What Are The Best Airports In The World? Here Are My Picks…

What Are The Best Airports In The World? Here Are My Picks…

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Airports have changed a lot over the years, both for better and worse. On the one hand, they have some unbelievable amenities that would have been unimaginable decades ago. On the other hand, many airports just haven’t grown efficiently, and don’t seem to consider the passenger experience. And while we’re at it, seeing mass fist fights breaking out at airports on the regular isn’t a great look either.

In this post I thought it would be fun to talk a bit about the world’s best airports. I’ll share what I consider the best airports to be, and then I’d love to hear what OMAAT readers think.

What makes an airport great?

The fundamental issue with deciding which airport is “best” is that airports serve different needs for different travelers at different times.

Passengers can have vastly different experiences, depending on whether they’re originating or connecting at an airport, how long they plan to spend at the airport, what terminal they’re departing from, if they have to change terminals, if they have lounge access, if they have to clear security or immigration, etc.

Let me give a few examples:

  • If you’re flying Lufthansa first class and are originating at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), it might be the best airport in the world for you, thanks to the First Class Terminal; for everyone else, that’s definitely not the case
  • There’s something to be said for airports that get you from the curb to the gate as quickly as possible; for example, Tampa Airport (TPA) is amazing for this, thanks to the way concourses are set up, and I can always get from the curbside to the gate within five minutes
  • There are individual terminals in the United States that I find to be world class in terms of design, like Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles Airport (LAX), but they still don’t offer a great passenger experience in terms of security wait times and ease of getting between gates
  • As an avgeek, I absolutely love the design of some of the terminals at Paris Airport (CDG), but that’s about the only thing I like about the airport (well other than the amazing Air France La Premiere Lounge)
Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX is beautiful

My point with all this is simply to say that I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers as to what airports are the best. Everyone is looking for different things, so this all comes down to personal needs and preference. With that in mind…

Frankfurt is the world’s best airport… sometimes 😉

My favorite airports in the world

I figured I’d share my three favorite airports in the world. I don’t think these airports will come as much of a surprise. All three airports are in Asia (including the Middle East). Two of these airports have historically been my favorites, while one airport has recently grown on me.

With that in mind, below are my three favorite airports, in no particular order…

Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)

Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) has been widely regarded as the world’s best airport for as long as I can remember, and that’s for good reason. The airport has endless amenities, from the world’s most impressive shopping mall, to great food and beverage outlets, to a butterfly garden, to a movie theater.

The Jewel at Singapore Changi Airport

The airport is also spotlessly clean, and the public restrooms in the airport are cleaner than virtually any bathrooms you’ll find in the world’s top first class lounges. For those with longer connections, the airport has several transit hotel options, and some solid lounges.

Beautiful Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3

To be balanced, there are a couple of things I don’t love about the airport, though. First of all, while I understand the reason for it, I’m not a huge fan of security being at each individual gate, rather than centralized. It’s always nice to get security out of the way at the beginning of your stay, rather than right before boarding.

Second of all, while Terminal 3 and Terminal 4 are great, Terminal 2 definitely isn’t as impressive, and is actually quite outdated. Furthermore, getting between Terminal 4 and the other terminals isn’t particularly seamless.

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities in the world, and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is also one of my favorite airports. I love the architecture and the open-air feeling, I love the amazing plane spotting, I find the airport to be easy to navigate, and I appreciate all the top notch lounges.

I love the architecture of Hong Kong Airport

I haven’t been to the airport since the new Sky Bridge opened, so I’m excited to check that out, as it takes the airport to the next level for us avgeeks, in my opinion.

Hong Kong Airport has some amazing lounge (hopefully reopening soon!)

Doha Hamad Airport (DOH)

This is a new one for me. In the past, I thought Doha Hamad Airport (DOH) was a perfectly pleasant hub, but nothing special. However, with the latest expansion to the airport, I actually think this might be my new favorite airport in the world.

The airport is modern, has excellent lounges, has a beautiful garden area, has endless shopping and food and beverage outlets, and is really easy to connect at.

Doha Hamad Airport has a beautiful new garden

What sets Doha Hamad Airport apart from other major airports, though, is how the entire airport is one terminal. I think think this is highly underrated, especially for the average traveller. From the central security checkpoint, you should be able to get just about anywhere within 10-15 minutes, which isn’t the case at most major airports.

For example, try making a Concourse A to Concourse C connection at Dubai Airport (DXB). Despite the airport having a train system, it’s still basically a marathon. That’s the case at so many airports.

Doha Hamad Airport is easy to connect at

Other airports worth mentioning

While the above are my favorite airports, I’m not claiming they’re objectively the best airports in the world. They’re just my personal picks, based on my travel preferences and needs. I of course want to acknowledge that there are plenty of other great airports. Just to name a few:

  • In Asia, Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) and Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN) are also very well regarded, though don’t quite do it for me in the same way as the above
  • I think Bahrain Airport (BAH) and Muscat Airport (MCT) are two great newly built airport hubs, though they’re on a much smaller scale than the above airports
  • The new Istanbul Airport (IST) has an impressive terminal that I enjoy transiting, but perhaps the terminal is almost a bit too big?
  • Detroit Airport (DTW) and San Francisco Airport (SFO) are probably the two best in the United States, though Detroit Airport doesn’t excite me much, while San Francisco Airport has nice individual terminals, but connecting can be a pain
  • While I wouldn’t call it world class, the new Terminal 2 at Panama City Airport (PTY) sets a new standard for the region
  • In Europe, I tend to think the hubs in Northern Europe are probably most impressive, and I can’t really with a good conscience say much good about other airports on the continent
The new Bahrain Airport is beautiful

Bottom line

Airports have evolved a lot over the years, though as you’d expect, we’ve seen more improvements in some regions than others. Personally my favorite airports are in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Doha, though there are of course plenty of other great airports out there as well.

