World’s Best Airports: Only one US hub made it into the world’s top 20 airports

Travelers looking to fly out of a modern, attractive airport with security, delicious restaurants, and upscale shopping should bypass the US.

According to the aviation ranking website Skytrax, only one U.S. airport is among the world’s top 20 — Seattle-Tacoma Airport in Washington state, at No. 18. The rest of the continent is not hot either. Only one other North American hub is ranked, Canada’s Vancouver International Airport in 20th place.

For a luxury flight, you’ll need to head to Europe and Asia, which boast nine and eight top airports respectively, and Australia’s Melbourne Airport too (No. 19).

Singapore’s Changi Airport tops the list, according to Skytrax, which bases its ranking on a customer satisfaction survey of more than 550 airports that assesses terminal layout, security procedures, seating, transportation options, dining and shopping.

Singapore’s largest airport has often topped lists of the world’s best airports, despite falling in rankings during the coronavirus pandemic. It has many shopping outlets and covered indoor gardens.

Changi Airport, Terminal 3, Singapore
A look at the stunning modern architecture of Singapore’s Changi Airport, recently named the best airport in the world by aviation rating website Skytrax.

Getty Images

Ferry and Fish Ponds Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport has a ferry factory, an orchid garden and fish ponds

Universal Pictures Group via Andrew Woodley/Educational Images/Getty

Other top-ranked airports in Asia include Doha’s Hamad International Airport, ranked second on Skytrax, and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (No. 3). The best airports in Europe included Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (No. 5) and Munich International Airport (No. 7).

Airports in the US, many of which are owned and operated by state or local governments or quasi-governmental entities such as airport or port authorities, have suffered from the nation’s investment in infrastructure, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

By comparison, 41% of European airports have private shareholders, according to Airport Council International, which monitors international airport standards and industry practices.

The Department of Transportation publishes a Family Seating Dashboard for air travel


If US airports are not honored, at least one flight hub will be considered earlier the worst airport in the country now stands out: New York’s LaGuardia Airport. SkyTrax named the facility’s Terminal B, which opened last year, as the world’s best new terminal. According to the Port Authority, the project was the result of a multibillion-dollar public-private partnership.

Here are the top 20 airports in the world, according to Skytrax:

  1. Singapore Changi Airport
  2. Hamad International Airport
  3. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
  4. Incheon International Airport
  5. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
  6. Istanbul Airport
  7. Munich Airport
  8. Zurich Airport
  9. Narita International Airport
  10. Madrid-Barajas Airport
  11. Vienna International Airport
  12. Helsinki-Vantaa Airport
  13. Rome Fiumicino Airport
  14. Copenhagen Airport
  15. Kansai International Airport
  16. Chubu Centrair International Airport
  17. Dubai International Airport
  18. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  19. Melbourne Airport
  20. Vancouver International Airport

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