Wherever you’re flying, whether short or long haul, passing through airports can make or break your trip. Having a horrific check in, needing to transit through a chaotic hub or struggling to get away upon landing can turn a pleasant experience into a complete nightmare.
The good news is that some of the best airports in the world have got your back. The latest and best airports 2018 will ensure you have a great start or end to your journey, with top of the range facilities that tempt you to hang around a little longer. Here’s our countdown of the best airports 2018 – 2019 which are sure to leave you with a smile on your face.
1. Singapore Changi
Winning the Skytrax ‘world’s best airport’ for the sixth year in a row, Singapore has worked hard to create a glorious airport experience that is the jewel in the crown of Southeast Asia. Welcoming more than 5,000 flights per week from over 200 international destinations, Changi is a key hub for connections all over the world, as well as being a beautiful gateway to the wonders of this region.
Also named as the best airport in the world by Conde Nast readers, Singapore Changi boasts copious shopping and dining facilities, all built to the highest specifications for an awesome customer experience. Unique to this airport is the Sunflower Garden, where numerous varieties of sunflower, grown in the airports own nursery, are on display in a rooftop garden. You’ll also find a butterfly garden, indoor waterfall and swimming pool, making the airport a destination in itself.
2. Incheon International, Seoul, South Korea
Rolling in at second place in the Skytrax customer voting, Incheon is the busiest airport in South Korea. It found the third spot in the Conde Nast awards too, gaining points from premium travellers for its spacious VIP lounges. Amenities include a skating rink, a spa and its unique ‘Cultural Street’ featuring local food and performances.
Also awarded by Skytrax as the top airport for ‘best airport staff’, you can be sure of a great customer experience at Incheon. Accounting for friendliness, efficiency and attitude, thus award recognises all staff in the airport, from security to shops, restaurants to help desks.
3. Tokyo Haneda
Tokyo Haneda airport was also named as the ‘world’s cleanest airport’ in the Skytrax survey and came in 3rd in the overall best airport category. It also scooped ‘best domestic airport’ for 2018 from Skytrax too. Handling around 86m passengers a year, it’s the third busiest airport in Asia and 4th in the world.
The international terminal has lounges for All Nippon Airways, catering for Star Alliance travellers, as well as ones for Japan Airlines (oneworld and SkyTeam) and Cathay Pacific (oneworld). There’s a six storey restaurant, shopping centre and a rooftop observation deck with an open air café.
4. Hong Kong International
Scooping 4th best airport from Skytrax and also from Conde Nast and Travel+Leisure’s similar survey, Hong Kong offers a sparkling airport experience to rival other Asian gems. Home to five star airline Cathay Pacific, the airport serves more than 100 airlines connecting passengers to around 180 destinations.
A former best airport in the world (2011 and previously), Hong Kong has been ousted from its top position but still offers some amazing facilities. Featuring an array of premium lounges, unique ‘nap rooms’ and an IMAX cinema, stopover passengers can stay at the Regal Airport Hotel, frequently named in the top 10 world’s best airport hotels by Skytrax. It’s also been picked as the best airport for dining in the world, so make sure you arrive hungry.
5. Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar
Scoring 86.99 out of 100 in the Travel+Leisure awards, Hamad International also claimed the 5th best airport in the world title for 2018 from Skytrax. As far as wow factor goes, the building itself is incredible, boasting jaw dropping luxury and being called one of the most ‘architecturally significant’ terminals in the world.
Voted ‘best airport in the Middle East’ from Skytrax, the most noticeable feature is the giant bronze teddy bear with his head in a lamp. Dubbed the ‘lamp bear’, the seven metre statue holds pride of place in the duty free area of the terminal. Created by a Swiss artist, the bear was purchased by a member of the Qatari royal Family for $6.8m.
6. Munich Airport
As the hub of Lufthansa, Munich Airport (MUC) is a key gateway to central Europe but is actually a place you could hang around a while too. Over the year, the airport hosts a range of seasonal events including winter ice skating, Christmas markets and, of course, Oktoberfest.
Voted 6th best airport 2018 by Skytrax and 5th by Conde Nast, Munich Airport has over 150 retail outlets and 50 places to eat and drink. Named as the best airport in Europe, the facilities make you believe you’re in a bustling city centre, and not a faceless airport terminal. The onsite hotel, Hilton Munich, scooped third place in the best airport hotels 2018 from Skytrax too, so stopovers should be equally awesome.
7. Vancouver International Airport
Vancouver has been named the top airport in North America, although it only ranked 14th in the overall Skytrax awards. It was the 7th favourite for Conde Nast readers though, chosen for its unique location, situated on an island off the downtown area. A skytrain connects the airport with the city.
The interior of the airport features one of the largest collections of Pacific Northwest Coast Native art in the world and has a distinctly British Columbian theme. Arrivals descend escalators onto a platform across a waterfall, making for a memorable experience. The Fairmont Vancouver airport hotel was picked as 4th best airport hotel in the world by Skytrax.
8. London Heathrow
Despite issues with ridiculous immigration queues and the beleaguered 3rd runway, Heathrow remains one of the most important airports in the world. Voted 8th by Skytrax contributors and 9th by Conde Nast, it remains Europe’s busiest airport by passenger numbers.
The shopping at Heathrow is exemplary, claiming the top spot in the Skytrax awards. Here, you’ll find plenty of luxury brands such as Fortnum & Mason, Thomas Pink and Burberry. World of Whiskies is legendary for its generous scotch tastings, and a free personal shopper is on hand to help you make the most of your time at the airport. Terminal 2 scooped the award for ‘best airport terminal’ from Skytrax, and the Sofitel attached to the airport scored 5th best in the world for 2018 too.
9. Frankfurt Airport
Another solid entry from the Germans, Frankfurt (FRA) is the largest airport in the country and third biggest in Europe. Voted 10th favourite by Skytrax and also 10th by Conde Nast, this massive airport has plenty of perks to make transits and stopovers a sheer pleasure.
Shower facilities, unlimited free Wi-Fi and a free behind the scenes airport tour are just a few of the little extras that have secured this facility a top spot. The Hilton Frankfurt connects directly to the airport and is one of the top 10 airport hotels in the world. The airport also claims a top 10 spot for shopping, showing it’s a good all round facility for passengers from all over the world.
10. Dubai International
Dubai International Airport recently stole the crown from London’s Heathrow as the busiest airport in the world. Not only is it home to the giant jet loving Emirates airline, it also boasts the biggest duty free shopping centre in the world. There are also two open air gardens, spas, gyms and a swimming pool.
Developments are ongoing to expand capabilities at DXB, adding runways and concourses to accommodate docking for 100 Airbus A380s at once. Voted second in the Conde Nast survey, and 3rd in Travel+Leisure’s awards, DXB only achieved 23rd in the Skytrax best airports 2018 table, demonstrating its clear preference for the premium market.
Honourable mention: Zurich Airport, Switzerland
Zurich airport only came in at 9th place in the Skytrax survey but was voted second best in a rival survey by eDreams, scoring 4.18 out of 5. It was also 6th in the Conde Nast ranking, showing that an honourable mention in our list is much needed.
As Switzerland’s largest airport, Zurich is the hub for Swiss International Airlines. Here at the airport, the carrier operates no less than nine premium lounges, complete with whiskey bars, champagne selections and plenty of top notch extras. In good weather, travellers can avail of the breath-taking observation deck, to enjoy unrivalled views of the runway action.
Wherever you’re flying, if you’re leaving from, arriving to or simply passing through one of these airports, we’re confident you’re going to have an amazing experience. What are your best airports 2019 choices? Let us know!