Top-5 Simple Secrets That Make Singapore Changi The World’s Best Airport

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Jun 14 2017
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For the fifth year running, Singapore’s Changi Airport has emerged as the world’s best airport. The Changi has been so good in winning the crown that none of its neighbours in the Southeast Asian (ASEAN) region could give the Singapore airport a run for its money. The nearest competitor – Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) – was merely at 34th place.


But to be crowned as the World’s Best Airlines 2017 wasn’t as easy as making sure Changi Airport’s toilets smell and look like a butterfly garden, although the Singapore airport does have an actual butterfly garden which is home to over 1,000 butterflies. While its neighbouring airports struggle to stay afloat, the Changi Airport is getting bigger.

Singapore Changi Airport - Terminal 4

A fourth terminal (Terminal 4) has just been built – completed on 16 December 2016 and is scheduled to be officially opened in second quarter of 2017. Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 (T4) will be boosted with more than 80 retail outlets – including home-grown footwear label PAZZION, paper maker Moleskine, as well as British retailer WHSmith.


There will also be 11 restaurants and cafes in the public area of the terminal, including Andes at Astons, London Fat Duck, Old Street Bak Kut Teh and Sushi Goshin by Akashi. Other dining outlets include Tiger’s Den, serving bar food and light snacks, as well as dim sum restaurant Treasures (Yi Dian Xin) by Imperial Treasure.

Singapore Changi Airport - Terminal 4 - Heritage

T4 will also have a new heritage zone, inspired by Peranakan shophouses in Singapore. Let’s hope there would not be a war between food lovers from Singapore and Malaysia, as “Peranakan” has been synonym with Malacca, a historical city in Malaysia. This zone will also house brands such as Bee Cheng Hiang, Bengawan Solo, Curry Times, Eu Yan Sang and Heavenly Wang.


For a visitor who hasn’t even been to Changi Airport, T4 is simply too much to digest. Other jaw-dropping attractions such as a rooftop swimming pool, eight gardens and three spas would have kept a first time visitor fully occupied. Heck, there’s not one, but two free 24-hour movie theatres in Changi Airport. And there was already the world’s tallest slide back in 2010.

Singapore Changi Airport - Movie Theatre

Obviously, Changi Airport has been working tirelessly adding new attractions every single year to keep its competitors away. It’s not a coincidence that this is the eighth time that Changi Airport has picked up this top international title at the Skytrax’s World Airport Awards since it was introduced in 2000, considering 550 airports worldwide taking part every year for the awards.


Changi Airport, however, didn’t get the title of World’s Cleanest Airport, an award that went to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Singapore is ranked sixth in this sub-category, a drop of two places from 2016, but the airport was good enough to be considered the best airport to sleep by many reviews and bloggers. For those who disagree that this airport is the best, here’s a measurement.

Singapore Changi Airport - Best Airport

Do you bring your family to shop and dine in your local airport on weekends? Probably not. But in the case of Changi Airport, it has become its own destination within Singapore. On weekends, it’s not uncommon to see families visit the airport to shop, dine or simply hang around. Forget McDonald’s, as it’s also known to be a hot spot for students looking for a coffee shop to study in.


Pouring money to build facilities and architectures can only do so much to win the hearts of passengers. There must be soft touch built into an airport. There must be something that Changi Airport has done successfully but overlooked by other copycat airports. So, what are the simple secrets that make Changi such an irresistible attraction?


{ 1 } Interaction With Customers

The “customer is always right” is still a phrase Changi Airport believes until today. Changi receives more than 1.8 million clicks of feedback each month from passengers ranging from every subject you can think of. These passengers provide valuable feedback – ranking everything from restrooms, customer service agents and even the gardens.

Singapore Changi Airport - Rate Toilet Bathroom Touchscreen

On their way out of bathroom or toilet, passengers would find a colourful touch screen that displays the name and picture of the janitor on duty, with a row of icons at the bottom – “Good evening. Please rate our toilet.” Operational staff monitor such feedback in real-time, and would deploy cleaning staff to any location that isn’t rated highly.



{ 2 } Free WiFi

WiFi, a simple and essential resource often overlooked by other competitors, is one of many factors that Changi Airport generously provides to passengers. While some other airports view free WiFi as a luxury and additional expenses, free WiFi is available throughout Changi Airport. After all, McKinsey & Co (2016) has placed Singapore as the most wired country in the world.

For those who don’t have devices – laptop, tablet or smartphone – there are at least 550 free internet workstations available throughout Changi. Two years ago, a homeless Singaporean couple (Eileen Ho and Daniel Soo) were revealed to have been camping at Changi Airport for 7-month. And they chose Changi because of free electricity, water and Internet.



{ 3 } Carpet Instead of Tile

Fully-fledged carpeting is something you normally see at luxury hotels. Naturally, very few airports would spend money on carpeting, which comes with higher cost of maintenance than tiling. But at Changi, you’re being welcomed with more carpet than tile. Sure, the cost is higher but carpeting increases the level of luxury at the airport.

Singapore Changi Airport - Shopping 2

Not only passengers feel good being pampered with carpet as if they’re Hollywood celebrities, such luxury also absorb sounds that otherwise would make Changi Airport noisy and chaotic. A less-noisy airport means more relaxed passengers, which in turns produces a calmer environment where passengers could happily spend more at Changi.



{ 4 } Kids Playground

As childish as this may sound, a “kids playground” is like a Disneyland to them. Parents travelling with kids, especially those hyperactive dinosaurs, would find Changi kids playground located in Terminal 1 like a God-send nanny. Surprisingly, not many international airports provide such simple yet essential facilities to travellers.

Singapore Changi Airport - Kids Playground

Playground is a good source for children to burn some energy before a long flight back home. Parents could relax, probably with some donuts at a nearby Dunkin Donuts, while letting their kids have fun. The last thing parents want is to bring onboard some devils who might not think twice about taking over the plane. Tired kids would surely bring some peaceful time for a planeload of passengers.



{ 5 } Bring In Natural Elements

Perhaps realizing that Singapore is a concrete jungle, Changi prides itself on a vast amount of greenery. There’re plants throughout its terminals and together with its five main gardens, Changi airport actually employs 150 gardeners who work on them 24/7. Passengers can visit an open-air cactus, sunflower garden and an orchid garden beside a “koi pond”.

Singapore Changi Airport - Koi Pond

And there’s an “enchanted garden” that comes to life when visitors enter its grounds. Even the bathroom – the public bathroom in the airport – is one of the nicest bathrooms where passengers are greeted with a sparkling contemporary fixtures and verdant plantings exploding along the windows.


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