Rail-Fly Q&As Last updated 17 Jan 2014

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1 Rail-Fly Q&As Last updated 17 Jan 2014 Q. What does rail-fly mean? A. Rail-fly refers to the ability to book an itinerary incorporating a First Great Western rail ticket + a Heathrow Express rail ticket + a Singapore Airlines international flight ticket all in one go. The itinerary is ticketed in its entirety in one booking transaction and with one credit card payment, where formerly separate bookings with all three individual companies would have been necessary. Bookings can made either through a travel agent or the Singapore Airlines reservations teams and full details can be found at Q. Where can passengers travel to/from? A. First Great Western destinations are being rolled out in two stages, with the first stage allowing travel to and from: Oxford, Bath, Bristol Parkway, Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff and Swansea. From 12 th February, Exeter, Par, Penzance, Plymouth and St Austell will also be available. These all travel into Paddington, where passengers can take the Heathrow Express straight the airport. This equates to up to 68 rail connections per day. The system will automatically suggest the most convenient/appropriate option for passengers. Heathrow Express will connect customers from Paddington Station to Heathrow, from where customers can fly with Singapore Airlines and its regional wing SilkAir to nearly 100 destinations in 36 countries. The Singapore Airlines network serves popular SE Asian destinations such as Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Cambodia, as well as 8 cities in Australia and New Zealand. Q. Can rail-fly be combined with SIA promotional fares or are you forced to book full fare tickets? A. Rail-fly fares will be available with all levels of fare from Singapore Airlines from promotional sale fare offers right through to Business Class fares. Q. Is train travel in Standard or First Class? A. There are three different ticket types available for customers to choose between: SaverExpress restricted travel in FGW Standard Class, HEX Express Class and Singapore Airlines Economy class FlexiExpress flexible travel in FGW Standard Class, HEX Express Class and Singapore Airlines Economy Class BusinessExpress flexible travel in FGW First Class, HEX Business First Class and Singapore Airlines Business Class Q. What is the level of discount provided by each party? 1

2 A. Due to ticket prices being dynamic on Singapore Airlines, it is not possible to provide an exact level of discount for all parties. However, fares for rail-fly are exclusive meaning most customers will save money when booking their Singapore Airlines, First Great Western and Heathrow Express tickets together in this way. Consumer Benefits Q. How will this benefit consumers? A. A big benefit for consumers is the ability to book their travel with three separate transport providers together in one booking for the first time. In many cases, this allows connecting rail travel with FGW and HEX to be booked much further in advance using exclusive fares than would otherwise be possible. Train and plane schedules can be conveniently combined and book together, making the process of planning travel as simple as stress free as possible; like the journey itself. For full details on the range of benefits, visit Q. What are the advantages of this partnership? A. This will make it easier and more convenient for customers in the South West to organise their travel with Singapore Airlines, First Great Western and Heathrow Express. It will help make their trip to Singapore and beyond easier to plan for and seamless. Ultimately it means customers only need to make one transaction, when they otherwise would have to make three, with each individual partner. Travelling to Heathrow by rail also has distinct advantages for customers, allowing them to relax and enjoy the British countryside without worrying about traffic or parking costs. Rail and fly also allows for a stopover in London of at least 48 hours, allowing customers to extend their holiday or business trip, be it squeezing in extra meetings or maybe taking in a West End show. For inbound customers, rail-fly will also make it easier for them to visit more of Britain, potentially helping boost tourism and the local South West economies. Q. How much will the train tickets cost? Will this save passengers money? If not, why? A. Rail-Fly customers will receive guaranteed, competitive and exclusive fares for their train journeys, regardless of when they are booked. At present train fares are not normally available to book until 90 days prior to travel and can vary in price closer to departure due to availability. Although a direct comparison is not really possible a typical Rail-Fly passenger can expect to save up to 180. Q. Are the train tickets flexible? What if passengers want to change or cancel their booking? A. As with all bookings, customers will be able to choose different ticket types which offer different levels of flexibility to suit their requirements. SaverExpress tickets are valid for particular trains and flights, meaning changes are not normally possible once the booking is confirmed 2

