If you have no idea, we Singaporeans loveeeee our Changi Airport, to the point that we’ll head over to the airport during weekends as family outings, or on weekdays for study breaks or simply do work at (for the students and professionals working remotely), or even to have meals or simply to hang out. Our wonderful airport holds a special place in each of our heart and gives us a deep sense of pride, especially when it has won the Best Airport of the Year for the past 5 years in running! #ProudSingaporeanMoment
Update May 2020: In view of how Covid-19 pandemic is affecting travel, from 16 May 2020, Terminal 4 at Changi Airport will suspend operations, until further notice.
Changi Airport has a new Terminal 4!
Replacing the Budget Terminal, Changi Airport T4 took three years to be constructed. It will serve select airlines including Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Spring Airlines.
For being part of Changi Airport’s Social Ambassador programme, I got invited to a sneak preview of the new Terminal 4, before it holds the Open House to the public over the next few weeks. (Another reason to love Changi Airport Group – their marketing efforts are always on point!)
Terminal 4 looks really gorgeous!
That will be the visitor’s first impression, for sure. However, more than just aesthetics, I realized that the airport has plenty of features that will improve the user experience.
5 Reasons to Love Changi Airport Terminal 4
1. It’s paradise for a photographer/Instagrammer.
Travelers flying through T4 will have a field day taking photos for their Instagram at this new airport terminal!
2. Self-Service & Automated Clearance all the way (almost).
Flying off just got easier. You no longer have to put on your best smile for airline agents, because everything is automated all the way to boarding! From self-service check-in machines, the terminal uses state-of-the-art technology, including fingerprints and facial recognition, to authenticate the passenger’s identity.
Self-Service Check-in Machines
This machine also prints your Boarding Pass + the bag-tag for your check-in baggage. Attach the bag-tag to your luggage (don’t forget to keep the reference piece in case you need to trace it if it ever goes missing).
Self-Service Automated Bag-Drop Counters
(This self-service Bag-Drop service is available for passengers at least 6 years old.)
It was awesome to see that T4’s Bag-Drop belt is mere centimeters off the ground. Hooray especially for the [petite] solo travelers! I’d struggled with lifting my 25kg luggage up onto airports’ bag-drop whenever I leave Europe in winter. This one should be a piece of cake.
As a traveller though, I do worry about overweight luggage as always. Hopefully, the machines will give me a chance to repack my stuff if my check-in bag is slightly overweight! 😆
Although these are automated machines, they can be converted to manned counters anytime, for an airline agent to help you (for eg. if you’re flying First Class on Cathay Pacific and expects service with the human touch). This is what I call, effective design.
Self-Service Automated Immigration
(This feature is for Singaporeans / PRs / Long Term Pass Holders / Registered Travellers, and above 6 years old.)
Instead of the security officers checking your passport and boarding pass, this will be done via machines indeed. Scan your passport, boarding pass, the machine takes a photo of your face. Pass the first gate that opens, then scan your thumbprint, pass the second little gate and you can turn around and wave bye to the people sending you off.
Smooth Bag-Screening with Automated Trays
The section is definitely optimized for speed and efficiency. I love it so much, hence the paragraphs to share the features!
For each bag-screening lane, two passengers can each load a tray at the same time. This shortens the waiting time we spend waiting for each passenger to slowly remove their jacket, belt, etc. The best thing is, you can keep your laptop and tablet inside your bag! You don’t have to remove them from your bag during the security screening. T4 uses new CT Technology, I guess it’s powerful enough to screen that your laptops and tablets are real, functioning gadgets.
Screened bags will be split into 2 lanes for faster clearance. If all is well, you’ll receive your bags on one lane. If your bag needs special attention, it will move to an inner lane so that the officer can attend to your bag, without the queue being held up. This is ingenious!
Empty trays will be automatically fed to the front. When I was at Qatar’s very modern Doha Airport a few years ago, I’d noticed that empty trays were fed automatically via a smart belt system. I was delighted to see that Terminal 4 will implement a similar function! Instead of the officers manually returning each unloaded tray to the beginning, now, empty trays will be automatically returned to the start of the line via the belt. Very smooth, Changi Airport.
