Singapore International Airport is located in the extreme east of the island state at Changi, occupying a huge tract of land between Changi Village and the Singapore Expo Centre.
It is Southeast Asia’s major air hub, connecting virtually every main destination in the region along with long haul flights direct to most of Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.
It is a large modern building that is efficient and well organised in typical Singaporean traditions. Singapore Changi Airport is without doubt one of the top airports in the world and has won more accolades and awards than any other.
Flying from Singapore Changi International Airport
The airport comprises three main terminals known simply as T1, T2 and T3, all connected by a frequent Skytrain light rail service. Singapore’s budget terminal is set some distance away and is only accessible by shuttle buses from T2.
Despite its position as a major regional hub, it rarely feels overcrowded or cramped. Outside, traffic flow is well marshalled, ‘check in’ is very spacious and there is ample seating throughout.
When departing from Changi Airport, it pays to arrive there in good time as some departure gates can be some distance away. The sheer scale and variety of passenger amenities at airside offer temptations galore and is a major attraction in its own right. Once you see what is on offer, you may well be praying for your flight to be delayed!
Killing time here is no burden at all and even with a few hours to spare, there is plenty to keep all ages occupied. There is a swimming pool and jacuzzi, a huge indoor garden and butterfly enclosure, a gaming room, spa and movie theatre. The three terminals have a combined 30,000 square metres of retail space, encompassing everything from high street fashions, designer cosmetics and jewellery, electronics and giftware, all at duty free prices. You certainly won’t go hungry either with dozens of fast food cafes and moderately priced restaurants.
There is blanket WiFi coverage and 200 computer terminals with free internet access. Other passenger amenities include abundant ATM cash machines, telephone kiosks offering free unlimited local calls, money changers and showering facilities. There are lots of passenger assistance desks and help for disabled travellers. Real time departure and arrivals information screens are located every 100 metres or so and signage is conspicuous and easy to comprehend.
Unsurprisingly, the major presence at Changi Airport is Singapore Airlines who fly in and out of T2 and T3 but virtually all national flag carriers from Europe to Australia have direct or code share flights. There is also an ever increasing roster of low cost airlines now serving Singapore. There is a dedicated budget terminal which currently only handles flights from Tiger Airways, Firefly and Philippines carrier Cebu Pacific.
Getting from Singapore International Airport
Getting to and from the airport is just as easy. There is a MRT metro station located below T2 and T3 with trains running every few minutes into the city via Tanah Merah interchange.
The last service leaves the airport around 23:00 and fares cost just under SGD$2. Journey time to the Colonial District or Chinatown is around 40 minutes. Scheduled bus services leave from the basement car park of all three terminals at frequent intervals until midnight.
You will see an endless supply of metered taxis as you exit arrivals and fares are around SGD$25 to downtown. This is the only travel option late at night and between midnight and 06:00 there is a hefty surcharge of 50 per cent to pay. There are numerous car hire outlets at the arrivals concourse including multinational names such as Budget and Avis, however car hire in Singapore and added charges such as tolls and car parking is very expensive for Asian standards.
Other facilities at Singapore’s Chiangi International Airport
A few hours spent in transit at Changi Airport can also be a fulfilling experience. In addition to all the airside amenities on offer, if you have five hours or more to spare, you can enjoy a free bus tour of Singapore’s main attractions. When jetlag kicks in you may want to take a short rest at one of the many transit hotels located airside.