Many airlines around the world employ a "lounge within a lounge" concept at the airports they serve. For example, let's say that you're traveling through Newark Airport. If you have Lufthansa Miles and More Senator status, you'll likely head over to the Lufthansa Senator Lounge, which is tucked away within the confines of the Lufthansa Business Lounge. We could go on and elaborate further, but you get the idea - this is just one of the many examples out there.
In today's feature piece, we'll focus on one of the most prominent examples of this phenomenon, one that fits tremendously with the moniker "the granddaddy of all lounge complexes": the impressive array of Singapore Airlines lounges in one of the most modern and entertaining airports in the world, Singapore Changi Airport.
How to Get Access
At Changi Airport, Singapore Airlines (SQ) offers four different tiers of lounges for their premium passengers, as well as those of their Star Alliance partner carriers. Here's a quick rundown on how you can access each type:
Krisflyer Gold Lounges (T2 and T3)
Singapore Airlines created the Krisflyer Gold Lounges to serve Star Alliance Gold passengers. Therefore, if you have Star Alliance Gold status through any of the Star Alliance carriers' frequent flyer programs, you may access this lounge, provided that you are flying on a Star Alliance carrier. At Singapore, this could be one of the following: Air China, Air India, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, Lufthansa, Shenzhen Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines. As in many international airports, passengers may be asked to show a valid Star Alliance Gold card, even if the status is printed on their boarding pass.
SilverKris Business Class Lounge (T2 and T3)
Typically, passengers need to be flying out of Changi on a valid business class ticket on Singapore Airlines or one of their Star Alliance partners in order to access these lounges.
SilverKris First Class Lounge (T2 and T3)
To access the first class lounge, passengers will usually need to be flying out of Changi on a three-cabin first class or Suites ticket on Singapore Airlines (or a Star Alliance partner). Keep in mind, however, that on regional flights, the most forward cabin might still be business class and not first.
The Private Room (T3 only)
Admittance to this luxurious, high-end lounge is only for passengers departing from Changi on Singapore Airlines in three cabin First or Suites Class.
When arriving in any of these classes, it's certainly worth asking if access to one of these lounges is possible, though reports from Flyertalk seem to indicate that access is granted on a case by case basis. A number of other factors like lounge capacity controls, outbound destination, overnight connections, and choice of carrier can factor into whether they can accommodate arriving passengers.
Terminal 2 serves most of Singapore Airlines' intra-Asia departures, and the cluster of lounges are all on the 2nd floor above the main departure level at the E gate juncture. The escalator to the lounge area can be fairly easy to miss, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Once upstairs, depending on your Star Alliance Gold status or class of service, you may be able to choose which lounge you want to access. Therefore, let's cut to the chase and take a closer look at some of these lounges so that we can get a better idea of what they're like.
Krisflyer Gold Lounge (T2)
The Krisflyer Gold Lounge in Terminal 2 is a perfectly nice place to spend a layover. If food options like dim sum and pasta sound good to you, or if you're looking to pour yourself several servings of the self-pour beverages, this may be your haven of relaxation. As with a number of Singapore Airlines lounges around the world, there isn't much natural light. Instead, the lounge favors a library look with wood paneling and soft, dark furniture and carpet tones. Other amenities that you may find are wrapped sandwich options, as well as several newspapers and magazines of interest. Star Alliance Gold members should be able to guest another passenger on a Star Alliance ticket into the lounge. Of course, be sure to keep in mind that the lounge can get a little crowded during the busiest departure times in the evening (typically 8-11 PM). Also, bathrooms are outside of the lounge to the right.
SilverKris Lounge - Business Class Section (T2)
This lounge was formerly a part of SQ's flagship lounge when the airline operated a majority of their flights out of Terminal 2. With the construction of Terminal 3, the lounge was renovated, and now features soft-lit marble and comfortable tan armchairs, with UK and Singapore-style power ports at nearly every seat. There are usually about a dozen hot food options, ranging from pastas and curries to soups and Indian style dishes, along with a salad, sushi, and noodle bar. In addition, you'll find a variety of beer, wine, and spirits available to you in a self-service area. There are bathrooms and showers located within the lounge and typically, the staff will ask for a boarding pass in exchange for the shower key. This is a good home base for flights departing from E or F gates, as the train from Terminal 3 can take about 15-20 minutes from the other lounges. There are no sleeping rooms, but the staff will be happy to provide a Givenchy-branded pillow and blanket.
SilverKris Lounge - First Class Section (T2)
To the right of the Business Class lounge is the First Class section, which offers far more personal space, nicer furniture, private work rooms, and a staffed bar with premium wines and liquors. The food area offers upgraded cold and hot dishes, many of which tend to be more "entree" in nature than the tapas and dim sum style offerings on the business side. The biggest upgrade between the Business and First Class sections is the increased amount of space and privacy. First Class passengers can easily roam between both sections, as well as the shared business center.