There’s never a right or wrong answer as to which airport is best, since it’s hard for an airport to be equally good for all travelers, as we’re all seeking different things. I think the above three airports strike a good balance, though.

What’s your favorite airport in the world?

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  1. Belinda Guest

    I ❤️ hkg airport. Narita in Tokyo has excellent shopping. Im considering changing there to get to Hkg from now on. Plus last i knew it was easy screening to do an international transfer.

  2. Sajid Hussain Guest

    What a great picks...I love HKG...and after that my second most favorite airport is DOH...
    I haven't yet traveled to SIN...but soon I will travel via SIN..
    Best things you described about HKG n DOH are absolutely spot on..
    Even though HKG is quite an old airport but yet it has stunning sights n views n its Plane spotting is second to none..Natural light coming through the roof gives a great feeling...

    What a great picks...I love HKG...and after that my second most favorite airport is DOH...
    I haven't yet traveled to SIN...but soon I will travel via SIN..
    Best things you described about HKG n DOH are absolutely spot on..
    Even though HKG is quite an old airport but yet it has stunning sights n views n its Plane spotting is second to none..Natural light coming through the roof gives a great feeling when you walk through the Terminal..DOH also has a lot of Resemblance with HKG...

  3. Bill Guest

    SIN deserves it. The efficiency is there. Plus even landside there’s decent food and drinks. But yea. gate based security checks is not as nice versus central security checks. Given that much of the passengers at SIN is transit passengers, it makes sense. I like SFO but landside, there’s not even a bar to go to.
    Seattle is actually becoming a better airport too.

  4. Vinod Mirchandani Guest

    Sorry meant to days Dubai (DXB) airport not even mentioned?

  5. Vinod Mirchandani Guest

    Emirates lounge at DXB not even mentioned??

  6. Paul Guest

    Your choice is good but I prefer Dubai is the third best airport than Doha.

  7. simmonad Guest

    BAH is superb and has the advantage of being human-sized (I travelled through there in the last few weeks).

  8. Justin Bond Guest

    Without a doubt Hong Kong. That ease of flow, internal train, great staff and no nonsense access to internet. Oh how I miss the old Kai Tak but that’s another story. Istanbul is far too large and without internal transport, the elec. scooters are hard to figure out for thick people like me, and the layout and mass of signs makes for a connection nightmare. Furthermore, the internet is a total hassle, important to travellers...

    Without a doubt Hong Kong. That ease of flow, internal train, great staff and no nonsense access to internet. Oh how I miss the old Kai Tak but that’s another story. Istanbul is far too large and without internal transport, the elec. scooters are hard to figure out for thick people like me, and the layout and mass of signs makes for a connection nightmare. Furthermore, the internet is a total hassle, important to travellers without roaming. Bali airport can be good as long as you don’t arrive on a Friday night. Doha is a building site and uses buses, who wants buses? Heathrow 5 is far better than it used to be as they have sacked the goons in security.

  9. David Metcalfe Guest

    I found Tokyo Haneda easy to get to from
    Shibuya, got there with plenty of time but nearly missed the flight having too much fun racing cars at the toy store which had a slot car tracks set up.

  10. HK what? Guest

    Hong Kong. You better stfu about Winnie the Xi or the commie guys if you wanna go.

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2023/05/hong-kong-government-must-reveal-whereabouts-of-uyghur-student-detained-at-airport/

  11. A. Flyer Guest

    Getting from the TSA checkpoint to the Hawaiian Airlines departure gate at Tom Bradley / LAX is a nightmare of escalators, stairs, ups and downs, and endless corridors. It's a 20-25 minute schlepp.

  12. Andy 11235 Guest

    ICN is by far my favorite airport. It's a skyteam hub, so there aren't really first class travelers to justify the sort of super fancy lounges like SIN and HKG; I understand why Lucky doesn't like it. To be honest, I would nominate SIN as the single most over-rated airport on the planet. First time I went, I was really looking forward to the premium experience everyone talks about. Lounge was nice, but then came...

    ICN is by far my favorite airport. It's a skyteam hub, so there aren't really first class travelers to justify the sort of super fancy lounges like SIN and HKG; I understand why Lucky doesn't like it. To be honest, I would nominate SIN as the single most over-rated airport on the planet. First time I went, I was really looking forward to the premium experience everyone talks about. Lounge was nice, but then came the 15 minute line for gate security... because everyone is funneled into a single, solitary line. Once in the increasingly packed gate area, there is literally nothing to do. Want to use those lovely, clean bathrooms? Yup, got to wait in line again to get back in the kennel. I thought that maybe I'd just gotten a crowded flight at a small gate, but the second time, no difference. I realized that for me there is literally no lounge anywhere that can make up for the claustrophobic h3ll of gate-based security.

  13. Alan Diamond

    Honorable mention should go to CTS for having its own onsen where you can sit in the hot water and watch the planes. I know of no better amenity at any airport in the world if you love hot springs like I do

  14. Will H. Guest

    I miss flying out of the RDU airport (Terminal 2). From curb to gate was never more than 15 minutes and often more like 5 with TSA pre. The concourse is wide with tall ceilings so when flights board, they do not block the main walkway. There are decent lounges for AA, United and Delta and a reasonable selection of restaurants and such. Lastly, there are a good selection (50+) of direct flights including London, Paris, Seattle, LAX, SFO, etc.

  15. AHLUVCK Guest

    That’s why Singapore don’t have much guns and rubbish like the rest of the aKepler after check in. Lastly look at your Pre-Check, it never moves, Clear is now flooded. It is obviously that you are complaining for the smallest things - It’s the best way to fly. Doha has no one to transit that’s why they just need one. Wait till you see T5 of Singapore Airport. Hopefully we can find someone to beat the “over-rated” airport then. Keep wishing guys!

