The Best Airport In The World Is….

I believe that a country’s international airports should be beautiful. They should be a reflection of a country’s pride. They are the first impression a traveler gets of a nation. In this day and age, when millions and millions of people are traveling internationally each year, international airports should be welcoming, modern, functional, well appointed.

America needs to improve it’s international airports.

I can’t believe how totally craptastick JFK and O’Hare are. They are an embarrassment. When flying to and from Italy I always try to use Charlotte airport,  (which is small, efficient and friendly) and flat out refuse to use Chicago. More frequently than not I end up having to use JFK or Philadelphia. After 10 hours in the air you really want to arrive somewhere friendly, modern and clean, with some good dining options. These two airports are none of these things.

The Tom Bradley international terminal at Los Angeles LAX airport is magnificent. It is modern and beautiful and leaves you thinking you are in Dubai. And everyone smiles and is friendly. The JFK folks need to do a field trip to LAX to check it out.

The following is an article from The Wayfarer, all about the very best international airports in the world.


And, Once Again, the World’s Best Airport Is…

Singapore’s Changi Airport named best in the world—for the fifth time

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Perhaps it’s time to consider Singapore’sChangi Airport  the “New York Yankees of air travel.” How else could one spin the news that Lion City’s largest airport has been named best in the world for the fifth consecutive year?

The designation came down earlier this month from Skytrax World Airport Awards, an independent annual evaluation that bases the final rankings on the results of millions of international passenger surveys. This year was the sixth annual Skytrax awards; Changi has five first-place victories and one second-place win (back in 2012).

It’s not hard to see why fliers could consider the three-terminal airport to be the air travel equivalent of the winningest sports franchise of all time. In addition to being one of the busiest hubs in Asia, Changi boasts two 24-hour movie theaters that show current releases for free, a rooftop swimming pool (complete with locker rooms for changing), and a butterfly garden teeming with butterflies.

The airport is also putting the finishing touches on a fourth terminal, which, according to the Straits Times, a Singaporean newspaper, is slated to open later this year.

There were other highly lauded airports in the running, too: Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Munich International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport rounded out the Top Five. (Haneda also won an award for the world’s cleanest airport, and Hong Kong was hailed has having the best and most varied dining options.)

Sadly—embarrassingly, really—not a single North American airport cracked the Top 10. In fact, the highest-ranked airport on our continent is Vancouver International Airport in Canada, at No. 13.

The United States isn’t represented on the Skytrax list until No. 26, an honor that goes to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. (The dark horse win seems like a great piece of trivia to whip out at your next soirée.) Denver International Airport was tabbed as No. 28.

It’s hard not to read the Skytrax list of winners and dream about what U.S. airports could be. The takeaways: We need more free movie theaters. Or at least a few butterfly gardens.

Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at


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How To Survive An Airport Layover

How To Survive Airport Layovers

Airport layovers can be a blessing or a curse.
There are basically 4 types of layover – 
1. the planned or unexpected domestic flight layover 
2. the domestic to international layover 
3. the trans-world layover and 
4. Chicago O’Hare.

I spent endless unplanned hours in the purgatory of Chicago O’Hare airport during delayed flight layovers this summer. As in every single time a plane I was on touched down at O’Hare I was hit with 3+ hour delays. 50% of it was courtesy of United Airlines, 50% of it was due to weather. 
A word to the wise: If you have a connecting flight that you desperately need to make, avoid both United Airlines and Chicago O’Hare like the plague. Each are bad enough on their own, together they are a nightmare.

Some survival tips for layovers:

Endless sitting around doesn’t do you any good. Taking a walk around the terminal not only gives you a chance to see what’s on offer, but also stretching your legs feels great after hours of being cooped up on a plane.
The United Airlines/Chicago O’Hare axis of evil took care of that for us this summer, by changing the gate every half hour or so. An entire plane full of passengers waiting at the gate would have to up and walk across the terminal to another gate, which I suppose kept us busy and stopped us from rioting.

Go To The Club Lounge

KLM Club Lounge, Houston

Airport Club Lounges are wonderful. The are peaceful, well equipped for the business traveler with places to work quietly and to charge up your electronic devices. Some have showers and places to take a nap. Generally they have coffee, tea and cold drinks for you, some have alcoholic drinks as well. Depending on the airline there are also a variety of food options, the international club lounges offering more.
If you are not a member of the airline’s club lounge you can often buy a day pass for around $50. If you have a sizable layover it’s money very well spent.
The Lounge Buddy app lets you look at airports all around the world and see what amenities the various club lounges offer, plus the cost to go inside if you are not a member. It also tells you where in the terminal the lounge is.

Bring Healthy Snacks
Airport food tends to be heavy, salty, fatty, sugary – all the things you don’t want at the best of times, and things that will only leave you feeling really crappy when you board that next flight.
Instead pack fresh fruit, protein bars, raw unsalted nuts or any other good, healthy food from home.

Pack Something To Do
Having a great book to read, emails to take care of, movies to watch on your iPad – anything to break the boredom.

Check Out
The Amenities

Part of walking around the terminals is getting to see
what’s on offer in the beauty/relaxation/health departments.

Plenty of airports have kiosks where you can get mini chair
massages or reflexology, which are an excellent way to burn money during a
layover – they relax you and also get the blood flowing, especially after a
long flight, making them the perfect precursor to the next few hours of flying.

Oxygen Bar McCarren Airport

Some airports have oxygen bars, which are always fun to use.
Doctors will tell you there is no scientific research to prove them beneficial,
but if you try one out, especially after a long flight, you will find you get
improved mental clarity, they calm your mind and stabilize your nervous system,
you feel re-energized and your body seems to recover much more quickly.

Luminotherapie Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris

Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris has a Luminotherapie
machine that uses white light to rejuvenate you. Auckland International Airport
in New Zealand has calf massaging chairs, which get the blood flowing, shrink
down swelling of calves and ankles, and are a slice of heaven after a 12 hour
flight.  I am convinced they are a huge
part of how I avoid jet lag when I fly there.

There are all kinds of great escapes to be found without
leaving the terminal. They not only rejuvenate you physically, but the mental
break can work wonders too.

For Really
Long Layovers…

If you have a really long trans-world layover, check out the
airport ahead of time, as some have some pretty cool features. For example
Singapore’s Changi airport, New Delhi Indira Ghandi Airport and many others have transit hotels -without going through
immigration or leaving the transit area, you and your cabin baggage can check
in for a few hours, take a shower, have a sleep in a clean bed and get a
reliable wakeup call, make yourself a coffee, do any work you need to catch up
on, and then head back to your connecting flight feeling completely refreshed. 


Transit Hotel room Eaton Smart Hotel, Indira Ghandi airport, New Delhi

Other airports (especially the European ones) have great public
transport, so you can buzz into town and wander around for a few hours, see
something new, give yourself a mental break.

 One of my very dear
friends flew to Cape Town recently and had a 10 hour layover in Munich, so she
blew into the city, had a good look around and got to eat a great meal before
heading back to the airport feeling completely invigorated. 

The worst thing you
can do with a really long layover is just stay inside the terminal, waiting at
your gate. You will feel ghastly by the time you catch your next flight.