These Are the 25 Best International Airports in the World

Photo:  Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto (Getty Images)
Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto (Getty Images)

International airports are the first impression that most travelers have of a country or major city. Terminals serve as literal gateways to the world where millions of passengers pass through annually. Some governments prioritize constructing and maintaining state-of-the-art airports to attract tourism and economic trade. It is also a point of pride for many countries to have a prestigious airport serve as a hub for its national airlines.

The most significant point of pride is claiming to have the best airport in the world. Since 1999, Skytrax, an international air transport rating organization, has administered a comprehensive customer survey for the title. The survey covers various topics, from the airport’s terminal comfort and bathroom cleanliness to public transportation options and security wait times.

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The award’s prestige primarily comes from Skytrax’s efforts to ensure its survey is as unbiased as possible. The organization covers the survey’s cost entirely out of pocket. Responses are tightly monitored to prevent duplicate or irregular entries. Also, Skytrax doesn’t ask for payment to take the survey or to include an airport in the final ranking.

Here are the top 25 airports in the world, as ranked by Skytrax in 2023.

25. Frankfurt Airport

Photo:  Andre Pain / AFP (Getty Images)
Photo: Andre Pain / AFP (Getty Images)

Frankfurt Airport is Germany’s largest international airport by number of passengers. Skytrax praises the airport’s excellent facilities but still had fair criticism for Frankfurt. The organization notes, “T1 is a large terminal that can be confusing for some transit customers, but further improvements are due that should improve wayfinding.” It should be noted that air travel in Germany has been turbulent as its airports have had to deal with suspected hacker attacks and labor strikes.

24. Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport

Photo:  Jacky Cheung / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Jacky Cheung / Wikimedia Commons

Guangzhou Baiyun serves the historic city of Guangzhou in the massive Pearl River Delta megalopolis, which includes cities like Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The facility opened in 2004 and is the busiest airport in China, serving over 40 million passengers per year.

23. Brisbane Airport

Photo:  Kgbo / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Kgbo / Wikimedia Commons

Brisbane Airport serves Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city and capital of Queensland. Skytrax stated, “Brisbane Airport rates highly for the selection and quality of eating and dining choices for passengers.” However, when people think Brisbane and planes, they usually think of when a C-17A Globemaster flew among the city’s skyscrapers.

22. London Heathrow Airport

Photo:  Andrew Holt (Getty Images)
Photo: Andrew Holt (Getty Images)

In its role as London’s primary airport, Heathrow has been one of the world’s preeminent airports for almost a century. While Heathrow has done a lot to maintain its status, the airport isn’t perfect in Skytrak’s eyes. The organization states, “T2 and T5 provide the best facility standards but the terminals are large and can require some very long walking distances on arrival and departures.” It should also be mentioned that Heathrow had to restrict its amount of passengers last summer due to staff shortages.

21. Dusseldorf Airport

Photo:  Marcel Kusch/picture alliance (Getty Images)
Photo: Marcel Kusch/picture alliance (Getty Images)

Dusseldorf Airport, Germany’s fourth-largest airport, serves not only Dusseldorf but the entire Rhine-Ruhr region including cities like Cologne and Dortmund. Skytrax praises the airport for featuring bright public spaces and a supermarket. However, like a lot of major airports, Dusseldorf is faulted for its chaotic security and customs areas. You might also remember when a double-decker Emirates Airbus A380 landed at the airport in a massive crosswind.

20. Vancouver International Airport

Photo:  Robert Linsdell / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Robert Linsdell / Wikimedia Commons

Vancouver International Airport is Skytrax’s highest-ranked airport in Canada and is only second in passenger traffic in Canada to Toronto Pearson International Airport. Considering that delays and cancellations are perennial issues for all of Canada’s major airports, it isn’t surprising that this is where any of the country’s airports top out on the list.

19. Melbourne Airport

Photo:  MDRX / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: MDRX / Wikimedia Commons

Melbourne Airport, Australia’s second busiest airport, does seem to move the needle much for the rating organization and is seen as relatively average among major airports. Though, Skytrax did complement the airport’s children’s play areas and free showers.

18. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Photo:  Steve Morgan / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Steve Morgan / Wikimedia Commons

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the Pacific Northwest’s busiest airport, is Skytrax’s highest-ranked airport in the United States. While Skytrax cites recent improvements made at the facilities, it’s hard to ignore the airport’s high-profile struggles over the past year. Last September, a sudden influx of over 28,000 passengers led to a 2.5-hour wait to get through security.

17. Dubai International Airport

Photo:  Christopher Pike/Bloomberg (Getty Images)
Photo: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Dubai International Airport, the home airport for flag carrier Emirates, is criticized by Skytrax for having an inconsistent passenger experience as Terminal 1 hasn’t been modernized in step with newer parts of the airport. For comparison, Terminal 3 was built specifically for Emirates’ fleet of double-decker Airbus A380s and was the largest building in the world when completed.

16. Chubu Centrair International Airport

Photo:  Taro Hama (Getty Images)
Photo: Taro Hama (Getty Images)

Chubu Centrair International Airport, built on an artificial island to serve Nagoya in central Japan, is celebrated by Skytrax for its comfort, cleanliness and staff service.

