The last time I transited through Singapore’s Changi Airport I was a child. As you can imagine, a lot has changed when it comes to travel and the facilities offered at airports. Over the years I’ve heard so many amazing things about Changi Airport, Singapore, I was almost disappointed we didn’t have more time to explore its facilities. As always, I was keeping an eye out for accessible features and services that might make travel easier for our HWWT community.
Changi International Airport – Singapore – Accessibility
Singapore has earned itself a reputation for being an incredibly accessible country. For most people their first impression of a country is formed at the airport on arrival or when researching their visit on the airport’s website. So, it’s wonderful to see Singapore’s Changi Airport provides extensive information on their website. Whether you have a physical disability or an invisible disability, Changi Airport has information listed on their website to make your visit as smooth as possible.
Singapore airport recently became the first airport in the world to introduce an automated lane for multiple travellers to perform self-immigration clearance as a group. This makes it possible for wheelchair users to now clear immigration independently.
I am so happy to see so many attractions and airports providing social stories, allowing visitors to familiarise themselves with a place and the processes involved when visiting. Changi Airport partnered with Rainbow Centre, a local organisation, to create a social story which people are able to customise for their loved one. If you are travelling to Changi Airport, or transiting through Singapore, you can download the Changi Airport social story.The social story is incredibly detailed and well done and it includes the various changes since Covid.
The Hidden Disabilities lanyard is also recognised at Changi Airport.
Our experience at Changi Airport
Firstly, the airport is massive, so all the walkways are wide. They are carpeted, which we always find harder for pushing Braeden’s wheelchair. Wheelchair-friendly routes are loaded onto the iChangi app so it might be worth downloading it and familiarising yourself with it prior to travelling to Singapore.
For anyone with a long wait between connecting flights, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Free movie screenings are offered day and night in the movie theatre and the theatre is accessible.
I was keen to check out the butterfly garden but they were all sleeping as it was 1030pm at night. I still found it interesting and novel. A level boardwalk runs throughout the small sanctuary and being in there is certainly more interesting than being in the usual airport environment.
As we had a few hours at the airport we decided to explore beyond our arrival terminal and used the Skytrain to get between terminals.
The Skytrain is fast and accessible with step-free access and plenty of room inside for wheelchair users.
The majority of accessible bathrooms are located inside the men’s or women’s toilets but I did find some unisex stand-alone accessible bathrooms which offer good access.
Everything at Singapore’s Changi Airport is spotlessly clean, including the bathrooms.
I didn’t have time to check out the Changing Places style of bathroom but there is one.
According to the Changi Airport website it is located at Terminal 3, Basement 2, Public Area (close to Raffles’ Medical Clinic). I’m doubling checking but I suspect the description of “public area” means that this is before immigration if you are departing Singapore. If you are transiting I think you’d need to go through immigration to be able to use it, but I’ll clarify when I have confirmation.
I had planned to access the pay-per-use Ambassador’s Transit Lounge for a shower to ensure I arrived in Paris in the best possible shape, but I didn’t plan well. By the time we visited the lounge it was full and we needed to wait 40 minutes to access it. With only a short time left before we needed to be at the gate for our next flight it wasn’t worth paying to access it. In future, I’d go directly to the lounge rather than wandering the terminals first. That will teach me for being such a sticky beak and exploring.
The lounge offers a list of options. A shower (maximum time 30 mins) is 20SGD and includes a towel and toiletries. Access to the Nap Room (single bed, common shower and toilet) for 6 hours costs SGD120. There’s also the option to use the lounge (no shower) for 3 hours for SGD$45 or lounge (with shower) for 3 hours for SGD58.
The airport is so massive it’s great to see so many information booths available to assist travellers. Many offer wheelchair and pram hire too. If there is no-one physically at the booth, there is a computer screen which links you to a real person who is working remotely. I felt weird standing talking to a screen but it was much more helpful than a touch-screen board because I could ask follow up questions to clarify.
Charging points are located throughout the terminals. My iPhone is a newer model so I can’t use the USB adapter points offered on the plane or at airports so I carry a travel adapter with me to plug into the power outlets.
If you are transiting at the airport for a long time or have a partial day to explore Singapore, there is a baggage storage area which is a paid service but well worth it. We overheard a young girl at the information counter who had left her bag on a trolley outside the toilet only to return to find it gone. It’s just not worth it. Keep an eye on your bags at all times at any airport.
We arrived from Australia and connected at Changi Airport for our flight to Paris. Even though we didn’t leave the terminal we had to go through security screening before departing for Paris. That means getting rid of any water bottles or liquids over 110ml. There are water fountains once passengers clear security. On our flight to Europe the water fountains offered chilled water. On our return there was only a bubbler to refill water bottles.
Food & shopping at Changi Airport
Changi Airport offers a range of upscale shopping and mainstream brand shopping. There’s a mini-market for snacks and drinks and various food outlets. Like most airports, it’s not cheap. We were craving fresh fruit and found it at the Jamie Oliver food outlet. They had lots of heathy looking baguettes and sandwiches too. Again, it was expensive but sometimes when you travel, all you crave is some simple heathy food.
If, in the future, you’re travelling to Singapore, or transiting through Changi Airport, I hope this is a helpful review for you. You can also find more information on the Changi Airport website.
If you’re a regular traveller, you may find these other airport reviews helpful.