The 30 Best Airports in the World

A couple of months ago I wrote a post called the 30 best airlines in the world and it was inevitable that I’d do the 30 best airports in the world at some point. After traveling a lot in the last few months and dealing with both good and awful airports-I felt the time was now.
I have also been to pretty much every major airport in the world. With the exception of Osaka, Islamabad and several Chinese cities that have become major cities almost out of nowhere in the past 5-10 years-I’ve been to them all; the good, the bad and the ugly! So here is my criteria for selecting the 30 best airports in the world.
Airport codes, travel
-I have been to the airport
-The airports have to be major International airports or hubs in developed nations.
-I have selected all these based on my own experience and judgement
-All aspects of the airport have been taken into consideration including airport lounges, restaurants, ease of travel and attractiveness.
-I considered all 7 continents, yes even Antarctica!
bangkok airport
Here are the 30 best airports in the world! What do you think?
changi airport
30. Charlotte
29. London Heathrow
28. Toronto-Pearson
27. Seattle-Tacoma
26. Zurich
25. Dallas Fort Worth
24. Melbourne
23. San Francisco
22. Beijing
21. Houston Intercontinental
20. Istanbul Ataturk
19. Barcelona
18. Helsinki
17. Phoenix Sky Harbor
16. Munich
15. Shanghai
14. Auckland
13. Vancouver
12. Reykjavik
11. Sydney
10. Kuala Lumpur-International
9. Stockholm
8. Seoul-Incheon
7. Bangkok
6. Copenhagen
5. Dubai
4. Tokyo-Haneda
3. Hong Kong
2. Doha
1. Singapore-Changi

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  1. No Schipol?

  2. LHR is my biggest nightmare! I cannot possibly include it on the list.

  3. Why olny majoy airports? I would love to see a list where the most original ones are mentioned…like Koh Samui airport :))

  4. The “best” airport is the only I spend the least time in and in the “best” location.

  5. D’oh. I mean:

    The “best” airport is the one I spend the least time in and in the “best” location.

  6. They completely renovated San Diego Lindbergh Field’s main terminal recently. I’d have to put that ahead of SF now.

  7. You need to label yourself “the most interesting man in the world.”

  8. For me Incheon should be in the top 5.

  9. Always a pleasure when I read a place or airport that you have not, talking that KIX airport. Oh and I’m talking DTW!

    Definitely Changi airport and the private first class room is the best.

    Where’s FNT?

  10. I haven’t been to all of these airports, but I agree with Changi Airport being the best

  11. Have been to some of these airports. Hong Kong airport is great! There’s lots to see and eat while waiting around.

  12. Yuvraj Haldankar says

    Hey! What about Mumbai’s, Chhatrapati International Airport, It definitly deserve to be in top 20. your list is a total RIP OFF!!!

  13. Really interesting to see Iceland and Vancouvers airports neck and neck and side by side like that. first flight of the year from yvr to iceland via icelandair is on May 6th of this year.. you can get a free stopover for 7 days if you are headed to europe. so cool

  14. How could you put LHR on that list.

    The airport only has TWO runways and restricted take off and landing times. Every time I fly there, the aircraft has to circle for twenty minutes wasting fuel to land. It has too many air movements for what it can handle.

    Heathrow has an archaic system of transport between terminals. You often need to wait 10 minutes for a bus that takes 10 minutes to go to the next terminal. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to transit terminals.

    Then finally Hethrow has some of the worst security that I have ever seen. They take forever to scan your carry on and the line ups can easily take 30 minutes.

  15. Raimon Duran says

    I agree with Greg about LHR … completely outdated despite all regular refurbishings. Only knowing it very well (including British way of thinking) makes it acceptable.

  16. Lasse Gustavsson says

    All the major Nordic once except the best one: Gardemoen (Oslo).
    Glad to see Copenhagen on the list, Stockholm was home for too long for me to be impartial, but if you took it off the list I wouldn’t cry. Hell-sinki? No way
    I would rank Zurich much higher and would take London Heathrow off the list. It’s horrible.

  17. Copenhagen was ridiculously fast to get into and leave from. I spent literally 30 seconds in customs before being welcomed in, plus downstairs is the main train station and subways. Being stuck in Barcelona for a delayed flight wasn’t bad and there are a pretty good variety of shops, plus one of the best duty-free I’ve seen in a while. Charlotte was easy to navigate and seemed pretty modern when I had layovers there. As far as Munich, perhaps due to the heightened security since the Paris attacks, but customs was an absolute disaster so much so that I got there 2 hours+ early for my flight an didn’t even get to explore, as we were already boarding after I got through customs. Another excuse to revisit to get a Hofbrauhaus souvenir mug, I guess!

  18. Great list – Singapore is definitely a great airport.

  19. G Hansford says

    I would not have placed Sydney ahead of Melbourne, I’ve flown into and out of both multiple times (50 ish) and Sydney has a huge distance (and time) to transfer from either International to T2. You have to take a bus or a train (10 minutes) and then you have a long walk. It’s almost as bad as Manila in this respect (which has the same issue when moving between terminals).

  20. Peter Viney says

    Worst airport in the world: LAX……….by the length of the bloody runway!

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