Date: October 15, 2016
In our annual survey, we asked travellers to rate airports worldwide based on their overall airport experience. They ranked their experiences on these factors:
- Comfort (Rest Zones & Gate Seating)
- Services, Facilities & Things to do
- Food Options
- Customer Service
The best airports in the world are those that truly dazzle and delight. Efficient, clean, fun, friendly, creative, comfortable, easy… Our list of happy adjectives taken from our voters comments could go on and on. What ultimately unites these terminals together is that coming to them is the opposite of a chore. Rather, passengers are often found wishing their layover could continue for just a little longer so that they can check out the IMAX theatre, the aquarium, the indoor jungle, the multi-story slide, the spa, or something that they haven’t even thought of yet. All in all, if you find yourself in one of these terminals you’re in for a treat!
Here are the Top 10 Best Airports in the World based on overall airport experience, as determined by voters in our 2016 Airport Survey.
1. Singapore Changi International Airport, Singapore (SIN)
The immigration officers have a candy for you to take, which I thought was a nice touch. – survey respondent
It should come as no surprise that once again, Singapore Changi Airport has come in, unequivocally, as the best airport in the world. 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’re in an amusement park rather than a travel hub. A layover here may begin with a spin through one of 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-story slide or time at the XBox 360 gaming stations, before launching into feature films at the free movie theatre. Or perhaps, you devote your time to exploring the multitude of excellent restaurants and shops, which sell quality products at normal prices. And for those who want to get out of the terminal – though we can’t imagine why – there is also a free transit tour of the city centre available to transit passengers with permitting schedules! All in all, SIN unanimously woo’s voters with efficiency and decadence for another year running. ( Photo courtesy of Changi Airport Group )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Free City Tour • Free Movie Theatre • Napping Rooms ($) • Transit Hotel ($) • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Swimming Pool ($) • Showers ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Gardens • Rest Zones • Spa ($) • Cultural Activities • Free Transit Tour • Cultural Activities. For more information, visit our Singapore Changi Airport Guide.
2. Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea (ICN)
I ask the travel agent to schedule extra time for my connecting flight so I could enjoy the shops, eateries and spacious waiting-areas in which I can stretch-out. – survey respondent
Once again, Seoul Incheon Airport comes close to rivaling the adoration garnered by Changi. As the second best airport in Asia and the world, ICN 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 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. When you awake, you can hop into a free shower before charging your devices and surfing the web – all with total ease. It is no wonder travellers feel the need to extend their layover here! The only thing that seems to taint time at Incheon is the increasingly slow security processes. However, in the past lineups have been lightning quick, so travellers hope they’ll return to regular speed once again. ( Photo courtesy of erwinpeng / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Transit Hotel ($) • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Gardens • Cultural Activities • Luggage Storage ($) • Free Showers • Skating Rink ($) • Transit Tour ($) • Museum • Movie Theatre ($) • Rest Zones.For more information, visit our Seoul Incheon Airport Guide.
3. Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan (HND)
I like Haneda Airport. There are so many japanese things to see, it’s like a theme park. – survey respondent
Asian airports continue to dominate our list of Best Airports in the World, with Tokyo Haneda Airport securing the number three spot, thanks to its extreme cleanliness and efficiency. While HND doesn’t offer the same level of fanfare that we see in Seoul and Changi, voters appreciated the Japanese themes throughout the airport. And, those travellers running late for their flights were happy to find staff who were calm, cool and collected. Those who opt to sleep here also leave rested and happy, thanks to the multitude of armrest-free benches, the attached hotel, and the sense of safety and security. All in all, Haneda wins big because of its remarkable ability to sooth even the most stressed of travellers. ( Photo courtesy of yoshikobrownie / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Transit Hotel ($) • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Showers ($) • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Tokyo Haneda Airport Guide. For more information, visit our Tokyo Haneda Airport Guide.
4. Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, Taiwan (TPE)
The airport has waiting rooms of different themes, and most of them showed various Taiwanese cultures. – survey respondent
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 the Hello Kitty. Most of these themes come with at least one activity for waiting guests – whether it is lessons in calligraphy, or a unique local food tasting. Outside of the lounges, the airport also offers a number of rest zones, shower areas (bring your own soap!), family rooms and free Wi-Fi. They also make sure the basics are solid – time here is reliably easy, efficient and clean! ( Photo courtesy of Taipei Taoyuan Airport )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Free 15-minute Showers • Transit Hotel ($) • 24-Hour Food ($) • Cultural Activities • Library • Luggage Storage ($) • Museum • Rest Zones • Cultural Activities. For more information, visit our Taipei Taoyuan Airport Guide.
5. Munich International Airport, Germany (MUC)
The airport layout makes it easy to get from gate to gate. The airport is the most efficiently run airport I know of. – survey respondent
Munich Airport brings a bit of diversity to our 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 organization – 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. Quiet zones and free Wi-Fi are other treasures, though nothing quite compares to the brewery, sleep cabins, mini-golf course, ice rink, surfing and the seasonal Christkindl market. All in all, MUC is the perfect combination of travel essentials and unique extras. ( Photo courtesy of amcc919 / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Sleep Pods ($) • Airport Brewery ($) • Airport Tours ($) • Casino ($) • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Rest Zones • Showers ($) • Cinema • Mini-Golf ($). For more information, visit our Munich Airport Guide.
