Regularly coming out tops in “best airport” rankings, Changi is reputed to be an airport that never fails to pull out all the stops. But is everything you hear about Changi true? Read on, to find out what are some of the common myths about this award-winning airport.

Myth 1: A section of the ECP will be converted to an alternate runway during airport emergencies

This isn’t true. A long and straight section of the East Coast Parkway (ECP) located near the airport was previously used as an emergency landing strip. However, it has never been used for this purpose and it was recently decommissioned. You can still spot this retired emergency landing strip by looking out for the section of the ECP where potted plants, as opposed to trees, are placed on the median strip.

Myth 2: There are so many plants around Changi Airport that it must be impossible to care for them all. They must be fake!

A look inside one of Changi Airport’s several gardens A look inside one of Changi Airport’s several gardens

Breathe in fresh air at Changi's lush and beautifully landscaped gardens

While the displays of exotic decorative plants at the airport are indeed stunning, this is not true. A staggering 97% of the plants found at Changi Airport are real. The plants, which offer a much needed dose of greenery to weary travellers, are tended to by an expert team of horticulturalists, who plan and curate the beautiful live plant displays. Over 500,000 plants are taken care of at the three terminals. These are sourced from Changi Airport's very own three-hectare nursery that cultivates up to 500 different species.

Myth 3: Shopping at the airport is expensive

A picture of two ladies outside Changi Airport’s Versace outlet A picture of two ladies outside Changi Airport’s Versace outlet

A plethora of shopping options await at Changi

Not true at all! The transit area offers a selection of luxury brands as well as more affordable shopping options such as Charles & Keith, Purple Attic and Giordano – all of which lets you enjoy 7% GST savings. Travellers can also take advantage of the exclusive promotions and duty-free pricing for beauty and skincare products at The Shilla Duty Free, where prices can be up to 40% lower than at department stores in the city. What’s more, Changi Rewards members save 7% GST in Changi's public areas, even if you're are not flying! If you prefer online shopping, you can enjoy similar benefits on iShopChangi and also enjoy GST-absorbed shopping without flying. 

Myth 4: Check-in counters only open two hours before departure time

A picture of the Early Check-in lounge at Changi Airport A picture of the Early Check-in lounge at Changi Airport

Check-in early to make the most of your Changi Airport experience

Most travellers believe that they can only check-in at Changi Airport two hours prior to departure when, in fact, check-in for many airlines is available as early as 24 hours before the scheduled departure. This allows for a relaxing check-in experience, with ample time to enjoy the Changi’s amazing facilities, from spas to gardens, business centres and a swimming pool with jacuzzi. For information on check-in times for specific airlines, check out the Airline Information page. Even though travel is halted at the moment, it's good to keep this in mind for when it's good to travel again!

At Changi, you may check-in as early as 24 hours for many airlines before your scheduled departure

Myth 5: The firemen at Changi Airport are from the SCDF

A picture of the Airport Emergency Service at Changi Airport A picture of the Airport Emergency Service at Changi Airport

The AES can handle every aviation emergency

Changi Airport has its own Airport Emergency Service that is independent of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). As aircraft fires pose unique risks and challenges, this group undergoes specialised rigorous training so that it meets international safety standards. The Airport Emergency Service personnel are the ones who are mobilised in the event of aviation-related emergencies, such as aviation rescue, fire-fighting and protection, emergency management and industrial fire safety for Singapore's civilian and military airports.


With its stellar reputation as one of the world’s best airports, much has been written about Changi Airport. Unfortunately, there is misinformation sometimes.  We hope these myth busters give you a more accurate picture of Changi Airport.


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