Singapore Changi Airport and its partner airlines are progressively reintroducing a popular option for passengers, with more travellers once again eligible to use the Jewel Early Check-In (ECI) facility, which allows you to check in for your flight, drop your bags and issue your boarding passes up to 24 hours before departure time.
In recent weeks more carriers have been added to the list – namely Fiji Airways, Juneyao Air and Thai Airways, all first-time ECI users, while Philippine Airlines returns to the Jewel ECI for the first time since before the pandemic.
Opening hours were recently extended to 8am – midnight (i.e. the facility is now only closed from midnight to 8am each day).
That’s not too far off the Jewel ECI’s pre-COVID operating hours of 6am to midnight, and of course it remains a great improvement on these airline’s regular check-in desk opening windows, starting around three hours before each flight’s respective departure time in most cases.
The Jewel ECI allows you to drop your bags and have your boarding card issued much further in advance than usual across this new opening window.
For many travellers, the benefit further expands the opportunity to make extended visits to one or more lounges in the transit area, for a variety of dining opportunities, a few hours of productive work, and even some free-flow Champagne in some cases, prior to their flight.
Do note that you must have at least three hours between your check-in time and the scheduled flight departure time, when using the Jewel ECI.
Jewel ECI airlines
15 airlines operating from Changi Airport now allow passengers to check in early at the Jewel ECI, many of which take full advantage of the full 8am – midnight opening hours.
A large list of destination country exclusions for Qatar Airways passengers has also now been removed, so you can benefit when flying to all final destinations, including the USA and Qatar itself, which were previously ineligible.
That’s a welcome development, especially considering the recent news that the airline’s fantastic Singapore Premium Lounge in the T1 transit area has reinstated its morning operating window every day, the only Oneworld lounge in the terminal with a morning opening.
Note that for some airlines, early check-in is only applicable at specific timings and/or for those travelling to specific countries, as shown in the table below.
Jewel ECI Airlines
(as of 29th July 2023)
|AirAsia||8am – midnight||None|
|Air France||12pm – 10pm||None|
|Emirates||12pm – 10pm||None|
|Fiji Airways||Mon & Sat:
12pm – 6pm
8am – 10.30am
|Finnair||12pm – 6.30pm||None|
(3K and JQ)
|8am – midnight||None|
|Juneyao Air||9.30am – 12.30pm||None|
|KLM||12pm – 10pm||None|
|Malaysia Airlines||8am – midnight||None|
|Philippine Airlines||8am – 9.30pm||None|
|Qantas||8am – midnight||None|
|Qatar Airways||8am – midnight||None|
|Scoot||8am – midnight||ECI is not available for those with final destinations in:
Saudi Arabia (Jeddah)
|Singapore Airlines||8am – midnight||ECI is not available for those with final destinations in:
Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, USA
|Thai Airways||8am – 9.30pm||None|
It’s strange that Singapore Airlines maintains a relatively long destination exclusion list for the ECI, including countries like Indonesia and Thailand, while both Scoot and Jetstar allow use of the ECI for those travelling to these places.
Hopefully the exclusions can be removed soon.
After checking in at Jewel (remember – at least 3 hours prior to departure time), you can access the transit area via immigration control at either T1, T2 or T3, regardless of which airline you are departing with, or at T1, T2, T3 or T4 if you are departing with a T4 airline like AirAsia, Jetstar or Juneyao Air.
This was confirmed to Mainly Miles by Changi Airport back in May 2023, after there was some confusion as to whether T4 passengers could clear immigration at the T1/2/3 departure area – they can.
Terminal 4 passengers clearing at the main terminals can then take the airside transit bus from T1 (Gate C21) or T3 (Immigration Hall A) to T4, operating 24 hours per day every 13 minutes (midnight – 5pm) or every 5 minutes (5pm – midnight).
The journey takes 18 minutes from T1 to T4 or 12 minutes from T3 to T4, so do build in sufficient time to reach your departure gate in T4.
Passengers departing from T1/2/3 can also visit the T4 transit area if they wish, according to CAG, but we’ve heard some sporadic reports of this sometimes not being allowed without a T4 boarding pass, so your experience may vary.
For the latest information on eligible Jewel ECI airlines, click here.
Where is it?
The Jewel ECI is located on Level 1 of the Jewel complex.
From the T1 departures level (Jewel drop off), you’ll need to go down one level to reach the ECI facility.
From T1 arrivals you are already on the correct floor and the ECI is only short walk into the complex on the left side.
