SINGAPORE: Some Singapore Airlines (SIA) passengers booking flights departing from Singapore could soon incur a fee if they use a credit card to pay for their tickets.
From Jan 20, there will be a 1.3 per cent "service fee" based on the total cost of the booking, capped at a maximum charge of S$50 per passenger.
This currently applies only to tickets issued under its soon-to-be-launched Economy Lite category, said SIA on its website on Wednesday (Jan 3).
The credit card service fee will apply to tickets issued on and from Jan 20, and is non-refundable.
"Since November 2016, we have implemented a similar credit card service fee in Australia and subsequently in other markets," SIA said in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia. "The fee implementation in Singapore is therefore a progressive initiative," it added.
The new service fee coincides with a tweak in airfare pricing structure announced by SIA last month. Effective Jan 20, SIA will replace, among other things, its current economy class categories with three new offerings named Lite, Standard and Flexi.
SIA explained on its website that the credit card fees are to recover "costs relating to the acceptance of credit cards".
The new fee will not affect passengers who use their KrisFlyer miles to book tickets and their credit cards to pay for any associated taxes and other charges.
The credit card fee also does not apply to added extras such as preferred seat selection or excess baggage.
EXISTING SIA CREDIT CARD SERVICE FEES
Currently, SIA charges credit card service fees for flights departing from Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, New Zealand and United Kingdom. The fees vary for each country.
For example, tickets for SIA flights departing from New Zealand can incur a credit card fee of 1.7 per cent for each ticket. The credit card fee, which was implemented on Apr 3, 2017, is the highest out of all the countries the fee applies to.
The lowest credit card fee, at 1 per cent, applies to flights departing from the UK.
SIA's credit card surcharge is not unique in the competitive aviation industry.
Middle Eastern carrier Emirates, for example, charges a credit card fee for flights departing from the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Turkey, New Zealand and Australia.
At Air France, a flat rate of S$20 is charged for tickets booked using a credit card, with the exception of tickets for infants.
Singapore budget airline Scoot also includes a "processing fee" for customers paying for their tickets using credit cards.
There are no service fees for payment through debit cards or PayPal.
UPDATE (Jan 4): SIA has cancelled its plan to charge the fee "following a further review".