Changi Airport News Star Alliance

United Airlines moves to Changi Airport Terminal 2

Star Alliance carrier United Airlines has moved its Singapore operations to Changi Airport Terminal 2, three months ahead of the facility's full reopening.

Singapore Changi Airport has been progressively reopening its largest passenger facility – Terminal 2 – since border relaxations in mid 2022 caused a significant spike in passenger traffic recovery, which has seen many airlines start using revamped sections of the terminal.


These has included the likes of Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss in recent months, and now there’s news of another Star Alliance carrier making the switch.

United Airlines has moved back to T2

Effective from 20th July 2023, United Airlines is now operating to and from Terminal 2 at Changi Airport once again, having last flown from the facility in March 2020.

Check-in is at Row 5, a newly reopened departure processing zone adjacent to departure drop off Door 3.

Only check-in rows 1-4 and the northern immigration clearance section are left to open at Changi T2’s public landside area. (Image: Changi Airport)

The carrier has been operating at Terminal 3 since it returned to Changi on 7th January 2022, after suspending its Singapore services for nearly two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

United currently operates 14 weekly flights between Singapore and San Francisco, both a morning and evening service, as outlined below.

United Airlines
Singapore San Francisco


United Airlines
San Francisco Singapore


* Next day
** Two days later

United operates two Boeing 787-9 services to and from Singapore each day. (Image: United Airlines)

All United flights have new Polaris Business Class

As we reported in November 2021, United brought back Singapore – San Francisco flights in early 2022 using refitted Boeing 787-9 aircraft with the latest Polaris Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, as part of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) programme.

Services were then hiked to twice daily from late October 2022, still using the new Polaris cabin product on all flights.

That’s good news because this seat is, frankly speaking, the only United Business Class product you should consider flying on a long-haul service.


United chose the Zodiac (now Safran) Optima seat for this cabin, with customisation and design by Acumen and PriestmanGoode.

All the seats convert to fully flat beds, with bedding provided by Saks Fifth Avenue, and are aligned either slightly towards the aisle or are in line with the aircraft fuselage.

United Polaris Bed (United Airlines)
Even the side seats closer to the aisle get their own window. (Photo: United Airlines)

Whether you take a window seat aligned furthest from the aisle, or more closely exposed to the aisle, you won’t be spared a good external view as the design includes at least one actual window at most of these seats (though be warned, at rows 4, 8 and 12 the windows are misaligned).

United Polaris Overview (United Airlines).jpg
Polaris Business Class on the Boeing 777. (Photo: United Airlines)

Couples or friends travelling together get a nice middle pair option, but there’s a privacy divider between those seats in case you’re seated there alongside a stranger.

There’s also a more intimate four-row mini-cabin behind the second pair of main doors, which may offer a quieter experience on these long flights.

United Boeing 787-9 Business Class seat map. (Image: aeroLOPA)

Changi T2 lounges

The move from Terminal 3 to Terminal 2 has one major downside for United passengers, and that’s the pre-flight lounge situation.

The airline has been offering Business Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold travellers flight in any cabin on its flights access to the SATS Premier Lounge in Terminal 3, and the same situation now applies in Terminal 2.


What ‘in the know’ eligible passengers on United do in reality is use the far superior lounges of Star Alliance partner Singapore Airlines, which includes the latter carrier’s latest facilities in Terminal 3.

  • Business Class passengers can access the Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class lounge
  • KrisFlyer Elite Gold passengers can access the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold lounge (+1 guest travelling on the same flight)
The Singapore Airlines SilverKris Business Class lounge in Terminal 3 is open to United Business Class passengers. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

United passengers are now able to use the reopened KrisFlyer Gold Lounge and SilverKris Lounges in Terminal 2, though those pale in comparison to the newer T3 facilities they have been enjoying over the last year or so.

Nonetheless, there’s always the option to hop on the SkyTrain and take a 10-minute journey across to the newer SIA lounge facilities in T3, though check-in for United must still be in T2.

A 5-minute SkyTrain ride links T2 and T3 every 5 minutes or so.
(Photo: MainlyMiles)

We have recent reviews of the refreshed T2 KrisFlyer Gold and SilverKris Business Class lounges since they reopened back in October 2022, with some minor enhancements but more or less with the same dated format they had pre-pandemic.

In this case, the KrisFlyer Gold lounge is for Star Alliance Gold members departing on United in Economy or Premium Economy Class, while the SilverKris Business Class lounge is for those departing in Business Class.

