World’s Best Airports For 2019 Announced – Winner No Surprise, But Looks How Far Down The List U.S.A. Is!

by SharonKurheg

Skytrax’ World Airport Awards were recently announced and to no one’s surprise, Singapore’s Changi Airport got top honors for the 7th consecutive year. This was the first time in the 20-year history of the awards that an airport won that title for 7 years in a row.

In fact, Asia appeared to have the overall upper hand this year, as the top 3 airports all came from that region of the world (Tokyo Haneda was #2, Seoul Incheon was #3), and of the top 10 airports listed, a total of six were from Asia.

Notably missing from the list of the Top 10 was any airport from the United States, or even North America as a whole. You had to go embarrassingly far down the list to find them…


Vancouver International Airport, which is in the midst of a $9.1 billion series of expansions over the next 20 years, was #17 – that was the highest-ranking airport in North America. It was the 10th year in a row that YVR got the distinction of best airport in the continent.

Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 3.35.16 PM

Meanwhile, the highest ranking U.S. airport was Denver, which was in 32nd place (but…but…but the talking gargoyle?!?!?!)

That’s not to say that Changi didn’t deserve to be #1. I still haven’t been there (fingers crossed for 2020!) but based on pictures and descriptions, it just looks wonderful!

a large building with many peoplea maze of bushes in a greenhouse

I mean, they’ve got this (#1 on the post)!

And all of this!

And holy cow, just look at what they did this past Christmas!

But I sure wish that some airports from the United States were that cool. Granted, JFK is going to have their huge $13 billion renovation that’s supposed to start next year, but will it be enough to bring them up to something better than #74?

Anyway, here are the world’s top 100 airports, in numerical order, from Skytrax’ site.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


David March 30, 2019 - 8:35 am

Changi is overrated

SharonKurheg March 30, 2019 - 9:58 am

But it won again, so…

What airport do you think should have won?

Alpha March 30, 2019 - 11:42 am

Changi is fine, but it’s not amazing. You’re stuck in a holding pen once you clear security, gates are a long walk, and the layout makes transit rather difficult. You quickly realize Changi ranks highly because they pay to be ranked highly. The rest of Skytrax’s material seems to be “who has the most duty free shopping” which real people don’t care about.

More red flags – I don’t see much consistency to this list. Why is London Heathrow so high- that airport is a hot mess, especially if you have to transfer between terminals. Why is Doha so high when so many of its flights require a remote stand? Where is Raleigh-Durham, which is an exceptionally nice airport? Where is PDX? Where is Paine Field?

SharonKurheg March 30, 2019 - 11:53 am

All very good points. And I agree with you regarding London Heathrow…it’s really kind of “meh.”

I can’t say much for Changi other than what I’ve seen/read because we still haven’t been there. It sounds awesome, but if that’s just because of an amazing PR company, then maybe we’ll look into that more before our 2020 trip.

What would you say is the best airport in the world?

Levy Flight March 30, 2019 - 9:42 pm

Terminal 2 is really nice. Good connection with city. Down side of LHR is the miles of walking.

Kim April 3, 2019 - 1:28 pm

Exactly my thought – Where is PDX? PDX is beautiful, compact, locally-sourced, efficient, clean, attractive, easy to navigate, and has friendly service (even TSA!)…absolutely the best airport I’ve ever used anywhere and most certainly the best airport in the US, especially compared to Seattle (the next closest airport).

Denver is ok, but their security is not very efficient. It has some pretty views from certain places, but SLC is way nicer and has stunning views. SFO and LAX? That’s just a joke, right? Dumps! Oakland and Orange County or San Diego are nicer than both of them. Do I have to say anything about Chicago? It’s awful and you have to have RESERVATIONS for some of their restaurants. RESERVATIONS! At at airport?!? No. Just no.

Madrid is a surprisingly pretty airport with many amenities, but the Majorca airport is overall prettier, cleaner, and easier to navigate although it doesn’t have the amenities of Madrid. Paris CDJ must be nicer now than when I was last there. I thought it was dirty and gross.

JFK will still majorly suck even after it’s never-ending renovation – renovations take forever here in NY and all three of our airports are under construction. It’s a painful joke. NY airports need more runways much more than they need more shops. Flying in circles for 45 minutes to land or sitting on the tarmac waiting to leave or to get a gate is a common occurrence. Ridiculous! All I want to do is get the heck out of JFK, LGA, or EWR!

This list totally leaves out the smaller airports that are much nicer than these listed.

Steve April 4, 2019 - 4:44 pm

Have you ever been to PDX on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon? Its packed with no room to move and HOT. The gate areas are much to “compact” as you say

Goldboy April 4, 2019 - 3:32 am

i tottaly agree its just not correct aceessment at all

Nope March 30, 2019 - 9:16 pm

I am always surprised to see how we Americans think or assume to be the best, in every context. This was 50 years ago. Yes it is a nice country. Period. No real reason to be arrogant or better than others, by far. Travel more, learn more languages.

