Singapore’s Changi Airport is frequently recognized as the best in the world. On a recent trip to Singapore (on an assignment for my BBC.com Business Trip column, I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about, so I asked its communications team for a tour.
We walked all over the facility– smaller than you might imagine, and not really remarkable architecturally like airports in Seoul or Hong Kong– but it feels very welcoming, comfortable and easy. Come on along for the ride and see why people love this place so much. (Slideshow starts below.)
Some interesting tidbits I picked up during the tour:
>There is an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, patio and tiki bar that anyone can enter for a $14 fee. Nice! (See photos below)
>Airport security screening is done at each gate instead of a central security checkpoint– that means all you have to do is show your passport and ticket to get into the terminals. This decentralized approach eliminates any peak time lines. Smart!
>There’s an outdoor butterfly garden open to all passengers. Talk about peaceful…and beautiful! (See slideshow below)
>The airport has a full time staff of 10 horticulturalists and 100 gardeners and there’s not one fake plant anywhere.
>Changi is pronounced “Chawng-eee” with a soft g sound.
>The airport provides free internet access via wi-fi and 550 free terminals placed in pods throughout.
>What we call “moving sidewalks” they call “travelators.” (I like travelator and plan to incorporate that into my lexicon!)
>There is a basic by-the-hour hotel in each of its three terminals. There’s also a 280-room Crowne Plaza hotel in the middle of the airport, which mainly houses travelers on layovers from the “kangaroo route” between the UK and Australia. (However, QANTAS is switching its stopover point on the kangaroo route to Dubai next year.)
>Changi is the name of a local tree– a pleasant, eco-friendly change from other big airports named after politicians.
What’s your favorite airport in the world? Please leave your comments below.
Use the arrow keys on each image to move forward or back. Be sure to read the captions for an explanation of each shot.