3 FlexiExpress tickets offer greater flexibility, where any train can be used within one month of your flight, whilst changes to flight dates are usually also possible, subject to availability BusinessExpress tickets offer a similar flexibility to the FlexiExpress ticket, with travel in premium classes for both the two train and plane journeys Train tickets will follow the same rules regarding changes and cancellations (including refunds) as the flights within the booking. Q. Do the train tickets need to be purchased at the same time as the flights, or can these be done separately? A. Rail-Fly itineraries need to be booked together as one to benefit from the exclusive fares and single ticketing. This means all components - meaning both train journeys and plane ticket need to be purchased at the same time. Adding the train component at a later stage or separately, will not be possible as part of benefitting from the Rail-Fly product. Q. What is the availability of train tickets? A. Availability for both train and plane tickets is live. There is no limit to how many train tickets can be booked for a journey but flight itineraries are restricted by seats being available. Q. Will passengers be able to choose specific seats/ make seat requests on their trains? A. At this time this is not technically possible for the two train journeys but is being explored for the future. Seats will be able to be selected on board Singapore Airlines as normal, subject to availability. NB. If asked what subject to availability, this means that not all seats are released for advanced selection by customers. Approximately 50% are only released at check-in to allow the airline to accommodate specific requests, such as family seating etc. Q. Will consumers actually be saving money? A. The Rail-Fly product offers customers exclusive fares and in most cases there are savings to be made by booking the three journey components together, as opposed to individually as before. One of the most significant benefits, however, is the ability to book rail travel up to 350 days in advance of travel, in line with the release of Singapore Airlines schedules. Normally, customers would only be able to secure their rail fares up to three months (90 days) in advance of travel, making the Rail-Fly product much more convenient. Q. Will consumers be able to view and book train schedules beyond the typical 12 weeks? A. Yes and this is one of the key benefits of the Rail-Fly product. Customers will be able to book both rail and fly components in line with the release of Singapore Airlines schedules, which are available up to 350 days ahead of travel and much sooner than the release of stand-alone rail fares. 3

4 NB. Rail fares are normally only available up to 90 days ahead of travel (3 months) Q. How far in advance can customer book tickets? A. Customers can book their tickets up to 350 days ahead of travel, in line with the release of Singapore Airlines schedules. This allows rail travel to be booked at a guaranteed fare much sooner than stand-alone fares are available (which is 90 days prior to travel) Q. What if there if a train is delayed/cancelled and a passenger misses their flight? A. Improving the customer experience of passengers travelling to Singapore and beyond from the South West has been at the forefront of all three companies minds. A lot of work has gone on behind the scene to ensure that the passenger experience remains seamless in the event of a delay or disruption. For example, if a train is delayed or cancelled, either First Great Western and/or Heathrow Express are committed to making arrangements to ensure the customer reaches Heathrow. If, as a result passengers missed their flight, SQ would re-book them on the next available flight without charge. Similarly, if a flight was delayed and passengers missed their specific train they would either be rebooked on another train, or extra steps taken to help them get home. Q. Are Rail-Fly tickets accrue KrisFlyer Miles or PPS Value? A. In line with standard Singapore Airlines policy Rail-Fly passengers are currently unable to accrue KrisFlyer miles or PPS Value on the Rail sectors of the Rail-Fly ticket. Naturally, passengers will be able to accrue KrisFlyer Miles and PPS value on the Singapore Airlines, which represents the vast majority of the total journey mileage. However, this is an area which the partnership is looking to work closely together in the future. Q. What about children and infants? A. Rail-Fly will follow standard the standard Singapore Airlines Fare Rules. Q. What about passengers requiring assistance? A. For SQ sectors follow normal procedure. For FGW sectors ring Passenger Assistance: For Hex outbound (LHR) ring Omniserve: For Hex inbound (QQP) ring: Q. What about Unaccompanied Minors? A. Unfortunately, due to operational constraints First Great Western and Heathrow Express are unable to accept Unaccompanied Minors (UM). However, as per standard Singapore Airlines policy as soon as the UM reaches Heathrow they can be accepted into the care of Singapore Airlines. 4

