Righty-o, as we say here in down-under, let’s get this show on the road. This week we have airport news from across the globe for you: There’s the closure of an Asian airport’s terminal building, a computer glitch in Europe, Sweden’s suspicious bag and a police chase down an active airport runway in the US.
Our lovely friends over at Forbes have recently come up with their selection of the best international airport for layovers. It’s a great idea and something we have been discussing for a while here at LateDeparture. So, in true LD-style, let’s get that red pen out and add some notes to their recommendations:
London Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR)
Yes, London is exciting, however, the airport overall isn’t. Don’t get us wrong, we really like what they’ve done with Terminal 5 and the Virgin Clubhouse in Terminal 3 is simply fantastic, however, the average traveller would probably be quite underwhelmed by the airport overall. It still feels too crowded, outdated and confusing. Plus there’s always the chance of getting in or out late because of the airport is already at 99% capacity with its 2 runways. But then it is London, well known for being eccentric and a bit chaotic. So if that’s what you like, you’ll have a great time there!
Hong Kong International (IATA: HKG)
Yes, Hong Kong should definitely be on that list; we wrote about it numerous times, for example in one of our most famous headlines reading “When little airports grow up, they become Hong Kong International“. The airport has also won numerous awards and certainly has our seal of approval!
Munich International Airport (IATA: MUC)
Munich airport has two faces: a happy one and a rather confused if not angry one. Let us explain this further: Munich is one of the Lufthansa hubs and therefore receives special treatment by the German airline. The carrier occupies one terminal exclusively (together with its Star Alliance partners). This terminal, Terminal 2, is really nice and offers plenty of options for shopping or consuming one of those famous Oktoberfest beers. On the other side, Terminal 1 is dull and boring and doesn’t seem to fit next to its upmarket cousin. However, there’s a solution if you are not flying through Terminal 2: head outside and get into that middle section between the two terminals. There you find a few restaurants and other interesting stuff to spend your time with (read our more detailed review titled “Oktoberfest atmosphere at Munich Airport” to gain further insights).
Singapore Changi Airport (IATA: SIN)
Yes, yes, and yes! This airport ticks all the boxes and definitely belongs in this list. And no, we don’t get any money for writing this. But it is an open secret that this airport has been our long lasting favourite and we’ve covered it extensively (e.g. read our detailled review of Changi’s crown jewel, Terminal 3 here).
Amsterdam Schiphol (IATA: AMS)
Amsterdam, Amsterdam, what can we say? Maybe that we love you? There’s certainly no doubt that this is an exciting airport with plenty to see and do. In our opinion it’s probably the best European airport as it’s got the perfect size, it’s big but not too big. Plus similar to Changi airport, Amsterdam keeps introducing new and exciting things. The latest one was the banner vending machine – we wrote about it. If you want to read more about the airport, a good start is our review here.
That’s where the Forbes list ends. Overall we believe it’s a good selection but might miss out on mentioning South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (IATA: ICN), an airport that has also regularly won awards, Zurich Airport (IATA: ZRH) which we also featured a number of times (e.g. here) or good old Los Angeles International (IATA: LAX) albeit not for the airport itself, but for it’s great location only minutes away from the beach and other superb layover options (read our extensive LAX reviews here, here and here).
[Photo from Flickr – Some rights reserved by Gerrit Wenz]
Righty-o, here we go! It’s still a very young 2012 yet airport related news have already been pouring in left, right and center. And as so often, there was some good news (JFK), some bad (New Delhi) and some weird (Buenos Aires). Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.
On the negative side, this week we found bankruptcy and strikes dominating the global airport news; yet on the positive side, helpful Singaporeans and a new born traveller in the USA made the headlines. Plus we’ve been very busy too as you might have seen with the release of our newest story on Wednesday where we wrote about the hidden “backstage action” of refuelling planes.
Okie dokie, let’s get this week’s news round-up going as we’ve got a lot to get through! Our tour will bring you to Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Moscow and London. It’s obviously been a news week from around the world!
Being a student can be a lot of fun but when it comes to applying the learnt it can be a different story altogether as students often fail to see the direct practical application or they are finding it hard getting jobs where they can apply the newly gained knowledge. Now the Singapore Polytech (SP) has found a clever way around this by partnering with long-time innovation centric Changi Airport (IATA: SIN) in Singapore. The two provide a real-world experience for students through SPELL, a retail store wholly run by students.
Aerial displays are something all airports are good at, well, at least if you classify the graceful starts and landings of aircraft as such. Now Changi Airport in Singapore (IATA: SIN; LD reviewed) put up a whole different kind of aerial show: To publicise their Changi Millionaire draw, the airport invited Strange Fruit, a world-renowned Australian performing arts company, to perform at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 last Friday.
The calendar has just flipped to December and with that into the silly festive season building up to Christmas 2010. And, oh boy, does this mean a busy period for airports as Millions of people will be travelling to their loved ones or are escaping on to their long deserved vacation, away from it all. What ever it is, it means a lot of people’s choice of transport is a plane.
Can this airport get any better? Apparently it can! I’ve reviewed Singapore’s terminal 3 (IATA: SIN) a while back and gave it the highest marks in all areas. So listen to this, straight from their press release:
Expect to hear shrieks of fun and excitement at Changi Airport with the opening of The Slide@T3 – the tallest slide in Singapore and in an airport around the world.
How cool is that? There’s even more details:
At 12 metres tall, the jumbo twister slide is the height of four standard basketball hoops stacked on top of one another. Riders can expect to experience a top speed of 6 metres/second while going down the slide.
