Skift Take

Amsterdam and the top-ranked Asian airports humanize the airport experience and remember to prioritize people in addition to airlines, governments, and a bottom line.

Skytrax released its annual World Airport Awards this week with one airport taking an impressive leap to the top. Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport shook up the top three regime for the first time in six years to take its spot as the world’s third-best airport following Singapore Changi and Incheon International. It was also the only non-Asian airport in the top five.

Schipol also arrived in the top five of several superlative categories otherwise dominated by Asian airports including best airports for dining, leisure amenities, transit airport, and shopping.

Copenhagen, Heathrow, and Munich also make appearances in the winning category sets, but only twice each, whereas Amsterdam appears four times.

Skytrax credits the airport’s new ranking to its efficiency:

Schiphol alongside KLM has developed and implemented an effective self-service transfer process and this has resulted in significant improvements in passenger feedback. Whilst staff service remains an important feature, efficiency is also crucial and Schiphol has managed to create an environment of good efficiency and effective staff service.

The real secret to the top three airports’ success is humanizing the waiting experience. They add nature to the hubs’ stale air: Schipol’s Airport Park lets flyers spend time on outside terrace while Changi and Incheon fill terminals with live tropical gardens. Schipol and Incheon offer families baby care lounges and playgrounds; and it’s no wonder Changi takes first when considering its spa showers, aviation gallery, and big screen theater.

The airports could be considered cities as much as  transportation hubs and appropriately provide practical tools and entertainment and wellness experiences for their travelers.

Best Airport for Dining Best Airport for Leisure Amenities Best International Transit Airport Best Airport Shopping
Munich Singapore Changi Incheon International Heathrow
Hong Kong International Amsterdam Schiphol Singapore Changi Dubai International
Incheon International Incheon International Hong Kong International Amsterdam Schiphol
Amsterdam Schiphol Hong Kong International Amsterdam Schiphol Singapore Changi
Singapore Changi Munich Narita International Hong Kong International

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Tags: amsterdam, incheon, schiphol

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