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2011 Best Airports

Date: October 16, 2011

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Welcome to our 15th annual Best Airports for a snooze (or long transit).

So how do we come up with these lists? Every year, our airport sleepers send in their airport reviews and they vote in our polls. Then we consider the important stuff - our four C's: comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service. This data combined with information about the airport's facilities and passenger services somehow ends up being our Best and Worst Airports lists.

These lists are intended for airport sleepers and transit passengers based on what our readers have shared with us about their experiences. We don't track stuff like on-time flight performance, likelihood of strikes and incidents of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job.

When you are done here, check out the Worst Airportsof 2011.

Here are the winners of our 2011 Golden Pillow Award:


singapore changi rest area

singapore changi movie theatre

singapore changi swimming pool

singapore chnagi tv lounge

For the 15th year, Singapore Changi has scored the coveted top Golden Pillow Award. Over the past year, airport sleepers have flooded our polls and once again crowned "Club Changi" as our best airport.

In addition to those typical amenities that we rave about at other airports such as free WiFi, internet cafes, prayer rooms, and good eats, add these upgrades available at Changi: snooze chairs and napping areas in transit, city tours, a swimming pool and Jacuzzi, 24 hour massage and spa facilities, video games, music lounges, live bands, gardens, pay-in lounges for us poor economy passengers and free movies -- all at the airport. There really is no reason to leave Club Changi. Several contributors have raved about Singapore's Changi airport and have suggested you stay a few nights there even if you have the money for a hotel.

The thing we love about Changi is their ability to make the airport fun! From its Entertainment Deck with the Movie Theatre and XBox/Playstation consoles to the new 4-storey slide at terminal 3, being at the airport does not have to be a boring, coma-inducing experience.

Everything is not all sunshine and roses at our beloved Changi though. There have been recent reports of the terminal being too cold and construction noise at night. The Budget Terminal also continues to be a black mark on this shining star. Pack a sweater and ear plugs just in case.

"The bathrooms are awesome [and] they smell good, large space, and has couches. " - deangie
"it's just like sleeping inside a mall." - airporter

Airport Services/Facilities:
Free WiFi, Free Internet Kiosks, Food-24 hours ($), Baggage Storage($), pay-in Lounges ($), Shower ($), Gym & Spa ($), Massage ($), Swimming Pool & Jacuzzi ($), Convenience Stores/Supermarkets ($), Prayer rooms, Business Centres ($), Singapore City Tour, Nature Trail  (including a Butterfly Garden, Cactus Garden, Fern Garden, Koi Pond, Orchid Garden, Sunflower Garden, Fragrant Garden, Night Light Garden), airside Rest Areas with snooze chairs, Aviation Gallery, Children's Play Area, Entertainment Deck (including a Jam Studio, Lan Gaming, Music Area, MTV Booth, Movie Theatre, XBox and PlayStation consoles), The Slide @ T3 - 4 storey slide ($), Grand Prix Race Stimulators ($), Transit Hotel ($).

read more about Singapore Changi Airport

2 | HONG KONG    

by Quan the Pooh!

Totally tired
by Quan the Pooh!

It was a close race between Hong Kong and Seoul's Incheon airport, but this year the number 2 position goes to Hong Kong due to the number of facilities and services available. The Hong Kong airport has four 24 hour pay-in lounges (airside and landside), 24-hour food and drink (airside and landside), a nearby 9 hole golf course, an interactive movie studio and the largest 4D Movie Theatre in Asia. If you are in transit and really need to rest, look for the lounge chairs hidden behind shrubbery.