6. Osaka Kansai International Airport, Japan (KIX)
This airport has an incredible range of facilities, especially the sky view building containing an observation deck and numerous facilities for aviation enthusiasts. – survey respondent
This year, Osaka Kansai Airport made a serious jump on our list of best airports worldwide. Formerly in 17th place, KIX moved up to sixth place thanks to a new area devoted entirely to airport sleepers. With long benches and a free blanket lending service (and a luggage storage system nearby), you’re likely to get an especially good airport snooze in here! For the non-weary, the airport is clean and spacious. While it could probably use a few more restaurants, shops and activities, the staff are friendly and the observation deck is one of the best terminals in the world to waste a little time! ( Photo courtesy of cindiahuang / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounge ($) • Free WiFi • 24-Hour Food Options • Luggage Storage ($) • Rest Zone • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Osaka Kansai Airport Guide.
7. Vancouver International Airport, Canada (YVR)
Beautiful airport. The international terminal feels like a destination in itself. – survey respondent
Vancouver Airport rounds out our World’s Best Airport list even more, putting North America onto the map. 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 up’s the terminal’s appeal – as do the airside aquariums that feature marinelife of the North Pacific. Life at YVR is made even better by the clean facilities, the efficient lines and the convenient connections into the city centre. And, in true Canadian fashion, the staff are incredibly co-operative, polite and helpful. All in all, time spent at YVR gives you a glimpse into Canadian life and hospitality.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Aquarium • TV Lounges • Rest Areas • Nap Rooms ($) • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Self-Guided Tour • Showers ($) • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Vancouver Airport Guide.
8. Helsinki Airport, Finland (HEL)
Helsinki is rather small airport but everything worked good there. It was easy to find everything, it has good restaurants, nice lounge area and friendly people serving passengers there. I liked it very much. – survey respondent
Helsinki Airport’s clean, passenger-friendly terminals help to make it a global favourite. Lovely architecture and pleasant staff set the backdrop for an airport full of practical travel comforts. The free sleep pods (6:00AM – 10:00PM) are by far one of the most unique (and treasured) features of the terminal, though the free Wi-Fi and 24-hour food options don’t hurt HEL’s worldwide ranking either. While sometimes the security lineups can get a bit bogged down, the availability of charging points and spaces to get away from it all make this airport a regional fan favourite. ( Photo courtesy of sankakel / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Free (and Paid) Sleep Pods ($) • Airport Tours ($) • Book Swap • 24-Hour Food Options • Luggage Storage ($) • Rest Zone • Showers ($) • Workstations. For more information, visit our Helsinki Airport Guide.
9. Tallinn International Airport, Estonia (TLL)
Visiting more than 182 cities all around the globe, there is nothing to compare with. It is the best, coziest, cleanest, most client friendly, eco airport in the world. The whole airport is like a boutique business lounge. Tallinn is lightyears ahead of any airport I have seen. – survey respondent
Estonia’s Tallinn Airport is proof that good things really do come in small packages. Extremely comfortable and clean, and very well organized, TLL makes travellers feel truly at home. The easy layout, modern facilities, cafes, comfortable chairs, free sleep pods, free Wi-Fi and short queues combine to make this one of Europe’s best airports. Travellers also love Tallinn’s unique features, like the library and the public announcements performed by jazz and opera singers. All this is made even better when you realize you can move through the entire airport in as little time as 10 minutes! Because of its size, late-night departures and long layovers are limited, so its facilities for overnight or layover passengers likely don’t compare to other global airports. But travellers love it just the same! ( Photo courtesy of robmen61 / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounge ($) • Free WiFi • Free Sleep Pods • Library • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Tallinn Airport Guide.
10. Zurich Kloten International Airport, Switzerland (ZRH)
I always feel like home at this airport. Its cozy and luxurious at the same time. Its a must visit. – survey respondent
Rounding off our list of Best Airports in the World is Zurich – the Swiss’ supremely efficient, organized and tidy airport. Excellent signage makes it a breeze for passengers looking for either their next gate or the flawless national rail system. Impeccably clean floors and armrest-free benches delight those in need of some shuteye, as does the generally dim lighting and the hour of free Wi-Fi. The drawback to ZRH? The prices continue to be particularly high. Restaurants and shops are often out of reach for budget travellers. However, they do find affordable sustenance at the grocery store in the basement. ( Photo courtesy of ozgurguzay / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounge ($) • Free WiFi (2 hours) • Transit Hotel ($) • Airport Tours ($) • Bicycle, Inline Skates and Nordic Walking Pole Rentals ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Zurich Airport Guide.
Since you’ve been dazzled by the world’s best airports, it’s time to read about the worst of the worst. Check out the Worst Airports in the World!