5 SALES Q. How do agents book? A. First Great Western and Heathrow Express schedules are be available in the GDS and can be booked as an add-on when purchased at the same time as a Singapore Airlines ticket. The procedure for booking Rail-Fly is exactly the same as booking an add-on flight in conjunction with a Singapore Airlines flight (for example, a Virgin Australia add-on). When entering a relevant itinerary, the GDS will auto-quote the price of an SQ ticket with train tickets included. The rail sectors are loaded under the IATA code of 9B. There are three types of ticket: SaverExpress (Q RBD), FlexiExpress (Y RBD) and BusinessExpress (J RBD). The key difference between the ticket types is that the SaverExpress is non-refundable and specific to one train/flight only. The FlexiExpress and BusinessExpress can both be used on any relevant train within 1 month of your flight, with changes also permitted. The GDS automatically maps certain SQ RBD s to the relevant Rail-Fly RBD as shown in the table below. 9B Rail-Fly Add-ons RBD Charting Cabin Class Suites and First Business Economy SQ Longhaul P, F, R D, J, C, Z M, E, B, Y, S T, V, N, W, Q 9B Operating J J Y Q Q. Is manual upsell possible? A. First Great Western and Heathrow Express schedules are be available in the GDS and can be booked as an add-on when purchased at the same time as a Singapore Airlines ticket. The procedure for booking Rail-Fly is exactly the same as booking an add-on flight in conjunction with a Singapore Airlines flight (for example, a Virgin Australia add-on). When entering a relevant itinerary, the GDS will auto-quote the price of an SQ ticket with train tickets included. The rail sectors are loaded under the IATA code of 9B. Agents will also have the option to manually build the booking as required as shown in the table below. RAIL-FLY (9B) MANUAL UPSELL ADC DESTINATION ONE WAY Q CLASS TO Y CLASS Q CLASS TO J CLASS Y CLASS TO J CLASS LHR OXF vv (Oxford) LHR BPR vv (Bristol Parkway) LHR TPB vv (Bristol Temple Meads)

6 LHR QQX vv (Bath) LHR CFW vv (Cardiff) LHR EXS vv (Exeter) LHR PLH vv (Plymouth) LHR PCW vv (Par) LHR USX vv (St. Austell) LHR SWS vv (Swansea) LHR PZE vv (Penzance) Q. What if a customer has already booked their SIA ticket and wishes to add the rail element now? A. For a limited period (until 28 th Feb), customers will be able to reissue their ticket to include the rail element and take advantage of the new Rail-Fly product. After 28 th February, Rail-Fly benefits will no longer be able as an add-on but must be purchased at the same time as the flight itinerary and as one booking/transaction. If asked: The customer should contact SIA or their travel agent directly to enquire about having their ticket reissued with Rail-Fly added. Q. How will the Rail-Fly booking be ticketed? A. All Rail-Fly bookings will be ticketed on Singapore Airlines ticket stock (with an SIA ticket number), making the rail journeys an add-on to the air travel component. Q. Will there be a minimum connection time to ensure plenty of time for customers to complete their journey? A. Yes, as with all flight itineraries, a minimum connection time has been built into the GDS system. This means that the GDS will automatically return only the train schedules (First Great Western and Heathrow Express) which will allow sufficient time for the customer to easily make their flight departure time. Q. What is the minimum connection time that has been built in? 6

7 A. The minimum connection time is two and half hours. This means the First Great Western Train must be scheduled to arrive into Paddington two and a half hours ahead of the scheduled departure time of the Singapore Airlines flight from Heathrow. The minimum connection time applies in both directions. Q. What if agents manually build itineraries with shorter connection times? A. Recommended trains and minimum connection times exist for the benefit of the customer. If an itinerary is booked outside the recommended parameters, this is the responsibility of the customer and if connections are missed, additional charges could be incurred. Q. Do Rail-Fly sectors count towards Travel Agent incentive payments or Corporate Discounts? A. Rail-Fly sectors are not eligible for Travel Agent Incentive payments or corporate discounts. This policy will be continuously reviewed. SQ is planning a number of familiarisation trips and competitions to enable Travel Agent s to actively engage with Rail- Fly. Further details will be released in due course. 7

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