The last night of the trip I stayed within Changi Airport because if I had stayed in a hotel room I would’ve missed the returning plane departing at 7:10 in the morning. Fortunately, Changi Airport opens 24 hours a day and it doesn’t close at midnight. Because UA check-in counters were closed until 4:30 am, I had to stay on a bench on the departure floor.
However, sleeping on the bench wasn’t successful. When I lay on the bench, security guards came to wake up and said, “There’s no oversleeping here, sir.” I moved to another bench and slept hiding from them, but I couldn’t sleep very well, just slept only for an hour, because every time I heard the sound of somebody’s footsteps I was afraid that the security officers came to wake me up. Later I saw guests in the coffee shop on the same floor sleeping very well. I should’ve done it!
At 4 am, I saw the UA check-in counter open and began check-in. Although there were automated check-in machines, it became error while processing. I finally was led to a human-operated counter by UA staff and managed to have a boarding pass.
Soon I entered into a departure gate. I was surprised to see that there was just a screening machine for luggage, no security gates nor screening officers. Its security check was very simple. After luggage screening, there were immigration counters, where a piece of the disembarkation card I had got at Woodlands Checkpoint was taken away and a departing stamp was stamped on my passport.
While in a restricted area, I went in front of the boarding gate for UA804 to Tokyo and opened my laptop to surf the net, because duty-free shops were closed until 6 am so I had nothing else to do. I was disappointed that there were no free WiFi spots even in the boarding gate areas in Changi Airport, unlike other international airports. Priced WiFi operated by StarHub was all in that airport. Even if I tried to pay for the WiFi by my credit card, the authentication of the credit card failed. I found that if I sent an SMS by a Singaporean mobile phone I had an SMS by StarHub with user id and password. I tried to do it and once successful, but ten minutes later the connection became unavailable. That’s why I rate Changi Airport as very badly in international airports in the world.
At 6 am, the duty-free shops began operation, but we had not so much time to shop because the boarding on UA804 was to begin at 6:30 am.
More than that, there were strict security checks at the entry of the boarding gates while there were simpler screening at the departure entrance, so I had no time to take a rest in front of the gate.
Anyway, the airplane arrived at Narita at 3:10 pm, just on time. I managed to return to Japan alive 🙂