Singapore Changi Airport Review.
Ah I’m flying to Bali. That’s a 12-hr flight from the US->Tokyo, then a layover, then another 7 hour flight Tokyo->Singapore. Then 14 hours in Singapore to wait.
I am just wrapping up the 14 hour layover in Changi. I decided to just stay in the airport instead of heading to town b/c I arrived at 1am. So I figured I’d write a review on the airport.
This is at the same time a great airport with a few incredibly frustrating features that bug me.
I’ll start with my gripes:
Gripe 1: Navigation.
This is hard to believe, and I think its more than jetlag, but trying to navigate Changi drove me crazy. I always walk. I could never tell which terminal I was in, or how to get to the next one. If I was running thru the airport late for a flight, I would have went bonkers. The huge signs just have gates, and only for nearby gates. After wandering for about 3 hours last night I still have no idea how to get around. Would it be so hard to have concourses (A,B,C) like any normal airport and then have [A][B][D] on a sign telling you those concourses are that way? Yes I understand if I took the trains it would be easier, but I almost never do.
Gripe 2: Transfer Lounges.
What the heck are these? And why are the called a lounge when its some really lame in-terminal boarding pass issuer. I know they have them in Japan and Korea too, so obviously someone copied someone else’s terrible idea here. The ones in Changi are the worst. I go up to one and they say they can’t issue my boarding pass yet. Huh? Ok, it’s 3am, maybe the night shift isn’t so smart. I go sleep, try again at 9am. Uh, very sorry sir, but can’t issue your pass until 3pm. Me: My flight’s at 4. Them: Sorry sir, cannot do. Come back at 3. So now I get to go back at 3 and wait in some huge line instead of relaxing over a beer in the lounge? WTF? Anyone understand these things? Is my complaint to Delta (who won’t issue my BP online now), KLM (delta-alliance, running the flight), or is this some Pan-Asian anachronistic TSA-like bureaucracy that won’t go away? Gripe 3: No free beer in Biz Lounges: I’m guessing the lounges I get for free with my Lounge Club card are on of the discount variety, but S$8 for a beer is a bit of a slap. I’ll head to the 7-11 around the corner and buy them for $3 :)
Gripe 4: Hot!
Man I so want to sit in this sunflower lounge but I’m afraid I’ll turn into a puddle of jetlagged American male.
Gripe 5: Designed by Vegas?
Sometimes it feels like a casino/mall. Place is a bit too big. Casinos and malls make their layouts confusing so you get lost and stay longer. Casinos pump oxygen in to keep you gambling all night. Changi has a bit of that feel. I guess I like American airports that are all cramped with stores in every inch instead of these center-mall areas.
Gripe 6: Duty free is a rip-off.
Really, no wine under $40? California wines selling for $10 at home are S$40? DFS, argh. I was picking up 15 year old rum in Nicaragua DF for $18! Things I like! This may be the best airport in the world. It’s kinda like an enjoyable day of shopping.
Ok enough griping – lets get on with the good stuff!
Rave 1: “Nightlife.”
Even at 2am, the place had a bit of life. I’ve overnighted in BKK (which is big but easy to get around BTW!:) and it’s just dead in the evening. Changi had movie theaters, comfy chairs galore, and a few places even had full reclining sleeping chairs! Big thumbs up!
Rave 2: 7-11!
Oh yeah! Want a cold beer but don’t want to spend $8? You got it! 7-11 wouldn’t sell me a beer at 2am but the non-affiliated minimart did. And it was Leo beer at that! :)
Rave 3: Movies!
I didn’t watch one but great idea, and right next to the minimart selling beer too! :)
Rave 4: Gardens.
Butterfly garden at 130 am with my jacket on was a bit too toasty and dark, but could tell it was a cool place. Ambassador Lounge looks over the sunflower garden, lovely! (Hot!) See the pic of me in the lounge lookin’ over sunflower garden
Rave 5: Beer
Cheap beer @ minimarts (BKK has this too but its tough to find, keep lookin’!). $3!
Rave 6: Airport Staff
Could we get thru an Asian airport review without mentioning the great outfits the young staff wear?
Rave 7: 2-hr singapore tour.
I couldn’t be bothered to take it, but great idea.
Rave 8: Get in a walk
Walking around is a joy with all the landscaping. If only I didn’t get lost all the time. I walked out of one duty-free store, looked left, looked right, and couldn’t remember where I came from. Some world-traveler I am!
Rave 9: Reasonable food prices.
I didn’t eat anywhere but it looked awfully cheap. For $5 you could get a combo at subway! As an aside, even some of the airports in the US are getting cheaper it seems. I was in Philly for a bit and gone are the days of “no meal under $10 at an airport.”
Rave 10: Subway!
I love Subway and they don’t have it in Bali so last change for my fix. $5 for a sub and drink combo? Hope I fly home this way to get in my “fix!”
Rave 11: Comfort
Comfy seats. Bangkok, step aside with your all metal seats most with arm-rests. Comfy chairs abound!
This isn’t a rave cuz I think wifi should be free along with water, but you get 4 hrs free if you can find the desk giving out certificates. Beats the past 3 airports I’ve been to. Happy Travels!
Well that’s is from Singapore! Another few hours and I’ll be happily back in Bali!