USA TODAY US Edition
Singapore’s airport is the best outside of U.S., travelers say
In informal poll, Road Warriors pick Hong Kong as No. 2
Maria Todd, an international health care consultant in Denver, once fell ill while traveling through Singapore’s Changi Airport.
She went straight to the on-site pharmacy, where the employees came to her aid with the medication she needed.
“They were able to meet my needs without an emergency department visit, by consultation with an English-speaking pharmacist, identification, and a registry book entry,” she says.
That’s one of the many reasons Todd named Singapore’s airport her favorite outside of the USA.
The others include the living walls that make the airport sustainable and pleasant to travelers who want to see a touch of nature indoors after being on planes for hours. She also likes the retail and food and beverage options, which have comfortable seats and plenty of outlets.
Singapore’s airport got the most votes — 26 — in total in an informal survey to determine the best airports outside of the USA. A total of 218 members of our Road Warriors cast their votes. The world is large, and these frequent travelers selected airports as well-known as London’s Heathrow and as obscure as Fa’a’ā International Airport in Tahiti.
Tom Hsia, a technical engineer, believes every good airport should be easy to navigate.
“Signage is a must,” he says. “If I have to transit quickly, I should not have to guess where the gates are or in which direction without having to go past a few gates to see if they go up or down.”
Singapore’s airport, which last year had 55.4 million passengers, got his vote for its “excellent” signage that is “better than most American airports.”
“I look forward to a stopover” in Singapore, says the Henderson, Nev., resident. “That is a complete 180 from other airports.”
Other popular amenities with Road Warriors at Singapore’s airport are a movie theater, showers, children’s play areas and a free bus tour of the city for long layovers.
“As for comparing Changi with U.S. airports, well, there just isn’t any comparison,” says Karin Leperi, a travel writer in Albuquerque.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) was a close second with 22 votes.
“HKG is a modern marvel with plenty of food options and amazing amenities,” says Brendan McNicholas, a Road Warrior in Portland, Ore.
Kevin Streit, a consultant in Las Vegas who travels 180 to 220 days a year, has access to the Star Alliance Lounge because of his frequent-flier status. But he doesn’t bother to use it at the Hong Kong Airport.
“It doesn’t feel like an airport,” he says. “It’s one of the few airports I make a point of getting to early just to look around at the shops and try some of the Chinese and other Asian restaurants.”
His favorites: Taiwan Beef Noodle near Gate 65.
“It’s where I first discovered Bubble Tea (Boba Tea),” he says. “Now my family is addicted.”
John Kinnear Jr., an engineer in New York, travels through or into Hong Kong four to five times a year. He says it’s one of the most efficient airports he’s ever been to. Lines are usually manageable, bags get delivered promptly, and an Airport Express train makes it easy to get into the city.
“From wheels down to my hotel room is typically 45 minutes to an hour,” he says.
Over in Europe, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport was the clear winner with 21 votes. Road Warriors praised its modern look, artwork displays, indoor park and casino.