  16. Bob Guest

    I much much prefer security at individual gates. Going through long security lines is annoying. Take Denver for example. Everyone goes through one area for security. That is the only airport where tsa precheck lines are consistantly over 45 minutes for me. Pre 9/11 I used to be able to escort friends all the way to their gates. At sin you can still do that since security is at the gate. Any seasoned traveler wouldn't...

    I much much prefer security at individual gates. Going through long security lines is annoying. Take Denver for example. Everyone goes through one area for security. That is the only airport where tsa precheck lines are consistantly over 45 minutes for me. Pre 9/11 I used to be able to escort friends all the way to their gates. At sin you can still do that since security is at the gate. Any seasoned traveler wouldn't have a problem getting through security checks quickly once they make it to the conveyor belt. As opposed to bring behind 3 families with kids and their entire arsenal of baby gear.

    1. stogieguy7 Diamond

      Atlanta is similarly awful. Most of the world's busiest airport being funneled through one set of security gates. Last time I was there, CLEAR took 45 minutes. The time before that, I didn't have clear and pre-check was a 90 minute wait. ORD is usually less than 10.

    2. Jesper Guest

      You can't escort friends to the gate in Singapore. There is boarding pass and passport control before being able to enter the transit area.

  17. TheAirlineKid Guest

    MCT takes the cake for me, compact, modern, elegant, well-planned!
    Top if off with one of the best Priority Pass lounges anywhere in the world..

    Another honorable mention to Krakow, seamless experience..

    Also in India, BLR is a great one, especially with how difficult it is to transit domestic to international in India

  18. iamhere Guest

    So? People don't choose their destination based on the airport (usually)

    1. Joe Guest

      Not really. When I go to Europe I prefer AMS over London any day even if the majority of my trip is in London. Until last year AMS was much easier to navigate than lhr and significantly cheaper plus I find it easier to get to the rest of Europe from ams via train.

    2. Hein C Vandenbergh Guest

      I sure do: avoid LHR at all cost, when flying SYD to Europe. The Worst Airport In The World. Plenty of altrrnatives, but QF seems to think it is a sort of second home-base. A very colonial attitude. No wonder QF's [and BA's] share of Oz-Europe traffic is now infenitisimally tiny cfr. to Asian and M East carriers.

  19. Tom Guest

    SFO's connections between terminals is fine. Not only is there a train that loops around them all in a few minutes, but you can actually walk between any two terminals within about 10 minutes.

    That is ground-side; air-side you have a point, other than on United.

    1. Joe Guest

      Also during Thanksgiving /xmas when domestic is mobbed I use international term security which is usually a lot less crowded during the holidays and walk to domestic

  20. Indopithecus Guest

    Muscat's terminal is surely the epitome of grace and elegance...

  21. crosscourt Guest

    Seriously, to even give Paris' CDG one iota of a mention is a joke. I went through yesterday after a long haul flight and it remains one of the worst airports anywhere.

    1. Bob Guest

      I did as well 2 days earlier than you and it was fine for me. Air France lounge is always comfortable and quiet enough for me

    2. Hein C Vandenbergh Guest

      It's the petty, bloody-minded attitude of CDG's non-airline staff that annoys the s***te out of me each time I transit through there. That's to say, if they don't have a wildcat strike of some sort going at the time...

  22. VT-CIE Diamond

    Changi T2 has been reopened and newly renovated, and is perhaps the best-looking terminal now, miles ahead of T3. The article should be updated because T2 is easily the best of the four now.

    Regarding KUL, I beg to differ with the general consensus that it’s humid and rundown, and I agree with @Preacher that KLIA is really an awesome airport (among the best in SE Asia), though not as good as Changi, of course.

    ...

    Changi T2 has been reopened and newly renovated, and is perhaps the best-looking terminal now, miles ahead of T3. The article should be updated because T2 is easily the best of the four now.

    Regarding KUL, I beg to differ with the general consensus that it’s humid and rundown, and I agree with @Preacher that KLIA is really an awesome airport (among the best in SE Asia), though not as good as Changi, of course.

    I especially like the sweeping architecture and the model plane display at KUL, and I kind of enjoyed the shuttle bus ride on my recent Ethiopian flight to Singapore, as it gave a great view of the tarmac and all the planes on it. While it’s a great distance from KL proper, I never felt it, as 55 km was covered in 45 minutes flat by car or in half an hour by the KLIA Ekspres.

    BKK, on the other hand, I can’t get behind. TG’s purple may be the best livery in the world but BKK is one of the ugliest airports I’ve ever seen. The top floor with its shops and restaurants is decent enough but the rest of the place has a dirty, grubby industrial aesthetic.

    Haven’t been to NE Asia (HKG, NRT, TPE, ICN, etc.) so can’t comment on those, but it seems that with the exception of HND, the big airports are always a huge distance from the city.

    Coming to the Middle East, I don’t get why DOH is the only one that runs away with all the awards and the luxurious collabs, with the Orchard coming up now, while DXB doesn’t get much good press despite being the world’s busiest international airport.

    Lastly, I bet none of you have been to India, as DEL, BOM, BLR and HYD are among the best I’ve visited.

  23. khadejah Guest

    surprised that dxb isnt here. dubai airport just has its own vibe its lovely being there

  24. Ricardo Guest

    I actually do not care much for SIN, as I feel it is over rated. Their tacky carpet flooring is horrible. HKG in my opinion is the best airport in the region.

    As much as I dislike Phoenix, their airport is quite nice. I was able to walk from my apartment, and be at my departure gate in 15 minutes or less. They have great lounges, for a domestic airport.

    LAX for me...

