Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Creme De La Creme Of Airports

Good Day Everyone,

I have probably spent more than my fair share of time at airports. Travelling overseas was pretty much part of every job I had during my career and as a result I have travelled through a lot of airports. Nowadays my time at airports is of a more relaxing nature :o) Instead of dealing with work emails, writing presentations and interview questions, I can actually peruse the duty free shops, stop of at the makeup counters (big grin) and just generally relax before boarding the plane.

Out of all the airports I have travelled through, one in particular stands out more than any others, so much so that it warrants its own blog post and that is Singapore Changi Airport (website). This airport is a-mazing! I love love love spending time here. This is one airport where I do not mind arriving three hours before my flight! 

Now I can appreciate that many of you may not ‘get’ my level of excitement relating to, of all things, an airport. But let me tell you, when you have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of airports, like I have, you will just know when you come across one that is as amazing as this one!

So you’re probably wandering what is the deal with this particular airport? Why all the fuss? Why a whole blog post dedicated to it? Well let me fill you in. First of all if you’re a Singapore resident then the automated systems (which by the way actually work unlike the UK eye scanner things!) at immigration means you never have to queue (not that the immigration queues ever tend to be that long when compared to those back home at Heathrow and Manchester!). You simply scan your passport and thumb print and the barriers open with a cute little message appearing on the computer screen wishing you ‘bon voyage’ or ‘welcome back’ (I know I know, little things please me). 

The airport itself is very large, welcoming, spacious and best of all carpeted once you pass through immigration. This means there’s no screech trolley noises and the sound of people’s heels clicking constantly (a sound I absolutely detest... nothing to do with the fact that I can no longer where high heels of course ;o)). In addition, the airport plays the most relaxing chill out music I've ever heard at an airport. There are seats a plenty and I’m not talking the uncomfortable bench style but more coffee shop style. There are even sun lounger type seats in dedicated napping areas where you can get some shut eye. There are free foot massaging machines dotted around the airport as well as free internet terminals and little seating areas where you can watch various shows. The airport even has a real movie theatre in two of its terminals – how cool is that!

If you’re travelling with children then there’s plenty to keep them entertained with a kid’s playground, the tallest indoor slide in Singapore, an integrated multimedia entertainment centre, arcade games at Zone X, 3D and 4D motion simulators and a forest themed indoor playground are just a few of the offerings.

The airport has several outdoor gardens including a butterfly garden, access to swimming pool and other relaxation facilities as well as beauty salon services. If you’re transiting through Singapore and have at least five hours between flights then you can even take advantage of a free two hour Singapore sightseeing tour!

The airport is probably one of the greenest airports I've ever been two, with trees lining escalators, flower gardens and various cultural and artistic installations. One of my favourites is The Social Tree (video) located at Terminal 1. This is an interactive installation that has several touch screen booths located around it where passengers can upload photos and/or videos of themselves in various artistic forms e.g. black and white, sketch format, sepia, with animated features such as glasses and against various backdrops such as the butterfly garden. 
The Social Tree
Touch screen booth
The Social Tree with an underwater backdrop
These photos/videos are then uploaded on to the screens at the crown of the tree where they float around on the screens against various backdrops. My hubby and I had a great time uploading our photo which appeared in a bubble at the sea bed, in a hot air balloon floating across various backdrops of Singapore such as a sunset, night sky and even a rain storm. Other backdrops that we saw included a butterfly garden and a dark mystical forest. You can even post your photos/videos to various social networking sites like Facebook and email them to yourself. We can even retrieve our photo next time we are at the airport – how great is that?
Singapore night sky backdrop
Singapore with the Formula 1 race track
Singapore rain storm
Singapore sunset backdrop
I love how innovative, creative and relaxing Changi airport is and can completely understand why it has been crowned the world’s best airport. I think airports back home could certainly take some inspiration and ideas for improvements especially Manchester airport. 

Have you ever had the pleasure of visiting Singapore’s Changi airport? What were your experiences/impressions? Which is your favourite airport and why?

Love Sheen xxx

P.S. As I said I've experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of airports and my worst experience has got to be the airport in Bali. There were more cockroaches than people at that airport and it’s one that I will never transit through again!!! You've been warned!

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