SINGAPORE (dpa): Like Real Madrid in European football’s Champions League, Singapore Changi, with its restaurants and indoor waterfalls, has for many years been a regular at or near the top of global airport rankings.
The five-terminal hub is not only the gateway to the South-East Asian city-state, but is a busy layover point for long-haul flights connecting other parts of the Asia-Pacific with Europe, the Middle East and North America.
But travellers no longer just have to just lounge around the plush terminals while waiting for connecting flights: the airport has started offering 2 hours’ worth of free bicycle rentals for transit passengers, enabling them, after a hopefully quick dart through immigration, to get out and about.
"Passengers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, authentic hawker food and chill-out spots," the airport promises.
At just over 700 km², Singapore is slightly smaller than Berlin and less than half the size of London, meaning even cycles to the heart of the city - say to the malls of Orchard Road or the aromatic streets in and around Little India restaurants - should take around an hour and 15 minutes.
But Changi has plenty of places to spend and dine, meaning a spin to parks such as Wild Wild Wet or Changi Beach Park a possibly more appealing jaunt to while away a long transit. The parks are nearer the airport, meaning the passenger can even aim to return the bike within 2 hours and the grace period of 10 minutes, after which rental fees kick in.
The promotion is to run until November 2024 and requires participants to have a layover of between 5-and-a-half and 24 hours - and to have an outbound boarding pass.
In other words, the transit passenger should make sure he or she has checked in for that next flight before hopping on a bike, as the airport won’t be held responsible for any hold-ups downtown or missed connections.
The downside is that Singapore is hot and humid, with temperatures usually in the low 30s, though the airport does also provide free showers for bikers.
But unless the passenger wants an outdoor shower, cycling around might not be a good idea during the rainy seasons - roughly November to March and June to September - when thunderstorms and downpours are a daily occurrence. - dpa