August 14 Singapore Airlines made a huge change to the ability to waitlist for award tickets. All wait list requests are cancelled 14 days prior to travel. There are no more last minute wait lists.
Singapore says the new rules ‘promote certainty’ and that’s certainly true. You know you cannot clear a wait list close to departure, because Singapore won’t allow it.
But why did they make this change? Perhaps it was to eliminate an award availability loophole that some were take advantage of.
When waitlisting for a flight ~3 days prior to departure, the system would rarely ‘decline’ your waitlist request.
Thus your waitlist was a BOOKING with no ticket and never cancelled.
Armed with your BOOKING and PNR, you could simply turn up to the airport and attempt check-in.
Check-in agents would see your booking isn’t ticketed – and, so long as there is availability in the cabin you waitlisted for – the airport had authority to liaise with Krisflyer directly, and have your waitlist request approved on the spot.
Fundamentally – you could waitlist at the Saver level, turn up to the airport, and so long as there was at least 1 available seat, you would get on the flight.
If there was no saver award availability you could waitlist for it and get it as long as seats were still open on the aircraft. That was especially useful on routes like Singapore – Frankfurt – New York JFK where nearly the entire first class cabin might be open, but saver awards not made available and waitlists not cleared.
With the change to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer waitlisting it is obviously no longer possible to do this.