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The 10 Best Airports in the World for a Layover

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We’ve all been there: stranded, lost, daze, confused…. Just kidding, McDonalds is three feet away. There are hundreds if not thousands of people around. But we feel our sanity slipping, nonetheless. Whether its 2 hours, 12 hours or sometimes even 20 hours that you’re stuck in an airport, there’s no doubting that there are some locations you’d rather be than others. Here are the world’s 10 best airports according to The World Airport Awards & what you should do whilst you’re there….


The Best Airports in the World

#1 – Changi Airport, Singapore

An airport with a slide? Check. An airport with the world’s tallest airport slide? I’m there.

Highlights include: the airport slide (obviously), forest-themed playground, arcade games, rooftop swimming pool, wellness oasis, cactus garden, sunflower garden, and SO much more.

#2 – Incheon International Airport, South Korea

You can get a peek into Korean culture without even leaving the airport if you have a stopover in Incheon. Oh! And they also have a 0.0001% baggage mishandling rate. AKA no, it will not happen to you here.

Highlights include: a day spa, an ice link, a cinema, and a concert hall.

#3 – Munich Airport

As a major hub for Lufthansa and Star Alliance airlines, chances are you may score a stopover in Munich Airport at some point on your travels. Wondering what to do? We’ve got you covered.

Highlights include: a day spa; nightflight bar; audi forum; Brants barber shop.

#4 – Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport will give you more of an education on a layover than you ever recall from school.

Highlights include: Exhibition Central — shark exhibition; Bruce Lee exhibition; Cantonese Opera exhibition; Childhood memories exhibition…

#5 – Tokyo International Haneda

Because where else in the world can you have sushi for breakfast and get away with it?

Highlights include: Eating sushi at 5:00am, 6:00am, or 7:00am… no really.

#6 – Zurich Airport

A central European hub like Zurich Airport is sure to have some perks, right?

Highlights include: While comfortable and clean, there aren’t too many perks to Zurich Airport. If you can, try escape to the city for a look around – its totally worth it.

#7 – Central Japan International

Another great excuse to eat sushi for breakfast.

Highlights include: sushi, yeah?

#8 – London Heathrow

Heathrow is busy. It is many things, but it is always busy. Patience needed.

Highlights include: Free beauty sessions in all terminals are a plus!

#9 – Amsterdam Schipol

An airport that hosts weddings? Move over Vegas!

Highlights include: Holland Casino; Rijksmuseum airport edn.

#10 – Beijing Capital

Any excuse for Chinese dumplings.

Highlights include: Anyone for dumplings?


View the complete list here.

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    Will Stephenson
    June 23, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I once spent almost 10 hours playing computer games during a 16 hour layover in Changi. Was so amazing.

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    Suzi Davenport
    April 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I’m partial to Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, Georgia, but that may be because I grew up in Atlanta and was constantly at that airport. (; It really is a wonderful airport though – great for people watching, and how can you not love the subway transportation between terminals?

    Diva In Me
    April 28, 2015 at 9:24 am

    More than half of your list are in Asia. Makes me very proud to be from that part of the world =)

    April 26, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    I seriously loved Incheon! I thought the day spa was a bit grimy to be honest, but all throughout the airport they have some many comfy lounging opportunities. If you go upstairs near the Cathay Pacific business lounge in the international terminal (I think D – not sure), there are a ton of chaise lounges and not as many people up there. I was able to get a quick power nap in before my flight back to the US.

    April 21, 2015 at 12:39 am

    Incheon is by far my most favorite airport in the world. They really designed it amazingly and paid so much attention to the smallest details.

    Characters & Carry-ons

    April 20, 2015 at 4:25 am

    I recently had a 3 hour transit in Qatar’s new airport. It was spacious, organized, and with a good food court plus shopping opportunities too.

    April 17, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Oh I didn’t know Heathrow offered free beauty sessions!! Otherwise my 3 hours there last time I was travelling through London would have been wasted with much more benefit!

    Jennifer @ This Off Script Life
    April 17, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    For StarAlliance members with lounge access, Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport is a fantastic place for a layover. I could have stayed there for hours.

    Erlie Smith
    April 17, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Me too. Didn’t know there is a beauty session. Where is it located?

    April 17, 2015 at 3:12 am

    I’ve been to Munich, Tokyo, and Heathrow! Out of all of them my favorite has to be Heathrow. I had an 8 hour layover there (twice), and spent my day there grabbing Pret a Manger, browsing the book stores, and stocking up on Soap and Glory in Boots. 🙂

    April 16, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    I also think Brussels Airport should be added to this list! It’s so increadibly clean and they have amazingly comfortable chairs to sleep on. Also, for such a big city, it’s a calm place with very minimal stress.

    April 16, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Wow I fly from London, Heathrow a lot but I had no idea there were free beauty sessions! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    April 16, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I really liked Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – it was like going to the mall. I’ve been to Hong Kong International Airport but had difficulty finding my way around – I think I was just too tired 🙂 London Heathrow is huge but great shopping. I think we managed to leave Changi Airport, Singapore in the blink of an eye – very well organised.

    April 16, 2015 at 6:01 am

    This is a great list!! It makes me want to leave school now and just travel! (:


    April 16, 2015 at 5:58 am

    What’s wrong with the islip airport on Long Island. It’s pretty groovy

    April 16, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Incheon is the best airport I’ve ever visited. I used some sort of spa service there and was able to shower after 48 hours of travel from the bush of PNG. Pure heaven for around 8 US dollars!