Terminal 3 serves most of SQ's long-haul departures and all of the lounges are clustered on the floor above the main departure level, on the left after immigration (towards the A gates).
Krisflyer Gold Lounge (T3)
Much like the Krisflyer Lounge in T2, this lounge caters to Star Alliance Gold cardholders traveling in economy class on a Star Alliance flight. Passengers should be able to bring in one guest traveling on a Star Alliance flight that day.
With higher ceilings and slightly better food options than T2, this lounge can be a convenient respite from the terminal and is fairly close to the butterfly house and movie theater at the other end of the atrium.
Food includes wrapped sandwiches, dim sum, soups and hot breakfast items. Business and computer stations are also available. Bathrooms are outside the lounge and to the left.
SilverKris Lounge - Business Class Section (T3)
This is one of the largest lounges in the world, and definitely the largest at Changi. There is no shortage of seating variety, with bistro style tables, communal work spaces, couches and armchairs. Food is very plentiful and will satisfy even the pickiest of palates. Drinks are self-serve and located further back to the left of the food area. Note that food service stops roughly at 2 AM and resumes around 5:30 AM. There are also many showers available.
Overnight layovers at this lounge can be quite comfortable. The staff will provide a Givenchy-branded pillow and blanket when asked, and the couches provide a great place to relax.
The lounge is massive for good reason. With the large number of long haul aircraft, including several A380 departures, more than a handful of guests enjoy this lounge on a daily basis. However, rest assured - the staff does an excellent job of managing these situations. The windows on the left overlook the terminal and provide some natural light, and there is a business center shared between the business and first sections to the right of the business lounge.
SilverKris Lounge - First Class Section (T3)
Similar to the first class lounge in T2, this lounge features upgraded drinks served by a staffed bar (including Johnnie Walker Blue Label) and a smaller set of entree style dishes. Equipped with showers and bathrooms, the main upgrade of this lounge over business is the increased space and privacy. It's also one of the few lounges in Changi with tarmac views. Since there are only a handful of non-SQ partner flights departing with three-cabin First Class, passengers should have no problem finding a seat.
Passengers departing in First Class on any Star Alliance airline are also entitled to use the First Class check in area of T3, with a separate immigration queue that lets out right near the SKL lounge complex.
SilverKris Lounge - The Private Room (T3)
The epitome of lounges at Changi, the Private Room, is available to passengers departing in First or Suites class on SQ only, and has extremely attentive service and excellent restaurant quality food. It is possible to stop in late at night looking for a snack and end up with a special five course meal. The menu has several appetizer, entree and dessert selections which rotate frequently. There is also a well-stocked buffet with tons of small plates. The foie gras burger in particular is delicious.
The biggest difference between The Private Room and the SilverKris First Class Lounge is the level of service. Instead of self-serve, there are several attendants to ensure that you will never need to lift a finger to refill your own drinks, find your own food or worry about your flight departure time. The seating is also extremely private and luxurious, with a predominance of large wing backed leather armchairs. A separate shower and bathroom area is also available.
It's worth noting that The Private Room does close between 2 AM and 5 AM, but passengers are more than welcome to wander between the First and Business class sections (as the entire SKL complex in Terminal 3 is a "lounge within a lounge within a lounge") during those hours. There are also two "private rooms" within The Private Room, where the staff will happily let you nod off in peace. These are chairs with ottomans, and though there are no full beds, there are chaise lounges in the terminal that are quite comfortable, three Ambassador Transit Hotels (starting at S$76.51 for a six hour block) and a full service Crowne Plaza airport hotel next to Terminal 3.
Private Room for kids
Overall, the catering in the Krisflyer Gold and SilverKris Lounges in Terminal 2 is nearly identical to that of their counterparts in Terminal 3, so making the 15 minute trip over to T3 just to lounge hop to the equivalent lounge may be fruitless. The Terminal 3 lounges are larger and do have higher ceilings, but there is one downside - there are typically a larger number of passengers.
In addition, keep in mind that the inter-terminal trains stop between 2:30 AM and 5 AM, so passengers may be left with an extremely long (~2 mile) walk between those hours.
The Singapore Airlines lounges at Changi Airport, in sum, constitute one of the most amazing collections of lounges that you can expect to find at an airlines' hub airport. No matter what class of service you are flying on (provided that you have the proper qualifications), the Singapore Airlines lounges will provide you with a home away from home - a place to get some rest and relaxation going so that you come out well-fed, energized, and ready to go for your next flight. These are some of the most substantial lounges in the world, and if you don't want to take our word for it, make sure to see them for yourself!