US Grounded On World Airport Awards, But Shopping Great At Heathrow

World airport awards

As a top honor in the world airport industry, the World Airport Awards rank the best airline facilities on everything from how they operate to airport hotels, shopping and more. To determine the winners, actual travelers from over 160 countries take part in an annual airport satisfaction survey.

A global benchmark of airport excellence, the survey pool is deep. The World Airport Awards results use the answers to 12.1 million questionnaires completed by 108 different nationalities passing through 395 airports during the nine-month survey period in 2012 and 2013.

On top? Singapore Changi Airport took top honors, followed by Korea’s Incheon International Airport, a Gadling favorite, then Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. U.S. airports fared fairly well, coming in with 15 spots on the World’s Top 100 Airports ranking.

While no U.S. airports made the top ten (again), the top three U.S. airports are: Denver International Airport at number 36; San Francisco International, which ranked 40th; and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which squeaked into the top 50 at number 48.

But in the top ten, multiple-award winner London’s Heathrow Airport (number 10) was voted best for shopping too. Boasting over 700,000 of high-end retail space, here are some of the more than 500 shops that air travelers can choose from.

%Gallery-185376%It was a good year for Heathrow, which won the World’s Best Airport Shopping award for the second time, rounding out the top ten list. In addition, Heathrow’s $9 billion Terminal 5 was named as the World’s Best Terminal Building in category listings.

Some other interesting wins:

  • Best Airport Security Processing- Copenhagen
  • Best Airport Immigration Service- Kuala Lumpur
  • Best International Transit Airport- Incheon
  • World’s Cleanest Airport- Tokyo Haneda
  • Best Airport for Leisure Amenities- Singapore
  • Best Airport Dining- Munich
  • Best Airport for Baggage Delivery- Zurich

The World Airport Awards survey was conducted from May 2012 through March 2013.



[Photo credits – Chris Owen/Heathrow Airport]

Airports To Implement Virtual Avatars To Help Tourists




Virtual reality is becoming part of real life, as three New York-area airports adopt virtual avatars into their customer service program. The avatars are part of an expansive plan to enhance customer travel experience by the Port Authority. Starting in early July, JFK, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia will be the first airports in North America to implement the virtual avatar assistants. These hologram-like workers will provide automated, basic information, like directions to airport gates, shopping advertisements and security checkpoint notifications. And to make them look like real staff, they will wear the signature red coats of the live customer service agents.

“The Port Authority’s three major airports – JFK, Newark Liberty and LaGuardia – are gateways to the world, serving over a hundred million fliers annually,” said David Samson, Port Authority Chairman. “Ensuring the satisfaction of these customers is a foremost priority, and these initiatives move us closer to achieving that objective.”

These basic avatars are just the beginning, as future plans include having interactive virtual agents that can answer questions.

For a better idea of the technology, check out the video above.

Strolling through the airport just got more exciting with the new musical floor




Recent Design Academy in Eindhoven graduate, Jeriël Bobbe, has recently come up with a new way to make spending time at the airport more fun. His new design is a combination between public art and community musical instrument as it is a piece of flooring with wooden slats designed to play music when you roll your suitcase over it. How deep the grooves in the wood are control the volume, while the width between the ribs affect the pitch.

“The tiles are being deployed in airports to compete with the horizontal escalators,” explains Bobbe. “In a playful way, the traveler is triggered to walk by himself. Which way do you choose?”

Check out the video above to see a preview of what you can expect from Bobbe’s creation.

New record-inspired art exhibit in the airport of San Francisco, California

san franscisco international airport hosts new art exhibitThose who find themselves traveling through San Francisco International Airport (SFO) from October 8, 2011- March 12, 2012, will be happy to hear they will be able to take in some art and culture while waiting for their flight. Located beyond security screening at Terminal 2 you can find Revolutions per Minute: The Evolution of the Record, which illustrates the evolution of the record as well as displays a variety of album artwork from different musical genres. See wind-up phonographs, old record players, and designs from artists like Andy Warhol and Jim Flora. Viewing of the exhibit is free.

Art is nothing new to SFO, which houses the SFO Museum. This museum was established in 1980 by the Airport Commission in order to educate the public as well as humanize the airport and display the unique culture of San Francisco. What makes it really special is that it is the only accredited airport museum to date. In fact, you can find about 20 different galleries throughout the San Francisco International Airport, all with rotating exhibits.

Survey shows best airports for making your (love) connection

If you think about it, all of the stars are aligned at an airport.

Get a group of people together with a) a common interest in travel, b) extra time on their hands, and c) good ol’ human chemistry, and you’ve got a petri dish with love connections in the making.

But a new survey argues that not every airport is equal in opportunity. Oh no.

The top three airports are Newark, JFK, and Philadelphia. Foreign rendezvous aren’t excluded, mind you. The first three international listings are Paris’ Charles de Gaulle, London’s Heathrow, and Rome’s Fiumicino.

The 33 largest international airports were rated on on-time statistics, historical weather conditions, and amenities (bars, restaurants, activities) per person per airport.

For example, a connection is more likely to happen if you have a long layover at a place with great restaurant options.

Along with the report on AXE’s Facebook page are suggestions for making the most of your wait time, such as: “Spark conversation by casually pulling out your small wad of left-over foreign currency.”

The survey was created by Sperling’s BestPlaces, and commissioned by Axe (makers of grooming products for men).
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