disinfected and treated with a long-lasting anti-microbial coating and the toilets are cleaned with high-strength disinfectants.

Extra care is taken to minimise touching and interaction during the inflight service and every aircraft in its fleet is fitted with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters which remove 99.9 per cent of microbes in the air and the cabin air is refreshed every two to three minutes during flight.

What you need to know before travelling

There are things to consider compared to travel BC (Before COVID). Everything is still quite fluid and very much dependant on your destination. It’s important to be across the latest travel advisories.

What are the COVID-19 test requirements? Do I require a RAT or PCR test before departure and when I arrive? What sort of documentation and proof of vaccination will I need? Will I need to quarantine on arrival and if I get COVID-19?

In my case, travelling from Perth to Copenhagen and only transiting through Changi Airport, I’m not required to have a RAT or PCR test prior to departure and no testing is required when I arrive in Denmark, but on my way back I’m stopping for a few days in Singapore, and for that I’ll need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass and have a PCR or professionally administered RAT within two days of my departure from Copenhagen, as well as a test taken within 24 hours of arrival into Singapore.

You can find out all the latest travel advice from smartraveller.gov.au and it’s important to check this before and during your travels.

If a health declaration is listed in the travel advisory for your itinerary, you must remember to complete it within the necessary time frame. For instance, if you are entering Singapore, you must submit this within three days before your flight.

Singapore Airlines kept me updated about the latest advisories for my itinerary. But, for convenience, I downloaded the SingaporeAir mobile app to my phone.

It’s much more than just an app to control the inflight entertainment system. It has all the information you need to know for your current and upcoming trips. It has COVID-19 news alerts, you can download over 200 newspapers and magazines and it includes handy travel tools like a translation assistant and a cabin baggage measure tool.

Flight and airport experience

As I mentioned, for my journey to Denmark, I’m not stopping in Singapore.

There’s a nice connection that departs Perth late afternoon followed by a 2hr 30min. transit in Changi Airport before the 13-hour haul to Copenhagen.

I’m travelling economy class for the first part and business class for the second part, so I’ll arrive nice and fresh in Copenhagen, where I’ll jump into my hire car for a three-hour drive to see my family in Jylland.

My nerves about international travel post COVID vanish as soon as I arrive at Perth International Airport. The place is almost deserted.

SQ214 is the only flight departing this afternoon, so the check-in is pretty smooth, although a bit slower than usual due, no doubt, to the need to check vaccination certificates etc. But most people seem well prepared and, apart from having to wear a mask, everything is fairly normal.

Upstairs in the departure area, many of the shops and the lounges are closed. But the duty free shop is open and fully stocked but there are not many customers. The staff enthusiastically welcome travellers as soon as they come off the escalators.

“Would you like to try any of the men’s fragrances?” one staff member enquires. “We have 50 per cent off sunglasses at the moment,” says another as I pass.

My flight from Perth is less than half full and I’m lucky to score a row of seats all to myself. I enjoy a well-presented and tasty shepherd’s pie and a glass of very agreeable red wine followed by a refreshing mango Italian gelato, and stretch out on “my row” for a post-dinner nap.

Changi Airport is also quiet when I arrive at 10pm, but this place never sleeps. So I can easily keep myself amused until my connecting flight to Copenhagen.

“How good is this?” I think to myself as I settle into my business class seat for the long haul to Copenhagen. The business class pods on the Airbus A350-900 are like mini hotels.

The wide, comfortable seats recline to your desired comfort level and fold down flat when it’s time to catch some sleep. It’s hard to imagine how air travel can get any better.

“Would you like a glass of champagne, Mr Johansen?” asks the charming flight attendant. “Why not?” I reply. Even though it’s late and I’m ready for a sleep, it’s not every day I travel business class, so I might as well enjoy it.

The flight is a bit longer than the scheduled 13 hours because we have to detour around Ukraine, but I’m happy in my pod, which has all the creature comforts and a huge infotainment screen.

I’ve always found the Singapore Airlines in-flight service to be outstanding, but the crew looking after me and the other guests in business class took it to another level.

Travelling business class on these long-hauls is definitely the way to go.

I breeze through customs at Kastrup Airport without any hassles and, less than 24 hours after leaving Perth, I step out into the cool spring air outside Kastrup Airport in Copenhagen. I feel refreshed and excited despite the long plane journey.

Now, where’s that hire car?

I still have that three-hour drive to do before I can reunite with the family.

+ Book direct with Singapore Airlines at singaporeair.com

Mogens Johansen was a guest of Singapore Airlines. They have not seen or reviewed this story.

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