Pretty nice for an airport, hu? You bet! Below is the full text of the release. Now go, pack up your kids and board that Singapore airlines plane to Changi for a family weekend at the, err, airport 😉
SINGAPORE, 27 May 2010 – Expect to hear shrieks of fun and excitement at Changi Airport with the opening of The Slide@T3 – the tallest slide in Singapore and in an airport around the world. Open to Changi Airport visitors from today, the four-storey tall slide at Terminal 3 will provide thrilling fun to young and old alike.
The Slide@T3 is the latest addition to the diverse range of facilities at the world’s most awarded airport and heightens Changi Airport’s growing popularity as a family weekend destination. At 12 metres tall, the jumbo twister slide is the height of four standard basketball hoops stacked on top of one another. Riders can expect to experience a top speed of 6 metres/second while going down the slide.
With every S$30 spent at the airport, visitors can redeem tokens for two rides (up to a maximum of 10 rides per receipt) on the jumbo slide located at the public area of the Arrival Hall (Level 1) in Terminal 3. Visitors can enjoy a shorter, one-and-a-half storey tall slide located at Terminal 3 Basement 2, for which no tokens are required.
The Slide@T3 is open daily from noon to 10.30 pm. Riders must be at least 1.3 metres tall to try the four-storey tall slide. The height requirement for the shorter slide is 1.1 metres.
Update: Watch the Making-of video of how the Slide@T3 was built here: http://www.youtube.com/fansofchangi#p/u/2/mc9EuwKq96w
Where do I start?
Well, the question you first have to ask yourself before coming to Changi Airport, Terminal 3 (IATA: SIN) is: how much time do I have? This could be one of the few airports you actually wish to be delayed in. Of course many passengers (37.7 Million passed through the airport in total in 2008) transit through Singapore between flights so typically have between 2 – 6 hours to spend and, oh boy, can they be spent well!
The next question is, what mood are you in?
Tired from your previous flight? Go to one of the many quiet zones throughout the terminal or chill out while getting a foot massage in one of the countless, free foot massage chairs throughout the terminal. Or watch a Koi feeding at the Koi pond which you find on the runway side of the terminal.
Need to spend the remaining cash? Visit the only FIFA store in an airport anywhere in the world and stock up on 2010 World Cup merchandise.
Interested in nature and the environment? Go to the butterfly garden and watch 1,000 butterflies of 47 species swirl around the outdoor exhibit. You’ll find it roughly in the middle of the Terminal on the runway side (see the interactive map for more details on how to get there).
Changi’s Terminal 3 not only gives you a wonderful experience, it thinks on a much bigger scale!. The airport’s flagship terminal, opened in January 2008, also puts a mark on its environmentally friendly approach. For example, the ceiling includes 919 panels to direct the incoming sunlight, therefore, reducing the need for artificial lighting thus conserving massive amounts of electricity. Furthermore in the middle of the massive terminal you will see a 5 storey high and 300m wide live green wall, made of plants (see picture). The green wall is visible from both the departing and the arriving side of the structure making the airport green in the truest sense of the word. That and the meticulously designed sound proofing elements of the airport make your travel experience a truly calm and enjoyable one.
Okay, let’s do the top list but other than my usual ritual of giving you just one list, here are 3 depending on how much time you have at hand:
Under 2 hours
- Grab a quick espresso and a chocolate treat from the only Guylian Belgium Chocolate cafe in an airport
- Men: Enjoy the views from the urinals in the pristine toilets of the main section of the terminal
Women: Check out the “powder room” and work on your soon to be pretty faces. You will find the entrance just below the escalators to the SilverKris lounge
- Grab a quick foot massage in one of the many free massage chairs
- Go to the butterfly garden and watch the beautiful creatures feast on the flower and fruit nectar provided- a must see!
- Quickly check your new email messages on one of the 500 free internet kiosks across the 3 terminals (and decide to answer them later)
2 to 5 hours
All of the above plus
- Go shop-aholic and check out the numerous retail outlets neatfully aligned in sections by category
- Grab a movie in the terminal’s own and free movie theatre (tipp: go there first and check out what movie you’d like to see and plan your time around that)
- Retrieve to one of the quiet zones and nap for a bit
- Check out the sculpture in the “A gates” zone arrival hall called “coming home” (it’s visible from the departure section too)
- Find all the “green elements” of this clever airport design (challenge question: what are the nuzzles you see throughout the airport, above head hight and why are they where they are?)
- (Re-)check your email and decide to respond to a few this time (see “under 2 hours”, above)
More than 5 hours
All of the above and/or
- Consider purchasing lounge access at the Ambassador Transit Lounge (which also contains sports equipment for your immediate workout needs)
- Book yourself into the Transit hotel upstairs; they sell rooms in 6-hour blocks
- Go on a free City tour around Singapore (they depart in 2 hour blocks from 9am to 4pm and you won’t have to go through immigration)
- Cross over to Terminal 1 for a swim in the rooftop pool (you didn’t forget to pack your swimsuit, did you? Don’t worry if you did, there are plenty of retail shops selling you a new pair!)
- If you’re in a group – challenge each other on who can make a full round tour around the 3 terminals quicker (one group clockwise, one anti-clockwise)
If you do have more time and don’t mind queuing the 20 or so minutes it took me both times for immigration, then do go into Singapore. The city is only a 30 minute, very affordable taxi ride away. Let’s face it, you have to be able to tell your friends you’ve enjoyed a Singapore sling in the world renown Raffles Hotel on your stopover!
|Airport Name||Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 3|
|S$ 168 (£74.20)|
|S$ 95 (£41.95)|
[Picture from Changi Airport Group – all rights reserved]