“Every airport has a unique three-letter IATA code. Some make sense if you know the city or the name of the airport and others, well, what the heck?
Turns out there’s usually a reasonable explanation. Knowing what each IATA code stands for isn’t super useful, but it sure can be fun.”

This is the crazy idea that pushed Lynn Fisher and Nick Crohn to create this very cool website: airportcod.es

Why SIN?

The rationale behind the SIN IATA code for Singapore Changi International Airport is pretty obvious: SIN are the first 3 letters of Singapore.

Why Changi?

Simply because that is the town area the airport is located at. Just like you have Paris Orly or Roissy Charles de Gaulle. Both Orly and Roissy are towns on which the airports where built. Changi is also knows in Singapore for its Changi prison.

Wikipedia proposes a few versions for the etymological roots of the name Changi. From a climbing shrub, the Changi Ular (Apama corymbosa), which grew in the area? From a tall tree, the Chengai (Balanscarpus heimii), which abounded in the area in the early nineteenth century and was commonly used for buildings and furniture?


A petition was submitted to the Singaporean Minister of Transport to rename the airport after the former Primer Minister Mr. Lee Kwan Yew who passed away in March 2015.

Supporters highlighted the efficiency of the airport as a symbol of Singapore and of Mr Lee’s leadership. The airport is also a critical hub in connecting Singapore to the world. They also refer to other airports have been renamed after key political figures  (JFK in New York for instance). The Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong (who is the Mr Lee Kwan Yew’s son) addressed the parliament on April 13th 2015 and introduced the idea of a Founder’s memorial to honor Mr. Lee Kuan Yew instead. This likely means that SIN will remain SIN and will not become LKY airport. You can watch the video here

By the way, Singapore Airport, number 1?

Singapore Changi Airport ranks #1 in the Skytrax ranking for the 2015 best airport. No doubt that Changi is a great airport. Its decentralized security checks at the gate and the automated immigration clearance for Singaporeans and long term residents enable passengers to board very quickly. Overall the airport is very clean and well maintained. We are big fans and we could not travel as much in Asia if the airport was not as good. We usually leave home 1h15 before the flight. 30 minutes to go to Changi and reach the airport 45 minutes before the flight. Stressful but so far we have not missed a flight (touching wood). Check out our travel time analysis over 52 destinations around Singapore to find out more

However,  Changi is not (yet) perfect.

The big killer is actually the connection to the city. Yes, you can be at the airport in 30 minutes from anywhere in Singapore by taxi. Using public transportation to get there? It will take you close to one hour if you are in the city center and much more if you are in a remote neighborhood.
Driving there with your own car? Think twice, the using the carpark for 2 days will cost you more than your flight tickets to Jakarta!

Changi airport carpark rates

So yes, Changi is great once you are there but there is definitely some room for improvement in connecting the airport to the city. Look at Hong Kong and its fast train (with the option to check in your luggage from the city center!) Imagine doing the same from Raffles Place or Novina…

And call us picky but… although Changi has many shops and restaurants we find it difficult to find a good place for a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner (especially in T2).

Can Changi keep its leadership?

Some airports are catching up and investing to improve their services (see the 2015 most improved airports below – Skyrak)… but don’t worry to much, Paris CDG is probably still a good 10(0) years behind. And Singapore new terminal 4 massive project will most likely take it to the next level!

Skytrax world most improved airports

Whether you like it or not, Changi airport is most likely on the way between you and your next weekend getaway or holidays! See you there!