    I actually do not care much for SIN, as I feel it is over rated. Their tacky carpet flooring is horrible. HKG in my opinion is the best airport in the region.

    As much as I dislike Phoenix, their airport is quite nice. I was able to walk from my apartment, and be at my departure gate in 15 minutes or less. They have great lounges, for a domestic airport.

    LAX for me has never given me issues as far as TSA wait times. Always get through in under 10 minutes, no matter what time I go through Tom Bradley.

    1. AHLUVCK Guest

      I don’t want to see you complaining about your airport. Make sure you can sit in your lounge nicely.

  25. LJShorey Guest

    Few airports have all the things I value the most -- easy transfers, airport hotel, good lounge, good transport to the city. Asia is the continent I have least traveled to, so cannot comment on the airports listed by Ben. The big city airports in Europe that I like are MAD, MUC, and FCO. While I like Heathrow to fly out of, I hate it for transfers and avoid flying through it. MUC and MAD...

    Few airports have all the things I value the most -- easy transfers, airport hotel, good lounge, good transport to the city. Asia is the continent I have least traveled to, so cannot comment on the airports listed by Ben. The big city airports in Europe that I like are MAD, MUC, and FCO. While I like Heathrow to fly out of, I hate it for transfers and avoid flying through it. MUC and MAD are super easy, have decent lounges, and you can take the train to the city for less that $5 a person. I have never transferred at FCO but meets my needs otherwise. FRA sucks and I avoid it after too many bad experiences. A small airport that is beautifully designed and relatively easy to get to and from (bus/taxi) is Bilbao.

    In the US, I'm actually a fan of PHL these days - it is so much better than 20 years ago, except for the yet to be re-opened Admirals Club lounge in the A terminal. I fly through it more than any other US hub. BOS is decent and I prefer it over any of the NY airports. I like how easy it is to get from DCA into the city and the lounges aren't bad. Went through DFW in March and impressed with the Admirals Clubs there and how many have showers. I like the ease of getting to town from SEA. LAS is easy to get to and from. I still remember my first trip there and the slot machines at the gates. I avoid CLT (overcrowded in all respects - good luck finding a seat in the Admirals Lounge) and ORD (too many weather issues).

    For regional airports, I fly at least monthly from MDT and PWM. While they have no airline lounges, airport personnel are pleasant and the airports are intelligently designed and are very clean. The AA counter agents (especially the former US Air folks) at MDT are super-experienced and knowledgeable, in addition to be friendly and helpful. Known some of them for 35 years - turnover is not an issue! I walk to town from PWM (4 miles) twelve months a year, although to catch very early morning flights requires a cab, which has cost $13 for 15 years and can be scheduled in advance.

  26. Robert D Guest

    For SIN, you state you understand the reason behind why security is at each gate, but then you don’t state what the reason is! Would be nice to know.

    1. Sam Guest

      Because departures and arrivals aren't separated. As to why they do +this+, no idea....

    2. Al Guest

      T4 has the separation because most of the travelers for those airlines don't transit. As a resident of Singapore, I have the opposite experience growing up, so I can see benefits of both sides.
      Security in a central area - you can enjoy the airport facilities for a longer time before boarding the plane,

      Security at a gate - you're not facing a huge central queue and feeling the stress (especially for tight...

      T4 has the separation because most of the travelers for those airlines don't transit. As a resident of Singapore, I have the opposite experience growing up, so I can see benefits of both sides.
      Security in a central area - you can enjoy the airport facilities for a longer time before boarding the plane,

      Security at a gate - you're not facing a huge central queue and feeling the stress (especially for tight connections) and more peaceful environment before boarding, since each gate has its dedicated seating area. If you're not transiting and you don't have check-in luggage, you can continue eating and shopping at the airside area after arrival, though the Jewel has reduced the need for this. The Private Room (which I haven't tried) allows First Class SQ passengers to use it after arrival, whereas most airports' arrival lounges are more basic than the departure lounges.

    3. AHLUVCK Guest

      To make sure you don’t carry guns drugs and rubbish to the plane. So we don’t need to deplane you! And have hell of getting people thrown out. Then later DELAY after DELAY

  27. Gabriel Guest

    As someone flying in and out of Sydney's Kingsford Smith international airport since the early 90s, I have to say they have come leaps and bounds in the past few years in teams of facilities and presentation.

    The airport is constrain by it's footprint, so will never be as large as a Changi or HKG but it has everything I value as a traveller, their passport control, baggage and custom is generally very quick...

    As someone flying in and out of Sydney's Kingsford Smith international airport since the early 90s, I have to say they have come leaps and bounds in the past few years in teams of facilities and presentation.

    The airport is constrain by it's footprint, so will never be as large as a Changi or HKG but it has everything I value as a traveller, their passport control, baggage and custom is generally very quick and friendly. The renovated building is now modern with decent food options. It's only let down by a sub par road network (read heavy traffic) into the CBD and suburban trains that is packed like sardine in peak hours.

    1. Bedders Guest

      May I list the deficiencies of SYD, Sydney airport, that make it the worst in Australia?
      * Separate domestic and international terminals, with poor and un-coordinated transfer options
      * A 11pm-6am curfew, limiting flight options
      * Its congested, full stop
      * Tightly constrained by housing, limiting flexibility of flight ops (noise)
      * International terminal not really renovated (other than duty free and concourse areas), so old and not modern flow-through...

      May I list the deficiencies of SYD, Sydney airport, that make it the worst in Australia?
      * Separate domestic and international terminals, with poor and un-coordinated transfer options
      * A 11pm-6am curfew, limiting flight options
      * Its congested, full stop
      * Tightly constrained by housing, limiting flexibility of flight ops (noise)
      * International terminal not really renovated (other than duty free and concourse areas), so old and not modern flow-through design for exit immigration and security
      * other old infrastructure - central multi-story car parks now closed due to structural issues
      * suburban rail connections expensive due to airport charge on train fares

  28. PH Guest

    Where has the article about the Louis Vuitton lounge in Doha gone? Did they see the comments and ask you to pull it? Or did you break an embargo?

