Nothing ruins a holiday like missing a flight or being stuck in long queues at the airport or having to leave things behind because they are not allowed on board aircraft.
At Changi Airport, about 10,000 passengers a year do not show up for their flights for different reasons, including arriving late. Some passengers assume that check-in counters do not close until just before take-off. They do - sometimes as early as an hour before departure. So start your vacation on the right foot this holiday season with the following tips.
PACK IT RIGHT
Check with the airline to find out what you can and cannot pack in your luggage to avoid unwanted surprises.
Find out what the baggage allowance is and make sure your carry-on bag meets the stipulated size and weight limits.
If you are carrying any liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) on board, they should be in containers no larger than 100ml and packed in a transparent bag no bigger than 1 litre. Medicine, baby milk or food, as well as food for specific diets, are exempt from these restrictions. Any large containers of liquids (even if near-empty) should go into your luggage and not your hand luggage.
Mobile phone power packs are not allowed in check-in luggage so put them in your hand luggage. Each passenger is limited to two power packs in their carry-on bags.
Those travelling to the United States should use a TSA-compliant luggage lock to enable US airport security personnel to unlock bags during checks. Otherwise, the locks may have to be cut or broken.
Different countries also have different restrictions on items that can be brought into the country. For example, you must declare all food, plant and animal products on arrival in Australia. Do your research beforehand to avoid any problems.
CHECK IN EARLY, USE SELF-SERVICE OPTIONS
Check that you have the correct travel documents, including visas and electronic travel authorisation.
Find out the options available for check-in and, where possible, do it online to save yourself the hassle of standing in line.
Bear in mind, though, that you will still have to drop your check-in bags at the airport, so do not arrive at the last minute.
Changi Airport also provides check-in kiosks at Terminals 1, 2 and 3. If you do not have bags to check in, some airlines offer the option of skipping the check-in counter altogether, allowing you to head straight to departure immigration with your mobile-phone boarding pass, or home-printed boarding pass.
At immigration, for passengers holding biometric passports, there is an additional option to use the automated clearance lanes.
GOOD TO KNOW
Airlines that offer self-service kiosks at Changi Airport are Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Jetstar, AirAsia, Air France-KLM, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Qantas Airways and United Airlines.
Airlines that offer mobile check-in at Changi Airport are Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Jetstar, Tigerair, Cathay Pacific Airways and selected AirAsia flights.
INSIDE THE TRANSIT AREA WITH TIME TO SPARE
Your boarding pass allows you to enjoy GST-free shopping in Changi Airport's transit areas. For those strapped for time, iShopChangi allows you to shop before arriving at Changi. Your items will be ready for pick-up at your departure terminal, all packed and ready to go.
For those who do not wish to carry their items with them, collection on-arrival is available for wines and spirits (subject to duty-free allowances), and cosmetics and perfumes.
Liquids, aerosols and gels, including alcohol and cosmetics, can be taken onboard planes as the retail staff at Changi Airport know to pack your items in special bags at the cash register. If you are flying on United Airlines or Delta Air Lines, or to Australia, note that your purchases, whether online or at the airport, will be delivered directly to your boarding gate.
If you still have time to spare, there is plenty to do at Changi Airport, which provides complimentary Wi-Fi. Beauty junkies can have express makeovers at The Shilla Beauty Loft at T3. For a tipple or two, swing by the new Whiskey House or the Raffles Long Bar located at the DFS Wines & Spirits duplex store at T2 and T3 respectively to enjoy tastings of different whiskies from across the globe and the iconic Singapore Sling - all on the house!
There are five themed gardens (both indoors and outdoors), two movie theatres, one rooftop swimming pool, and countless massage corners for travellers to start their journeys in a super relaxed mode.
Parents can take their kids into the transit area early and check out the various play areas in the three terminals.
CLEAR SECURITY SEAMLESSLY BEFORE BOARDING
Prepare yourself by emptying your pockets of coins, keys and mobile phones.
Before your turn, take off your jacket or other outer wear, including scarves. Remove laptops and tablets from your bag as they have to be scanned separately.
If you have a water bottle, empty it out as you can refill it after security checks.
Be prepared to remove your boots or high-cut shoes before you proceed through the metal detector.
Look out for the roaming Changi Experience Agents who will be pleased to point you to your gate or recommend something for you to do. You can also tweet @ChangiAirport if you have a query or feedback to provide.