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Singapore Changi (SIN) has been voted the World’s Best Airport for the third year in a row at the SkyTrax World Airport Awards, which recently took place in Paris. Seoul’s Incheon airport (ICN) grabbed the second place spot for the third year in a row, followed by the Munich airport (MUC) occupying the third place spot for the second year in a row. All three of these top-voted airports also made the TPG List of Top International Airports for International Layovers.

Singapore takes the cake yet again for best airport. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Singapore’s Changi takes the cake yet again for best airport. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

SkyTrax has been holding the World Airport Awards (also known as the Passengers Choice Awards) since 1999, with results based on roughly 13 million surveys given to airline customers of 112 different nationalities, with a choice of more than 550 airports. Customers were asked to consider a number of different factors when selecting their choices, including things like:

  • Terminal comfort, ambiance, cleanliness and design
  • Length of lines and wait times (check-in, security and immigration)
  • Language skills and friendliness of staff
  • Choice of shopping, ATM and restaurants
  • Baggage delivery times
  • Clarity of flight screens
  • Bathroom cleanliness
Airport customers cast their votes using factors such as cleanliness, lines, and staff. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Airport customers cast their votes using factors such as cleanliness, lines, and staff. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The top 10 winning airports are below, and here you can view the full list of the top 100 airports:

  1. Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
  2. Seoul Incheon International Airport (ICN)
  3. Munich Airport (MUC)
  4. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
  5. Tokyo International Airport (HND)
  6. Zurich Airport (ZRH)
  7. Central Japan International Airport (NGO)
  8. London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
  9. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS)
  10. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)

Notice anything here? There are no U.S. airports mentioned in the top 10! We sadly come in with Cinncinati (CVG) at 30th, Denver (DEN) in 33rd place, and San Francisco (SFO) at 36th. America’s poor showing in this list reminded me that last year, Vice President Joe Biden complained that being in New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) “feels like it’s in some third world country.”

What’s causing the decline of the U.S. airport? According to a 2014 CNN article, Airports Council International North America President and CEO Kevin M. Burke explains that many U.S. airports are operating beyond the capacity for which they were intended, setting the stage for big crowds and long lines, all within outdated terminals and facilities.

It’s true that many international airports are upgrading their infrastructures, making it much easier for connecting passengers and international customers. Hopefully, the U.S. will soon catch up to its foreign counterparts.

The famous slide in Singapore
The famous slide in Singapore’s Changi T3

Despite the sad news that our airports don’t seem to measure up, it’s no secret that Singapore Changi is an all-around favorite, especially when you have a long layover. Perhaps it’s the 39-foot-tall slide both children and adults can go down?

As for the lamentable presence (or lack thereof) of U.S. airports on the World’s Top Airports list, what do you think? What are your favorite airports? Do you think the U.S. falls behind in the realm of airports? We’d love to hear your comments below.

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