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      Right here: https://onemileatatime.com/insights/qatar-airways-louis-vuitton-lounge-doha/

  29. Ryan Guest

    DTW and SFO the best airports in the U.S.?!? Well, I am very impressed by the new Harvey Milk Terminal 1 at SFO, though most UA pax flying through Terminal 3 will endure a much more dated facility.

    What about KOA and LGB? Honorable mention: OKC

    1. Matt Guest

      Try the new SLC... It's bland but easy to maneuver

      JED was a really beautiful airport

    2. Joe Guest

      Well I imagine flight choices and routes is also a major factor for sfo. You can go just about anywhere from sfo without some crazy routing. Also consider sfo to nyc is a premium route for delta, ual, jetblue and AA.

  30. Marcy Guest

    Lax is very beautiful don't have any favorites cause mist of them are still working on them like dtw-detroit.

  31. JW Guest

    One other thing that wasn’t considered for the worlds best airport is immigration and customs queue time. It hate an airport that needs me to queue in line for hours after a long haul and also need me to arrive hours before my flight because TSA is understaffed or in competent. SIN gets my vote ahead of the other 2 as I never had to wait more than 30 minutes for either. The security at...

    One other thing that wasn’t considered for the worlds best airport is immigration and customs queue time. It hate an airport that needs me to queue in line for hours after a long haul and also need me to arrive hours before my flight because TSA is understaffed or in competent. SIN gets my vote ahead of the other 2 as I never had to wait more than 30 minutes for either. The security at gate ensures that I can still make my flight even if my business meetings overrun and I arrive at SIN with an hour before departure. Not possible with DOH or HKG

    1. Joe Guest

      That's been my experience with SIN as well. Very surprised how quick immigration was.

  32. Vito Guest

    I really, really like HKG. It very well thought out, easy to get by, has great lounges, restaurants and stores, and, best of all, very easy connectivity, as the train station is built in the terminal and the trains run every 15 min 24/7 (or, at least, they used to. In Europe, my favorites are ZRH, MUC and VIE. Don’t particularly like any US airports.

    1. asprino Guest

      The norm should be every train 10 mins. 15 mins shoukd be a covid thing

  33. BradStPete Diamond

    Lucky ! Uh TPA Tampa International, consistantly voted BEST US AIRPORT. Your hometown airport and mine too. Whats up with this ? DTW ??

    1. jas Guest

      Have you been through Detroit in the last 20 years (since the new airport opened?)

  34. Preacher Guest

    In North America, DFW is at the top. Cap1 recognized that by choosing to put their first lounge there. Among other things, their SkyTrain is so efficient.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And only 2 tiny shower stalls (one more if you count Minute Suites) for the whole airport, which connects to dozens of long haul flights.
      The love-hate thing about DTW.

    2. stogieguy7 Diamond

      DFW? Better than most but not nearly as good as some. A couple of the terminals are woefully dated and worn. And the rental car facility seems like it's in the next county over (addiing extra time to the departure-end airport map).

      DTW is a nice airport, but not nice enough to counterbalance the fact that you've arrived in Detroit (or at least one of it's uglier suburbs). SFO is a beautiful airport, but...

      DFW? Better than most but not nearly as good as some. A couple of the terminals are woefully dated and worn. And the rental car facility seems like it's in the next county over (addiing extra time to the departure-end airport map).

      DTW is a nice airport, but not nice enough to counterbalance the fact that you've arrived in Detroit (or at least one of it's uglier suburbs). SFO is a beautiful airport, but with horrid lines in the UA domestic terminal. Likewise, LAX has some gorgeous terminals, and some truly uglies. Honestly, I think this is the pattern here in the USA. I suppose IND may be the most aesthetically pleasing and easy to use airport in the USA.

  35. Jim at PHL Guest

    For me, the most important feature of any airport is the ability to access all gates and terminals without having to re-clear security. The second most important is having access to a decent selection of lounges. Otherwise, I'm not too picky. ;-)

  36. Bgriff Guest

    Wild to say, but there is a real case that in terms of quality of the terminals, the best airport in the US is LGA.

    1. Ivan X Gold

      Times sure have changed! I agree the new LGA is quite nice.

  37. Harry Guest

    Yvr for all the public art and glass so you can see the ocean and mountains

    1. Dan Guest

      Came here to comment YVR as well, lounges on the domestic side are poor but apart from that it's a nice airport which is always wonderfully quiet, even when busy.

      Another Canadian mention is YYC, while definitely gets your step count up it has beautiful views of the Rockies and again has a nice calm atmosphere.

    2. Here Hare Guest

      Agreed. YVR just doesn't get enough love. Easy to access (by car, Evo car share or transit which has a stop inside the terminal and is less than half an hour to downtown hotels) and well proportioned with easy transfer access. Arriving, passengers take an elevated walkway over international departures, not a soul less cramped corridor, and there's a waterfall as you approach security. Lounge fare is so-so, but sightings and plane spotting and coastal...

      Agreed. YVR just doesn't get enough love. Easy to access (by car, Evo car share or transit which has a stop inside the terminal and is less than half an hour to downtown hotels) and well proportioned with easy transfer access. Arriving, passengers take an elevated walkway over international departures, not a soul less cramped corridor, and there's a waterfall as you approach security. Lounge fare is so-so, but sightings and plane spotting and coastal views are brilliant from all the lounges, domestic and international. Yesterday, for an international departure, security and check-in late afternoon took less than 15 minutes--without priority lane access.

