Next month sees the reopening of Changi Airport Terminal 4, thanks to a resurgence in travel following a relaxation of border restrictions in Singapore and around the region, now that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is (hopefully) behind us.
This will be the first time Terminal 4 has handled passengers since the final flight departure from the facility in the early hours of 15th May 2020.
As part of the reopening announcement, Changi Airport Group (CAG) stated that it was working with the operator of T4’s sole third-party lounge to provide services to passengers, and now there’s some further news to report here.
Blossom Lounge to reopen on 13th September
A spokesperson for Plaza Premium, who operate the Blossom Lounge at T4 in a joint venture with SATS, confirmed to Mainly Miles this week that the facility would indeed be reopening in tandem with T4’s relaunch on 13th September 2022.
The Blossom Lounge first opened along with T4 itself in October 2017, and offers a generous 1,100 sq m of floorspace, with seating capacity for 280 guests.
The lounge is located on the mezzanine level above the main departures concourse, after immigration and security, and we’ve got a review from our visit shortly after it first opened in late 2017.
The lounge is spacious, modern and has a decent food and beverage selection, though some premium pours and barista coffees were offered at an additional charge, prior to the temporary lounge closure.
Shower facilities are also available, but with only two private shower rooms available usage is limited to 20 minutes, to allow as many passengers as possible a chance to benefit.
Prior to COVID-19, the Blossom Lounge was open 24 hours a day during the summer season (April to October), but it did have variable hours in the winter season (November to March), to align with T4’s flight schedules.
We are awaiting confirmation of the reopening lounge hours from 13th September at the time of writing, but we expect the facility will cater for most (if not all) scheduled T4 departures.
Blossom lounge access
The Blossom Lounge will re-establish its position as Terminal 4’s only third-party lounge, providing paid entry to all travellers, and complimentary entry to members of selected lounge access programmes.
The good news is that this facility was spared from the Priority Pass – Plaza Premium divorce of mid-2021, meaning many of our readers holding a credit card with a Priority Pass attached will still enjoy access here.
Here’s a summary of the access options at Blossom.
By departing cabin class
- Cathay Pacific First and Business Class passengers
- Korean Air First Class and Business Class passengers
- Vietnam Airlines Business Class passengers
By frequent flyer status
- oneworld Emerald or Sapphire status holders departing on Cathay Pacific in any cabin class
- SkyTeam Elite Plus status holders departing on Korean Air or Vietnam Airlines in any cabin class
- Vietnam Airlines LotusMiles Gold status holders departing on Vietnam Airlines in any cabin class
By access programme
(max 3-hour stay)
- Priority Pass
- Lounge Pass
By credit card membership
- Bank of Singapore Voyage cardholders
- OCBC Voyage cardholders
- Bank of China Singapore Visa Infinite cardholders
- American Express Centurion cardholders
- American Express Platinum Charge cardholders
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend cardholders (with voucher)
Access the lounge for 5 hours at S$50 (pre-COVID), inclusive of:
- Food and beverages
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Shower facilities
- Flight Information
- TV channels
- International newspapers and magazines.
A discounted rate of S$25 (pre-COVID) applies for children aged 2-11.
We have not been able to confirm paid access rates for this lounge at the time of writing, so these may have changed.
What about the Cathay Pacific lounge?
Terminal 4 is home to two lounges, the Blossom Lounge and the Cathay Pacific Lounge.
Unfortunately, Cathay Pacific is currently running a skeleton schedule of just three weekly departures from Singapore to Hong Kong, a far cry from its pre-COVID tally of 63 weekly flights to both Hong Kong and Bangkok.
At the time of writing, an increase to four flights per week is proposed from October 2022, progressively increasing to seven times weekly by the end of 2022, as Hong Kong slowly relaxes its travel restrictions.
Even these increased schedules are unlikely to warrant the reopening of Cathay’s own dedicated lounge, especially considering that no other oneworld carriers will fly from T4.
We contacted the airline to clarify their intentions for lounge-worthy passengers departing from Singapore after the move to T4 next month, and received the following response.
Cathay Pacific is currently using the Plaza Premium Lounge at Changi T1.
Which airlines are moving to T4?
A total of 16 airlines will progressively move to Terminal 4 from 13th September, as shown in the following table.
Airlines moving to Changi T4
(AK, FD, QZ, Z2)
As you can see, practically all former T4 operators are making their way back to the terminal in September, with the addition of Bamboo Airways and HK Express, who started operating at Changi since T4’s temporary closure in May 2020.
The reopening will largely take the pressure off Terminal 1.
How busy will it be?
Despite only three flights on opening day, T4 will soon get much busier, with the AirAsia Group carriers moving across two days later, on Thursday 15th September 2022.
That means there will be around 24 daily passenger flight departures by then.
A week after that, on Thursday 22nd September 2022, seven more airlines will be using T4, for a total of 40 flight departures.
We tallied 7,755 departing passenger seats throughout the day by then, well short T4’s pre-COVID levels of around 15,000 passengers per day, and only around 18% of the terminal’s ultimate capacity.
Even by the time Jetstar moves across in late October, maximum passenger numbers each day should still only total around 11,000, based on published schedules, 25% of T4’s capacity.
The good news is this should mean the spacious 1,100 sq m Blossom Lounge will seldom get busy, especially during the initial reopening period before Jetstar makes the move across.
T1 will get an airside link to T4
Full details of T4’s airside connectivity to and from other terminals has yet to be confirmed, but last time we flew from Terminal 1 in early August we noticed that a new bus service will run from Terminal 1’s gate C21, at some stage.
Prior to COVID-19 there was a bus link between T4 and T2’s gate F51.
That is in T2’s reopened section, so could be reinstated, then allowing further connectivity to T3 via the adjacent SkyTrain (which is a bit convoluted, but then getting to and from T4 always was!).
Will Jetstar actually move to T4 in October?
One thing that’s still unclear is whether Jetstar will move across to Terminal 4, from its longstanding T1 home, where it benefits from connectivity with Qantas, Emirates and a host of (predominantly oneworld or T1-based) codeshare and interline partners.
A war of words broke out between to two sides late last month, when Changi Airport Group announced that the Jetstar carriers would be moving to T4 from 25th October 2022, but within an hour the Qantas Group airline swiftly rebuked the plan, saying it had “no intention” of doing so.
CAG stood firm, saying its discussions regarding the move for Jetstar dated back to 2019, before the pandemic, and that the carrier’s relocation was “the only option” to allow the airport to optimise use of its gates.
Since then, however, it’s all gone quiet.
Jetstar (JQ) and Jetstar Asia (3K) still lists its Singapore flights as operating from Terminal 1 in reservation systems, even after 25th October 2022, and the airline has not amended its Minimum Connection Time (MCT) with partners like Qantas.
The standard MCT for T1 to T4 transfers is published as 1 hour 30 minutes, but the carriers are not respecting this, even after 25th October.
It certainly seems like Jetstar is sticking by its “no intention to move” stance at this stage, so it will be interesting to see if they actually end up in T4 come late October.
Stay tuned for the latest on this little drama!
As we expected, Terminal 4’s reopening next month won’t be without a third-party lounge option, and it’s a pretty good one with the Blossom Lounge welcoming a range of travellers right from T4’s return to the fold.
Access is also available to Priority Pass holders regardless of departure airline or cabin class, even following a severing of ties between the lounge access provider and most Plaza Premium facilities last year.
Running at only around 25% of design capacity by late October, T4 will remain a quiet facility overall, and that should extend to the lounge situation too.
If Jetstar gets its way and manages to stay in T1, as it apparently intends, T4 and the Blossom Lounge will be even quieter still!
(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)