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]