  38. Lune Diamond

    I don't disagree with your list but I think ICN deserves a mention. I was stuck there during the infamous Delta computer meltdown several years ago, and honestly, I had a great time! Their free tours were easy to access (they even store your carryons for you) and genuinely interesting. They had good food options. And they have a performing stage where (when I was there) they had an orchestra for an hour, and then...

    I don't disagree with your list but I think ICN deserves a mention. I was stuck there during the infamous Delta computer meltdown several years ago, and honestly, I had a great time! Their free tours were easy to access (they even store your carryons for you) and genuinely interesting. They had good food options. And they have a performing stage where (when I was there) they had an orchestra for an hour, and then some local dancers, etc. It was far more entertaining than watching a movie in some darkened room (I'll watch the movies on the airplane thank you very much!)

    While I think SIN is very nice, I too think it's a little overrated. Their movie room was kinda depressing (small, dark room with some chairs and some random movie playing). I did enjoy their butterfly garden, but other than that, didn't think it was all that much better than other big Asian transit airports. (I haven't been there since the Jewel opened, so maybe that improves thing).

    Regarding small airports, I add another vote to the new LGA. It's really nice.

    For a somewhat eclectic choice, LGB (Long Beach Airport) will always be one of my favorites. It's a small airport and you can literally walk from economy parking to the gate in about 5 minutes. But more than that, before the new terminals were built, a lot of the airport was basically outdoors, with outdoor baggage claim, checkin kiosks, and remote stands. The whole airport is kinda charming in a retro "remote island airport from the 50s" sort of way.

  39. Bagoly Guest

    Agree about connection to city being important if that is what you are doing, so you really need separate lists for:
    - best airport in which to transit
    - best airport from which to depart
    (arrival is usually dominated by how easy it is to get to your destination - yes Vilnius is brilliant)

    And *very* small airports (E.g. so small they don't charge for car parking - hello IEG) are brilliant for departing, but of no interest to a global audience.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      BHB, PIA, JLN doesn't charge for parking.

      HEL, KEF is good to transit.

  40. Regis Guest

    What is the criteria? Food? Shopping? Lounges? Proximity to town? Parking? TSA precheck and clear availability? Concourse layout? Size? Weather? Consider the massive routine flight cancelations due to fog at SFO, that ruins the airport experience. Too broad a category to opine meaningfully.

    1. Bob Guest

      I go through sfo every month at least once for the last 20 years. I've had all of 3 delays from fog.
      What's great about sfo is that i can fly in comfort to nyc in business which I do several times per year. And it's flight options to Europe and asia is great making point options very flexible.

  41. IrishAlan Diamond

    I agree that ICN does deserve good recognition alongside SIN and HKG.

    In the same way that Bradley is a gem at the otherwise chaotic LAX, I think that T2/The Queen’s Terminal at LHR deserves an honorable mention within Europe.

  42. Darren C Diamond

    BKK should be listed, if only for the massive number of lounges, some with spas, beds, showers, food galore...
    SIN, ICN, DOH, BKK, HKG for my top 5.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      ICYMI, Covid fallout includes the extinction of the legendary TG Spa.

    2. Joe Guest

      Having Gone through immigration on a 3 hour line makes me never want to be in bkk again.

  43. Marwan kasi Guest

    My favorite airport is Istanbul new airport.

  44. Preacher Guest

    KLIA is so, so nice! Not sure why more folks aren’t raving about Kuala Lumpur’s awesome airport.

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      Most of them haven't been to KL.

    2. Darren C Diamond

      Been to KL, therefore did not mention it.

    3. David Diamond

      What's so nice about it? Gate security, high humidity, poor upkeep, satellite terminal, lack of lounge and stores. IMO it's below average compared to other airports in Asia.

    4. Bruno Guest

      The airside train to the satellite terminal even broke down now. Everyone has to take the bus.

  45. Jan Guest

    For me:
    1 SIN (because of Jewel)
    2 ICN (because of free Seoul Transit Tours. could be 1b and SIN 1a)
    3 HKG (pre Covid/pre Riot; 24hr baggage check in at big MTR stations)

    Honorable mentions
    DXB (had a late evening departure, did not have EK lounge access)
    DTW (the least stressful DL fortress hub, had a TSA issue where I left something and they were able to return it...

    For me:
    1 SIN (because of Jewel)
    2 ICN (because of free Seoul Transit Tours. could be 1b and SIN 1a)
    3 HKG (pre Covid/pre Riot; 24hr baggage check in at big MTR stations)

    Honorable mentions
    DXB (had a late evening departure, did not have EK lounge access)
    DTW (the least stressful DL fortress hub, had a TSA issue where I left something and they were able to return it to me with haste)

    Since as a DL flyer I don't get to see many European non-Schengen terminals aside from CDG and AMS, but schengen VIE, ZRH, CPH, MAD, BCN all looked awesome

  46. Daniel Guest

    ZRH should not be rated high,I used it in on intra european flights,
    The EU gates is a very long corridor with far too few seats and good luck getting a seat with a electrical socket.
    The assortment of food is nearly zero besides a Starbucks and is incredibly expensive even for Switzerland- 9 Euro for standard coffee.

    1. Edgar Guest

      In addition to the stuffy attitudes of Swiss people...

  47. nate nate Guest

    Munich / MUC T2 (LH terminal) is great for connections / if you aren't going into the city. There is S-Bahn access, but not a mainline train station.

    1. Bill Guest

      As an American, I no longer travel to China, so Honk Kong is out.

      I just passed through FCO Rome, and the security was great - no need to take liquids, electronics, anything out of your bags.

    2. Nelson Diamond

      @Bill
      Same for LIS since over two years.

