Changi Airport: From A380s to the Kinect (photos)

At Singapore's Changi Airport, those in transit have high tech, big planes, free movies, and more to help pass the time.

Daniel Terdiman
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A380 and 747

CHANGI AIRPORT, Singapore--On a recent trip to Nepal, I had the opportunity to spend about 18 hours at the Changi Airport, a transit hub I'd always heard was one of the most advanced and tech-friendly in the world.

It's also the home of the first Airbus A380 in the world--Singapore Airlines was the first carrier to take delivery of the behemoth double-decker airplane. While many airlines fly them today, they seem especially at home here.

Shown on the airport's tarmac are two of the most iconic airliners: a Qantas A380 (left) and a Singapore Airlines 747-400. They are not quite side by side, so the perspective is an illusion. The A380 is the world's largest passenger plane and, even though it's not all that much larger than a 747, it is still one gigantic airplane.

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A380 through the window

The gigantic nose of a Singapore Airlines A380 as seen through the window of a gate lounge at Changi Airport.
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Two A380s

Although there are plenty of other kinds of airplanes flying through Singapore, there seem to be no shortage of A380s. Here, a Qantas A380 waits to take off as a Singapore Airlines A380 begins to power down the runway.
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Paper airplanes on the ceiling

An exhibit at Changi Airport presents travelers with instructions on how to fold paper airplanes, as well as demonstrating--with 600 paper airplanes hanging from the ceiling--how many airplanes fly out of Singapore every day.
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Paper airplane diagram

A diagram shows travelers how to fold a paper airplane.
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A380 at the gate

As home to Singapore Airlines, the first carrier to fly the Airbus A380, Changi Airport is an easy place to spot the behemoth airplane.
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Kinect test

Travelers who pass through Terminal 3 at Changi Airport can test out Microsoft's new Kinect motion controller, which is designed to work with its Xbox 360 video game system.
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Apple store

Although this isn't an official Apple Store, the iStudio in Changi Airport looks about the same as any Apple Store, selling Macs, iPads, and iPhones, as well as plenty of Apple-related accessories.
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103-inch plasma TV

Seen from above, this Panasonic behemoth is a 103-inch 1080p plasma TV--said to be the world's largest.
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Internet terminals

Not wanting new arrivals to go even a minute without Internet access, Changi Airport offers free Internet on computers scattered throughout the terminals. There is also free Wi-Fi available everywhere.
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Sony store

The Sony Style store, located just across the walkway from the iStudio Apple emporium.

Singapore's terminals, especially Terminal 2 and Terminal 3, are designed to satisfy the shopping, browsing, and technology needs of travelers. But don't count on being able to buy gum. The well-known Singapore prohibition on gum extends to the convenience stores that are found inside the terminals.

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Changi Airport features a wonderful butterfly garden, with 47 species of butterflies fluttering around a temperature-controlled enclosure.
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In the garden

Several butterflies rest on a bed of flowers.
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47 species

This sign illustrates the 47 species of butterflies found in the butterfly garden at Changi Airport in Singapore.
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Koi pond

In keeping with the nature theme, there is also a beautiful koi pond.
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Departure lounge halo

This huge halo is part of the departure lounge at Changi Airport.
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Charging station

This charging station offers travelers a way to charge up any number of devices, from iPhones to Blackberrys, and more, all for free.
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Movie theater

For those with hours to kill at Changi, the airport offers a movie theater where free films are playing nonstop. No popcorn is available.
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Hard Rock Cafe

The airport also features, naturally, a Hard Rock Cafe.
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Crowne Plaza

Though technically outside the airport, this Crowne Plaza hotel is woven into the larger airport complex and has a modern, designer feel to it that fits right in.
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Orchid garden

An orchid garden, complete with a koi pond, as seen in Changi Airport in Singapore.
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Colorful lounging

A rest lounge in Terminal 2 features these colorful and comfortable seats.
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Transit hotel

For those waiting overnight for their next flight, but who don't want to leave the airport, Changi offers a transit hotel with rooms available for just a few hours. It features one of the best showers in the world.

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