For travelers weary of long lines at security checkpoints and overpriced fast food, the idea that any airport could be viewed as “best” may seem laughable. However, for travelers lucky enough to have flights that originate or end at any of the airports listed below, the word “best” is totally appropriate. These outstanding airports received the most votes from more than twelve million travelers who participated in a survey administered by Skytrax. Awards for the 2013 World’s Best Airport and nine runners-up were announced at passenger terminal EXPO in Geneva, Switzerland. The winning airports were located largely in Europe and Asia, with only one representative from North America and none from Australia, South America or Africa. The United States was also notably absent from the list of winners.
1. Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore
Singapore Changi Airport claimed top prize for the fourth time since the Skytrax awards were initiated, having last won the title in 2010. In addition to winning the top overall award, Singapore Changi Airport, which served more than fifty million passengers in 2012, was named Best Airport in Asia and Best Airport for Leisure Amenities.
2. Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea
Last year’s winner Incheon International Airport slipped to the second place. Still, the main airport serving the South Korean capital is no slouch. In addition to its overall second place finish Incheon received the Best Airport Staff Service – Asia and Best International Transfer Airport awards for 2013.
3. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, The Netherlands
For the first time since the Skytrax awards were issued, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands broke into the top three finishers, largely due to its highly-regarded and efficient self-service transfer process. Schiphol also earned top honors for Best Airport in Europe and Best Airport in Western Europe.
4. Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong, China
A third-place finisher for 2012, Hong Kong International Airport slipped to fourth place in the overall voting for the 2013 World’s Best Airport. Nonetheless, Hong Kong International Airport remained a favorite among the voters. In addition to its overall fourth place finish, Hong Kong International airport ranked in the top five among all airports in six different categories.
5. Beijing Capital International Airport, China
Beijing Capital International Airport only began operations in 2008 and has added passenger traffic every year. Nonetheless, the airport maintained its fifth place overall position from 2012 to 2013, and was also named the best airport in China.
6. Munich Airport, Germany
For travelers who hate the dried out microwave fare many airports offer, Munich Airport in Germany features food offerings that are a treat to the palate. In addition to scoring sixth in overall voting for 2013, Munich Airport also earned the award for Best Airport in Central Europe and Best Airport Dining Experience.
7. Zurich Airport, Switzerland
If you have ever experienced lost luggage, you will appreciate the fact that Zurich Airport in Switzerland is a perennial winner in the category of Best Airport Baggage Delivery, in addition to scoring seventh place in overall voting in 2013. Zurich Airport also earned the 2013 award for Best Airport Staff Service – Europe.
8. Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia, Canada
Finishing in eighth place overall in the 2013 voting, Vancouver International Airportis the only North American representative on the list of World’s Best Airports. Moving up from its overall ninth place finish in 2012, Vancouver International Airport retained the award for Best Airport in North America.
9. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), Japan
A new entry in the top ten list of World’s Best Airports, Tokyo International Airportmoved up five places from its 2012 position. Haneda took first place in the category of Best Domestic Airport, a new category for 2012, and also snagged the award for Best Airport Terminal Cleanliness.
10. London Heathrow Airport, England (Great Britain)
Rounding the top ten is London Heathrow Airport, earning its place on the list largely due to its highly-regarded Terminal 5, which opened in 2008. T5, as it is commonly known, also earned the award for Best Airport Terminal for the third year in a row. The entire airport has undergone an overhaul, with its efforts rewarded by Heathrow finally earning 4-Star Airport status in 2012.