Skift Take

These top-ranked airports are leading the hub-as-destination trend and doing it well by combining leisure activities with functional design elements and necessary tech innovations.

Singapore Changi Airport and Incheon International have once again been named the two best airports in the world, according to Skytrax‘s annual World Airport Awards.

The two Asian airports have nabbed two of the top three spots, which are determined by 12.85 million customer nominations and 39 key performance metrics, for the past five years.

But they’re not the only repeats. Skytrax’s annual airport ranking features many of the same names: Seven airports have appeared on every list for the past 5 years.

What do these airports know that no one else does? How to humanize the travel experience.

Changi’s success, in particular, comes from its ability to turn a usually mundane, or stressful, part of travel into a pleasurable experience.

“Changi Airport Singapore is showing itself to be much more than an airport,” Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted said in a statement about the awards.

“Changi Airport offers a travel experience in itself.”

It does this by incorporating leisure and entertainment options like live musical performances, nature walks through airport gardens, and a swimming pool.

And although a lounge chair might not be necessary to get from point A to B, way-finding signage and effective processing terminals are.

It’s something U.S. airports, none of which appear on the list, heard loud and clear when U.S. vice president Joe Biden likened New York LaGuardia Airport to a hub of a third-world country earlier this year.

The world’s ten best airports are listed below, and the top five can be seen in the slideshow above:

  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
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Tags: changi, rankings

Photo credit: A double-level arrival hall greets flyers at Singapore Changi Airport. Changi Airport Group

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