Monday, May 19, 2008

Changing planes at Changi

Changi is a mega shopping sprawl from where you also catch a plane. But then a modern air terminal is not designed for passengers in a hurry, particularly, if you happen to be nearing 70, over-weight, and under-exercised with un-cooperative knee-joints. My wife and I were on way from Bangalore to San Francisco. And we found ourselves with barely 20 minutes to change planes at Changi, Singapore.

A brisk walk, at a breathless pace, from Gate B-10 to A-3 on Terminal-3 took us nearly that long; and the worst part was that we weren’t sure if we would make it to the plane. Our boarding pass mentioned that the gate would be closed 10 minutes before departure time.

And when we made it at last, I was gasping; and virtually collapsed into my seat. That our flight to San Francisco got delayed further by 20 minutes after I had taken my seat was no consolation. If anything, I felt cheated, for having been put through an avoidable ordeal. A timely announcement of delayed departure of our flight by the airlines ground staff could have spared us the physical strain and anxiety.

I wish the airlines show as much concern towards transit passengers as they apparently did for their baggage transfer. Oddly enough, detection of ‘unaccompanied’ baggage on cargo hold contributed to further delay in our departure. As it happened, they had loaded the baggage of a transit passenger who couldn’t make it to the plane. As the captain put it, unaccompanied baggage was not allowed on board for security reasons. Which was why there was further delay as the crew had to locate and offload the baggage.

Clockwork efficiency with which the airport staff transfer baggage from one flight to another could be extended to transfer of transit passengers under emergency. The airlines ground staff that meet incoming flights to direct transit passengers could arrange for passenger carts for those pressed for time to catch their connecting flight.


eastcoastlife said...

Thank you for your feedback, I shall forward this to the relevant authority.

I'm a Singapore citizen who is happy to welcome visitors and see that they are happy while here. :)

May I have your name?

GVK said...

Thank you, Ms eastcoastlife, for taking note. The name is G V Krishnan. My wife and I travelled on May 16, by Singapore Airlines