Singapore

Be prepared to fork out at least $1,000 for a VTL flight to KL in December


From November 29, Singaporeans can now travel to Kuala Lumpur under a new vaccinated travel lane (VTL) that will allow people to travel between the two countries without quarantine.

But if you’re one of those who are considering making the trip in December next month however, here’s a word of warning. You would need at least $1,000 per traveller before even making the trip.

Chinapress reported on Saturday that the cost of travel between the two countries is estimated to be at least RM 3,000 ($975) per person.

This would cover the two sets of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests required in both countries (pre-departure and landing), the cost of the air ticket, and insurance coverage.

Based on our own research, the numbers don’t seem too far off.

A pre-journey PCR test will cost you minimally $120 in Singapore and RM 350 ($113.80) if you’re non-Malaysian for a PCR test upon arrival.

Before leaving KL, a pre-departure test is expected to cost around RM 250 (S$81.30) and upon landing at Changi Airport, an arrival PCR test costs $160.

In total, one would have to cough up around $470 for just the tests alone. And if you include the roughly $30 for the mandatory travel insurance (with coverage of $30,000 or RM 100,0000), it adds up to close to $500, before you even buy your plane ticket.

As for the flights, the cheapest tickets we found on Scoot for a Singapore-KL-Singapore journey in December will cost us around $450, but that’s just for an unrealistic one-night stay.

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If you’re in for a longer haul trip of about a week (Dec 27 to Jan 3), the price goes up to slightly over $500.

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And note, these tickets don’t include baggage or food.

To go easier on your wallet, our suggestion would be to fly in January next year where round-trip tickets cost less than $300.

The high cost doesn’t seem to be a huge deterrent, though. According to The Straits Times, the opening of bookings on Friday (Nov 19) saw high demand among travellers, with tickets sold out within an hour for some flights.

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Other requirements to note

If you’re seriously considering booking your flight to KL, some other requirements to note are that all travellers landing in Singapore would have to self-isolate for 24 hours while they await the results of their PCR test. However, those landing in KL would likely be able to get their results within three hours and would have to wait in a holding area before clearing immigration. 

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Travellers to KL can register and pay for the PCR test at airport.doctor2u.my, and will also have to download and register their particulars with the MySejahtera app.

So yes, VTLs may be a welcome gateway across the borders currently, but they definitely come at a cost.

It’s no wonder some Malaysians in Singapore are deferring their travel back home to a later date, while others have expressed dismay at the cost to travel during this time.

Thankfully, travellers in both countries can soon look forward to the land VTL between Singapore and Johor that may open up at the end of the month, as announced by the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force on Saturday (Nov 20).

The land VTL will likely kick off with a limited number of travellers each day with a quota in place, said multi-ministry task force co-chairman Gan Kim Yong. He added that more details will be released in the coming week.

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candicecai@asiaone.com



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