15. Kansai International Airport

Photo:  lasta29 / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: lasta29 / Wikimedia Commons

Kansai International Airport, built on an artificial island like Chubu Centrair, serves Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe in Japan. According to Skytrax, Kansai “has an enviable reputation of having never misplaced a handled bag.” A truly impressive feat considering that other facilities misplace enough baggage to fill entire airliners.

14. Copenhagen Airport

Photo:  kallerna / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: kallerna / Wikimedia Commons

Copenhagen Airport, the second-busiest airport in Scandinavia, is praised by Skytrax for having great connections with public transportation. Though, there’s room for improvement with its online presence. Last month, Bloomberg reported that the airport’s website was the target of a cyberattack.

13. Rome-Fiumicino International Airport

Photo:  Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency (Getty Images)
Photo: Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency (Getty Images)

Rome-Fiumicino International Airport, Italy’s busiest airport, is also one of Europe’s most applauded airports. Skytrax mentions the constant upgrades and renovations made to keep the facility at the top of the industry. Simply Flying reports that Rome’s upgrades to security processing areas could allow passengers to pass through without removing liquids or electronics from their baggage.

12. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport

Photo:  Sergei Gapon/Anadolu Agency (Getty Images)
Photo: Sergei Gapon/Anadolu Agency (Getty Images)

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Finland’s busiest airport, is noted by Skytrax for Terminal 2’s stereotypical bright and open Scandinavian designs. The airport might be better remembered for using dogs to sniff out passengers who might be carrying COVID-19.

11. Vienna International Airport

Photo:  Hansueli Krapf / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Hansueli Krapf / Wikimedia Commons

Vienna International Airport is another facility mentioned by Skytrax as having an inconsistent passenger experience between terminals. Terminal 1, which hasn’t been refurbished since 2013, was noted as looking older. While Terminal 3 is the main terminal of the country’s flag carrier Austrian Airlines.

10. Madrid-Barajas Airport

Photo:  Bloomberg (Getty Images)
Photo: Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Madrid–Barajas Airport, Spain’s busiest airport, is praised by Skytrax for being an all-around excellent facility. Its only shortfall is its lackluster security infrastructure for re-screening transit passengers, an important measure when the airport is noted for being a key transfer hub between Europe and Latin America.

9. Tokyo-Narita International Airport

Photo:  gyro (Getty Images)
Photo: gyro (Getty Images)

Tokyo-Narita International Airport received nothing but positive notes from Skytrax. Every element of Japan’s busiest international airport was portrayed positively, even the terminal primarily used by low-cost airlines.

8. Zurich Airport

Photo:  Ank Kumar / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Ank Kumar / Wikimedia Commons

Skytrax praises Zurich Airport for its seamless connections to public transportation and dedicated spaces for families. However, being Switzerland’s largest international airport, the terminals deal with severe congestion during peak periods.

7. Munich International Airport

Photo:  Bim (Getty Images)
Photo: Bim (Getty Images)

Munich International Airport, German flag carrier Lufthansa’s second hub, is also the country’s second-busiest airport. Skytrax notes that while it is one of the best airports in Europe, baggage delivery can be slow in Munich.

6. Istanbul Airport

Photo:  A.Savin / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: A.Savin / Wikimedia Commons

Istanbul Airport, Europe’s busiest airport, goes beyond just being an airport. Skytrax mentions that the terminals showcase “museum exhibits, musical performances, and art projects” within its walls.

5. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Photo:  Arne Müseler / Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Arne Müseler / Wikimedia Commons

Despite eliminating most domestic flights in France, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and its iconic concrete donut is Skytrax’s highest-ranked airport in Europe.

4. Seoul-Incheon International Airport

Photo:  SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg (Getty Images)
Photo: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

While the airport might have lackluster international food offerings, Seoul-Incheon International Airport is still one of the best in the world. Skytrax praises excellent comfort for passengers and aesthetically pleasing architecture.

3. Tokyo Haneda International Airport

Photo:  Toru Hanai/Bloomberg (Getty Images)
Photo: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Tokyo Haneda International Airport is the highest-ranked of the four Japanese airports to be in the top 25. Skytrax praises the airport’s efforts to continually improve and maintain an extremely high standard of service for passengers.

2. Doha Hamad International Airport

Photo:  Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency (Getty Images)
Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency (Getty Images)

In the lead-up to the most controversial FIFA World Cup ever held, Doha Hamad International Airport in Qatar was ranked by Skytrax as the Best Airport in the World in 2021 and 2022. The airport offers a nearly unparalleled level of service for passengers, but it wasn’t enough to retain the title for a third year running.

1. Singapore Changi Airport

Photo:  Calvin Chan Wai Meng (Getty Images)
Photo: Calvin Chan Wai Meng (Getty Images)

The king has returned to the throne. Singapore Changi Airport has been ranked by Skytrax as the Best Airport in the World for the 12th time in 24 years. It’s difficult to describe how palatial Singapore’s airport is. The airport has an atrium flush with vegetation and a skylight waterfall.

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