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

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]

GateGuru launches international airport coverage

Back in December, we introduced you to GateGuru – an App designed to help you find amenities at the airport. Since then, the app has grown spectacularly, and was even featured in one of the Apple iPhone commercials – a great testament of its success.

At launch, GateGuru only covered the United States – but as of today, the app has added listings for its first batch of international airports.

In GateGuru, you’ll now find London Heathrow along with 12 Canadian airports. The complete list of new airports can be found here.

With GateGuru, you’ll never be stuck trying to find somewhere to eat, shop or entertain yourself – making it the perfect app for when you become stranded at the airport. GateGuru is free, and can be downloaded from the App Store (iTunes link).

Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em: Asia’s Best Airport Smoking Rooms

Unlike the US, in some parts of the world smoking is still politically correct. It is even encouraged. For the nicotine addicts among us, there is no better time to light up than after a 10-15 hour flight across the Pacific. Stuck in the terminal waiting for your connection? No worries. That’s what smoking rooms are for. Some resemble a bus stop shelter, some are more like a high class smoking club.

The best:

1. Narita’s best smoking room is near the Northwest gates. It’s no less hazy or crowded than the others, but if you cracked open a beer to go along with your cancer stick, you wouldn’t be the only one drinking.

2. Da Nang’s airport is a small one, but it has one of the biggest smoking rooms I’ve ever witnessed. You might even call it scenic because you can see the mountains through the large windows. Though I no longer indulge, I always feel the urge to light up when I pass this spot.

3. Everything about Don Muang seems classic these days. You won’t be flying into it anymore. That’s sad. I’ll especially miss those smoking rooms shaped like bus stop shelters. They smelled of stale, wet cigarettes, but were somehow welcoming.