As the world’s largest airports battle to claim the “world’s busiest” title it’s often smaller airports serving fewer than 20 million annual passengers that are better positioned to provide superior service to travelers.

Smaller airports took many of the top spots on Airports Council International’s list of airports providing the best service to passengers in terms of quality and speed of access, check-in, security, facilities, food and beverage, and retail — although some busy airports defied this stereotype and earned high marks.

The association’s survey of passengers, used to determine awards, determined that Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland offers the best service for a European airport and Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana is North America’s overall best airport for service quality.

Bjorn Oli Hauksson, Managing Director of Isavia, Keflavik’s management company, said “It is particularly pleasing to see that we have been able to maintain such high standards despite the pressures of the busiest year in the history of the Airport.”

In the Middle East, passengers chose Amman, Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport, and in Africa Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in Port Louis, Mauritius was chosen. For the Latin America-Caribbean region Ecuador’s José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport in Guayaquil won for best service. These five airports serve less than 10 million passengers per year but one of the world’s busiest airports, Seoul-Incheon International, garnered an award as well.

Serving more than 40 million passengers per year, Seoul-Incheon was not only voted the Asia-Pacific region’s best overall airport for service quality, it was also voted the best airport for service quality for airports serving more than 40 million passengers per year. Larger airports such as Dubai International, Beijing Capital International, Singapore Changi, and Moscow Sheremetyevo International also won awards for their service to passengers.

The category for airports making the most improvement to service saw airports with less than 20 million annual passengers rank the highest. San Antonio International Airport for North America, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, India for Asia-Pacific and Las Américas International Airport in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for Latin America-Caribbean took top honors.

Best Airports for Service Quality by Region (First Place)

RegionAirportLocation
AfricaSir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International AirportPort Louis, Mauritius
Asia-PacificSeoul-Incheon International AirportSeoul, South Korea
EuropeKeflavik International AirportReykjavik, Iceland
Latin America-CaribbeanJosé Joaquín de Olmedo International AirportGuayaquil, Ecuador
Middle EastQueen Alia International AirportAmman, Jordan
North AmericaIndianapolis International AirportIndianapolis, Indiana

Best Airports for Service Quality by Size (First Place)

Number of PassengersAirportLocation
2 to 5 MillionJosé Joaquín de Olmedo International AirportGuayaquil, Ecuador
5 to 15 MillionHaikou Meilan International AirportHaikou, Hainan Province, China
15 to 25 MillionSeoul Gimpo International AirportSeoul, South Korea
25 to 40 MillionIndira Gandhi International AirportDelhi, India
More than 40 MillionSeoul-Incheon International AirportSeoul, South Korea

Best Airports for Service Quality for Improvement by Region (First Place)

RegionAirportLocation
AfricaSir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International AirportPort Louis, Mauritius
Asia-PacificNetaji Subhas Chandra Bose International AirportKolkata, India
EuropePulkovo International AirportSt. Petersburg, Russia
Latin America-CaribbeanLas Américas International AirportSanto Domingo, Dominican Republic
Middle EastQueen Alia International AirportAmman, Jordan
North AmericaSan Antonio International AirportSan Antonio, Texas

Source: Airports Council International

Photo Credit: Travel experts touring Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland. Skift