"The airport is new, big, clean, safe, with free unlimited WiFi, the security guards don't bother you, it's not cold, you can sleep comfortably in the double chairs in a row, or in one throwing your legs on the trolley." - Martian

Airport Services/Facilities:
Free WiFi, Internet Kiosks, Showers ($), Baggage Storage ($), Pay In Lounges-24-hour ($), Food/Drink-24-hour ($), Miniatures Gardens, airside Resting Areas, Exhibitions and Demonstrations/Workshops (such as Tea-making or Chinese Medicine), 4D Extreme Screen ($), 9 hole golf course ($), PlayStation Gateway, Sports Simulators (soccer, basketball, golf, boxing, skiing, car racing, shooting), Asia Hollywood is an interactive movie studio ($), Aviation Discovery Centre, Children Play Areas, Children's TV Lounges,

read more about Hong Kong International Airport


by kalamansi

Seoul Incheon offers Free WiFi, 24-hour Food and Drink (airside and landside) and comfy seats airside for the transit passengers.

"Incheon is great. It's airy, comfortable, super squeaky clean, quiet, and efficient. The food choices are great - we ate in the cafeteria-style place which serves tasty and affordable Korean food with free self-service side dishes (banchan). There's Free WiFi, and an area where you can use the internet for free on provided laptops." - ana_siam

Airport Services/Facilities

Food-24 hours ($), WiFi, Internet Kiosks/Stations ($), Sauna and Spa-24 hours($), Shower ($), Massage ($), Baby Care Lounges,  Children's Play Areas, Korean Cultural Museum, Traditional Craft Gallery, Observation Deck, Gardens (Pine Tree, Woody Plant, Alpine, Green, Cactus, Water, Four Gracious Plants, Star Garden and Wildflower), Driving Range ($)

read more about Seoul Incheon Airport

kuala lumpur airport
by jEdC

There are two terminals -- KLIA and the LCCT. The KLIA terminal is nicer and more comfortable. Both terminals have 24-hour pay-in lounges that economy passengers can access. The LCCT terminal has one located landside. On the downside, both terminals are lacking 24 hour food facilities.

"the announcements are terribly loud but ebbed off after 11pm, so that i could sleep quite well (with a whole cusioned bench without armrests for myself) until 5am when the airport became more lively again." - ire

Airport Services/Facilities:
Free WiFi, Free Internet Kiosks, Pay in Lounges-24 hours ($), Showers ($), Baggage Storage ($), Massage ($), Observation Gallery, Prayer and Silent Rooms, Children's Play Area, KLIA.TV, Transit Hotel ($).

read more about Kuala Lumpur Airport

Best Airport Chairs Ever
by pr1001

Amsterdam's Schiphol airport is large hub which rates high for its airside/transit facilities and comfort. Airside you'll find recliners and rest zones. The situation is not the same landside, so landside reviews are poor for this airport. This year the airport introduced Free WiFi for 1 hour. A unique feature at this airport would be that you can hold your wedding here. They promote "Get Married at Schiphol Airport" all of you young brides who have dreamed of that airport wedding ....Schiphol is the airport for you. :-)

"Amsterdam's airport is by far the best airport I have ever slept in. Once through customs, you can find a small area of lounge style chairs. I'd guess there are probably 150 of them in the section I slept in." - pward2988

Airport Services/Facilities:
Free WiFi, Food-24 hours($), pay-in Lounges ($), Baggage Storage ($), Internet Stations ($), Showers ($), Observation Terrace, Get married at Schiphol ($), Spa-24 hours ($), Gym ($), Sauna ($), Casino ($), Massage ($), Museum/Art Exhibits, Meditation room, Floating Dutchman Bus Tour ($), 6D Motion Theatre ($).

read more about Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

6 | MUNICH    
Again: more comfortable than they look
by adamgreenfield

Munich promotes itself as "More than an Airport" and that it is! From the beach volleyball tournaments and mini golf to the Customs Office tours where you can actually view items seized at customs, you may actually want to get up off your bench or piece of airport floor and experience this airport.