    Paris by Friday
    April 16, 2015 at 5:33 am

    My love for airports is beyond words…they’re one of my favourite places to be. When I visited Singapore last year I had the pleasure of spending some time in Changi which has always been lauded as the world’s best airport, and I have to say, it lived up to expectations. It was modern with plenty of facilities and the staff were so friendly and helpful, too. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind spending a holiday inside an airport…especially if it’s one from the list above!

    With love ♥︎ » Paris by Friday

    April 16, 2015 at 4:38 am

    How telling that none of these airports are in the USA? Why do international airlines treat their customers so much better? Can’t wait for my next international layover

    April 16, 2015 at 2:49 am

    Changi is always the best! It doesn’t matter how tired you are and how awful your flight was, as soon as you step in Changi you feel relaxed and recharged. Everything is perfectly clean and organized, relaxing music, beautiful flowers. Perfect!

    April 16, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Heathrow offers free beauty treatments?! I’ve flown in and out of there so many times and I never knew that! I’ll be there again next month and, needless to say, Imma hit some of those beauty treatments up! Thanks for the recommendation x

    April 15, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    I’m sorry, but this isn’t really a very helpful piece… Sushi? Really? This is a highlight worth mentioning on multiple airports? And bars and day spas? Pretty common… Why not things like Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s tropical rain forest? Zen Gardens and Pool in Dubai INTL? Or how easy it is to take a city tour during a long layover at Heathrow? I mean, even little Indianapolis INTL in Indiana has Indy cars and a beautiful modern art display in it’s 2 (yep, 2) terminals – I find that more intriguing than dumplings…
    This article is titled “The 10 Best Airports in the World FOR A LAYOVER” – actually it seems like the author just copied and pasted the top 10 airports from The World Airport awards and took 5 minutes to google a couple of their keywords. I’m not saying that these airports aren’t great. I’m just saying that this author didn’t really share enough info to help me out…

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored
    April 15, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Why isn’t Kuala Lumpur International Airport (I’m Malaysian, represeeeeent) included in this list? We’ve got a tropical rainforest IN the airport with a boardwalk! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

    April 15, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    I’ve only been to Schiphol so far!
    Really curious how the other ones look like 🙂

    x Val / Valerie Randomness

    April 15, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    The London airport is busy but there are so many things that can distract to pass the time.

    Sarah Lynn
    April 15, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Sadly, I’ve never been to any on this list!
    But I look forward to eventually having a layover at one in the future…
    Did I just wish for a layover? Lol.

    April 15, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    I love the Incheon airport, they had a forrest theme display infant of McDonalds when I went

    Jacqui | Effloresscyon

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    April 15, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Singapore Changi Airport is fantastic – I find myself flying through there a lot! They also have a free city tour if your layover is at least four hours!

    One Q though… by Central Japan International, do you mean Narita Airport??? There is a Central Japan International, but despite its name, it is a rather small hub. Narita is the major airport in Japan 🙂

    April 15, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Free beauty session at Heathrow?! Can you please elaborate? I can only think of Elemis Spa in T5 – but it requires you to fly first class…

    Also Haneda is small, and there really isn’t that much to do there! I was so disappointed when I was flying from Tokyo.

    But great list regardless 🙂

    Caroline Achieng Otieno
    April 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Glad that Changi and Schipol made it to the list! I haven’t been to any of the others yet..

    April 15, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I stopped over in Taiwan on my way to Vietnam and had THE best braised duck noodle soup I have had to date! 2 stops on my way to France tomorrow… let’s hope they’re good ones 😉

    Jennifer Stevens | Adventurous Appetite
    April 15, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I do miss living in Seoul, as that airport is incredible–so organized and easy! Although, I did spend 24 hours in the Beijing airport (snow storm) and was not impressed.

    Helen Armstrong
    April 15, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    The Incheon Airport is amazing! They even have a transit hotel where you can take a nap and freshen up between flights.

    April 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    An airport with weddings?? Interesting 😀 I’ve only been to the airport in London in that list. Didn’t know about the beauty sessions!

    Alejandra /

    Susan the farm quilter
    April 15, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Drat, I was in Heathrow for 2 days trying to get a flight home and I didn’t know about the beauty sessions!!! That would have been fun! But the people watching was awesome!

    Keri Blair
    April 15, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I LOVE the London airport! Thanks for this post.

    April 15, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Wow I seriously need to try and plan a layover or trip to Singapore! That airport sounds unreal! So far the only one of these airports I’ve been to is London Heathrow which has such amazing shopping. And the tube goes right there, so if you have a long layover, you can head into central London for some exploring 🙂

    April 15, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I seriously LOVE airports for some reason. I was at Schiphol last, delayed for several hours because of an NYC blizzard. No complaints here 😉

    The Modern Romantic

    Fernweh Society
    April 15, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Totally agree with Changi being number 1. When i was there soaking it all in they asked me to fill in a survey on how they could improve, it was tough to find anything 🙂

    Check out my travel & lifestyle blog

    Allie || Miles to Home
    April 15, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Fun! I definitely have to put these on my list – been to Munich but didn’t experience that cool stuff. Love the idea of free beauty sessions at Heathrow!!

    April 15, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Good to note! Have a layover in London and could use some free beauty treatment aha! Do you know where I would go to act on that?
    Andrea |

    Nicola Easterby
    April 15, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I’ve been through Changi soooo many times, definitely my favourite! Can’t go past that butterfly garden!