Inspiration

The 10 Best International Airports

These are the best international airports in the world, according to Travel + Leisure’s 2022 World’s Best Awards.

Changi Airport

By Travel+Leisure Editor

Jul 15, 2022

TRAVEL TROCLED BACK IN 2021 after a very difficult pandemic year, and travelers began booking once-in-a-lifetime international trips en masse to make up for lost time. More than ever, they’re placing added value on the time spent in transit, especially at airports. This year, Travel + Leisure readers have given some of the highest ratings to international hubs, with many of them considering the airport experience an integral part of their travels.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks 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. Readers rated airports on access, check-in/security, restaurants/bars, shopping, and design.

Changi International Airport
Courtesy of Changi International Airport

Last year, East Asian airports dominated, taking six of the 10 places on this list. But this year, two of Japan’s have fallen off the list — not altogether unsurprising, as travel to Japan was inaccessible to Americans in 2020 and 2021. Taking the place of those two Japan airports are Abu Dhabi International Airport (No. 8) and Copenhagen Airport (No. 10), both of which were last seen on this list in 2020.

Still, Asian and Middle Eastern airports are clear favorites for T+L frequent fliers. There was a bit of shuffling among some of our repeat award winners in these regions. Hamad International in Doha, Qatar, jumped up two spots to No. 3, while Hong Kong International Airport moved up a rung to No. 6. South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, however, fell two spots to No. 5, while Haneda (Tokyo International Airport) fell three to No. 9. (Nonetheless, one fan of Haneda encouraged fellow travelers to “please spare a few hours there.”)

Istanbul Airport
Courtesy of Istanbul Airport

Back after its WBA debut last year is Istanbul Airport (No. 2), which only began operations in 2018. One reader said the new Istanbul Airport feels like a destination in itself: “You don’t feel like you are flying somewhere.” And Zurich Airport, a longtime staple of the best international airports list, nabbed the No. 7 spot this year.

Ultimately, our long-reigning champion has retained its top ranking: Singapore Changi Airport. Read on to find out why Changi has stayed No. 1 and see which other international airports made the list.

T — INDICATES A TRUE TIE
* — ON THE LIST FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS 

1. Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore

Changi Airport
Changi Airport, Terminal 3. Photo by TommL/Getty Images Signature/Canva

Since the World’s Best Awards expanded to include airports in 2013, one airport has remained in the top international spot year after year: Changi. Not only do travelers laud the airport for its easy-to-navigate layout, kind service, and overall cleanliness, but they also love Changi for its entertainment value. There is, of course, world-class dining and shopping in the terminals, but that’s hardly the main event. Attractions include extraordinary plant, art, and butterfly gardens; a rooftop swimming pool; and a 24-hour cinema. (Though keep in mind that not all attractions are open because of pandemic restrictions.) “My family spent 3 hours there and still didn’t want to leave,” one voter said. Changi is a destination unto itself, not just a pass-through space on your travels. It’s even home to the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, the Rain Vortex, which is surrounded by lush gardens.

WBA Hall of Fame honoree.
Score: 94.80
changiairport.com

2. Istanbul Airport
Turkey

Istanbul Airport
Courtesy of Istanbul Airport

Score: 94.06
istairport.com

3. Hamad International Airport
Doha, Qatar

An iconic Lamp Bear at Hamad International Airport
An iconic Lamp Bear at Hamad International Airport. Courtesy of Hamad International Airport

Score: 93.80
dohahamadairport.com

4. Dubai International Airport
United Arab Emirates

EK Lounge at Dubai International Airport
EK Lounge. Courtesy of Dubai International Airport

Score: 90.02
dubaiairports.ae

5. Incheon International Airport
South Korea

Incheon International Airport
Courtesy of Incheon International Airport

Score: 89.14
airport.kr

6. Hong Kong International Airport *
Hong Kong

Hong Kong Airport
Hong Kong Airport. Photo by keng po leung/Getty Images/Canva

WBA Hall of Fame honoree.
Score: 87.67
hongkongairport.com

7. Zurich Airport
Switzerland

Airside Center at Zurich Airport
Airside Center. Courtesy of Zurich Airport

Score: 85.85
flughafen-zuerich.ch

8. Abu Dhabi International Airport
United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi International Airport
Abu Dhabi International Airport. Photo by Andrey Khrobostov/Canva

Score: 85.00
abudhabiairport.ae

9. Haneda (Tokyo International) Airport
Japan

Observation Deck, Haneda Airport in Tokyo Japan
Observation Deck, Haneda Airport in Tokyo Japan. Photo by jhengyaolin/Canva

Score: 84.90
tokyo-haneda.com

10. Copenhagen Airport
Denmark

Copenhagen Airport. Photo by David Stjernholm
Copenhagen Airport. Photo by David Stjernholm/Courtesy of Copenhagen Airport

Score: 83.40
cph.dk

For more World’s Best Awards 2022 lists of your favorite hotels, resorts, cities, islands and more, visit: travelandleisureasia.com/trending/worlds-best-awards.

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