Happy Friday everyone! Today’s guest post comes to use from an avid traveler and pilot, Christ Oquist (check out his bio at the end of the post). Although I have only been to one of these top international airports, his article definitely makes me want to check out the other four. Without further ado, here is the article. Thanks Chris!!!
Whether you’re an airline pilot or passenger passing through on your return trip home, you can tell a quality airport from Newark Liberty National Airport. Just take a look around, what do you see? If you see a dirty, poorly-kept airport its service likely matches its aesthetics. On the other hand, if you’ve ever visited Changi Airport Singapore or the Hong Kong International Airport you know which is on the other side of this fence. Here are 5 of the best airports in the world in terms of aesthetics, service, and modernity.
Incheon International Airport – Opening in March 2001, Icheon International is the largest airport in South Korea. It is also one of the finest in the world. Icheon, Hong Kong International, and Singapore Changi airports are the only three airports that have been rated 5-star by Skytrax, a globally-recognized airport/airline review service. When I think of Incheon, I wonder why we can’t get American airports to update even a little bit. Want free internet access and a computer? Done. How about a shower place while you wait for your next flight? Done. How about a sightseeing tour for a few hours, play a round of golf and return in time for boarding, or a buffet lounge with hot food? Done! This is Incheon, one of the top three if not the top airport in the world.
Vancouver International Airport
Only about 8 miles from downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Vancouver International has been named the best North American Airport 5 different times by Skytrax and it has certainly earned those honors rightfully. The main attraction for visitors is the 30,000 gallon aquarium managed by Vancouver Aquarium biologists. If looking for other attractions, you won’t be disappointed either. You can hop onto the free WiFi network available throughout the airport with your mobile device or, if you don’t have one, boot up at one of the many computer terminals. Almost strangely, travelers can choose to visit the dentist for tooth whitening, Botox treatment for facial uplift, or beauty salons to keep hair and nails looking in tip-top shape. You’d expect nothing less from one of the most pleasant cities in the world.
Singapore Changi Airport – The airport of Southeast Asia opened in late 1981 and has continued to expand ever since (the fifth terminal will be completed in the next 10 years). Walking into the airport and one can immediately see that this place is nice. The floors, the ceiling, the strange, futuristic-looking departure sign… It’s all so much. The airport is full of lush greenery that nicely complements the modernized architecture. For those waiting to board, passengers can pass the time by sitting down at one of the 500+ internet terminals, mini movie theaters, computer games, and other amenities.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Europe’s finest airport is located in the southwest of Amsterdam. The launching pad of many international flights, Schiphol is massive in sheer size. This can be somewhat problematic because even with the space it still can get busy and with an airport of that size this means it gets super busy. Luckily you can self-check-in with ease at one of the many individual kiosks and baggage counters. Being smack dab in the middle of Europe, service people are in a tough spot to understand and speak a variety of different languages but they do a commendable job. Finding desired eatery, souvenir shop, or departure gate is an absolute breeze. While some cleanliness issues were present, overall Schiphol is at the airport heart of Europe and deserves the designation.
Hong Kong International Airport
This gateway to mainland China is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok. When flying into the airport and looking out the window, it almost feels as if the plane will be touching down upon the water as the entirety of the island is used as the airport. HKI is chock full of little shops, eateries, and places to relax and have a beer. The airport is very clean and even the longest lines take little time to progress through.
There are certainly airports that very nearly make this list, but for a variety of reasons these are simply the best overall packages. While these are all international airports, there are also some wonderful smaller airports as well. For some reason I’ve always loved the airport in Boise, Idaho for its simple layout and easy-to-navigate terminals. If you’ve got some other airports, domestic or international, let’s hear what you have to say below!
Chris Oquist is a private pilot and web developer at Banyan Pilot Shop in South Florida. He is an avid blogger and article writer whose expertise includes aviation headsets (such as the Bose A20) and other pilot supplies. As an aviation enthusiast for Banyan Pilot Shop, Chris is passionate about sharing his knowledge on all-things-aviation.