Now we’re not saying corporate travelers ever hope for a flight delay or layover, but there are a few airports they certainly wouldn’t mind being stuck in.
The airport-ranking site Skytrax recently came out with its annual World Airport Awards, dubbed the “Oscars of the aviation industry.” Here are its top 10 airports in the world for 2018, according to the votes it tallied from nearly 14 million passenger questionnaires.
1. Changi Airport
Airport code: SIN
Location: 12 miles from the center of Singapore
Yearly passengers: 62.2 million
Why it’s so awesome: It has two 24-hour movie theaters screening the latest blockbusters for free, an Xbox gaming area, a rooftop swimming pool, an open-air cactus park, an orchid garden and another garden with 1,000 butterflies fluttering around. Add to that the stunning, new extension being built known as “Jewel,” which will house the tallest indoor waterfall in the world, and it’s no wonder why Changi has been crowned the world’s best airport for the sixth consecutive year.
2. Incheon International Airport
Airport code: ICN
Location: 30 miles from Seoul, South Korea
Yearly passengers: 57.8 million
Why it’s so awesome: In addition to winning Skytrax’s “World’s Best Airport Staff” award, Incheon Airport has a reputation for being spic-and-span. Travelers, too, can clean up nicely themselves using the airport’s glistening shower facilities. There you can make a layover fly by taking in a live musical performance, touring its Korean culture museum or catching some shut-eye in a lie-down chair in the “rest and relax” area.
3. Haneda International Airport
Airport code: NHD
Location: 13.5 miles from Tokyo, Japan
Yearly passengers: 79.9 million
Modern and efficient. These are the adjectives repeatedly used to describe Haneda Airport. One other? Immaculate — which is why Haneda also earned Skytrax’s title of “World’s Cleanest Airport.” Despite its compact size, it has great food and shopping options and an extensive outdoor observation deck where you can watch the planes and catch some rays. Plus, travel analyst OAG just named it as the most punctual mega airport in the world for the third year in a row.
4. Hong Kong International Airport
Airport code: HKG
Location: 18.5 miles from the center of Hong Kong
Yearly passengers: 70.3 million
Why it’s so awesome: Skytrax named this airport the “World’s Best Transit Airport” and “Best Airport for Dining,” but it also ranks right up there for duty-free shopping, in case you forgot to buy that special someone a souvenir or wish to splurge on yourself in its high-end shops. Or you can kill time by catching an IMAX movie, playing indoor golf or visiting its Aviation Discovery Centre, a mini amusement park for flight enthusiasts.
5. Hamad International Airport
Airport code: DOH
Location: 10 miles from Doha, Qatar
Yearly passengers: 37.3 million
Why it’s so awesome: Voted the “Best Airport in the Middle East in 2018,” it’s one of, if not the most luxurious airport on the planet. It has stunning architecture inspired by its coastal location and Instagram-worthy artwork that makes people stop in their tracks, like its 23-foot-tall yellow teddy bear sitting under a black lamp by Swiss artist Urs Fischer. It also has a pool and two squash courts, hydrotherapy and spa treatments open to all passengers and even more special perks for Qatar’s business class customers.
6. Munich Airport
Airport code: MUC
Location: 22 miles from the center of Munich, Germany
Yearly passengers: 42.3 million
Why it’s so awesome: Nabbing the title of “Best Airport in Europe for 2018,” Munich has its own on-site brewery, Airbräu, with live music occasionally. For more child-like fun, play some mini-golf at its Visitors Park or enjoy some privacy and relaxation in one of its Napcabs, nifty cabins that contain a bed, desk and a music system that can be rented by the hour.
7. Chubu Centrair International Airport
Airport code: NGO
Location: 30 miles from Nagoya, Japan
Yearly passengers: 9.8 million
Why it’s so awesome: Centrair, named the “World’s Best Regional Airport in 2018,” has a sky deck that offers the best airplane-viewing spot in Japan. If you have time before your flight, take a guided Segway tour of the airport — with indoor and outdoor courses — or simply decompress in one of its Jacuzzis or saunas in its Japanese-style public bath.
8. Heathrow Airport
Airport code: LHR
Location: 16.5 miles from London, the United Kingdom
Yearly passengers: 75.7 million
Why it’s so awesome: Skytrax named Heathrow’s shiny new Terminal 2 — aka “The Queen’s Terminal”— as the best in the world with its Terminal 5 coming in fourth place. It also secured the title for “Best Airport for Shopping” for the ninth consecutive year (Bulgari, Burberry, Cartier and Tiffany are just some of the upscale shops you’ll find). If you have a number of hours before takeoff, consider treating your weary body to the “Jetlag Spa Day” experience at the Spa at Sofitel London Heathrow, located in Terminal 5.
9. Zurich Airport
Airport code: ZRH
Location: 7 miles from the center of Zurich, Switzerland
Yearly passengers: 27.7 million
Why it’s so awesome: Here you will find a wide spectrum of dining options, where you either can have a decadent meal sipping champagne with oysters and truffle pralines or avoid overpriced airport food entirely at Migros, an on-site supermarket where you stock up on snacks (Swiss chocolates, anyone?) for your next flight. And you must stop at the legendary Sprüngli Café for its signature Luxemburgerli macaron. And if you catch the Skymetro, listen out for the sounds of the Swiss Alps (think cowbells, Alp horns and classic Swiss yodeling).
10. Frankfurt Airport
Airport code: FRA
Location: 7.5 miles from the center of Frankfurt, Germany
Yearly passengers: 60.8 million
Why it’s so awesome: Despite its large size, Frankfurt Airport upholds Germany’s reputation for efficiency with its easy-to-navigate layout and attentive staff. Kill time before your flight by taking in a movie at one of two screening theaters with a comfortable living-room style setup or head to the Hilton or Sheraton’s on-site properties that offer daytime use of their rooms, where passengers can sleep, work in peace and freshen up before boarding their next flight.
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