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Travellers' top wish: Cinemas in airports

This story was first published in The Straits Times on July 3, 2013

NEARLY half of all jet travellers would like to see cinemas in airport terminals, a global survey shows.

Other luxuries on the wish list include sleep pods, a library and a park. And more than 10 per cent said they would like a man-made beach.

About 10,000 travellers around the world were polled by flight search engine Skyscanner. Cinemas - like the two at Changi Airport - topped the list of desires, with 49 per cent saying they want them in terminals.

"I'm not surprised at the high percentage figure," said adjunct Associate Professor Gerard Gonzales of Nanyang Technological University's business school.

"Travellers are getting more sophisticated and would like the convenience, entertainment and other satisfying experiences that they get at home also in their journeys."

Changi Airport launched its two cinemas in 2008. One is a 13-seater in Terminal 2 that stays open 24 hours a day, while the other is in Terminal 3 and can accommodate 55 moviegoers.

The cinemas, which are free for anyone taking a plane from the airport, have proved a hit with travellers.

"It's my favourite spot to go when I travel and while waiting for my flight - I am a movie buff," said business manager Ricky Ng.

Changi Airport Group spokesman Robin Goh said the cinemas can get full at certain times of the day and advised passengers to go early to avoid disappointment.

However, some travellers say they are too busy to catch a film.

"I don't find the need for a cinema. I never have enough time to watch a movie," said retail manager Prashant Mahboobani.

The 26-year-old said he would like to see more restaurant options at Changi - perhaps more famous chains.

Others told The Straits Times they would like more massage parlours, international bakeries or sleep pods.

Whatever the desire, airports are no longer there simply to help travellers get to and fro.

"Just as some bookstores, libraries and banks have cafes in their midst, airports are also providing these other services as a value-add," said Associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon of the National University of Singapore Business School's marketing department.

rmytan@sph.com.sg

This story was first published in The Straits Times on July 3, 2013

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