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When the world's top-ranked airport opens a new terminal, you can bet expectations are pretty high.
Singapore's Changi Airport spent more than two years constructing it's long-awaited Terminal 4, which cost nearly $1 billion. The new terminal opened for business on October 31st.
The idea behind the world's highest-ranked airport is "fast and seamless travel," so CNBC checked out the new section to see how well it worked.
Here's what we noticed:
1) Automation is everywhere
While passenger check-in kiosks are far from novel, this new terminal has them everywhere. Unlike many check-in areas at airports, in which kiosks compliment counters with human-personnel, Terminal 4 has humans out of sight. Eventually, we found a few personnel working behind a counter, it's clear the airport prefers all passengers stick to checking in themselves through kiosks.
2) Even baggage-drop is automated
There are kiosks that handle checked luggage. The design allows passengers to easily drop their heavy bags into the conveyor belt section without having to lift them very high.
3) The Wi-Fi isn't so easy to use
At some airports, passengers simply log-in by supplying a name and contact info, but at Changi's Terminal 4, passengers are asked to scan their passport into a kiosk and then receive a code that entitles them to one hour of Wi-Fi.
4) Leaving the country is extremely easy ... and of course, automated
Leaving the city-state is as easy as scanning your passport and boarding pass into a kiosk, and then giving your fingerprint. In fact, we didn't even see one incident in which a passenger had to interact with another human.
5) Security process is similar to any other
The only time CNBC had to deal with airport staffers was during the security check process when they assisted with possessions going through metal detectors. Notably, laptops don't need to be removed from carry-on bags.
6) The airport gates resemble a lounge
The terminal feels relaxing — it's mostly carpeted, filled with real trees and comfortable chairs which more closely resembles a Silicon Valley tech company than an airport. The garden even has an indoor pond with fish.