"The Munich airport is like a huge shopping mall, and the two terminals are connected by a very large courtyard. " - AnnArborTraveler
"The first floor was unbearable wooden seats. We crashed for a minute there and then the cleaning guy motioned up stairs for sleep. When we got to terminal 2 there were cotts!! We were so surprised and happy that we didn't have to continue sleeping on benches. " - pattella2001

Airport Services/Facilities:
WiFi ($), Food-24 hours ($), Baggage Storage ($), Showers ($), Mini golf ($), Casino/Gaming  Arcade ($),Visitor Terrace ($), Massage ($), Airport Tours ($); Customs Office Tour ($); Visitors Center with the airport exhibition, free aviation themed movies and shows,  Climb 172 steps to the viewing platform on the top of Visitors Hill ($); airside Relax zones; Laundry Service ($), Kinderterminal for kids.

read more about Munich Airport

vancouver airport
by Donna McSherry

There is not a lot in terms of entertainment, but the Vancouver airport is quiet at night, comfortable and has friendly staff. There is Free WiFi. For a reasonable fee you can access one of the 3 pay-in lounges or use the shower and enjoy the pool and gym facilities at the Fairmont Hotel attached to the airport. There are 24-hour food concessions available landside and airside.

"the airport that pretty much go dormant around 10-11 until about 5 am, and it is easy to find somewhere to crash without too much hassle. If security or airport staff ask you to move, ask them where, and they will help you out." - seanmac

Airport Services/Facilities:
Free WiFi, Food-24 hrs ($), Baggage Storage ($), Spa ($), pay-in Lounge ($), Showers & Pool ($), Chapel, Art Displays.

read more about Vancouver Airport

8 | ZURICH    
by Scoobyfoo

Finding a spot may require a bit of effort. Landside: chairs are not comfortable for the most part, but with a little effort you can enjoy such gems as coffee shop couches and spots under the coat hangers. Airside: there are special rest areas with comfortable chairs. The airport is quiet at night as everything shuts down. Staff and security are helpful. During the day, the airport, offers a variety of activities such as airport tours and bicycle and inline skate rentals for exploring the area outside the airport.

"Starbucks is definitely the place to go...plenty of couches left out and there are a few power outlets for laptops, cell phones, etc. Overall great experience, would do it again." - dc484153

Airport Services/Facilities:
WiFi ($), Baggage Storage ($), Showers ($), Airport Tours ($), Observation deck ($), Bicycle and Roller Blades Rentals ($), Chapel and Prayer Room, Rest Area with reclining chairs, Kids Parties with 30 minute tour ($), pay-in Lounge ($), Internet Kiosks ($).

read more about Zurich Airport

frankfurt airport
by egorick

Frankfurt is another large and busy airport, so you may have to walk around to find a quiet corner. The thing we love about German airports is that they have facilities and services like casinos and airport tours.

"After getting my ticket I went to find a place by the gate to rest, and found these lovely lounge-chair-esque seats waiting for me to sleep on." - phoenixtears

Airport Services/Facilities:
WiFi ($), Food-24 hours ($), Airport Tours ($), Baggage Storage ($), Massage ($), Spa ($), Supermarket ($), Casino ($), Visitor's Terrace ($), pay-in Lounge ($), Showers ($).

read more about Frankfurt International Airport

10 | TORONTO    
toronto airport
by BN catchesthelight

A new entry to the top 10 list. It may take a while for you to find a quiet spot at Toronto Pearson, but empty gates and armrest free seating can be found. Big pluses are its availability of food (24 hours-landside) and its 5 pay-in lounges where you can shower the next morning. The airport introduced Free WiFi this year.

"I work at Terminal 3 in Toronto and the New Tim Hortons just opened on the departures level. Very exciting. There are always lots of people sleeping in the arrival level, but it is never full. Area C is always loud and packed, head down towards Areas B and A for less people. It is an older building so it can get a little drafty and cold, lots of automatic doors." - ?

Airport Services/Facilities:
Free WiFi, pay-in Lounges ($), Baggage Storage ($), Showers ($), Food-24 hrs ($), Art & Exhibits, Chapel/Prayer Room

read more about Toronto Pearson Airport



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