Every year Skytrax, a company that
specializes in aviation research, organizes a massive consumer
satisfaction survey to determine the best airports in the world. This
year 8.6 million passengers at 190 airports offered up their opinions
on everything from airport navigation to culinary options to
amenities, in order to establish this year's winners. For the first
time in seven years Hong Kong fell to second place, beat out by
Incheon Airport in South Korea. Still, Skytrax reports that the top
three contenders were neck-to-neck, making this year's contest the
Some of the winners have amenities as
wide-ranging as golf courses, casinos, spas, and indoor gardens,
making them veritable destinations in their own right (and making it
easy to see why consumers love them). Surprisingly, not one airport
in North America made the top ten, not even the Dallas/Fort Worth
airport, which won first place in the region.
1. Incheon International Airport: In
addition to placing first in the world (up from third place last
year), this light-filled airport in Seoul, South Korea also won first
in class for cleanliness. It's easy-to-navigate layout (only one
terminal) also makes it a favorite among consumers, but what really
catapulted this Korean masterpiece to first place are all of the
extras--everything from a golf course, casino, and spa, to seven
indoor gardens and a museum dedicated to Korean culture that houses a
collection of relics covering 5,000 years of Korean history.
2. Hong Kong: After seven years on
top, Hong Kong must be smarting after losing first place to Incheon.
Still, there's nothing painful about layovers at this airport. Like
Incheon, it's single-terminal layout makes navigation easy and you
won't go hungry here-- the airport placed first in class for dining.
The design is first-rate with awesome views over Hong Kong and while
the city is only 25 minutes away by shuttle, you might not want to
leave before exploring what the airport has to offer--you can do
everything here from watching a movie, to having your nails done to
catching a round of golf or shopping a string of boutiques (Prada,
Gucci, Versace) that rivals New York's Fifth Avenue.
3. Singapore Changi: Changi in
Singapore may not be as futuristic in design or airy and light-filled
as the top two winners this year, but what it lacks in outward
design, it more than makes up with interior appeal. Not only did the
airport place third worldwide, it also topped the "best
amenities" list. At Changi, it's not hard to relax before a
flight--travelers can nap in one of the napping areas, unwind on an
orchid-filled indoor nature trail, get a massage at their spa, catch
a movie at their 24-hour theater, or even cool down in the rooftop
4. Zurich: Moving up to fourth place
from eighth place last year, Zurich also ranked first among all
European airports. Sure, Zurich boasts its fair share of
between-flight amenities, including an IMAX theater, a planetarium,
and a museum which contains over 3,000 objects pertaining to the
history of transportation, but it's really their dedication to
customer service that has kept them moving up the ranks year over
year. Zurich airport ensures that customers are happy and things are
running smoothly with a central office that coordinates everything
from airline arrivals and baggage to customs and security.
5. Munich: Holding steady at number five year over year, Munich airport is well known for its ease of inter-airport transportation, thanks to its compact layout and the short distances between the gates. It's also a favorite among passengers for its arcades, casinos, internet workstations, and shopping.
6. Kansai: Kansai may not be the first airport you think of when you think of when you think of Japan, but for those who travel frequently, it's a favorite thanks to its efficient security and immigration checkpoints, not to mention all of the little things that make traveling more comfortable--ubiquitous WiFi, coin-operated showers, play areas for kids, and shopping and dining options galore. It won sixth last year and maintained that position this year.
7. Kuala Lumpur: Falling from fourth place last year to seventh this year, Kuala Lumpur's airport nonetheless continues to delight passengers. Travelers love it first and foremost for the ease of passenger processing here (it won first for immigration services), but it also gets high marks for its airy look and feel, luxury lounges (including dedicated lounges for smokers), play areas for children and abundant restaurants and retail shops. The transportation hub is also conveniently linked to the city via high-speed rail.
8. Amsterdam: For years Amsterdam airport clocked in as Europe's best only to fall off the top ten list altogether last year when it took 11th place worldwide. This year it elbowed its way back into the top ten, as customers gave it high ratings for easy access to the city and effortless navigation thanks to its single-terminal layout. Passengers here also enjoy the comforts of multiple lounges and dining options, a spa, showers, and casinos.
9. Centrair Nagoya: Moving up to ninth place from 12th last year, Centrair Nagoya is not only extremely well-known for shopping, it's also one of the most child-friendly airports in the world. Here you'll find nurseries, rental baby carriages, and an entire area that has been roped off for kids. They also have a bathhouse (the perfect way for mom to relax), where you can watch take-offs and landings while simultaneously easing tension in a hot tub.
10. Auckland: Moving up a whopping ten slots from 20 last year to tenth place this year, Auckland airport in New Zealand is worldwide winner for its commitment to the environment and community. The first building in New Zealand to apply for LEED certification, the entire airport was constructed with an eye on conservation. They light the hub via solar panels, harvest rain for air-conditioning cooling towers, and manage energy efficiently via a system of lights that automatically switch off when there is enough natural light to illuminate an area. The air hub is also outfitted with a wide number of shopping and dining opportunities.