One of things that excited me upon my travel to Singapore is that I could finally experience the Changi Airport every traveler seems to be raving about. I mean, Changi Airport was voted 2010’s Best Airport, surpassing that of the already impressive HKIA. But I made one BIG mistake.

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Yes, my flight was to land at Changi Airport in Singapore. But it wasn’t in Changi-CHANGI but Changi Budget. Now there’s a big difference in that. You see, that’s the thing with low-cost airlines sometimes. Not all planes land at the same airport. From Manila, only Philippine Airlines have the right to board and alight passengers at the main airport. Low-cost airlines like Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines, in order to keep rates low, opt to land at Changi Budget.

It’s funny because the name “Changi Budget Terminal” came about from a naming contest… Anyway, since it’s a budget terminal, they had to do away with the aerobridges. So for the first time, I experienced walking down the airplane stairs to the tarmac. Not bad for a budget terminal experience.

ARRIVAL HALL

In all fairness, I’m quite glad I landed at the budget terminal and that’s because I experienced less hassle. No long concourses, no confusing turns, no long queues. It was as simple as an airport could be. You just enter the airport building, walk a couple of meters, and you’re already at immigration. Then there’s baggage claim and that’s it! 0% hassle.

DEPARTURE LOUNGE

But it’s in the departure when airport comfortability becomes essential. HKIA gave me an awesome experience in my departure. So I had doubts about the Changi Budget Terminal. Well, of course it’s unfair to compare the two. However, I was curious to know how nice my departure experience would be in Singapore.

At the departure hall, prior to check-in, passengers are already welcomed by some food stalls like McDonald’s, a local cafe, and a newspaper stand. Again, everything was laid out plain and simple. After check-in, you have the departure lounge. There are definitely more shops, including a nifty 3 for $10 store and the eternal 7-11 convenience store.

What surprised me though was that I still felt very much comfortable. Maybe because there weren’t as many waiting passengers. But maybe it was also the interiors. I mean, the chairs were very nice and sleep-able. There’s a charging area for your mobile phone. There’s an internet kiosk you can use for free. You can even enjoy a free foot massage. Not so bad for a budget airport right?

So maybe I missed the Changi Airport experience. But who cares? You get what you pay for and I’m glad I did.

-MR-

For more information, visit: http://www.changiairport.com/