Review: Singapore Changi New Terminal 4 Arrivals Process

Late last month, I flew Cathay Pacific from Tokyo to Singapore via Hong Kong. I was surprised by how fantastic my two flights were. The best part was the crew, who were among the best I’ve ever had on both flights. After arriving at Changi’s new Terminal 4, I snapped a quick picture with one of the Singapore-based crew on my flight.

Then, I headed toward immigration. For some reason, I didn’t think to take pictures until I arrived at the immigration hall, so I compiled a video of footage going from the aircraft to arrivals.

Surprisingly, Terminal 4 is mostly intended for low-cost airlines. The majority of the gates were occupied by AirAsia or Cebu Pacific. The four gates at the far end of the terminal house wide-body aircraft, so that is where Cathay Pacific and Korean Air usually park.

The walk didn’t feel too long, though. As you can see in the video, the ceiling lights have this cool effect where you only see them from a short distance. There are plants along the side of the terminal, and restrooms at several points along the walk.

I didn’t react to how incredible the terminal was until I took the escalator down to the immigration hall.

Live trees are dispersed throughout the terminal. There are stunning geometric shapes hanging from the glass ceiling, allowing natural light to brighten the hall. The immigration desks look more like airline check-in desks, as you can see straight ahead in the picture.

Above the desks for Singaporean passport holders, there is a beautiful arrival sign.

There were no lines for immigration, despite the busy arrival time, and I was through in less than a minute. After walking past a duty-free store, I was in the baggage claim area.

It’s a shame the ceiling is so low, which makes baggage claim look a lot less special than the rest of the terminal. However, the inner wall sets it apart.

I wouldn’t mind taking a seat and waiting for my bags here. This is how to do airport arrivals – and talk about a good welcome to Singapore!

The wall between baggage claim and the public area is made of glass. This means you can see through it and identify/wave to your friends and family before you’ve even collected your bag. And, the terminal is equally beautiful once you clear customs.

Bottom Line

Singapore Changi’s new Terminal 4 has the best arrival process I have ever experienced. The terminal is beyond stunning, wait times are short and the vegetation is invigorating after spending hours and hours in-flight.

Have you been to the new Terminal 4 yet? 

  1. Will be ther next week flying both cathay’s regional J 2-3-2 on their 772 and the standard J reverse herringbone seat on the A333. Also the Dragonair A321 regional J from Can to HKG at a shot hop.

  2. Just went through here last week as a departing and arriving passenger. The arrivals process was great, the experience was really good.

    I found the departures area to be a little bit less exciting than the rest of Changi and since there is no train between the terminals you sort of feel left out as it’s difficult to access some of the things that makes Changi great like the movie theatre and swimming pool. I did really enjoy the new automated boarding pass system. The Cathay Pacific lounge there is also fantastic. I find it odd that they are in that terminal away from the other Oneworld airlines.

  3. It looks like all the other Changi terminals. I really don’t get the point of T4, which isn’t connected to anything. It’s not a real low cost terminal either, but it’s for low cost airlines. Just an odd odd choice, especially for Korean and Cathay.

  4. It’s a dumpster. CX should be ashamed to be put in a low-class, kettle terminal. The entire process sucks (departure). Arrivals is alright. No straightforward access to MRT sucks tho. Forget about connecting to any other oneworld flight.

  5. T4 was built on the site of the former budget terminal; that’s why it isn’t connected by monorail to the other terminals. Other terminals still serve budget airlines, so T4 isn’t strictly for low cost airlines (Vietnam Airlines is another full-cost carrier at T4). Cathay grabbed the chance to open their own lounge and not that many Cathay passengers transfer to other Oneworld airlines at Changi, since HKG would be more convenient.

  6. Changi Terminal 4 is a miss and a mess, especially arriving with Cathay Pacific with a long walk to arrivals or onward connections to other carriers and no direct MRT transit options.

    The terminal appears designed for originating and terminating services with budget carriers and while the new technology may work well with originating flights, it is manual and slow with connecting flights.

  7. Is there a transit desk for separate tickets with non LCC? On other terminals, Changi used to allow pax to get off the plane, head to the transit desk, and get a boarding pass for the separate tickets (as long as it’s not with LCC) w/o exiting landside to claim baggage. Changi ground service ops will take care of all that. Does that option exist in T4?

    We use that a lot since it’s far easier to get award tix from US to SIN, as opposed to cities in Indonesia. We would then buy GA tickets to various places in Indo and have luggage taken care of through the transit desk.

  8. The reason why these full service carriers (Vietnam, Cathay, Korean) serve T4 is because they have minimal onward codeshare flights from SIN.

  9. Check out the duty-free experience there – incredible range of craft gin and beers available at the best prices in Singapore.

  10. Just a small clarification. The automated gates are not just for Singapore passport holders but also for permanent residents, plus, I believe, also anyone else with prior electronic clearance.

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