Singapore Changi takes the honours as world’s best airport
With themed gardens, spas, a swimming pool, gym, four-storey slide, TV lounges, movie theatres and even a free city tour, Singapore Changi is not your average airport.
So it is perhaps no surprise, then, that the hub has been voted the best airport for the 18th year in a row by sleepinginairports.net, which ranks the world’s best and worst to travel through.
Donna McSherry started the website based on her experiences as a backpacker in Ireland.
“I spent the night in Dublin the night before my flight home to Canada,” she says of the inspiration for the site. “Eventually people started sending me their stories so the site just kept growing and growing.”
In the past year the website attracted 2.8 million visitors and 18,000 people took part in the 2014 survey, which questions travellers about comfort, cleanliness, customer service and conveniences.
Seoul’s Incheon International in South Korea, featuring a Korean cultural street with local cuisine and dance performances, was second on the list, followed by Helsinki International Airport in Finland, which has a book exchange and electronic passport kiosks that virtually eliminate lines.
Munich International Airport, which was fourth, has mini-golf and this year featured a temporary surf station with an artificial beach. Vancouver International Airport, which has art exhibits and an aquarium, was fifth.
“Basically they have a lot of services for people in transit. They are comfortable,” says Ms McSherry.
Meanwhile Dubai International Airport was voted the best in the Middle East.
And the worst stopover?
Islamabad Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Pakistan, which was likened to a “central prison” in the survey, claimed the unenviable title of the world’s least favourite airport, followed by Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, which is in short supply of services.
Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport in Nepal, described as a “bus station in an impoverished neighbourhood” was third and Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines, which has a long list of problems, including smelly toilets, was fourth. Tashkent International Airport in Uzbekistan, which has issues with crowd control, was fifth.
“it has a lot of crowds, cleanliness issues and customer service was certainly a big problem … also the facilities are really not up to a standard people expect,” adds Ms McSherry.
q&a pre-flight delights
Dubai International Airport may be the world’s second busiest international airport, but it is not among the 10 best global hubs, according to the sleepinginairports.net survey. The website’s founder, Donna McSherry, explains why.
How were Dubai and Abu Dhabi ranked in the survey?
They are on the regional list, so Dubai was the best in the Middle East. Abu Dhabi came in third.
What did your readers say about Dubai?
It is certainly the nicest facility in the region. It is large and the shopping is a big thing. They have lots of lounges and there is a swimming pool there, so there are a few things people can keep busy with.
And Abu Dhabi?
Like Dubai they have a few rest areas, although not a lot. But other than that they had a transit hotel and some free showers.
You are thinking of doing a top 25 list next year. Do you expect Dubai and Abu Dhabi to make that?
Yes, they may be in the top 25 in the world.
What do they need to improve on?
We have heard there are a lot of crowded areas, not a lot of private spaces for people, so even though they have rest zones they are not really in quiet areas. In Doha they have a quiet room, which is a big positive there.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter
Updated: November 9, 2014 04:00 AM