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Suppose I am on a longer vacation in Singapore and, being an aviation geek and curious to see New York, I am contemplating to experience the world‘s longest passenger flights, SQ22/SQ21 SIN—EWR—SIN for a couple of days in New York embedded into that longer Singapore vacation.

I would be able to get a great fare (albeit non-refundable) for exactly those dates which are actually the only ones that really make sense for my travel plans due to other planned activities in Singapore.

Just in case SQ decides to either

  • cancel the outbound flight to EWR on that day,
  • stop operating SQ22/21 altogether
  • re-book me onto another day‘s SQ22, or
  • re-book me onto any other connection (e.g. via SFO), which due to the unique routing of SQ22 necessarily take significantly longer

... would I be able to demand a refund although the ticket is otherwise non-refundable?

I am asking because in such a situation, the best outcome from my perspective would be to just stay in Singapore, instead of being re-routed, losing time in NY and missing the opportunity to experience this special flight.

Any advice on where such regulations could be found (with special regards to the Terms and Conditions of Singapore Airlines) would be appreciated.

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That'd be a no. Special flight or no, the terms of carriage will apply and those will state you made a contract with Singapore Airlines to transfer you from point A to point B. There's nothing that says you should be on the same flight as originally promised. This is true for every airline. If you are delayed there might be some compensation but that's it. There's no special compensation for being delayed by re-routing compared to the flight just being late.

Although it was with Alaska Airlines and not with Singapore Airlines but last year I needed to be in Portland for a few hours and I had a flight booked leaving Vancouver at 11:50 am landing at 1pm and back the same day at 9:45 pm and I asked them what happens if the flight is delayed and the answer was essentially tough luck although it was painfully obvious from the ticket a significant delay makes the entire trip pointless.

  • Thank you for your answer. I thought there was some condition like „significant change of arrival time makes the trip useless“ that would allow to completely step back from the flight, while I wouldn’t even be interested in compensation. Ok! – nabla Apr 19 at 19:45
  • Please accept the answer if it worked for you. – chx Apr 19 at 19:53
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    I don't believe this answer is quite correct. If the airline unilaterally significantly changes your itinerary (say, moves your flight to the next day), you are generally given the option of cancelling your booking and getting the money back instead. – jpatokal Apr 19 at 20:13
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    @jpatokal this is often the case, but there is even more often no contractual or legal requirement to do so (except under EU261, and even then not in all cases), so it’s really up to them. Some airlines may say no altogether, others may give a voucher or the option to rebook rather than refund, and so on. I would expect SQ to be on the more agreeable side (compared to some of the nastier LCCs), but it probably depends on how discounted the fare is and/or the passenger’s FF status... – jcaron Apr 19 at 21:35
  • Since there has been no further activity here, I'll accept this answer for now, although other comments indicate that the outcome might differ depending on airline and circumstances. Regarding my own travel plans, I will now decide between investing a bit more for a (mostly) refundable fare, or finding another use for that time and money altogether. Thanks again! – nabla Apr 25 at 9:05

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