Thursday, 11 February 2021

Singapore Airlines operates first flight with a full set of vaccinated pilots and cabin crew on 11 February

On 11 February 2021, SIA Group airlines (SQ) introduced its first flights with vaccinated pilots and cabin crew on board – making Singapore Airlines (SIA) among the first airlines to operate with a full complement of vaccinated crew. The flights are Singapore Airlines’ SQ956 to Jakarta, Scoot’s TR606 to Bangkok and MI608 to Phnom Penh . This news follows the vaccination exercise for frontline staff that began in mid-January 2021. The Covid-19 vaccination is made available to all Singapore-based SIA Group staff, and while participation in the vaccination exercise is voluntary, all eligible staff are encouraged to register. More than 90 per cent of cabin crew and pilots have signed up for the vaccine to date.

“We are very encouraged by the strong take-up rate for the vaccine from our colleagues,” says Mr Goh Choon Phong, Chief Executive Officer of SIA. “Vaccinations will be key to the reopening of borders and to enhancing travel confidence, in tandem with robust testing regimes and the wide-ranging safe management measures that are in place on the ground and in the air. They offer greater protection for our people and provide an added layer of assurance to our customers,” he adds.

Leading Steward (LS) Kevin Keeran Kumar, Flight Stewardess (FS) Goh Yi Ling and Senior First Officer (SFO) Adrian Pillay – all of whom have received their vaccinations – tell us more about their experience and share with us their thoughts about the future of travel.

How has being vaccinated impacted your confidence in the future of travel?

LS Keeran: Being vaccinated has been increased my confidence as I feel I am better protected against Covid-19. I also feel more comfortable about my future travels, as population-level protection can be attained once the vaccines has been made available to all.

FSS Yi Ling: Being vaccinated has certainly boosted my morale. With the vaccine, all cabin crew will be able to operate safely across international borders, and also provide more assurance to our passengers when interacting with them on board.

SFO Adrian: It is still early days but as more people get vaccinated we will get closer to achieving herd immunity and I believe people will start traveling again.

How will your routine as an SIA crew member be impacted by being vaccinated?  

FSS Yi Ling: Although many of us have been vaccinated, we still have to remain vigilant at all times to protect our loved ones. Precautions on board to ensure social distancing and essential interaction between crew and passengers customers will still be put in place, with crew doing their best to delight our passengers through non-verbal communication.

SFO Adrian: Vaccinated crew will not need to be swabbed as often but otherwise it is still status quo. This virus is very contagious and we cannot afford to let our guard down. So we will still be exercising the same care when we fly like wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) in the cabin and sanitising our hands and cabin surfaces frequently.

What other safety precautions are you following to make sure that all passengers are safe?

LS Keeran: Besides getting vaccinated, I will continue to stay closely updated with the latest safety and service-related developments communicated to crew and share them with my fellow colleagues. I will also continue to maintain good social responsibility and good personal hygiene practices, and to instil these habits in others.

SFO Adrian: I think SIA and the regulators have already put in place robust and  comprehensive measures to protect our passengers, staff, families and communities. As long as we play our part, we can help to minimise any spread of infection should we get exposed to the virus.

What would you say to people who may have concerns about getting vaccinated?

LS Keeran: For those who are eligible to be vaccinated, I would say “Go for it!” as getting the vaccine not only protects yourself, but your loved ones too. Although wearing masks and social distancing helps to reduce your chances of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, these measures are not enough for a peace of mind. Vaccines will work with our immune system to ensure it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. The combination of getting vaccinated and following Covid-19 precautions will offer us the best protection.

FSS Yi Ling: It is normal to feel hesitant, but getting vaccinated not only protects ourselves but also our family members, loved ones and our community from the virus. We should take this opportunity to be vaccinated so that we can stay safe and healthy.

SFO Adrian: I would recommend them to do their research and find out as much as they can about the data and science behind the vaccine. Have a chat with a trusted medical professional and let them address your concerns. Personally I believe the vaccine is safe and getting vaccinated is the little part I can play to protect my loved ones and the community at large.

What has it been like to be a crew member for SIA during these difficult times? 

LS Keeran: Cabin crew have always had unique occupational hazards, from managing passengers’ on board to balancing perpetual jet lag. The pandemic has brought even more (and tougher) challenges, such as flight cuts and financial uncertainty. Nevertheless, I have been staying positive and have been doing my best to welcome the new normal with open arms. After all, change is the only constant.

FSS Yi Ling: My family members have been worried about my safety and well-being when I am on a flight. The general public are also concerned about cabin crew, with many asking the company for more measures to protect our health. It has been heartening to witness this outpouring of support. It has definitely been a challenging period, but I am also very thankful for the government’s and company’s support during these challenging times.

SFO Adrian: It has been difficult as this pandemic has decimated air travel. A lot of things that we used to take for granted have disappeared overnight. There was a lot of uncertainty and despair, especially in the early days, but I am hopeful that the worst is behind us. It has been inspiring to see colleagues who have come forward to serve on the frontline in various capacities. Their indomitable spirit and ready smiles give me confidence that we will get through this and emerge stronger eventually.

What thoughts go through your mind on these flights?

LS Keeran: On all our flights, there will definitely be the underlying fear of having a positive case on board. Having such a case will result in undertaking a quarantine order in an isolation facility, which takes us away from our loved ones. However, these measures are necessary for the safety and health of the people around us, and acts as a form of assurance that the company and government is doing their best to ensure that we, and our loved ones, are kept safe.

FSS Yi Ling: Before going for every flight, I think about how I can ensure the safety of my passengers and fellow crew members by taking  the necessary precautions. I also review the changes to the inflight safety and service procedures on board to ensure I am up to date.

SFO Adrian: I feel even more grateful now whenever I get to fly. Flying helps to take my mind off the pandemic somewhat and provides a glimmer of normalcy that we all yearn for.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com. For updates and travel advisories, please visit Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

SEE ALSO: Singapore Airlines cabin crew share their Lunar New Year-inspired dishes

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