[Update, 15 Mar 2017] We’ve done it again – Changi Airport has been voted the World’s Best Airport by air travellers at the 2017 World Airport Awards.
Changi beat Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and South Korea’s Incheon International Airport to clinch top honours for the fifth year in a row.
The Airport was also named Best Airport in Asia, and Best Airport for Leisure Amenities.
Ah, Changi Airport.
I’m sure many of us have countless memories of the place, be it the times when we mugged for various tests and exams while making that McDonald’s breakfast last till dinner, or the times when we said tearful goodbyes to our family when heading off for an exchange programme.
Not just through these very personal memories, the Airport has also won over Singaporeans with interesting exhibitions and campaigns over the years.
We take a look at some of the more memorable ones:
1. Welcoming Joseph Schooling Home
First thing’s first – Changi Airport’s social media game is STRONG.
Not only do they promptly reply to user comments in an effable manner which surpasses the standard corporate replies of other pages, they’ve also created social media posts which are both engaging, yet heartwarming.
For example, I think it’s safe to say that Joseph Schooling’s Gold Medal win at the recently ended Rio Olympics is one of the biggest news for Singapore sports this year, and instead of just doing coverage of his return back, the social media team promptly created the post above, which consists of a flight arrival announcement board with Schooling’s record-shattering time of 50.39 seconds.
The post, created with advertising agency Goodstuph achieved viral status, with over 5,000 shares to date and overwhelmingly positive comments.
The secret sauce was the use of a familiar sight that many can recognise, and the avoidance of using something too ‘obvious’, like the iconic control tower.
With the visual and copy done even before Schooling leapt into the pool, all they needed was to wait for the timing and his performance. It was essentially a gamble which paid off, as Schooling took home the gold medal for our nation the next day.
Not wanting to be complacent with this victory on social media, Ivan Tan, Changi Airport Group’s (CAG) senior vice president of Corporate & Marketing Communications mentioned, “We can’t wait to come up with something even better in 2020.”
You go, CAG social media team.
2. Star Wars – The Exhibition We Were Looking For
I’m sure everyone remembers the massive media coverage and hype over the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens last year.
Whether the movie lived up to the hype or not is debatable (personally, it didn’t), but there is no doubt that Star Wars-themed everything was rather interesting.
Changi Airport took the promotion up one notch, with a life-sized X-wing fighter on display at Terminal 3, and TIE mock-up at Terminal 2. Members of the public could also do a little cosplay as a rebel pilot and take a photo (which can be taken home) in the cockpit of the X-wing.
X-wing pilots and Imperial Stormtroopers (the poster boys of the Star Wars franchise) also made appearances at 4pm on Saturdays.
If you’re lost on what the names and terms entail, just take a look at the photos below.
Singaporeans love their limited edition plush toys (see: Hello Kitty), and Changi Airport promptly hopped onto that bandwagon, selling Star Wars plush toys at $6 each, with a minimum spending of $70 at public places in the Airport, and $150 in the transit area.
Did it work?
Hell yeah, and I’m now a proud owner of a Yoda plush, even though I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan around. (We’re Vulcan Post, after all.)
3. SG50 Nostalgia
The SG50 craze hit everyone and everything hard, and there was a point we were even seeing fishcakes with the digits 5-0 carved into each piece.
Strange, we know.
However, Changi Airport seemed to nail the festivities on the head by adding a foolproof element – nostalgia.
Across the three terminals, Singaporean icons were a common sight, one of which being Singa, the lion mascot from the Singapore Kindness Movement. Made up entirely of flowers, it wasn’t only cute, but reminded all of us of more innocent times in school.
Singapore is a nation of foodies, and it was also inevitable that exhibits included iconic Singaporean food like Satay, Chili Crab, Roti Prata, and even a gigantic durian (with no smell, don’t worry durian haters!).
An information counter decorated like an old-school dragon playground, a Chinese junk boat structure, and a figure of one of our men in green also greeted visitors to the Airport.
An airport is the first place tourists get to experience a nation, and Changi Airport’s efforts in introducing the icons that make us, us, didn’t only intrigue our guests, but also Singaporeans like ourselves.
4. Charging Stations, Free WiFi EVERYWHERE
These days, hell is being stuck outside your home with a dying battery.
What makes the situation worse is when you’re just about ready to get on a flight to another country, but don’t know if your phone would last till the time you settle down in your accommodation.
“How will my parents know I’m safe and sound?” “How will I Skype my boy/girlfriend to tell them I love them?”
Well, Changi Airport sees that as a common plight of its over 55 million/year visitors, and has installed charging stations all around, at both the public and transit areas. A report last year stated that there are over 880 stations, but we can only guess that the number has increased by now.
Free WiFi is also available throughout the terminals, making our Airport super tech-friendly for social media addicts (and also Pokemon GO players), and there are even movie theatres in the transit areas of Terminal 2 and 3, for movie buffs with a few hours to spare.
With so much consideration for travellers and their needs, it’s no wonder that the Airport has won top honours in Skytrax’s World Airport Awards for 7 years and counting.
5. Strong Social Media Game – #iamhome x #nowboarding
We could go on and on about the physical features around the Airport, but their efforts to engage us, especially via social media, is definitely commendable.
Other than posts on the features that visitors could enjoy during their visit, there’s also an album titled “#iamhome x #nowboarding“, which features a portrait of a passenger along with a short writeup of the subject.
Take this one for example:
Many of us notice (and even experience at times) these touching scenes whenever we’re at the arrival area, but never really get to know the stories behind those hugs and tears.
Changi Airport has taken up this curiosity and beautifully curated them into posts which are totally sharable, simply because they are just so relatable.
We’re looking forward to even more posts, because while flights might be physically cold, the emotions of those either travelling, or welcoming someone home are warm.
They’ve also started an album titled “Faces of Changi“, which puts a name and story to those working to keep our Airport safe and all-round wonderful.
Not Just A Transactional Space
I still remember when my Australian friend expressed her surprise (an understatement) that Singaporeans could actually ‘hang out’ at the Airport, when many are merely a transactional space.
Because of how the Airport has embedded itself so deeply into our hearts and lifestyles, it’s easy to forget that at the end of the day, it’s really just a place for us to take planes.
What endears Changi Airport to you? Let us know!
Featured Image Credit: mynewsdesk.com