After all the above, you’re considered inside the Boarding Zone.
Since your bags have been screened, feel free to refill your water bottles, or purchase drinks at the duty-free shops to bring up for your flight. Awesome right? It’s like Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport – there won’t be enclosed boarding gates nor additional bag-screening again right before you board.
| Also read: Top 10 tips for your visit to Stockholm! |
Automated Boarding Gates
At many European airports, I’ve seen passengers using QR codes on their phone apps as their boarding pass, or even airline membership cards like Scandinavian Airlines. All they had to do was flash the phone or their card to be scanned. This feature, however, depends on the airport AND the airline. And there’s always a staff who has to be there to facilitate the boarding process.
For T4 though, these machines are placed right before the boarding doors that lead to your plane. You won’t need to show your passport again here. Simply scan your boarding pass paper and the machine will also authenticate your face again. I’m not sure if airline agents will still be here. Maybe yes maybe no!
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3. It’s so, so thoughtful.
There’s plenty of seats in all sorts of designs.
And so many chargers & electricity ports everywhere!
The terminal puts people at the heart of its designs, no matter if you prefer quiet time or entertainment.
You can be mesmerized by Petalclouds, the giant kinetic sculpture.
Take a seat and enjoy the giant kinetic sculpture show of Petalclouds. Six of these structures suspended from the ceiling will move in synchrony with light and music, presenting an art show that’s very mesmerizing to watch. The moving sculptures can be enjoyed from both the public and the transit areas.
Watch a FASCINATING animation while queueing for bag-screening.
This huge (70m x 5m) LED screen is really cool. It showcases the most amazing, beautifully art-directed animated scenes intended to calm your nerves as you queue to have your bags screened. As a designer, I was really impressed! Really great job done by the animators =D
Watch a concrete wall turn into a mini-film.
At the Heritage Zone (check out the beautiful toilets too!), watch what looked like concrete Peranakan shophouse-inspired units turn into a mini-film. Peranakan Love Story will be projected onto two units, with lovely music and local talents and artistes. I was totally hooked by this film during those 6 minutes!
4. Art and nature blend in harmoniously with the airport terminal.
At the departure area, there’re more than 160 real, fig trees planted along the Avenue of Trees. In fact, there’re more plants at T4 than the other 3 terminals combined, wow.
Art sculptures including the birds (Les Oiseaux, by Cedric le Borgne) are visible around different areas of the airport, and I also came across a sculpture of Coplu’s famous heart balloons.
5. Terminal 4 has the CUTEST housekeepers you’ll ever see.
An intelligent cleaning robot! And it’s dressed like Changi Airport’s cleaning staff, how cute! As our host Melvin was sharing about its capability, the robot made a 180-degree turn around Melvin and scooted off. It had scanned lots of obstacles (us) blocking its way, and went off to clean other areas!
Now, I wish my next flight will take off from Terminal 4!
The last question: For all it’s worth, why doesn’t the skytrain connect Terminal 4 to the other terminals?
Someone asked this on Facebook. Changi Airport Terminal 4 is accessible by cars and shuttle buses, but not the skytrain that connects Terminals 1 to 3. This is because the bridges on the southern end of Changi Airport are used by planes to cross over to the runway. Underground, there are pipes and cables, so digging underground is not possible either. To know how to get to T4, here’s the official link with all the info clearly.
Are you visiting Singapore soon? Check out hotel deals for your trip!
Here’s a few popular hotels in Singapore!
Thank you Changi Airport for hosting the event!
This article by Changi Airport is an easy & useful read!
Information sources: Changi Airport T4 microsite | Now Boarding by Changi Airport | Changi Airport Facebook
Image credits: Header photo of bird sculpture – Changi Airport Group, used with permission granted by the airport. Follow Changi Airport on Facebook • Instagram • Twitter
Featured Instagram profiles in this post:
• My own: @thepetitewanderess
• Xavier Lur: @xavierluv
• Yafiq Yusman: @_yafiqyusman_
• Stephen Chong: @theaviationgeeksociety
(Thank you guys for letting me share your photos!)
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