Thursday, 27 March 2014

Changi is top of the pops but other airports fail to measure up

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has flown through Singapore's Changi Airport recently that it has just been voted the world’s best airport for the second year in a row at the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards. 

It is the fifth time Changi Airport has been awarded the coveted title. 

The three terminals at Changi offer travellers a range of experiences and services, including a rooftop swimming pool, movie theatres, themed garden spaces, a free city tour service, and the world’s tallest indoor slide – all linked via a free, inter-terminal Skytrain. 

With connections to more than 250 cities, Changi Airport is the ultimate stopover en-route to Europe and it is certainly no hardship to spend a few hours there on a layover. 

Here is the list of the top 10 airports, as announced by SKYTRAX

1. Singapore Changi Airport 

2. Incheon International Airport 

3. Munich Airport

4. Hong Kong International Airport 

5. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport 

6. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) 

7. Beijing Capital International Airport 

8. Zurich Airport

9. Vancouver International Airport 

10. London Heathrow Airport

I've used most of those airports over the years (Incheon and Beijing being the exceptions) and have found all excellent except Heathrow, a palace of bedlam staffed by graduates from the International School of Rudeness.

I would advise canny travellers to avoid Heathrow, if possible. And I'd also throw in the ghastly and chaotic Los Angeles International (LAX), the queue-filled Miami  Airport and departures from both Sydney and Melbourne, where the airport authorities seem unable to estimate how many staff are needed to process those exiting Australia. 

Both Sydney and Melbourne,  of course, are actually duty free shopping malls that also happen to double as airports, as are Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Another shopping complex that offers flights is Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, where guests get to walk several kilometers (great exercise) between gates.

Suvarnabhumi immigration and security staff are pretty gruff, too, (strange in a nation known as the "land of smiles") but the top prize for rude, unhelpful staff surely goes to Johannesburg's OR Tambo Airport, where travellers are treated with disdain and seen as an impediment to the lifestyle of the staff. 

# The World Airport Awards are voted by customers in the largest, annual global airport customer satisfaction survey. The survey and awards process is totally independent and guaranteed free of any airport influence or interference in final results. www.worldairportawards.com

To find out what to do at Changi Airport see http://hausmann.com.au/changi/

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