Arrival and Departure from Changi Airport – A Wheelchair user’s Guide

Changi Airport

Changi Airport is Singapore’s major civilian airport for  traveling in and out of Singapore.  It has four main passenger terminals and they are all quite wheelchair friendly with accessible lifts, toilets and ramps.

Before your Travel

It’s best to be prepared before making your travel:

  • While booking your tickets, do remember to mention you require ‘special assistance’ . If possible, provide more information about your condition, e.g. if you can walk short distance, etc. This may save time for you later on.
  • Make sure your wheelchairs and other mobility equiments (that you are taking with you) are in good condition.

Departure

Firstly, note that there are many procedures for wheelchair passengers and it usually takes quite some time for airport staff to serve you. So make sure you are at the airport 3 hours before flight departure time. Do NOT go late. This may be the most important advice.

Getting to the airport: The airport is located at the eastern end of the island, and so it can be far from the mainland. If you are traveling with many luggages, an accessible taxi (e.g. London taxi) is recommended. The taxi driver would often park the taxi at an accessible place and may also help you offload the luggages.

Check-in: Once inside the airport and at the check-in counter, you may want to check-in your personal wheelchair (along with your baggages) and request for an complementary wheelchair to go up to the boarding gates. This is especially mandotory if you are on motorized chair. You won’t be allowed to take it to the boarding gates! But, not to worry, this is for the safety of your wheelchair. It may take a while for the airport wheelchair to arrive, so pls wait. A trained staff will bring it. He can also assist you with the wheelchair transfer.

Immigration and Security checks: The wheelchair assist will help you push all the way to the boarding point. Make use of his help and resist your temptation go on your own. The staff will help you move thru the immigration check points, security checks, etc. much faster.  This is immensely useful as you will realise. Especially if you are late. The staff will inform the airline crew in advance and make the necessary arrangements. So try to avoid going on your own!

Boarding the Aircraft: If all goes well,  you would have done all clearance and reached the boarding point ahead of time. Then, you will wait until the aircraft to be ready and you will be allowed to board first (with your family, of course) before the rest of the passengers. If you arrived late, you will board the last.  This is a little bit of inconvenience, otherwise there’s no major difference.

Typically you can go as is into the aircraft, but sometimes you may be asked to change to an aisle chair. Again, not to worry, the staff there will assist you with the transfer.  Also inside the aircraft, you will get assistance if you need help to transfer to the seat. The airline staff are often very helpful, so it should be fine.

Arrival

The arrival process is somewhat simpler than the departure process.

Alighting from the Aircraft: Before landing, inform the crew that you need wheelchair assistance. Then you should wait until the flight has landed and all other passengers have alighted.  It may take a while for the airport wheelchair to arrive, so pls wait. A trained staff will bring it. Make use of his help if you need to transfer to the wheelchair and get to the airport.

Immigration checks: The wheelchair assist will help you push all the way.. Make use of his help and resist your temptation go on your own. It may quite a distance so his help should do you good especially after the tiring travel journey.The staff will also help you move thru the immigration check points, security checks, etc. much faster.  This is immensely useful as you will realise.

Baggage collection: After immigration, the staff will take you to the baggage collection point where you can collect all your baggages. If you had checked-in your wheelchair, it needs to be collected from  a different place. Just inform the staff, he will assist you to get it. Also transfer to the chair if you like.

From the airport to home: The airport is located at the eastern end of the island, and so it is far from the mainland. If you are traveling with many luggages, an accessible taxi (e.g. London taxi) is recommended. There’s a taxi booking counter near the airport exit. Just inform them of your requirements and they will help to get a cab.

That’s it! Changi airport is synonymous with great experience..

 

 

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