Sunday, June 22, 2014


These days I get to use the airport quite often, though not as much as some of you. Airports are meant to handle passenger traffic efficiently and there are levels of efficiencies that I have noticed at various airports that I have been to. The one airport that consistently beats my expectations is the Changi Airport.

Managing operations and eliminating bottle necks, especially when there is human traffic involved, looks like a very difficult endeavour. Airports are a classic case of too many humans coming together at the same place at the same time. In such cases, effective operations management is very important for passengers to have a pleasant experience.

The two places where other airports generally have queues for Departure are – out immigration and security. Changi Airport effectively eliminates both of them by – having automated clearance – scan passport and finger and leave the country (I don’t need to see a grouchy officer and consequently avoid the long incessant queues) and then doing the security check at the Gate of boarding. Most airports that I have been to the longest queues are at immigration and security.

On Arrivals the efficiency of the airport is commendable. The fastest I have left the airport is in less than 15 minutes the only bottleneck being the speed at which I could walk. There are virtually no bottlenecks once I disembark the plane. After the automated immigration (again scan passport and finger and get into the country) the only place I slow down is to take a taxi (if I ain’t taking the public transport which is readily available in the airport!).

There was this one time when the taxi queue was longer than usual. The airport one upped its customer service by apologizing and providing free mineral water bottles to everyone in the queue. I think the efficiencies and the small friendly gestures like these have put the airport at the top for so many years. I am sure other airports are studying them and we should see more amazing airports around the globe (or there already exist many – I just haven’t been there yet).

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