The Top 10 International Airports in 2018

Exterior of Terminal 3, Changi Airport in Singapore
Photo: Courtesy of Singapore Changi Airport

Airports can strongly impact our impressions of a trip — for better or worse. The experience is heightened when flying internationally since you either have several hours to kill or a very brief window of time to make a connection. As indicated by our readers’ comments, both fundamentals (efficiency of security, accessibility) and amenities (dining, spas, entertainment options) can make a big difference. Hubs in Asia and the Middle East excel in both areas, according to T+L readers, who awarded airports in those two regions seven out of the 10 spots on this year’s list. Every year for the World’s Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisureasks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Since 2013, we’ve asked readers to cast their votes for their favorite hubs across the world, rating airports on access, check-in/security, restaurants/bars, shopping, and design. Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, came in at No. 2 for the second year in a row thanks to what one reader called its “excellent facilities,” which include a swank Vitality Wellbeing and Fitness Centre with squash courts and an indoor swimming pool. Dubai, the main hub for the airline Emirates and the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic, earned the No. 3 slot as it continues to innovate. This spring, the carrier introduced a trial program of 3-D virtual reality headsets in its business- and first-class lounges at DXB so that passengers could enjoy movie screenings and 360-degree videos. But even general customers remain impressed by the varied offerings. “I enjoyed spending time in the Dubai airport and felt very comfortable and entertained,” said one reader. “There were plenty of restaurants and shops to choose from, and the design is modern and clean.” In Asia, Hong Kong International (No. 4) continues to earn accolades as it modernizes and plans for expansion. But recent improvements have already won over passengers: inside the bright, modern airport, Cathay’s new Terminal 1 lounge, the Deck, features bespoke furniture and an open-air terrace where guests can feast on selections from the carrier’s cult-favorite Noodle Bar. “Incredible airport with shopping, good lighting, and amazing lounges,” wrote one fan. Read on for a full rundown of the top 10 international airports — and to find out which one took the No. 1 position.

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10. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Airplanes at Amsterdam Schipol Airport
Getty Images

Score: 78.61

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9. Oslo Airport

Oslo Airport exterior, in Norway
Ivan Brodery/NORDIC Office of Architecture

Score: 78.98

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8. Narita International Airport, Tokyo

LCC Terminal at Narita Airport in Tokyo, Japan
Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Score: 79.42

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7. Zurich Airport

Overview of part of the Zurich Airport, in Switzerland
Michele Limina/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Score: 79.60

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6. Incheon International Airport, South Korea

Businessman walking in Incheon Airport in Korea
Topic Images/Getty Images

Score: 81.50

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5. Haneda (Tokyo International) Airport

Exterior of Haneda (HND) Tokyo International Airport
Courtesy of TIAT

Score: 82.32

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4. Hong Kong International Airport

Aerial view of Hong Kong International Airport
Courtesy of Hong Kong International Airport

Score: 84.38

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3. Dubai International

Dubai International Airport train and exterior
Courtesy of Dubai Airports

Score: 86.50

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2. Hamad International Airport, Doha, Qatar

Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar
Getty Images

Score: 86.99

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1. Singapore Changi Airport

Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3
Courtesy of Singapore Changi Airport

Score: 90.55

Holding the No. 1 spot for an impressive sixth year running, Singapore’s primary airport sets itself apart on every level. One reader touted the airport as “a destination in itself, with endless dining, shopping, and entertainment options.” The lush, modern facilities encompass free 24-hour movie theaters, a nature trail and two-level butterfly garden, multiple spas, and a rooftop pool. “It always amazes me with interesting exhibits and more,” said one reader, who pointed out that easy access (even by public transportation) makes the airport’s relative distance from the central business district a nonissue.

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.

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