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    Singapore's Changi Airport T2

    Hello! My final stop of last month's trip to Asia was southern Thailand. Natalie and I flew from Singapore to Phuket on Silk Air and then drove an hour north to Khao Lak. This part of Thailand was the hardest hit in the 2004 tsunami, but as you are about to see they've rebuilt this place and it's now better than ever.

    When I told the limo driver we were going to Phuket, he said we couldn't be flying Singapore Airlines as I'd originally informed him. I thought he was crazy--after all, I'm the travel expert, right? Wrong. It's the first time in ages that I've been fooled by a code share. I thought for sure Natalie and I were flying Singapore Airlines, since that's what was on the itinerary. I should've known something was up, however, when I couldn't manage the reservation online and the flight number had four digits (a telltale sign).

    Who the heck is Silk Air?! That was my question, too, when the driver said that's who we were flying. I asked him how they were as an airline; he said they are owned by Singapore Airlines (SQ), and that was all I needed to know. Singapore is one of the best airlines in the world, and they wouldn't have their name on anything that wasn't above par.

    From the Ritz-Carlton Singapore we drove 20 minutes to the Changi Airport. Changi is consistently rated as one of the top three airports in the world because of all its facilities. Changi has three terminals, so it's important to know which one you are departing from. Thanks to having the flight info stored on my BlackBerry, I was able to quickly look it up. Terminal 2 isn't Changi's nicest terminal, but it sure does work well.

    There was no line at check-in, and the agent was friendly and insisted we check one of our bags (there's no baggage fee). To get into the main part of the terminal you have to show your ticket. The security person who looked at mine said with a big smile, First time to Phuket? I said it was my second, and as he pointed me to passport control he replied, Lovely place.

    There the agents were all very friendly as well. Even the woman driving the annoying beeping people-mover cart had a huge smile on her face, even with a kid pushing his bag really slow in the middle of the hallway blocking her way.

    Once inside the terminal there's all kinds of shopping, a plush indoor garden, and a ton of people taking pictures--me included. What's nice is you can keep your bottled water all the way until you get to your gate, which is when it's time to go through security. That's right--the main security checks are at each gate, so there's no long backups. The security check is basically the same process as in America, but shoes can stay on here. The biggest bummer about the gate area is there is no bathroom, so go before you pass through security. NEXT PAGE


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