  48. Eskimo Guest

    I've gotta say SIN would be very over rated if The Jewel isn't factored in but T4 is.

    1. David Diamond

      I find SIN extremely over-rated, even if The Jewel is factored in. I get why they put it outside security (so it doubles as a mall/attraction for Singaporeans not travelling), but it's still a negative as an airport, for travellers. The Jewel isn't even that interesting, it's just a big mall (which Asia has plenty of) with some attractions that happens to be very close to an airport.

      And the security at the gate is a big negative.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @David

      You would probably like T4 but would want to bang your head if you had to transit outside T4.

    3. Randy Diamond

      I agree - I did a separate trip to the airport to see the Jewel and was disappointed. The food outlets were not that great.

      The terminal (Qantas) is not that great. Best thing was the QF lounge.

    4. AHLUVCK Guest

      Please don’t transit here. Transit in Dubai and Doha. And don’t fill our suites. Thanks. Stuck up people, fancy complain but still end up in our suites. Joke

    5. Eskimo Guest

      @AHLUVCK

      Pay cash for the suites, it's hardly ever sold out in advance.
      Thanks. mile people, fancy complain but still end up in our suites. Joke

  49. Todd Guest

    I vote for TXK. 30 steps from car to check in counter and another 30 steps to the gate!! Yes, you can only go to DFW but it sure is smooth and fast!

    1. VT-CIE Diamond

      You mean TXL in Berlin, which closed in 2020 and was replaced by BER?

    2. Mike C Diamond

      TXK, Texarkana, I suspect. Only being able to fly to DFW should have been a hint that it wasn't Tegel.

    3. Mike C Diamond

      Texarkana, I suspect. Only having flights to DFW might have been a hint that it wasn't Tegel.

  50. BurritoMiles Guest

    The new terminal 1 at SFO is really nice, SFO also has the best food options out of any airport I've ever been to. SFO also has a ton of art exhibits that rotate. TBIT@LAX is on par for international standards but my God getting into LAX is a nightmare. I'm going to BAH and IST next month so I'm excited to see those. BUR has a special place in my heart because you get to walk out on the tarmac.

  51. NZ Guest

    In Southern Europe, Madrid Terminal 4 is pretty great (especially compared to other hubs in Southern Europe)

    1. Bagoly Guest

      Especially the restaurants - brilliant jamon - several competing so the prices are much lower than at other airports.

  52. LEo Diamond

    SIN's 60SGD departure tax....

  53. Debo Gold

    Hard to quibble with the list and most mentions. HKG definitely one of my favorites; efficient, clean, beautiful. A random one to add on is Queenstown, NZ. Beautiful design and super friendly staff.

    I appreciate the mention of my home airport SFO. It has gotten recognition (an award?) for being a quiet airport. No terminal wide announcements makes the space way more enjoyable. I think all of the terminals are now connected air-side. AirTran gets...

    Hard to quibble with the list and most mentions. HKG definitely one of my favorites; efficient, clean, beautiful. A random one to add on is Queenstown, NZ. Beautiful design and super friendly staff.

    I appreciate the mention of my home airport SFO. It has gotten recognition (an award?) for being a quiet airport. No terminal wide announcements makes the space way more enjoyable. I think all of the terminals are now connected air-side. AirTran gets you around land-side easily. Lots of good food options. Pre-Check at every security check point. And the original T3 United gates are the only ones not recently renovated. Transiting isn't tough domestic-domestic, but yeah intl dom can be a pain, but I don't know of any US airport where it can be easy.

    1. Dogtor Guest

      SFO is still missing a connection airside between T1 and T2. The current planning is to have an airside connection when the remodel opens. Then passengers should be able to walk airside from International A to International G airside via T1, T2, & T3. I'm looking forward to that.

    2. dck Guest

      SFO deserves a mention just for its Wag Patrol. https://www.flysfo.com/passengers/services-amenities/wag-brigade

  54. Harry Guest

    ZRH is great. CDG is about as bad as it gets especially from one terminal to another. It's a dog and pony show transferring. Shopping is more important than getting to your gate.

    LGA domestic is a pretty nice airport with the total overall. Even AA lounge is great including food! Been a long time saying that about any AA lounge including their HQ DFW.

    1. Nelson Diamond

      Agree with you on ZRH. I would classify it as the best one in Europe followed by MUC.
      About CDG you're absolutely right. I'm almost never there, just like LHR because I avoid it at all times. CDG is that mess that when I have to be there I rather see LHR as a "Garden."

  55. OCTinPHL Guest

    I am just back from a trip to Singapore, and had an opportunity to fly into SIN, ICN, DAD, SGN, HAN, and NRT on this trip.

    First, I thought SIN to be highly overrated. Don’t get me wrong - it is clean. The Jewel is interesting. The Qantas F lounge is nice. (I like LAX better. The shops are great, I guess, but I can’t remember the last time I ever bought anything at...

    I am just back from a trip to Singapore, and had an opportunity to fly into SIN, ICN, DAD, SGN, HAN, and NRT on this trip.

    First, I thought SIN to be highly overrated. Don’t get me wrong - it is clean. The Jewel is interesting. The Qantas F lounge is nice. (I like LAX better. The shops are great, I guess, but I can’t remember the last time I ever bought anything at an airport other than at a newsstand. Including duty free. Having a 12 hour layover starting at midnight also mean I spent a good portion of my layover in a transit hotel. Which it is nice that SIN offers… I guess my feeling about SIN is that it is just another airport - obviously - but bloggers tend to rave about it. And I don’t get it. Singapore Airlines’ biz lounge is nice… but not exceptional.

    I like HAN better than NRT, with the exception of how far one has to walk after landing. I think I like JAL’s F lounge at NRT better, but only slightly. The Red Room at HAN is a very nice place to kill a few hours watching a show on an iPad or reading a book.

