- Hong Kong International Airport
- Changi International Airport, Singapore
- Incheon International Airport, Seoul, South Korea
- Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia
- Munich Airport, Germany
The problem, of course, is best for what?
About Munich, they say, the architects wanted the airport “to be less an ‘anonymous transfer location,’ than a ‘foyer to the city’.” Except that what makes Munich a great airport is precisely how easy transfers are there! (I’d say the only other airport in Europe that is its rival in this regard is Vienna.)
Seoul-Incheon is also outstanding for transfers, in addition to being a lovely structure.
Singapore Changi, to me, is the ‘nicest’ airport. For the median passanger there’s certainly no better airport in the world to spend a long layover in.
Kuala Lumpur, though? It wasn’t built large enough. Operations are too costly there. Pretty must not be the only standard for being amongst the ‘best airports’. And of course the aesthetic ranking will be an incredibly subjective one. I may be one of the few who actually likes Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok — original runway construction issues, lightbulb supply issues, and temperature issues notwithstanding… But then I like Beijing’s Terminal 3 as well, so what do I know?
I’d rather see more broken-down lists, “best for transfers” … “best for layovers” … “best lounges” … “most efficient for on-time arrivals/departures” and then perhaps amalgamate these things in a statistically meaningful way if one must come up with a best overall list.