Singapore Changi Airport

Airport attractions we miss: Changi Airport

As we enter another week of staying off the road and close to home, we find ourselves missing the fun of hanging out in airports that go the extra mile to make the terminals enjoyable.

With lots of greenery and gardens, cool shops and restaurants and plenty of entertaining art, Singapore’s Changi Airport is one of the best.

Here are just a few of Changi’s treasures we look forward to seeing on a future trip.

A Million Times at Changi

Kinetic Rain sculpture

Light & Sound Show – Rain Vortex at Jewel Changi Airport

What airport attractions are you missing?

Winners: World’s Best Airports for 2020

Even if spending time in an airport was once your least favorite part of traveling, we bet standing in line to go through security is probably sounding pretty good.

And when the time comes to begin traveling again, we hope that adventure will begin or end in one of the winners from the 2020 Skytrax World Airport Awards.

To no one’s surprise, Singapore’s Changi Airport wins the award for the World’s Best Airport for the eighth consecutive year.

Already a four-terminal wonderland of shops, restaurants, gardens, wide-open spaces and fun activities, in 2019 Changi opened The Jewel.

The bonus addition connects three of the airport’s four terminals and is filled with more shops, restaurants, gardens and activities built around a circular 130-foot tall Rain Vortex that is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

Courtesy Changi Airport

Changi also won the award for the World’s Best Airport Leisure Amenities, ahead of South Korea’s Incheon Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

Here’s the full list of the winners for World’s Top 10 Airports 2020:

  1. Singapore Changi Airport
  2. Tokyo Haneda Airport
  3. Hamad International Airport Doha
  4. Incheon International Airport
  5. Munich Airport
  6. Hong Kong International Airport
  7. Narita International Airport
  8. Central Japan International Airport
  9. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
  10. Kansai International Airport
Richmond, British Columbia on December 16, 2015. (BEN NELMS for YVR)

In the Best Airports in North America category, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) took the top spot, followed by Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), Denver International Airport (DEN) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

No North American airport shows up on the 2020 list of winners for World’s Cleanest Airports (Tokyo’s Haneda Airport wins that category) or World’s Best Airport Dining (Narita International Airport in Tokyo wins there).

However, the Houston Airport System took first place in the World’s Best Website and Digital Services category.

See the full list of winners in all categories on the Skytrax World Airport Awards website.

Airports upping their safety act with helmets and more

What are airports up to now?

If you’re heading to an airport now or sometime in the future, the new normal is going to be, well, different.

Masks for everyone, please.

As more and more airlines now require each employee and passenger to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth, airports from Seattle to Singapore are adding that requirement to anyone entering the terminals.

Temperature checks may become the new normal.

Airports in Asia have been scanning travelers’ temperatures for quite some time.

Now Fiumicino Airport in Rome is using ‘smart helmets’ to check the temperature of passengers.

The device is worn by airport workers and allows them to check and measure the body temperature of passengers at a distance.

Frontier Airlines, which stepped back from charging an extra fee to keep middle seats free, will begin pre-boarding temperature screenings for passengers on June 1.

Customers will be screened via touchless thermometers prior to boarding.

If the temperature reading is 100.4 degrees or higher, they will be given time to rest and, if the flight departure time allows, get another temperature check.

“If the second check is 100.4 degrees or higher, a Frontier gate agent will explain to the customer that they will not be flying that day for the health and safety of others,” the airline said in its statement. Any passenger with a 100.4 degrees or higher fever will be offered the option to rebook travel on a later date or make other arrangements.

And don’t be surprised if in the not-too-distant future TSA officers scan you for a fever at the same time they’re looking through your stuff.

What do you think of these moves? Will it make you feel safer when you fly?

Singapore Airlines now flies non stop to Singapore from Seattle

On Tuesday, Singapore Airlines (a codeshare partner of Alaska Airlines) celebrated the inaugural non-stop flight between Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and Singapore’s Changi Airport (SIN) with a lion dance and ribbon cutting at the gate and a water canon salute.

Seattle now becomes the fourth U.S. city to boast non-stop service to Singapore, joining Los Angeles, Newark and San Francisco.

During September, the flight will between Seattle and Singapore three times a week and expand to four flights a week in October.

The new SEA – SIN Singapore Airlines flight is the first-ever nonstop flight from SEA Airport to Southeast Asia. And, at 15-hours and 50-minutes, it is now also the longest longest nonstop flight from SEA airport.

The new flight is also the inspiration for a cool music video.

Singapore Airlines commissioned Seattle-based producer and musician Chong the Nomad to use an A350-900 aircraft – the same type being used for the SIA-SIN flight – as her musical instrument.

It is already a big hit!

How to make your home smell like an airport

My house smells like an airport. Yours can too.

My story this week for CNBC is about airports, airlines, hotels and other places – including Disney and National Parks – that have unique and, at times, bespoke, fragrances that you may want to take home.

If only we could do a scratch and sniff blog post today!

