A Quiet Weekend

To give you some context: in 2019, 68.3 million passengers from all over the world went through Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Terminal 4 (or T4) is Changi’s newest baby, opened recently in October 2017. T4 has the capacity to handle 16 million passengers a year. It was previously the Budget Terminal, though after its reopening was anything but – T4 is the first airport I used that had self-service check-in, fully automated bag drops (the weighing scale was exact and unforgiving towards excess luggage), and a free entertainment corner equipped with an Xbox Kinect and pinball arcade machines. T4 also has a gorgeous interior styled to look like shophouses.

Source: Business Traveller

On the other hand, Terminal 2 (or T2) is ten times as old as T4 but as late as January this year it was looking to expand and increase capacity. Yes, January 2020 B.C. (before corona), which seems ages ago.

Both terminals have now been shuttered — in T2’s case, for 18 months, in T4’s case, indefinitely — driven by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Passenger volumes have declined by as much as 99% compared to last year, which isn’t surprising. Recently it’s picked up a little bit, but hardly back to B.C. levels.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we had a sudden hankering to visit the airport even though we had nowhere to go.

Manong GrabCar

Normally we liked lingering at Changi after sending relatives off, or dropping by on random weekends. Riding the Skytrains between the airport terminals is free and my kid always enjoyed the view — huge planes, assorted airport vehicles on the tarmac.

I know the airport might seem like an odd place to hang out. But here in Singapore it’s exactly what the government wants you to do.

Exhibit A: Jewel Changi, with its massive menu of shopping & dining options, its impressive indoor waterfall a.k.a. the Rain Vortex, the Canopy Park, and of course, Singapore’s flagship A&W outlet. (The queues at A&W when it first opened at Jewel were crazy, but to be fair it was making a comeback after a 16-year absence. By the way, does anybody remember the A&W branch at Greenbelt Makati back in the ’90s?)

Mask up!

Surprisingly, the link bridge to T2 remained open. We also caught a glimpse of the terminal itself. I expected it to be empty of course, but it was still strange to see it as quiet as a library.

Then, we headed back home on a train that was just as silent (at least until the change at Tanah Merah station).

Think critically dear readers,

15 thoughts on “A Quiet Weekend

  1. I saw the new terminal that Changi is currently planning to build last year! Sobrang laki. Bigger than all the terminals combined. And yes, Changi IS the finest airport in the world! This makes me miss Singapore!!!

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  2. Definitely missing the Lion City! I’m actually planning to visit the west side (Jurong) and shop at IMM once this pandemic is over =))

    Interestingly, I also saw the A&W queues in Jewel and it reminded me of Popeyes’ return to the Philippines. Funny that Shake Shack there barely had queues but the one here in Manila saw long lines!

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  3. All THAT at an airport?! The two in Milan (Malpensa and Linate) are total dives compared to this. I would travel to Singapore just to say that I visited THEE best airport in the world.

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  4. It’s crazy to see it so empty! It’s like the world is in a stand still. I wish our airport is worth visiting here. Nothing is as awesome as Singapore’s Changi airport. We also have A&W here in Texas. But I rarely go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true about the airport— post-apocalyptic feels. A&W’s root beer float tastes like childhood for me! 😊


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