What’s the benefit?
The Jewel ECI option could be useful if you’re planning to have dinner in Jewel with friends or family, or even catch a movie at the cinema there, before heading through to departures for your flight.
Obviously Jewel also has plenty of shopping options plus some other attractions too, but most people we know go there for the food!
However for many travellers, it’s early access to some of the excellent lounges in the transit area of T1 in particular that make early check-in a great benefit, for example those departing in Business Class on Finnair, Qatar Airways, Qantas or Emirates can access some great options earlier than they would usually be able to with standard check-in times.
Those departing in Air France in First Class (La Premiere) have access to the excellent Qantas First Lounge, and can now check in at the Jewel ECI from 12pm, three hours ahead of the Qantas lounge opening, to maximise their à la carte dining experience.
Many passengers will also use early check-in simply to avoid the typically longer queues at regular airline check-in desks, if they arrive at the airport far enough in advance.
For Singapore Airlines ECI passengers flying out of T1 and visiting Jewel for dinner after checking in early, if your flight then ends up departing from a T1 gate (i.e. a ‘C’ gate), which you can check before leaving Jewel via the Changi app, you can even clear immigration in T1.
Since T1 is directly connected to Jewel, you’ll then enjoy a much shorter walk to the gate, assuming you’re not interested in any T3 SilverKris lounge time (if eligible).
The Changi Lounge is opposite
If you’re looking to use a Priority Pass / DragonPass or paid access lounge prior to your departure, for example if you need somewhere quiet to get some work done for a few hours before heading into the transit area, you might also want to consider the Changi Lounge in Jewel.
This is located directly opposite the ECI facility, so you can head across there as soon as you have checked your bags in and printed your boarding card.
This is ideal, because for many access schemes you will need a valid boarding pass to use this lounge.
The Changi Lounge also offers paid access and has excellent shower suites, among the best of any third-party lounge at Changi.
SIA’s check-in operates 20 hours a day
If you’re departing with Singapore Airlines, remember you can check in for any SIA flight at:
- Terminal 2 between 4.30am and 1.35am every day
- Terminal 3 between 5am and 1am* every day
* 2am for First Class passengers using the First Class Check-in Reception.
You do not need to check-in at the terminal your flight is departing from.
That means if you’re heading to a T2 destination with SIA but would rather shop or use the newer lounges in T3 prior to departure, it’s easier to check-in at T3 then clear immigration there and take the SkyTrain to T2 at boarding time.
Check-in can be completed as early as 48 hours before your flight departure time, with your luggage checked and boarding cards printed, though do note access to the transit area (beyond immigration control) is then only available within 24 hours of your flight departure time.
The T1 ECI lounge is back
Recently the Early Check-In lounge in the Terminal 1 departures hall reopened its doors, and currently offers advance check-in options for the following customers heading to mainland China, between 5 hours and 3.5 hours before flight departure time:
- Air China
- China Southern Airlines
- Chongqing Airlines
- Hebei Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Xiamen Airlines
Which airlines could still return to the Jewel ECI?
Over 30 airlines flying out of Singapore Changi Airport were participating in the Jewel Early Check In programme prior to COVID-19, so we do expect many more to hopefully return in the months ahead.
Former ECI airlines that are currently operating flights from Changi but have yet to make a return to the Jewel ECI include:
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- China Southern
- EVA Air
Hopefully we’ll be seeing some of these carriers add the Jewel Early Check-In option again in the months ahead, especially Cathay Pacific as that will then allow eligible passengers easier access to alternative T1 Oneworld lounges before departure.
The Jewel ECI was a really useful option before COVID-19 hit, and we used it regularly to have the freedom to access the transit area before the normal check-in time with airlines like Qatar Airways and Lufthansa.
With 15 airlines now using the reopened facility, there are more opportunities for travellers to go hands-free in Jewel and the public areas before flight, or head through to departures for more shopping and dining opportunities across most of the terminals.
For those departing with airlines like Finnair, Qantas and Qatar Airways, the Jewel ECI option potentially gives you the opportunity to score a whole afternoon T1 Oneworld ‘lounge safari’, even prior to a midnight flight, for example.
Prior to COVID-19, passengers departing on over 30 airlines were eligible to use the Jewel early check-in facility, with operating hours from 6am to midnight, so hopefully we will continue to see a progressive return for this popular option in the months ahead.
(Cover Photo: Changi Airport Group)