For some, airports are a necessary evil that must be endured in order to go from A to B. For others, the airport is an integral part of the travelling experience and missing out on a browse through the shops or a drink in the airport bar is the source of much disappointment.
If you are planning a multi-stop trip, it is certainly worth checking out the airports that you will pass through; some of them may just be worth more than a flying a visit. In fact, if you don’t mind spending a few hours in an airport, let your travel advisor know, as a long stop-over can dramatically reduce the overall cost of your flights. Just search for your flights on Travangelo, then get in touch for more information.
In the meantime, here are the top five airports in the world, according to the 2017 World Airports Awards:
Eight-time winner of Airport of the Year, Hong Kong International Airport maintains its position in the top five once again. The structure, which was designed by British architect, Lord Norman Foster (whose creations include London’s Gherkin and the world’s first “droneport” in Rwanda), is situated on Lantau island. No stranger to accolades, it was voted one of the “Top Ten Construction Achievements of the 20th Century” by the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association.
Aside from a staggering array of shops and eateries, the airport’s Terminal Two is more like a family attraction than an airport. At the Aviation Discovery Centre, you can explore the world of aviation through exhibitions and interactive experiences, while the Dream Come True Education Park provides children with the opportunity to engage in roleplay and practise social skills, independence and teamwork. Golf lovers can while away the hours at GreenLive AIR, with 9 and 18-hole golf simulations. Meanwhile, the UA IMAX Theatre @Airport features Hong Kong’s largest IMAX screen for an incredible 2D or 3D experience.
To make the most of the experience, familiarise yourself with everything on offer before you go.
Slipping one place this year, Munich previously held third spot for three consecutive years. Opened in 1992. the second busiest airport in German is an international hub, with flights from 66 different countries worldwide – over 42 million passengers travelled through the airport in 2016.
No award-winning airport would be complete without world-class sculptures and installations, and Munich doesn’t disappoint. Alf Lechner’s gravity-defying sculpture “In München starten – In München landen” (take off and land in Munich) is a cultural highlight of the airport. Munich Airport’s two terminals offer a full range of food and drink, from German classics, to fine dining and fast food, making it one of the best airports in the world for dining. It provides travellers with one final opportunity to enjoy a Bavarian feast and even has its own brewery! It boasts the largest covered beer garden in Europe, where you can enjoy authentic goulash and dumplings with a stein of beer – served, of course, by waiting staff in lederhosen. You can even reserve a table. If you don’t fancy spending a couple of hours eating and drinking in Munich Airport, you can enjoy the free Wi-Fi, have a go on the giant slide, or squeeze in a game of mini golf. In winter, there is a Christmas market and an ice rink: Munich Airport isn’t so much an airport, than a mini-break destination!
After four consecutive years in second place, Incheon International Airport dropped this year to third. South Korea’s busiest airport boasts a golf course, private rooms, a casino, museum and indoor gardens. There is even an ice rink!
The shopping at Seoul Airport is among the best in the world – you can spend your last hours in Seoul in style, shopping for designer brands and local crafts, or eating in one of the many cafes and restaurants. Aside from its incredible entertainment, shopping and dining options, Seoul is loved by its passengers for its incredible efficiency. An average departure takes 19 minutes (compared to the global average of 1 hour) and an average arrival takes 12 minutes (compared to 45-minutes global average). Not only is Incheon International Airport one of the fastest in the world, it is one of the most efficient, too, with a 0.0001% baggage mishandling rate.
Tokyo International Airport has been steadily rising through the ranks for the past 6 years. In 2011, the airport was ranked the 17th best in the world – each year, it has crept up a space (or five), finally claiming 2nd place in the 2017 awards. It also claimed top spot for World’s Cleanest Airport. There are continued improvements planned for Haneda Airport, in preparation for the 2020 Olympics, Including the addition of customs and immigration facilities in Terminal 2 (which currently caters for domestic flights only), and new golf range and lounges at Terminal 1.
With a 387 -bedroom hotel on site and incredible shopping choices, including a 6-storey department store in Terminal 2, Haneda Airport currently offers a sleek, streamlined airport experience. It will be interesting to see if the airport continues its ascent and steals top spot in 2018.
1 – Singapore Changi Airport
For the fifth year in a row, Singapore’s Changi Airport is officially the best airport in the world. Usually, travellers aim to spend as little time as possible in an airport; however, Changi Airport is not usual. If you get a 5 or even 10-hour layover, all the better: pack your swimming things and head to the rooftop swimming pool (yes, there is a rooftop swimming pool). You can hire towels there and enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool, or relax in the jacuzzi while you await your connection. For long layovers, the entertainment deck in Terminal 2 guarantees to keep you busy, with its cinema, Xbox gaming stations, rooftop gardens and even a spa.
Not inclined to rest on its laurels, construction of Changi Airport’s $1.3 billion Terminal 4 has been completed and is set to open this year, upping the stakes considerably when it comes to world class airports. If other airports want to steal top spot in 2018, they have their work cut out!