Posted 29 March at 09.30

Last night (UK time), Singapore Airlines ran a single flight which had been arranged by the New Zealand High Commission with the assistance of the Singaporean government. The flight was given special permission to stop in Singapore for refuelling, without passengers disembarking the aircraft, before moving on to London Heathrow.

Singapore Airlines worked in conjunction with the High Commission to select passengers who had originally booked a flight with Singapore Airlines and had registered their details with the High Commission. Distant Journeys had 20 customers who had travelled to New Zealand with Singapore Airlines, and all had registered with the High Commission.

Over recent days, six of those passengers had been contacted by Singapore Airlines to be advised they had been selected to travel on this particular flight.

As there is currently a ban on all but essential travel in New Zealand, there are no domestic flights and very few public transport services operating at present. With these restrictions in place, we realised that some passengers booked on this flight might struggle to be able to reach Auckland Airport and thought this might present us with an opportunity.

The remaining 14 customers who had travelled with Singapore Airlines boarded a coach with all their luggage and passports at the ready, alongside the six passengers with reservations on the flight. As the restrictions of movement in place in New Zealand only permit passengers with valid tickets to enter the airport terminal, the 14 passengers remained on the coach outside the terminal. Meanwhile, one of the six passengers with a reservation visited the Singapore Airlines service desk within the terminal to pass on a letter from Distant Journeys containing details of the remaining 14 passengers requesting that they be added to the waitlist.

We’re delighted to say that each of the 14 passengers patiently waiting on the coach was able to secure a place on the flight and are currently in the air on their way back to London Heathrow.

We will be calling the emergency contacts of all passengers returning to the UK on the Singapore Airlines flight with their new flight details, which are also detailed below:

Depart Auckland 16:10 – arrival Singapore 22:00 on 29th March

Depart Singapore 23:30 – arrival London Heathrow 05:55 (arrival 30th March) 

Flights with Qatar, departing 1st April

The remaining 22 Distant Journeys customers in New Zealand are still booked on the flight departing New Zealand on the 1st April. As a reminder, here are the details of that flight.

Depart Auckland 15:45 – arrival Doha 23:35 on 1st April

Depart Doha 08:50 – arrival London Heathrow 14:20 (arrival 2nd April) 

You may notice that there is quite a lengthy stop in Doha between connecting flights. We have therefore sent details of airport lounges and an airport hotel (on the airside) which may be used by passengers who would like a little more comfort than waiting in the main terminal of the airport.

Although the flights for the remaining customers are just a few days away, we will continue our efforts to find other opportunities to arrange return flights sooner, if at all possible.