Things To Know As A Transit Passenger Through Singapore Changi Airport

by joeheg

Singapore Airlines and its low-cost subsidiary, Scoot, fly to many locations throughout Southeast Asia. Combine that with Singapore Airlines’ long-haul route map that circles the globe, including the current two longest commercial flights, and it’s no wonder why many passengers transit through Singapore Changi Airport.

people walking in a large airport

Fortunately, the airport was designed with a large number of transit passengers in mind and it’s no problem to spend time in the airport without having to go through Singapore immigration.

First, it’s important to know who Singapore considers a transit passenger.

To qualify as a Transit Passenger, traveller must:

  • Have both flights booked in the same booking itinerary

  • Have their check-in luggage tagged-through from the origin airport to their final destination

I was fortunate to find award tickets using KrisFlyer miles for our trip from Los Angeles to Ho Chi Minh City. The trip was booked as a single ticket and our bags were tagged to SGN at the LAX ticket counter. We qualified as transit passengers and had a four-hour layover at Singapore Changi.

When we landed, we entered the terminal. This was different from other airports, as every other place we’ve visited dumps passengers into the sterile immigration area. Typically if you’re transiting to another flight, you must follow a path to the terminal gates.

At Changi, you exit your flight into the terminal, like a domestic flight anywhere else. You can take the Skytrain between Terminals 1, 2 & 3 while staying in the transit area. You can walk directly between T1 & T3. There’s also a bus within the transit area to Terminal 4. This means you can get from one flight to another easily without clearing immigration.

Since we flew in business class, we spent our time at the SilverKris Business Lounge.

a sign with flowers on it

If you don’t have access to this lounge, other lounges in the transit area allow you to pay for entrance. If lounges aren’t your thing, there are plenty of places to eat, grab a drink, or do some high-end or duty-free shopping.

Changi Airport also has several free things to do while in the transit area. You can visit the butterfly garden or the movie theater.

a garden with plants and trees

If you have a long or overnight layover, transit hotels are available in Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

There were several other attractions in the transit areas of Changi Airport but many are still closed since Covid. They also offered a free tour of Singapore for transit passengers who have more than a 4-hour layover but that’s also not operating at this time. Check the airport website to see what is open during your trip.

The one place you can’t visit at Changi Airport as a transit passenger is Jewel, the mega-mall located between Terminals 2 & 3.

a waterfall in a glass dome

To see Jewel and its world reknown rain vortex up close, you need to meet all of the entry requirements and clear Singapore Immigration. You must do this anyway if you’re traveling on separate tickets or if your bags are not checked to their final destination.

We didn’t do much exploring of the airport as we’d have plenty of time to look around on our return flights, when we had a 36-hour layover.

In short, transiting through Changi Airport is as stress-free as it can get. Remember that your connecting flight needs to be on the same itinerary and your bags have to be checked to your destination. As long as you have those bases covered, enjoy your time at one of the best airports in the world.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Greg Smith February 26, 2023 - 4:33 pm

I recently transited on 2 separate tickets with 2 different airlines, with carry on bag only. I had printed my boarding pass for the 2nd flight before leaving Sydney and it wasn’t a problem

joeheg February 26, 2023 - 7:14 pm

Two very important things. You didn’t have any checked bags so you didn’t need to leave the transit area to collect them. You also had your boarding pass for the second flight so you didn’t have to check in at the counter.

Patrick February 28, 2023 - 8:16 pm

One of the best airports in the world!!!


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