Editor’s Note: Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter. Get the latest news in aviation, food and drink, where to stay and other travel developments.
A light-filled, green haven that brands itself as a “destination in itself,” Singapore’s Changi Airport has reclaimed its spot at the top of Skytrax’s annual ranking of the world’s best airports.
Skytrax, a UK-based airline and airport review and ranking site, compiles its list by surveying travelers from across the world and asking them to rate the entire airport experience – from check-in to departures and everything in between.
Singapore Changi Airport previously topped Skytrax’s list for eight years running, but in 2021 and 2022 dropped a couple of spots down the list as passenger numbers fell during the pandemic, with Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, taking the top gong instead.
“Singapore Changi Airport has always been a perennial favorite with travelers, and of course slipped down during Covid-19 when operations were cut back drastically,” Skytrax’s Peter Miller told CNN Travel.
Miller says Changi airport “offers something for everyone,” and suggests that is a “key driver” of its continuing popularity.
Some of Changi’s charms include a spectacular 40-meter-tall (around 130 feet) indoor waterfall, a butterfly garden and an IMAX cinema – not to mention more than 280 retail and dining outlets, perfect for killing time during a layover.
“Singapore Changi is primarily a transit airport, and from the customer feedback, the airport performs well because it offers such a wide range of facilities and amenities for all types of customers – families, business and leisure travelers are all well catered for,” says Miller.
Hamad International Airport, which this year earned the second place in Skytrax’s list, also offers amenities designed for transiting travelers – including city tours for those spending more than eight hours waiting for their connecting flight.
This year, Skytrax’s 2023 top five was rounded out by Tokyo’s International Airport, known as Haneda, (number three), Incheon International Airport (number four) and Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (number five).
Skytrax also hands out other awards, including regional prizes, with Changi Airport nabbing the gong for Best Airport in Asia, as well as winning World’s Best Airport Dining and World’s Best Airport Leisure Amenities.
Changi’s on-site hotel, the luxurious Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, was crowned world’s best airport hotel for the eighth consecutive year.
Meanwhile, second-place Hamad International Airport also won World’s Best Airport Shopping, Best Airport in the Middle East and Cleanest Airport in the Middle East, while third-place Tokyo Haneda Airport was crowned the overall cleanest airport.
Bahrain International Airport won World’s Best Airport Baggage Delivery and Incheon Airport is apparently the airport with the best staff and immigration processing.
Meanwhile the once-lambasted New York LaGuardia Airport continued its successful rehabilitation quest, with its new Terminal B awarded World’s Best New Airport Terminal.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is the highest rated US airport, coming in at number eighteen on Skytrax’s list and awarded Best Airport in North America.
Cape Town International Airport is the best airport in Africa, Delhi Airport is the best airport in India and South Asia and Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport won the Best Airport in South America award.
This year, the Skytrax team also premiered a new category celebrating airport art, judged by a separate panel rather than via the customer survey.
The Houston Airport System, which boasts one of the largest collections of public art in the state of Texas, won this award on behalf of William P. Hobby Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Houston Airport.
1. Singapore Changi Airport
2. Hamad International Airport
3. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
4. Incheon International Airport
5. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
6. Istanbul Airport
7. Munich Airport
8. Zurich Airport
9. Narita International Airport
10. Madrid-Barajas Airport
11. Vienna International Airport
12. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
13. Rome Fiumicino Airport
14. Copenhagen Airport
15. Kansai International Airport
16. Chubu Centrair International Airport
17. Dubai International Airport
18. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
19. Melbourne Airport
20. Vancouver International Airport