SharonKurheg March 30, 2019 - 10:18 pm

I think most citizens of most countries like to think where they live is “the best.” We went to Cuba a couple of years ago and they were exceedingly proud of their homeland. A friend I visited in Japan loves where she lives and thinks it’s the best place on earth. Friends in the U.K. think their country is amazeballs (well, except for that Brexit thing).

Wherever you are, whatever you have, you are conditioned, I think, to think it’s “the best.” That doesn’t mean it is. But it also doesn’t mean you can’t hope or wish it was, or be disappointed when it’s determined to not be.

Juan Iglesias April 3, 2019 - 9:56 am

60 years of a communist dictatorship government have run Cuba right into the ground, no one is proud
of Cuba except for the castro’s clan murderers and crooks in the dictatorial Cuban government

SharonKurheg April 3, 2019 - 10:01 am

The Cuban citizens we spoke to, after they got to know us, quietly told us that their country has its problems, but they still appeared to be very proud of their country.

Just like the citizens of, I would suspect, any other country in the world.

Goldboy April 4, 2019 - 3:34 am

Very true
Germany has good quality and secured airports
but not elegancy but they are quite

AYL April 3, 2019 - 11:16 am

LHR on this list is a big red flag. it’s sad to see ICN finally fall out of the top three even after they opened their stunning new terminal

Joe C. April 3, 2019 - 12:15 pm

I think it comes down to personal preference. Singapore Changi airport is such a big airport. Many people don’t like big airports. There are many small airports in the US that people like traveling through more than a really big airport. There may not be many amenities in the smaller airports, but it is certainly easier to get through. People like it when an airport is easy. In that sense, I don’t know if I could necessarily argue for Singapore Changi airport being the best. It is a beautiful airport, but it is so big with so many things there.

SharonKurheg April 3, 2019 - 12:23 pm

Yeah…like many things, I guess it’s a matter of Your Mileage May Vary (hmmm…where have I ever heard that term before? LOL!)

We’re still going to look into going, but only when/if it’s convenient. Our original plan, 2020, is becoming less convenient, so I guess we’ll look at visiting there some other time in the future.

Albert Moses April 3, 2019 - 1:20 pm

The one time I visited Changi (2009) I was disappointed. And as concerns London and Frankfurt, surely that’s a joke!

Rog April 3, 2019 - 1:36 pm

I love Changi especially Terminal 3 and the Silver Kris lounge. You don’t get “stuck” in a holding pen until you want to board your flight, and you can always leave to walk around to all the restaurants and shops. In my 40 or 50 visits I’d yet to try the pool. But I’ve even stayed at the hotel which was so-so.

Richard G. Reynolds April 3, 2019 - 4:29 pm

So it would be interesting to see the ranking criteria. I am not going to the airport as a “destination” – not for food or restaurants, not to see art or spacious views, not for a massage, or to find my favorite 30 magazines …. I want to get to my flight efficiently, not walk 5-miles, or be shuttled from a parking lot or interface to another transportation mode miles away. I want a repeatable process with quick check-in and divestiture of my bags, fast security lines and screening, fast baggage returns, and easy access to transportation coming and going. The airport is there for access to a mode of transportation, and the “good” ones should do that well and be ranked higher for doing such.

SharonKurheg April 3, 2019 - 4:36 pm

It would be awesome if stuff like that was available. I doubt it is ;-). But maybe Skytrax had something on their website that I missed? (or maybe contact them and ask LOLOL) Good luck on that, though…as it was, their website specifically says you can’t post the rankings anywhere. That’s why I posted the link instead. #rolleyes

Jon April 3, 2019 - 8:29 pm

This is why airports in the US are so dull. People here have no appreciation for aesthetics. This is not a list of the most efficient airports in the world! Most international connections are at least 2-3 hours long. It would be nice to have a nice meal in a good restaurant and relax in a beautiful setting.

Ray Sharradh April 3, 2019 - 4:52 pm

No real surprise there that American airports rate poorly. Every time i fly, the plane seats 150 pax, the gate seats 50. 25 pax have seats, and the other 25 seats have the 25 pax’s bags sitting in them. And I can’t say how THRILLED I am to pay $5 for a $1 bottle of water. The best has to be Dulles. Install a multi-million dollar train system to get rid of those annoying mobile lounges, and pax have to walk FURTHER to get to their gates. I find myself HOPING my gate is served by one of those mobile lounges INSTEAD of the “train to nowhere”.

Stan Kutz April 3, 2019 - 5:31 pm

Tampa is not on the list? A swing and a miss…what airport can you go to and walk no more than 500 steps from one point to the furthest away?


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