Sleeping in Airports

Best Airports of 2019

November 03, 2020 – With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting airports this year, we will not be publishing a 2020 Best & Worst list. As soon as travel picks up and we receive sufficient traveller feedback we will put together a new list. Ways to participate: Vote Here or Write a Review.

In our annual survey, we ask travellers to rate airports worldwide based on their overall airport experience. Travellers ranked their experiences based on these factors:

  • Comfort (Gate seating, rest zone availability, etc.)
  • Services, facilities & things to do
  • Food options
  • Immigration/security
  • Customer service
  • Navigation & ease of transit
  • Cleanliness

and of course,

  • Sleepability

Top airports have a lot in common: plenty of seating, rest areas, a good amount of food options, helpful staff and efficient check-in, and security procedures. Some airports go above-and-beyond with perks like in-terminal movie theatres and gardens. The best thing about each of these airports is their willingness to improve on already top-notch facilities.  Many airports are renovating their terminals and some are getting more innovative⁠, with the aim of making the airport a destination in itself.  So, on your next trip, you just might want to include a stop at one of these 10 Best Airports of 2019!

1. Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)

Best Airports 2019: Singapore Changi airport
Photo courtesy of Changi Airport Group / October 2019

“So many facilities that this airport stands out head & shoulders above the others. You could spend hours there easily filling in a long layover” – survey respondent

Year after year, Singapore Changi Airport tops our list of Best Airports in the World, and there’s no shortage of reasons why when you discover all the airport has to offer. Among the highlights: free movie theatres, gardens, free city transit tours, nap zones, cultural activities, and much more.

What’s new this year? The Jewel complex opened earlier this year, complete with a jungle terrace and the Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest (and most Instagrammed) indoor waterfall!

What voters say: The spacious terminals rarely feel crowded, and most travellers cite helpful, friendly staff and clean facilities. In an airport this size, there are some drawbacks: pricey overnight hotels, hard-to-find water fountains, queues at bathrooms, and tricky SMS-required WiFi connections. Still, the good far outweighs the few negatives, so you may want to cross your fingers for a long layover or delayed flight at Singapore Changi Airport.

The zzz Factor: Whether you’re looking for a quick cat nap or a private room, Changi Airport has something for every budget. Free reclining loungers can be found at airside “Snooze Lounges” inside each terminal. Sleep chairs are limited, so your alternative will be to nap on other padded benches, armrest-free seating, or massage chairs located throughout the airport. If you prefer some privacy (and don’t mind paying), there are three transit hotels. Sleep cabins and nap rooms are available inside some fee-based lounges.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Mobile Charging • Free City Tour • Free Movie Theatre • Napping Rooms ($) • 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

“I like this airport because there are many great facilities that help you rest and recover from long flights or layovers. “ – survey respondent

Seoul Incheon Airport goes above and beyond with cultural exhibits, live music, free city tours for transit passengers, and even a robot who offers terminal directions.

What voters say: Travellers appreciate the speedy security lines, helpful staff, free showers, and the wide variety of shops, eateries, and convenience and grocery stores. Seating is plentiful and there are good nap spots and designated rest areas, but these can get noisy. Survey respondents cite the long distance to gates (be prepared to walk!) and pricey eateries as prime drawbacks.

The zzz Factor: Looking to catch up on some sleep in between flights? Seoul Incheon Airport has dedicated rest zones with free padded lounges/beds. When these are full, seek out the armrest-free seating throughout the airport. Transit hotels are available in both terminals, but that will cost you.

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. Helsinki Airport (HEL)

Best Airports 2019: Helsinki Airport
Photo courtesy of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport / October 2019

“Great atmosphere, really tranquil for an airport. They’ve just done some renovations so it’s even better than ever.” – survey respondent

Helsinki Airport reflects the best of Scandinavia—great design, clear signage, stylish shops. No stranger to our Best Airports in the World list, Helsinki Airport has a lot for travellers to love: plenty of seating, out-of-the-way sleep spots, modern eateries, free sleep pods, and an overall tranquil vibe.

What voters say: The airport excels at efficiency, with easy navigation, speedy security queues, and helpful staff. Sure, the airport could use more sleep-friendly seating or pods for overnight stays, and perhaps more diverse food options, but for a modestly-sized airport, travellers don’t complain much. If you can’t find a power outlet, re-charge with a new title from the free book swap.

The zzz Factor: You probably won’t have much luck with gate seating as they reportedly have armrests and “cause a lot of back pain”, but there are some recliners and flat benches sprinkled throughout the airport and a quiet lounge—The Kainuu Lounge—can be found near Gate 31.  Prefer to lay down with a little privacy? Sleep pods can be rented hourly or overnight.

Airport Services/Facilities: Rest Zones • Sleep Pods ($) • Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Book Swap • 24-hour food options ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers ($) • Workstations. For more information, visit our Helsinki Airport Guide.

4. Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT)

Tokyo Narita Airport sleepers
Photo courtesy of Minn

“Narita, Japan, always offers fantastic spaces for resting in every terminal, but they have recently opened some special (and very large) quiet rooms that you can get electricity, wifi, aircon and a proper flat lie down in!” – survey respondent

A mainstay on our Best Airports in the World list, Tokyo Narita Airport has managed to distill the best of Japanese efficiency and comfort, even in this large, international space.

What voters say: Travellers appreciate the safety and security. One reviewer says “everything you need is here”, which seems to include a variety of shops and eateries, comfortable seating areas, and brand new quiet rooms that have lie-flat chairs.

The zzz Factor: Survey respondents found Tokyo Narita Airport to be quite comfortable for sleeping. This might have something to do with the conversion of a gate area into an overnight rest area, complete with foot rests and plenty of padded benches. Stuck on a weather delay? Look for airport staff who may distribute sleeping bags, snacks, and water.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Rest Zones • Free WiFi • Day Rooms ($) • Showers ($) • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Cultural Activities. For more information, visit our Tokyo Narita Airport Guide.

5. Osaka Kansai International Airport (KIX)

“Clean and tons of places to shop or sit around.” – survey respondent

Located on a man-made island, Osaka Kansai Airport is the combination of efficiency and amenities. Travellers heading into Osaka will be impressed by the speedy baggage claim and the easy connections to downtown.

What voters say: This airport gives travellers a lot to love: helpful staff, plenty of shops and eateries, a 24-hour convenience shop, and massage chairs for impromptu relaxation.

The zzz Factor: Tired travellers appreciate the variety of sleep options. Plentiful armrest-free seating and a dedicated sleep area are made a little more comfortable thanks to the free blankets that airport staff distribute to overnight travellers. Prefer more privacy? Two hotels are located in the airport, for those willing to spend the cash.

Airport Services/Facilities: Rest Zones • Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Mobile Charging • Showers ($). For more information, visit our Osaka Kansai Airport Guide.

6. Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (TPE)

Best Airports of 2019: Taipei Taoyuan Airport
Photo courtesy of Taipei Taoyuan Airport / Instagram

“It’s a clean airport with a lot of peaceful secluded space and seating for resting, and some great facilities, like public showers. “ – survey respondent

Smaller than the big-leaguers of Asian airports, Taipei Taoyuan Airport is a pleasant surprise to those who touch down here. Friendly staff, secluded seating, themed-gates, yummy and affordable food, free showers, and a peaceful vibe all contribute to the airport’s well-earned spot among the Best Airports in the World.

What voters say: Travellers appreciate the easy transit connections between terminals and to the heart of Taipei. If there are any drawbacks, it’s that the landside can be desolate and sometimes the air conditioning is too cold, so pack an extra layer.

The zzz Factor: Survey respondents appreciate the many sleep areas here, including dedicated rest zones with flat benches and some recliners spread throughout. Plenty of out-of-the-way areas are available for travellers who seek privacy or prefer to stretch out on the floor.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • Free 15-minute Showers • Transit Hotel ($) • 24-Hour Food ($) • Library • Luggage Storage ($) • Museum • Rest Zones • Cultural Activities. For more information, visit our Taipei Taoyuan Airport Guide.

7. Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

Vancouver Airport Seating
Photo by SleepingInAirports.net

“This airport is very aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and calming. There’s plenty to do when awaiting connecting flights.” – survey respondent

The sole North American entry among our 2019 Best Airports list, Vancouver Airport does a lot of things right, making it a perennial favorite among survey respondents.

What voters say: Travellers love the airport’s bright, spacious design featuring aquariums, Native artwork, waterfalls, and tall windows that offer expansive views of the surrounding nature. On the flip side, it seems that food options could be more diverse and the bathrooms could use an update.

The zzz Factor: Survey respondents report that comfortable, armrest-free seating is abundant on the airside. If you’re willing to pay, a few fee-based lounges offer nap rooms, and a pre-security hotel connects to the airport.

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. Munich International Airport (MUC)

Photo by SleepingInAirports.net

“This airport is sleeping friendly and, most of all, foreign passenger friendly.” – a traveller

Munich Airport offers a balance of efficiency and amenities to help earn it a spot among the 2019 Best Airports in the World.

What travellers say: Travellers highlight the organized layout, helpful staff, cleanliness, good sleep spots, and solid eateries. The Airbrau Brewery is particularly well-liked for its beer and casual fun. Munich Airport rolls out seasonal Bavarian experiences, like Oktoberfest and a Christkindl Market.

The zzz Factor: It seems that Terminal 2 is the most comfortable and sleep-friendly thanks to nap zones with reclining seats and footrests. Armrest-free seating is pretty easy to find across the entire airport. Prefer more privacy? Pay-to-use sleep cabins are available.

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.

9. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

“Easy to find good places to sleep, excellent restrooms, and so much food and drink available any time you want it. Plus free WIFI and charger stations!” – survey respondent

Airports in Asia get a lot right, and Hong Kong Airport is no exception. This spacious airport has a little bit of everything that travellers like: plenty of seating, abundant eateries and shops, efficient security procedures, and solid customer service.

What voters say: Travellers with long layovers appreciate the golf area, movie theatre, and kids play areas. Some reviews describe unfriendly staff or hard-to-find check-in counters, but hopefully neither detract from an overall pleasant visit at Hong Kong Airport.

The zzz Factor: You’ll find armrest-free seating at the gates and reclining lounge chairs throughout the terminal. Designated sleeping and relaxation areas are also available near Gates 23-25 and Gate 35, with sleep-friendly seating located between the food court and Gate 60. For those spending the night, plenty of well-lit areas contribute to safe sleeping and the noise is generally low.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • IMAX Theatre ($) • Showers ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Mobile Charging • Gardens • Rest Zones. For more information, visit our Hong Kong Airport Guide.

10. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS)

Amsterdam Airport Rest Zone
(Photo courtesy of a Guest Traveller / 21 Feb 2019)

I love this airport: logical, clean structure and set-up, one can go through or change flights quickly and the birdsong! – survey respondent

Amsterdam Airport seems to be a bit of a litmus test: it scores well if you’re new to international travel, but it can feel a little outdated if you’re more experienced. A mix of convenience, Dutch efficiency, and worthwhile amenities help rank Amsterdam Schiphol Airport among the 2019 Best Airports.

What voters say: Travellers appreciate plentiful seating areas, speedy security lines, and shops selling unique goods as well as the frequent train connections across the Benelux region. On the downside, the airport seems to undergo non-stop construction, and poor signage, crowds, few moving sidewalks, and too many security screenings might delay you. To make the most of Amsterdam Airport, arrive early, prepare to walk, and relax before your next flight.

The zzz Factor: Depending on your gate, you may need to search for just the right sleep-friendly spot. In addition to a couple dedicated quiet zones, some recliners and flat padded benches are scattered throughout the airport. Prefer more comfort? Two transit hotels are available for those willing to pay.

Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi • 24-Hour Food Options ($) • Showers (Free and $) • Luggage Storage ($) • Mobile Charging • Rest Zones. For more information, visit our Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Guide.

Best Airports

  1. Singapore Changi (SIN)
  2. Seoul Incheon (ICN)
  3. Helsinki (HEL)
  4. Tokyo Narita (NRT)
  5. Osaka Kansai (KIX)
  6. Taipei Taoyuan (TPE)
  7. Vancouver (YVR)
  8. Munich (MUC)
  9. Hong Kong (HKG)
  10. Amsterdam (AMS)

Best Airports – Asia

  1. Singapore (SIN)
  2. Seoul Incheon (ICN)
  3. Tokyo Narita (NRT)
  4. Osaka Kansai (KIX)
  5. Taipei Taoyuan (TPE)
  6. Hong Kong (HKG)
  7. Kuala Lumpur (KUL)
  8. New Delhi (DEL)
  9. Jakarta (CGK)
  10. Tokyo Haneda (HND)
  11. Mumbai (BOM)
  12. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK)
  13. Bangalore (BLR)
  14. Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat (SGN)
  15. Hyderabad (HYD)
  16. Cebu (CEB)
  17. Da Nang (DAD)
  18. Iloilo (ILO)
  19. Islamabad – opened 2018 (ISB)
  20. Kunming (KMG)

Best Airports – Europe

  1. Helsinki (HEL)
  2. Munich (MUC)
  3. Amsterdam (AMS)
  4. Zurich (ZRH)
  5. Prague (PRG)
  6. Tallinn (TLL)
  7. Porto (OPO)
  8. Shannon (SNN)
  9. Oslo Gardermoen (OSL)
  10. Athens (ATH)
  11. Vienna (VIE)
  12. Copenhagen (CPH)
  13. Warsaw Chopin (WAW)
  14. Madrid Barajas (MAD)
  15. Istanbul – opened 2019 (IST)

Best Airports – North America

  1. Vancouver (YVR)
  2. Minneapolis (MSP)
  3. Portland (PDX)
  4. Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)
  5. Quebec City (YQB)
  6. Indianapolis (IND)
  7. Austin (AUS)
  8. Tampa (TPA)
  9. Raleigh (RDU)
  10. Phoenix (PDX)
  11. Edmonton (YEG)
  12. Denver (DEN)
  13. Orlando International (MCO)
  14. Detroit (DTW)
  15. Atlanta (ATL)

Best Airports – Middle East

  1. Dubai (DXB)
  2. Doha (DOH)
  3. Abu Dhabi (AUH)
  4. Amman (AMM)
  5. Muscat (MCT)

Best Airports – Africa

Insufficient Votes – vote here

Best Airports – South Pacific

Insufficient Votes – vote here

Best Airports Overall – Latin America

Insufficient Votes – vote here

Take the 2020 Airport Survey

published October 19, 2019