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]

New Airport Entertainment Options Coming Soon Via Wi-Fi

Airport entertainment options run the gambit from TV monitors hanging around here and there to the magazine racks of gift shops. In Singapore, travelers killing time between flights can go for a swim. In Orlando, kids can visit a huge Disney store. Starting this fall at Raleigh-Durham airport, ClearVision arrives as a new video diversion for travelers.

A product from Clear Channel Airports, known as the world’s leading marketer of airport advertising, ClearVision will bring together a customized lineup of news and entertainment programming.

“Airports ultimately will be able to leverage Wi-Fi services to provide travelers accustomed to on-demand content access to the ClearVision network on their smartphones, iPads and laptops,” said Clear Channel’s Toby Sturek in an Executive Travel Magazine article.

Rather than just CNN’s news-only airport network, ClearVision will bring together a customized lineup of news and entertainment programming from a variety of sources, including CBS News, CBS Entertainment, CBS Daytime and CBS Interactive; NBC offerings like “The Today Show,” “Smash,” “The Voice,” “America’s Got Talent” and “The Office”; daily headlines from The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live; and sports from the Tennis Channel.

The company said it will work with airports and a partner called connectVISION Digital Networks to assemble content from media providers, adding local news programming into the mix.

In a statement, connectVISION marketing chief David Tetreault explains, “Our goal is to provide travelers – especially frequent business travelers – a diverse, 20-hour-a-day programming lineup of top network shows, news, weather, and sports while enabling airports to deliver a customized TV station with local flare and programming.”

Interesting to be sure. But not as much fun as Singapore’s tallest slide at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 where travelers can speed along at 6 meters/second as we see in this video:

[Flickr photo by bgmb42]