These facilities are a far cry from the United Polaris lounge the carrier directs its Business Class passengers to at the San Francisco side of the journey – one of our favourites worldwide.

It’s truly a fantastic experience, beats any Singapore Airlines Business Class lounge hands down, and the great news is that you can even use it when flying SIA out of San Francisco (when flying in Business or First Class, but sadly not as a Star Alliance Gold status holder).

Which airlines are now using T2?

United Airlines has become the 12th carrier to operate from Terminal 2 at Changi Airport following its post-COVID-19 reopening, joining recent additions like Ethiopian Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.

Ethiopian Airlines returned to Changi in March 2023, operating to Addis Ababa and Kuala Lumpur from T2. (Photo: Philip Pilosian / Shutterstock)

Here’s how the operator list looks as of 20th July 2023, in order of commencing operations at the reopened terminal following it’s two-year closure.

All Changi Airport T2 Airlines
(as of 20th July 2023)

Airline Started T2
Singapore Airlines
Only South East Asia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka departures
13 October 2022 352
Air India
18 October 2022 28
Air India Express
Royal Brunei Airlines
6 February 2023 8
9 February 2023 13
Swiss International Air Lines
Sichuan Airlines
17 February 2023 7
Air Macau
23 March 2023 3
Ethiopian Airlines
26 March 2023 8
Malaysia Airlines
23 May 2023 65
United Airlines
20 July 2023 14

* Post T2’s COVID closure

Who still needs to move back?

Once Terminal 2 fully reopens by October 2023, we expect all airlines operating at the facility prior to COVID-19 will probably make the move back progressively.

That means the following airlines can also be expected to relocate to T2 later this year, but at the time of writing are still using either T1 or T3 as their temporary home at Changi.

  • ANA (T1)
  • Etihad Airways (T3)
  • Indigo (T1)
  • LOT Polish (not currently operating at Changi)

T2 will fully reopen by October 2023

As most of our readers already know, Changi T2 is currently in the process of receiving a full makeover, which CAG says boasts a “contemporary design concept… inspired by elements of nature”.

We’ve already seen this revamp taking shape in the reopened southern arrivals and departures area.

Reopened departures hall of Changi Airport Terminal 2. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

Ongoing enhancements in the transit area will include new dining concepts in a larger space, with better views of the runway.

Artist’s impression of the future Terminal 2, post-revamp. (Image: Changi Airport Group)

Back in May 2023, Singapore’s Transport Minister announced that the northern wing of Changi Airport Terminal 2 will be back in action by October 2023, months ahead of the original schedule.


Ultimately once the northern wing of Terminal 2 is fully completed, the facility will be the airport’s largest, stealing T1’s thunder with a capacity for 28 million passengers per year – 5 million more than pre-renovation.

Capacity of Changi’s Terminals (2020 – 2024)
Terminal Capacity
T1 24m 24m
T2 23m 28m
T3 22m 22m
T4 16m 16m
Total 85m 90m

A significant 15,500 square metres will be added to the terminal’s original floor space, and once completed the project will boost Changi’s annual passenger capacity to 90 million.

This will secure the airport’s passenger operations through to the opening of Terminal 5, in the mid-2030s.

The revamped southern section of the T2 departures hall. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

Changi Airport’s passenger numbers are now 88% of pre-COVID levels, so it’s no surprise that T2’s current southern section operation simply isn’t enough to relieve the strain now being seen at other terminals, leading to an accelerated reopening of the northern wing.




Changi Airport’s refreshed Terminal 2 is racing towards a full reopening in October 2023, and there’s now news of a 12th airline back in the facility, with United shifting its twice daily San Francisco services across from Terminal 3 – including ‘new Polaris’ Business Class cabins.

While the Business Class product on board is solid, it’s not such good news for the lounge experience, with eligible United passengers directed to the SATS Premier lounge in T2, or the SilverKris / KrisFlyer Elite Gold facilities there, which have only had a minor revamp during the pandemic.

Luckily there remains the option to duck across to T3 on the SkyTrain and use SIA’s latest lounges there, provided you build in an additional 15 minutes or so to reach your T2 departure gate come boarding time.

More carriers will inevitably make the move to T2 as its revamp is completed in the coming months, when it will become the largest of all the terminals at Changi Airport, until the behemoth Terminal 5 opens in the mid-2030s.

(Cover Photo: Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock)



  1. All united wide bodies used for international routes are already fitted with Polaris so there is no chance to get another seat on this route.

Leave a Reply