Singapore’s Changi Airport dazzles passengers with spiral tube slides, a butterfly garden, free movie theaters and the new $1.25 billion Jewel shopping and entertainment attraction built around the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

The award-winning airport also has a special amenity that can’t be seen: a bespoke fragrance that’s diffused into many areas of the sprawling terminals.

The airport’s signature scent has fresh floral notes of orchid, Damask rose, Asian spices and essential oils said to calm nerves and lower blood pressure. And travelers who want that soothing aroma for their homes can have it: a gift shop in Jewel’s mall sells the Changi Scent line of candles, reed diffusers and perfume oils for $14-$18.

Other airports in Asia, as well as in Europe and the United States, scent their public spaces as well.

“Honestly, we borrowed the idea from the hotel industry, where many properties have branded scents that welcome guests to the lobbies,” said Kevin Bumen, director of California’s San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP).

When the airport opened its new 6-gate terminal, improving the passenger experience was a high priority.

“We decided one thing we could do was to add scent in the ticketing areas and in bag claim,” said Bumen, “Those are the first and last areas passengers experience, and they can be points of stress and confusion. So tested several fragrances and chose a spa-like scent that conveys the idea that the airport is fresh and clean and relaxing.”

Tampa International Airport (TPA) is toying with adding scents into its terminal areas as well.

“We’ve redesigned much of the airport and improved our aesthetics. Now we’re looking into how to enhance that with scents,” said TPA spokeswoman Emily Nipps, “We’ve narrowed it down to three scents and I can tell you we’re sticking with scents that reflect the Tampa Bay Region – ocean, wood, tropics, greenery, that sort of thing.”

Airlines adopt aromas

Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, Delta and United are among the carriers that use bespoke and specially chosen fragrances in some gate areas, lounges, lavatories, jetways and airplane cabins.

Japan’s ANA (All Nippon Airways) has a unique fragrance that it is a blend of 12 natural aromas, including traditional Japanese umbrella-pine, Yoshino Japanese cedar, mint and rosemary. Customers can purchase the scents on-line and on flights with in-flight shopping.

British scent designer Rachel Vosper created a bespoke scent called “Air” for Virgin Atlantic that has notes of lemon, rose, vanilla and essential oils such as lavender and eucalyptus. The airline sells candles featuring the fragrance for 30 British pounds (about $37).

Cathay Pacific’s unique scent, designed by Air Aroma, is a mixture of subtle woods, white florals, and fresh green tea notes, while Delta Air Lines’ “Calm” scent was created with lavender and chamomile.

Alaska Airlines’ “Ocean Citron” scent, used in lounge soaps and hand lotions, was custom made by Seattle-based Antica Farmacista, and is designed to evoke “the allure of the cool blue ocean,” with notes of California Lemon, Soft Jasmine, Lavender, Green Tea, among others. 

To create its signature scent, called “Landing,” United Airlines tried to avoid notes that were too polarizing as well as notes that might be considered too feminine or too masculine, said airline spokeswoman Maddie King. The final product, used in the airline’s lounges and warm towels on board, includes a blend of orange peel, bergamot, cypress, fir balsam, black pepper, black tea, violet wood, sandalwood, cedar, amber, leather and patchouli.

The time and money airlines spend on choosing or developing a signature scent “Is truly all about customer experience,” said Logan Andres, Director of Products and Marketing for ScentAir, a company that provides and creates scents for airlines, airports resorts and hotels as well as casinos, stores, spas, auto dealerships and even doctors’ offices and funeral homes.

“Our research on this found that for airline passengers a good smelling and welcoming gate area while you’re waiting for you plane is only second behind having someplace to plug in your smartphone. And it was more important than cushy seats. We were kind of surprised.”

Aroma to go

It’s not surprising that many travelers want to take home a nice-smelling souvenir of a place they’ve enjoyed.

Disney has a new line of plush toys infused with the scent of iconic park foods, including Mickey Mouse ice-cream bars and pizza slices and Minnie Mouse cupcakes and donuts.

Paddywax sells a collection of candles with scents inspired by the country’s national parks.

In addition to raising funds for the National Park Foundation, “These scented candles transport you to the wilderness of our national parks, filling the mind with treasured memories from trails and vistas experienced with loved ones,” said Stefanie Mathew, the National Park Foundation’s senior vice president of corporate partnerships.

Sometimes, the souvenir scents are free.

Through its Scent Concierge program, guests at Hotel Spero in San Francisco can choose a wooden wand infused with one of four distinct scents and either take their wand home or use it to create a special fragrance in their rooms.  

And at Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, guests are given a small complimentary bottle of the hotel’s signature citrus-lavender scent as a checkout amenity.

“Research has shown that smell triggers emotions and memories,” said Luis Angarita, the resort’s Managing Director, “So we thought an amenity of our signature scent would be the perfect takeaway for our guests. Whenever they open the bottle, they’ll think of their special times at Casa Velas.”

And maybe book another trip.

Do you notice the scent of airports, airplane, hotels or other venues you visit? Would you want to take any of those scents home?