Singapore Changi Airport is constantly investing in new technology and infrastructure to enhance travellers experiences.
A swanky new Terminal (T4) and a swish new entertainment precinct called Jewel ensures that Singapore is much more than a transit stop on the way to somewhere else. Skyscanner Australia checked in to see what all the fuss is about.
A world leader, Singapore Changi Airport is as efficient and entertaining as they come. It’s no mean feat. Changi Airport services more than 100 airlines flying to 380 cities in 90 countries worldwide. Around 1,000 flights land and depart every day!
But Changi is up to the task – it’s designed to cope with 82m passengers (equivalent to the entire population of Germany) each year. The swanky new Terminal 4 (T4) will absorb around 16 million of those travellers each year.
In other words, the equivalent combined populations of New South Wales, Victoria and West Australia all clutching a boarding pass. Or about 200 MCG crowds on Grand Final day (hopefully not all of them Collingwood supporters).
Every single one of those travellers needs to be ‘processed’, so it’s no wonder Changi is constantly re-inventing itself to stay ahead of the travel game.
Introducing Terminal 4
In walks sassy Terminal 4. T4 is the new kid on the block oozing cool attitude and funked-up-sass replacing the unfortunately named Budget Terminal which was grounded permanently a few years back. T4 (in ‘soft opening’ at the time of writing) raises the bar for airport terminal innovation and technology.
Think facial recognition software. Or the ability to check-in when it suits passengers without having to wait for check-in desks to open. If all goes according to plan, travellers will be enormous beneficiaries.
T4 promises super efficiency resulting in fast and seamlessly automated travel. Never one to shy away from an acronym, Changi Airport has coined the term FAST to cover the automated process which mostly does away with pesky customer service personnel.
Check-in, bag drop, Immigration and Boarding processes are all completely self-service. It’s possible to waltz through the entire airport process without uttering a single word to a human being. For some travellers this will be a welcome improvement.
For others though, who enjoy the thrill of flying somewhere and like to share their enthusiasm with random strangers, T4 will seem cold and impersonal.
What makes T4 so special?
We’re glad you asked! Like many of her Singaporean counterparts, T4 is an Instagrammers poster child. Here’s what you can expect to see appearing in your Instagram feed soon.
For starters a towering Central Galleria is a transparent space that allows well-wishers to watch departing passengers move through check-in, immigration and customs to boarding gates. Expect to see prolonged tear-stained departures as travellers move through T4 blowing kisses to left-behind loved ones.
Based on a symmetrical design and inspired by the orchid petal, keep an eye out through T4 for petal designs on skylights above and on marble floors and carpets underfoot. Airport drop offs are Insta-worthy with a Departures Green Wall draped with 16,000-plus plants, while the Arrivals Hall and baggage carousel area is bathed in natural light backdropped with walls of living gardens.
Dreary departure lounges and dull Transit Areas are a thing of the past as T4 funks it up a notch. Expect bored passengers to find Insta-inspiration in Heritage-themed facades, brightly coloured seating in bold designs, immersive LED displays and an eclectic mix of contemporary artworks.
No need for filters on ‘I’m on a Plane’ posts as real indoor trees soften Boarding Areas overlooking Runway 2.
But it’s not all about T4. While T4 hogs the red carpet momentarily, a rival bejewelled cousin exuding glitz and glamour is emerging to snatch attention away from T4.
Meet Jewel – a new entertainment hub in Changi Airport
Chanelling Singapore’s reputation as a City of Gardens, Jewel is all air-conditioned lush greenery over five levels within the heart of Changi. Jewel’s Canopy Park is bathed in sunshine beneath a striking glass and steel ceiling.
Scheduled to open in early 2019, Jewel is all about relaxation, fun and interactive entertainment. Oh, and of course there’s the obligatory shopping and eating opportunities!
Enticing walkways wind through landscaped gardens like the Topiary Walk with its animal shaped topiaries and the Petal Garden with seasonal floral displays.
The centrepiece of Jewels many charms is the cascading Rain Vortex waterfall. Almost as tall as the 50m Canopy Bridge is long, Rain Vortex rivals Singapore’s other famous indoor waterfalls at Gardens on the Bay. The glass-floored Canopy Bridge emulates being in the clouds with mist effects and a sky high view of Rain Vortex which promises to become the next big thing in travellers ‘must have’ Insta brag-worthy photos.
Sky Nets, Canopy Mazes and Discovery Slides provide distractions for transit passengers to bounce, roam and slide to their hearts content while awaiting their flight. Keep an eye on the time – you don’t want to miss your flight!
Sky Nets has a Bouncing Net which is just like an oversized trampoline net suspended 8m above shoppers below. Bouncers can jump anywhere they like within the 250m long freeform net. The Walking Net is a little more sedate though no less tactile, as it’s a (non-bouncing) net strung 25m above a void over Jewel’s lower levels.
Canopy Mazes has a Hedge Maze with walls made from hedges almost 2m tall. There’s a central watch tower with a birds eye view to help maze-goers figure out the puzzle. The Mirror Maze is designed to challenge perceptions of what’s real and what’s not. Illusions create confusion with an infinity chamber as a surprise ending (ssshhh don’t spoil the surprise!).
Discovery Slides are a four-in-one slide structure designed as art that doubles as interactive fun for adults and kids. Two tube slides and two sliding surfaces are designed to be fun non-sliders too who can watch sliders from an elevated platform that also offers views of Forest Valley and Rain Vortex.
Who hasn’t gazed out of an aircraft window and wondered what it would be like to frolic amongst the clouds? Foggy Bowl designers The Exploratorium clearly have! Foggy Bowls is a playground with a series of mystical mist-filled concave bowls emulating play amongst soft cotton-wool clouds.
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