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What Are the Best Airports in the World? One Pilot’s Answers

Curious where to find the friendliest airport staff or the easiest connections? A pilot offers his candid opinions on the best food, the best shopping, and more.

Last month pilot Bruno Gilissen took to Quora to discuss the worst international airport in a major city. To offer a more positive counterpoint, Gilissen then addressed the best airports in the world, using several different criteria to categorize them.

When it comes down to short airline connections, Gilissen called out Munich Airport (MUC) as the winner. According to the pilot, “I regularly picked up luggage, switched terminals, checked in at the next flight’s counter and was ready at the next gate within an hour.” For long connections, however, Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) took home the gold. With its rooftop bar, 4-D cinema, and a wide variety of restaurants, HKG makes for a long-haul traveler’s paradise.

Travelers fascinated with the latest and greatest commercial planes were advised to visit Dubai International Airport (DXB). Its fleet of Emirates jets — and the exotic airlines that travel there — made this the best airport for airplane spotting.

As for the best view, Gilissen nominated Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE) in the Republic of Maldives. The island nation is surrounded by coral reefs and blue-green water, which makes the flight “a joy for the eye of the lucky window seat passengers.” (Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu, Nepal, nearly won the honor, but the pilot disqualified it based on often poor visibility.)

Other winners included:

  • Best shopping: Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)
  • Friendliest staff: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
  • Best food: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
  • Most comfortable: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
  • Most underrated: Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL)

And when it comes to the best overall airport, Gilissen was unbiased, instead naming the airport where you’re starting your vacation. “You’re in a giddy holiday mood, the stress of [everyday] life falls off your shoulders, life is good, a journey of exploration or relaxation awaits you.”

[Photo: Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, Trans Maldivian Airways]

Comments are Closed.
the artful dodger January 22, 2016

Agree with JBB above, BKK airport food is awful...

KRey32 January 21, 2016

AMS is far and away the best.

Cedarglen January 21, 2016

What am I missing here? An "Airport" is a place to join air transportation, transfer to other air/ground transportation or - gosh - depart the air transportation system. Airports are not designed to be entertainment, shopping or retail venues for the general public. Is this a joke?

bwiadca January 16, 2016

Never mind. Found it. Male airport

bwiadca January 16, 2016

Which airport is on the picture above? I want to go to that place! :)