What is your definition of a good airport? Efficient, clean, fun, friendly, comfortable or a little bit of everything?
The best airports in the world are those that truly dazzle and delight. Efficient, clean, fun, friendly, creative, comfortable, easy… the list of happy adjectives could go on and on. What ultimately unites these terminals together is that coming to them is the opposite of a chore. Here are the top 10 best airports in the world based on overall airport experience, as determined by voters of the 2016 Airport Survey conducted by the Canada-based The Guide to Sleeping in Airports Web portal recently…
Singapore Changi International Airport, Singapore
The terminal continues its two-decade streak of wowing travellers with sparkling terminals, exceptional staff, boundless amenities and effortless navigation. Essentials aside, it is the extravagances that lead voters to feel like they are in an amusement park rather than a travel hub. A layover here may begin with a spin through one of the five gardens before dipping your toes into a fish spa or slipping into a massage chair. Others may opt for a ride down the multi-storey slide or time at the XBox 360 gaming stations before launching into feature films at the free movie theatre.
Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea
As the second-best airport in Asia and the world, the Seoul Incheon International Airport provides a truly exceptional travel experience. Those with energy might opt to explore the cultural centre, the movie theatre, the gardens, the ice rink or avail free transit tours. And, once the activities wear you down, you can seek out a reclining lounge chair in a quiet rest zone for a deep and peaceful sleep.
Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan
While the Tokyo Haneda airport doesn’t offer the same level of fanfare that one sees in Seoul and Changi, voters appreciated the Japanese themes throughout the airport. And those travellers running late for their flights were happy to find staff who were calm, cool and collected. Those who opt to sleep here also leave rested and happy, thanks to the multitude of armrest-free benches, the attached hotel, and the sense of safety and security.
Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan
Taipei Taoyuan Airport dazzles travellers worldwide with its enthusiasm and exuberance. Perhaps the world’s most creative airport, every gate has a different theme, ranging from environmental conservation to Sony products, and from tea shops to Hello Kitty.
Munich International Airport, Germany
Munich Airport brings a bit of diversity to the global best airports’ list, as the first non-Asian airport to claim a top-ranking spot. The fifth best airport in the world has the essentials—cleanliness, customer service and overall organisation—down to a science. However, it’s things like the free morning coffee and excellent food that begin to take it a step above the rest.
Osaka Kansai International Airport, Japan
Moving up the list from last year’s 17th place, Osaka Kansai International Airport moved up to the sixth place, thanks to a new area devoted entirely to airport sleepers. With long benches and a free blanket lending service (and a luggage storage system nearby), you’re likely to get an especially good airport snooze in here.
Vancouver International Airport, Canada
Canada’s ultra-friendly west coast hub first wows visitors with stunning architecture and locally-inspired First Nation’s art. Great shopping and dining options for every budget ups the terminal’s appeal—as do the airside aquariums that feature marine life of the North Pacific.
Helsinki Airport, Finland
Helsinki Airport’s clean, passenger-friendly terminals help to make it a global favourite. Lovely architecture and pleasant staff set the backdrop for an airport full of practical travel comforts. The free sleep pods (6 am–10 pm) are by far one of the most unique (and treasured) features of the terminal, though the free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food options don’t hurt the airport’s worldwide ranking either.
Tallinn International Airport, Estonia
Estonia’s Tallinn Airport is proof that good things really do come in small packages. Extremely comfortable and clean, and very well organised, the Talinn airport makes travellers feel truly at home. The easy layout, modern facilities, cafés, comfortable chairs, free sleep pods, free Wi-Fi and short queues combine to make this one of Europe’s best airports.
Zurich Kloten International Airport, Switzerland
Rounding off the list is Zurich—the Swiss’ supremely efficient, organised and tidy airport. Excellent signage makes it a breeze for passengers looking for either their next gate or the flawless national rail system. Impeccably clean floors and armrest-free benches delight those in need of some shuteye.