Our airports are changing, transforming from mere transit points to places that offer comfort and recreation to travel-weary passengers. Leading the way is Singapore’s Changi International Airport, arguably the world’s best airport – one where you do not need an airport concierge. It hardly matters whether any of the world’s top 10 airport lounges are located here. Changi ensures that passengers enjoy the best possible amenities. If that means an airport swimming pool and a four-storey amusement park slide, so be it.
The winner of over 370 travel awards since its opening in 1981, Changi International Airport has won the hearts of many travelers. Changi’s charm even has passengers opting for long layovers in a bid to experience the many attractions of this wonderful airport.
No Need For Airport Lounges
Travelers passing through other airports are forced to grab a nap in the crowded common area. Only premium passengers enjoy the use of airline lounges, showers and the like. Not so at Changi. Here, you can hire a nap room at $23 for three hours, or take a shower for $6. There are also work desks with free Internet, high-end bars and more.
And no other airport offers the use of a pool. Guests at Changi’s in-transit hotels can take a swim free of charge. Non-guests will have to pay a reasonable $11.
Retail As A Revenue Source
Nowadays, more airports are waking up to the possibilities of retail space. As for Changi, it offers a vast 750,000 square feet of shopping area. This is a sound business move, because 50 percent of Changi’s revenue comes from this retail area. Last year, retailers at Changi earned $1 billion in sales. The large retail space (it is as big as an average suburban mall), also translates into lower operating costs for airlines, which could translate into lower ticket rates. So really, it is a win-win situation.
There are other plugs too. For instance, only shoppers who have spent $8 and above on shopping can enjoy the four-storey amusement park slide. Others will have to content themselves with only the lower one-and-a-half stories.
But Changi offers many more incredible features. For instance, passengers with sufficiently long layovers can take a free bus tour of Singapore without having to clear immigration. There are touchscreens in the bathrooms, allowing travelers to text message the supervisor to report drippy taps, lack of toilet paper and so on. And not many airports can boast of a greenhouse.
There is also the immense Terminal 3, housing everything that a person might need. There is a grocery store, a pharmacy, dry cleaners, an all-purpose medical center, and even an indoor amusement park to keep the children busy.
Celebrities and other VIPs can avail of Jet Quay, the private terminal. But even non-VIP travelers who are willing to pay can avail of this facility. Jet-side limo service costs $1,150. But there are other services available at lower rates.
At Changi, the customer is king. So even though few airport workers are employed by the airport itself, all of them undergo a special weeklong induction so that they can be of help to travelers. There are also feedback kiosks throughout the terminal. This focus on customer service, in addition to the stores, restaurants, two movie theatres and more, ensures that travelers have a fantastic time.