    DAD is a fine airport for its size. Vietnam Airlines’ lounge is OK, about what one would expect. SGN is a bit more of a zoo. The lounge to which Singapore Airlines provides access is eh at best. ICN is an OK airport as well, and Vietnam Airlines lounge access is ok.

    Anyway, in returning to the topic at hand - I’d have to say that HKG is my favorite airport. From dropping bags at Central to the fact it is basically only large terminal and a remote midfield terminal (I know there is terminal 2), to the lounges, I just find it a great airport to transit as a O/D point.

    Bu I do look forward to flying transiting DOH in January.

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      Wow, so many mistakes in my post… guess I am still jet lagged. HAN should be HND obviously.

  56. Diego Dave Guest

    I agree on top three.

    I think Zurich is pretty great, especially given ease of the overall trip from aircraft into the city. I love design of Barcelona, but don’t know it well enough (or recently enough) to know how well it “works.”

    Smart to mention LAX’s Tom Bradley International — my favorite departure point from the US.

  57. Raksiam Guest

    HND was a total mess when I traveled from there several weeks ago. It wasn't able to handle the number of pax passing through.

    I think transport links to the city are an important aspect of the experience

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      I find HND to be crowded, but I wouldn’t say a “total mess.” I guess we have had different experiences. Though being OWE helps, as I can access JAL’s F lounge. And JAL is incredibly efficient, IMO, in boarding flights.

  58. AS Guest

    Doha airport is only so compact because the majority of the flights depart from remote stands. That’s a major flaw.

    In Europe I was pleasantly surprised by Barcelona airport. Bright airy terminal, great food options and one of the best contract lounges I’ve ever been to.

  59. Nicolas Guest

    For Europe, I think Zurich and Copenhagen are relatively good transit hubs and also well connected to the center. My all time favorite though is Vilnius where you can go from plane to City Center in 10min, and it looks like a soviet train station (which is a good thing).

  60. Jules Guest

    The fact that ZRH is not included in this list is puzzling to me. I've transited through all of airports mentioned in this post numerous times and I would rank ZRH within the top 3 in the world in terms of efficiency, cleanliness, design, lounges, access to public transportation, etc.

  61. Hammer New Member

    I feel like airports such as DCA, PHX, and SAN deserve a mention due to their proximity to the city center.

    1. Debo Gold

      SAN especially. Airport is nice, but getting in and out, and into the city is incredibly easy.

  62. Noah Guest

    Personally, DCA is the best smaller size airport in the US. 15 mins from downtown max, fast security, easy to walk around, doesn't have the operational issues of LGA.

  63. D3Kingg Guest

    Ben you plan airport lounge visits with thought and purpose which gives you time to enjoy. For others it might be their first time at an airport and they are just passing through. I regret not spending more time at DOH last week during my layover.

    For shopping I would pick Heathrow ; Harrods , Fortnum & Mason , Caviar , etc. I enjoyed my layover there despite the zoo experience at the basic...

    Ben you plan airport lounge visits with thought and purpose which gives you time to enjoy. For others it might be their first time at an airport and they are just passing through. I regret not spending more time at DOH last week during my layover.

    For shopping I would pick Heathrow ; Harrods , Fortnum & Mason , Caviar , etc. I enjoyed my layover there despite the zoo experience at the basic British Airways lounges it gave me time to mingle with people so it was enjoyable.

    If I had to choose one airport it would be DFW because it’s what I’m most familiar with. I could navigate thru that airport blindfolded and hands tied behind my back.

  64. Mike O. Guest

    I love Narita and Nagoya for its minimalist design. Even though it's minimalist and not as grand as say Hong Kong or Singapore, it's efficient. Japanese designs in general are not known to be grand. I love Honolulu for its open air walkways which I love as well for its architecture. While I've never been to Zurich, Clark or Cebu, I do love their addition of wood in their designs. I wish more airports would introduce more flora in their terminals.

  65. Aanarav Sareen Guest

    Honestly, the new terminal at LGA is really good. HUGE upgrade.

  66. RCB Guest

    Doha has long been a favorite of mine, even moreso now with the expansion open, but my biggest complaint is how many flights they have to board by bus. Massive airport and they are regularly loading and unloading Dreamliners and 777s and other huge aircrafts onto the tarmac to take buses to the terminal (and vice versa), what terrible planning for the best airline in the world and a truly amazing airport.

  67. DKB Guest

    Best thing about Hong Kong is being able to check in and drop your bags downtown much earlier in the day, a superb facility.

    1. VT-CIE Diamond

      This is completely missing in Singapore, as KL is the only Southeast Asian city to have a city air terminal of this kind. Then again, Changi is close enough to the CBD that you don’t need to have a dedicated airport express like you do in KL. Delhi is another city outside Northeast Asia that has a city airport terminal and airport express (it’s always been far ahead of other Indian airports) but otherwise the concept isn’t as popular outside Northeast Asia.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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RCB Guest

Doha has long been a favorite of mine, even moreso now with the expansion open, but my biggest complaint is how many flights they have to board by bus. Massive airport and they are regularly loading and unloading Dreamliners and 777s and other huge aircrafts onto the tarmac to take buses to the terminal (and vice versa), what terrible planning for the best airline in the world and a truly amazing airport.

3
David Diamond

I find SIN extremely over-rated, even if The Jewel is factored in. I get why they put it outside security (so it doubles as a mall/attraction for Singaporeans not travelling), but it's still a negative as an airport, for travellers. The Jewel isn't even that interesting, it's just a big mall (which Asia has plenty of) with some attractions that happens to be very close to an airport. And the security at the gate is a big negative.

2
Eskimo Guest

I've gotta say SIN would be very over rated if The Jewel isn't factored in but T4 is.

2
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