On October of last year, Singapore’s Changi Airport opened to the public its new Terminal 4 after over five years of planning and construction work. Since its opened its doors to travelers, it has been reported by the Changi Airport Group (CAG) that over 1.6 million passengers have experienced traveling through the new terminal on over 9,400 flights. At present, 11 airlines operate flights to 21 destinations from Terminal 4. After months of anticipation and hearing great reviews, I had a chance to experience Changi’s T4 during a recent trip to Singapore.
The arrival process to T4 follow the normal expectations for international travel. For those familiar with flying into Singapore, there’s not much surprises. You’ll be treated with a familiar experience of walking a long, corridor heading to the immigration check and baggage claim area. Trees, plants, and some works of art can be found along the way and throughout the terminal building.
Depending on what time you arrive, the immigration process can take less time compared to other airports. After processing through immigration and claiming your bags, you’ll have a variety of seats to choose from if you decide to hang out in terminal for a bit before exiting the building – a welcome alternative which makes arriving at T4 unique. Since the terminal handles early morning flights, it offers a good rest area for those waiting to check in to their hotel or to make a flight connection later during the day. As usual, you have your options to head to the city ranging from the taxi or the airport shuttle service. One thing the terminal lacks is it location - having the most separation from the other three terminals - a distance that could make access to the city MRT and other terminals a hassle.
The easiest way to get to Terminal 4 from the city is by car or taxi, where once you head inside the departure lobby you’ll see the automated check in counters lined up to serve you. After checking in, there’s some food options such as the McDonalds and Asian-themed restaurants. For those hungry for the last minute Hawker food experience, you can head upstairs to the Food Emporium which has a viewing deck of the departure lounge and planes outside. After enjoying the spacious design of the public area, you can then head into the immigration and security check.
T4’s security processing is another difference from the other terminals. Unlike having a security checkpoint for each gate in the other terminals, T4 has one security checkpoint for all gates. With the most advanced machines around, you won’t need to remove items such as a laptop from your bag. Should something of interest be found, the agent can pinpoint the item in question which was very impressive. Add in the professional and helpful service of the agents and the ability to process passengers in an efficient way, it is one part that makes T4 stand out from other airport terminals.
Compared to the other terminals, T4 is the smallest and doesn’t have much of the entertainment and retail options you have at the other three terminals. Despite that, there are a few noteworthy mentions to check out before boarding your flight. Once past the security checkpoint, you can enjoy a bite or shop around before heading to your gate. T4 has made an effort to create a mix of old and new Singapore, which you can get a taste of at the “Heritage Zone” retail space. There is also no rooftop or outside deck for smoking or to see the sunflowers as in Terminal 1. Boarding is a breeze, as you can use the automated checkpoint machines to check your boarding pass and credentials.