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Queues for hours at Singapore Air as travel routes open up

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Queues for hours at Singapore Air as travel routes open up. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Edgar Su)
Queues for hours at Singapore Air as travel routes open up. (PHOTO: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

By Kyunghee Park

(Bloomberg) — Dozens of people queued outside Singapore Airlines’ customer-service centre on the fourth floor of a luxury shopping mall on Orchard Road in downtown Singapore, in some cases waiting for many hours to speak to staff about flights now opening up from the city-state.

A sign outside the center indicated that customers should be prepared to wait for three hours or more due to high demand. A security guard stood at the front of the line to shepherd people inside, where they would spend up to 30 minutes speaking with airline representatives.

"You could probably end up waiting up to 3 hours to get service."

It’s been like this since Saturday, when Singapore announced it would allow quarantine-free visits for arrivals from several countries including the U.S. and U.K. on so-called vaccinated travel lanes. Singapore Airlines has added more staff at the center to try to cope with the surge in interest. It opens at 9:30 a.m. and typically closes at 6 p.m., but those hours have been extended.

Among the more than 30 people in the queue outside on Tuesday, Hamidah Sulor was planning a trip to Germany later this month with four family members. It will be the 53-year-old’s first overseas trip since visiting Japan in 2019. Dennis Chong, 49, was there to change his family’s travel plans to Seoul in December after failing to get through to a company call center on his phone.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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