Singapore's Changi Airport ranked as the best airport in the world.
Usually when a trip is good, you don't remember much about the airport. It's the middle man, serving to get you where you need to be. But there are some shining air travel facilities whose artwork, rooftop pools and layover golf courses truly break the mold.
Skytrax released the results of its annual World Airport Awards, revealing the best of the best airports in the world. The scores were based on rankings from 12.8 million customer nominations across 110 nationalities, taking into account passenger satisfaction across factors like service, security, immigration and shopping. Skytrax analyzed a total of 410 airports around the globe. The World Airport Awards are considered the premier accolade for the airport industry.
10. London's Heathrow Airport
Despite being the second-busiest airport in the world, Heathrow is one of the most passenger-accommodating facilities. The U.K. hub won the awards for Best Airport Shopping and Best Airport Terminal for T5, which was the result of a $6.2 billion upgrade project mixed with a 19-year design and construction. The Queen's Terminal opened in March of this year, boasting BOSS, Gulgari and Burberry, to name a few of the high-end shops.
The Skytrax review of Heathrow gives the facility four or five out of five-star rankings for flight information, security staff efficiency, ease of use and public transportation. Check out Heathrow Airport hotels when you're coming by the neighborhood.
9. Vancouver International Airport
Serving only 18 million passengers a year, Vancouver is the least busy airport in Skytrax's top 10. However, the airport houses a collection of Pacific Northwest native art and employs some of the best staff around. There are also volunteers, called green coast ambassadors, who help travelers get to their destination.
8. Zurich Airport
The specialty of Switzerland's largest airport? It offers a porter service where travelers pay a fee to have their bag picked up from anywhere in the airport and delivered to their final destination. Situated 7 miles north of Zurich's city center, the airport ranked highly in Skytrax's immigration, dining and airport security processing categories.
7. Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing Airport is so busy that the city is building another airport, expected to be bigger than New York's John F Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark airports combined. Currently the facility welcomes 78 million passengers, making it the busiest airport in Asia and the second-busiest in the world, behind Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson that seem to necessitate Atlanta airport hotels.
Its Langham Place Beijing hotel earned the title of second-best airport hotel in the world.
6. Tokyo International Airport
Also called Haneda Airport, Tokyo International won the World's Best Domestic Airport. The Japanese hub was highlighted for its security, immigration and shopping. For those who think airports are cesspools for germs, you'll be pleased to know the Haneda is the cleanest airport in the world, according to Skytrax.
5. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Opened in 1916 as a military airfield, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has evolved into one of the busiest airports in the world – it's made even more impressive by how relatively small the country is.
If passengers get bored while waiting for flights, they can hit the slots at the casino, find a good book to read at the airport library or enjoy a massage. No wonder Schiphol excelled in leisure options.
4. Hong Kong International Airport
Sports fans might tell you that the best part about Hong Kong International Airport is that it has a nine-hole golf course, debatably the most ingenious ways to spend long layovers. The airport is located less than five hours flying from half of the world's population, so it's not surprise that it's among the busiest.
3. Munich Airport
Aesthetics is Munich Airport's forte. Many of the ceilings and walls are made of glass, with cozy restaurants filled with wooden furniture and floors that make it as welcoming as airports get. It makes sense then that the airport, a 45-minute train ride from Munich's downtown, was named the best in Europe and lauded for its dining options.
2. Incheon International Airport
Incheon is the largest airport in South Korea, offering flights on more than 70 airlines. Inside, visitors encounter a museum of Korean culture, clean terminals and excellent food choices. If Skytrax ratings aren't enough for some travelers, it might be helpful to know that Incheon was rated the world's top airport by Airports Council International from 2005 to 2012.
1. Singapore's Changi Airport
Taking the crown this year is Singapore's Changi Airport, which boasts movie theaters, spas, an outdoor pool and a butterfly garden. Talk about a breezy family travel layover. Edward Plaisted, chief executive of Skytrax, summarized it best:
"Changi Airport is a well-known leader and innovator for the airport industry and genuinely delights and surprises travelers who are lucky enough to enjoy the airport facilities," Plaisted said. "Changi Airport demonstrates how to make the airport experience an enjoyable part of the journey that is so important in today's fast-moving world."