Top Airports in the World – Top Airports to Fly From:
Spending time at the airport is an unavoidable part of any international travel, but if you happen to be flying out from one of the top 10 airports in the world, the experience can be quite pleasant especially where the airport has good ambience and there’s plenty to keep yourself occupied during your time there – Singapore Changi Airport comes to mind.
Unfortunately, airport quality around the world varies a great deal, even if we only look at airports of major capital cities. Mention the worst airports around the world and many travellers will have their pet hates. And some of the most maligned airports aren’t necessarily the worst in terms of airport terminals. Take London Heathrow as an example. The new T5 is a world-class terminal and yet LHR frequently finds itself in the ranks of the world’s Top 10 worst airports. Why airports like LHR and Paris-Charles de Gaulle fail to impress is usually because of the long queues and unfriendly or indifferent attitude of airport staff and baggage going missing.
Skytrax is a company that conducts passenger surveys and benchmarks airlines and airports each year. Their annual awards are based on passenger surveys, but they also have a star-rating system which measures the quality of airport facilities as well as the service quality to arrive at their ratings. Their star-rating is based on their own qualitative audits and does not rely on passenger feedback.
The top airports in the world have normally been in Asia and in Skytrax’s 2012 ratings of world airports so far, only three airports are in the 5-star list:
- Hongkong International Airport
- Seoul Incheon International Airport, and
- Singapore Changi Airport
4-Star AirportsOf the European airports the only six in the 4-star category are:
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
- Copenhagen Airport
- Düsseldorf International Airport
- Frankfurt am Main Airport
- Helsinki Vantaa Airport
- Zurich Airport
The following 3-star European airports also happen to be in the most popular tourist destinations and include:
- London Heathrow Airport
- Madrid Barajas Airport
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Note: Not all airports have been ranked as yet
Avoiding the Worst Airports
These days when travellers are required to remove shoes, take off belts, remove laptops from bags, show your little plastic bags of separately packed liquids and then get frisked, the queueing time for security checks takes much longer and can be stressful when metal detectors or x-ray machines aren’t working. Some airports process passengers in a more efficient manner than others and at some airports, the attitude of the security and immigration staff can take the joy out of flying and remind you that you don’t ever want to come back through the airport again.
It is sometimes possible to plan your trip to avoid airports that are less passenger friendly or those that leave you frazzled before you board your flight. For many years now we have been flying into the UK from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport into Leeds-Bradford, avoiding London Heathrow. We’ve spent many transit hours at Schiphol Airport and didn’t mind the time there. When we fly from Sydney to Europe, we always go via Singapore as Changi Airport is a perennial favourite with travellers and an airport that many wouldn’t mind being marooned at.
So next time you plan your trip, it’s worthwhile seeing if you can fly your way through one of the better airports. The better airport experience is well worth the effort.