Changi airport is on the east coast of Singapore, about 25 km from the downtown area with good rail and road connections. There are no domestic flights due to the small size of Singapore; all flights from Changi are international. (Singapore only has one other civilian airport: Seletar.)
Opened in 1981, Changi is one of the world’s busiest, and often considered the world’s best airport. Passengers are made to feel at home while in transit, with more facilities than you’d typically expect at an airport. Air-side gardens and artworks soothe the eyes, a massage parlour and spa relax the muscles, a swimming pool at Terminal 1 helps keep the body fit, while a cinema and giant television screens provide visual entertainment. There are even butterfly gardens and koi carp ponds! The airport’s schedules are dominated by Singapore’s flag carrier, Singapore Airlines, and its regional subsidiary, SilkAir. Low cost carriers have also sprung up offering flights to other countries in the region, primarily Indonesia and Malaysia.
Changi houses four terminals: Terminal 1, 2, 3 and 4. Most airlines, especially low cost carriers, use Terminal 1, but a few others use Terminals 2 & 3. Singapore Airlines flights depart from either Terminal 2 or 3, depending on your destination. If you are flying Singapore Airlines and arrive by taxi at the airport, be sure to tell the driver your destination so he or she knows which terminal to take you to. Singapore Airlines flights may arrive at either terminal regardless of point of origin, so if you have friends picking you up, make sure you ask them to check the flight information system via the airport web-site.
Terminal 3 has concourses A & B. Concourses C & D, E & F are in Terminals 1 & 2, respectively. Concourses G and H are found in Terminal 4. These letters precede the gate number for any flight information. Each concourse has a transfer desk to collect your next boarding pass. Check the TV screen for information about where to retrieve the boarding pass for your flight.
If you are arriving on a Singapore Airlines flight and are transferring to another Singapore Airlines flight, you can often find your arrival and departure gate information from the onboard entertainment system, or from information screens when you exit the arrival gate. There are no boarding calls and boarding gates close 10 minutes before departure.
Fortunately transfers are quite easy, and Terminals 1-3 are connected by a free Skytrain service from 04:00 to 01:30, without passing through immigration. Terminal 1 is also physically connected to Terminals 2 and 3 airside, and you may not notice you’re in a different terminal unless you read the signs.
To transfer to flights at Terminal 4, a free shuttle bus service is provided at Terminal 2. Terminal 4 is further south of the airport and has no direct Skytrain link to the rest of the terminals.
Unlike most other airports, there are no separate zones for departing and arriving passengers in the main terminals before passport control, hence arriving passengers are free to shop and eat at the airside if they are not in a hurry, in Terminals 1, 2 and 3. In addition, unless they have checked luggage, they can clear passport control at any terminal. An exception to this is Terminal 4, where there is centralised security screening.