Condé Nast Traveller Names 15 Best Airports (Not One Is in the U.S.!)

Condé Nast Names Top Airports Around the World

Condé Nast Traveller recently came out with their annual Readers Traveler Awards. Included were the picks for the best airports in the world. The biggest surprise In the report? Not a single U.S. airport landed on the list.

Fortunately, this just gives you more motivation to check out FareCompare Fare Alerts and travel internationally (our alerts can help you book cheaper flights to each of these incredible airports).

If you’re planning a trip overseas, why not visit one of the best?

The Top 15 Airports

1. Hong Kong International

One of the busiest airports in the world, Hong Kong International helps passengers pass the time by including a nine-hole golf course, a 4D Extreme Cinema, Aviation Discovery Centre, free wireless internet and luxury shopping. You might not want to leave.

2. Changi, Singapore

Considering it’s home to a nature trail, orchid garden, fitness center and swimming pool, it would be understandable if you confused this airport with a resort. Skytrax ranked it No. 1 for best airport leisure amenities (no surprise!) and best international transit airport.

3. Heathrow Terminal 5, London

Terminal 5, whose sole tenant is British Airways, is the largest free-standing building in the U.K., according to visitlondon.com. The state-of-the-art glass and steel structure handles 30 million passengers a year who can enjoy world-class dining and luxury shopping while waiting for a flight.

4. Dubai International

The leading air transport hub in the Middle East (and the winner of Skytrax’s 2011 Best Airport Middle East award) is known for its excellent duty-free shopping. If retail therapy isn’t your thing, head to one of three luxury spas, head to the health club or relax in one of the two Zen gardens.

Conde Nast names 15 best airports

5. Madrid-Barajas International

The largest and busiest airport in Spain has plenty of restaurants where passengers can relive the flavors of their favorite Spanish cuisine, as well as museum exhibits and a travel spa.

6. Incheon International, Seoul, South Korea

Ranked the cleanest airport in the world by the Skytrax survey, Korea’s largest airport showcases the country’s culture with a museum and traditional entertainment passengers can enjoy while waiting for their flight.

7. Zürich

Who wants to be weighed down by heavy bags while traveling? Zurich offers a porter service in which, for a fee, a porter picks up your bags from anywhere in the airport and delivers it to your final destination. No wonder the airport ranked first for best baggage delivery in the Skytrax survey. Plus, it’s bright, easy to navigate and touts friendly service.

8. Beijing Capital International, China

Asia’s busiest airport has large, open public space and free wi-fi, plus designer-name shopping options. It was Conde Nast Traveller’s World’s Best Airport in 2009 for factors including cleanliness, speed of immigration/security clearance, sign clarity and baggage handling.

9. Copenhagen

Even though it’s the busiest airport in the Nordic region, Copenhagen doesn’t skimp on service. It ranked No. 2 for baggage handling in a survey by Skytrax. Its proximity to the city center (only 5 miles to downtown!) make it super-accessible and it’s also a hub for the Star Alliance, a network of 27 airlines that fly to 1,610 destinations in 181 countries.

10. Vancouver International

This airport has won several international awards, including Skytrax Best North American Airport in 2007 and 2010. The airport showcases British Columbian art, with one of the largest collections of Pacific Northwest Coast Native art in the world. Large windows let in natural light and a waterfall greets passengers in the International arrivals hall. In addition, there is plenty of quality duty-free shopping, premium lounges and spas, and plenty of dining options.

11. Schiphol, Amsterdam

This airport ranked as the third best airport for international travelers, and first for best leisure amenities. While waiting for their flight to leave, travelers can play a hand of poker at the casino or grab a relaxing massage.

Conde Nast publishes best airports report 2011

12. Kuala Lumpur International

One of Asia’s busiest airports, Kuala Lumpur ranked first for best immigration services in the Skytrax survey. Designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, the airport features a combination of futuristic technology, Malaysian culture and the environment — the airport houses an entire section of rainforest within the main terminal. Talk about green architecture.

13. Abu Dhabi International Airport

The UAE’s second busiest airport (after Dubai) is undergoing a major $6.8 billion expansion. While a unique blue-and-lime-colored honey comb canopy greets passengers arriving in the older Terminal 1, the recently completed Terminal 3 was “designed to feel like a luxury hotel” with high-end duty-free shopping and even amenities for children.

14. Frankfurt Airport

This busy German hub has free wi-fi, play areas for the kids, and a casino for the adults. It was a runner up for sleepinginairports.net’s 2010 best airport in Europe, and has plans for expansion: they’re opening up a new runway this fall, renovating terminal 1B and building a third terminal that would have 75 aircraft positions. First class Lufthansa passengers have the option of spending time in their own terminal, which features valet, personalized security screening, high-end dining, a cigar bar and bubble baths.

15. London Ciy Airport

London City prides itself in checking passengers in quickly and efficiently. According to its website BA passengers traveling to New York can check-in with hand luggage 15 minutes before the flight’s departure. Just six miles from central London, the single-runway airport focuses on business travel – serving the city’s financial district.

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Published: September 21, 2011