World’s best airports: What do travellers really want?

Zurich Airport. Photo courtesy Alamy.

Zurich Airport. Photo courtesy Alamy.

Conde Nast’s latest list of the world’s best airports by its readers throws up familiar names: 1. Changi Airport (Singapore) 2. Dubai International 3. Hong Kong International 4. Ben Gurion Airport (Tel Aviv) 5. Seoul Incheon (Korea) 6. Tokyo-Haneda (Japan) 7. Hamad International (Doha) 8. Abu Dhabi International 9. Zurich International 10. Vancouver International.

Two key factors emerge as top considerations in the voting: easy access and VIP lounges.

Changi, Ben Gurion, Haneda and Vancouver top for easy access. Changi is supported by an army of taxis and the subway train. Vancouver is also directly linked by the subway to the city centre. Ben Gurion is only 9 miles from downtown Tel Aviv. Compared to Narita, Haneda is much nearer to the city.

The other six airports in the list top for VIP lounges – notably First Class and Business Class of the home airlines. All three Gulf airports stand out for their lounges. Emirates boasts direct boarding from the lounges. Besides Qatar Airways’ lavish lounges for premium passengers at Hamad, there are Quiet Rooms for all classes of travellers. So too at Abu Dhabi, besides Etihad Airways’ exclusive lounges, there are 24 Finnish-designed GoSleep pods.

What does the survey tell us about what air travellers really want of an airport?

It really depends on whether you are an arriving/departing passenger or a transit or connecting passenger with time to spare between flights.

Easy access is critical if you have to head to town or from town.

Comfort is important if you have to spend time waiting inside the sterile area. The Conde Nast report may however be too niche on the second aspect in its skewed assessment of VIP lounges which are only available to premium passengers. Most home airlines impress with lavish facilities for this class of customers. The majority of the travellers will have to make do with the common space – not only for resting but also for F&B, retail outlets and other services that airports such as Changi and Hong Kong thrive on. It is the halo effect of marketing prestige.

Conde Nast’s latest list of the world’s best airports by its readers throws up familiar names: 1. Changi Airport (Singapore) 2. Dubai International 3. Hong Kong International 4. Ben Gurion Airport (Tel Aviv) 5. Seoul Incheon (Korea) 6. Tokyo-Haneda (Japan) 7. Hamad International (Doha) 8. Abu Dhabi International 9. Zurich International 10. Vancouver International.

Two key factors emerge as top considerations in the voting: easy access and VIP lounges.

Changi, Ben Gurion, Haneda and Vancouver top for easy access. Changi is supported by an army of taxis and the subway train. Vancouver is also directly linked by the subway to the city centre. Ben Gurion is only 9 miles from downtown Tel Aviv. Compared to Narita, Haneda is much nearer to the city.

The other six airports in the list top for VIP lounges – notably First Class and Business Class of the home airlines. All three Gulf airports stand out for their lounges. Emirates boasts direct boarding from the lounges. Besides Qatar Airways’ lavish lounges for premium passengers at Hamad, there are Quiet Rooms for all classes of travellers. So too at Abu Dhabi, besides Etihad Airways’ exclusive lounges, there are 24 Finnish-designed GoSleep pods.

What does the survey tell us about what air travellers really want of an airport?

It really depends on whether you are an arriving/departing passenger or a transit or connecting passenger with time to spare between flights.

Easy access is critical if you have to head to town or from town.

Comfort is important if you have to spend time waiting inside the sterile area. The Conde Nast report may however be too niche on the second aspect in its skewed assessment of VIP lounges which are only available to premium passengers. Most home airlines impress with lavish facilities for this class of customers. The majority of the travellers will have to make do with the common space – not only for resting but also for F&B, retail outlets and other services that airports such as Changi and Hong Kong thrive on. It is the halo effect of marketing prestige.

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About Dingzi
Writer by passion, with professional expertise in aviation, customer service and creative writing. Aviation veteran, author, editor and management consultant. Besides commentary on business issues and life-interest topics, travel stories and book reviews, genres include fiction, poetry and plays. Nature lover who abhors cruelty of any form to animals, and a tireless traveler. Above all, a dreamer.

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