World's best airports

As airports start to welcome travellers back through their gates, which airports offer the best experience to holidaymakers?
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Many of us probably haven’t set foot in an airport for a while, so you may have forgotten just how stressful it can be at times, from cancellations or delays to frantically checking off your last minute checklist.

That said, modern airports have come a long way, with the best ones creating relaxing spaces including amenities such as yoga rooms and outdoor gardens.

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But which of the world’s airports are the best for travellers? Looking at a number of factors including delays, parking costs, transfer times and more, money.co.uk has ranked the world’s 50 busiest airports.

The world’s best airports

Airport report - Image module
1. Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore - 8.32/10

Singapore Changi is one of the busiest airports in Southeast Asia and offers an unrivalled experience for its passengers, with a score of 8.32.

Changi has the second-highest number of shops on offer (224) and allows you to park for just £19.14 for a week.

2. Tokyo Haneda Airport, Japan - 8.03/10

Another Asian airport comes in second place, with Tokyo Haneda scoring 8.03. Haneda is also incredibly busy, yet was the top-scoring airport for on-time flights.

The airport was once Tokyo’s main airport but has since tried to shift its focus to premium business routes.

3. Mexico City International Airport, Mexico - 7.40/10

In third place is Mexico City International Airport, also known as Benito Juárez International Airport, the busiest airport in Latin America.

While it scored poorly on some factors, Mexico City has 226 shops and is also just seven minutes away from the city centre.

Which airport has the fewest delayed flights?

Airport report - Image module

On-time flights - Tokyo Haneda Airport (86.4%)

Delays are perhaps the most frustrating thing that can happen while travelling, but there’s quite a big difference between the on-time performance of different airports.

The airport with the fewest delays (flights that depart at least 15 minutes late) is Tokyo Haneda, despite dealing with over 85 million passengers a year.

Updated 30 March 2022
RankAirportTotal passengers (2019)On-time performance
1Tokyo Haneda Airport, Japan85.5m86.4%
2Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, United States110.5m82.6%
3Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore68.3m82.0%
4Madrid Barajas Airport, Spain61.7m80.4%
4George Bush Intercontinental Airport, United States45.0m80.4%
4Narita International Airport, Japan44.3m80.4%
7Mexico City International Airport, Mexico50.3m80.3%
8Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, United States46.3m80.2%
9Los Angeles International Airport, United States88.1m80.0%
10Charlotte Douglas International Airport, United States50.2m79.2%
10Miami International Airport, United States45.9m79.2%

Where is the busiest airport? 

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Passenger numbers - Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (110.5m)

The world’s busiest airport in terms of passengers is Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, which welcomes over 110 million passengers through its terminals in 2019. (Of course, figures for later years have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic).

Hartsfield–Jackson is home to one of the world’s biggest airlines, Delta, and pre-COVID was serving over 1,000 flights a day to over 200 destinations.

Which airport has the world’s cheapest parking?

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Parking costs - Singapore Changi Airport (£19.14 for seven days)

If you want the convenience of leaving your car at the airport, you usually have to pay a premium, although that’s not the case at Singapore Changi Airport.

Here, seven days at the airport’s cheapest car park will cost just S$35, which equates to £19.14

Which airport has the cheapest drop-off costs?

Updated 30 March 2022
AirportDrop off cost
Charles de Gaulle AirportFree
Charlotte Douglas International AirportFree
Frankfurt AirportFree
Heathrow AirportFree
London Gatwick AirportFree
Los Angeles International AirportFree
Madrid Barajas AirportFree
Miami International AirportFree
Munich AirportFree
O'Hare International AirportFree
Orlando International AirportFree
Sydney Kingsford-Smith AirportFree
Taiwan Taoyuan International AirportFree
Tokyo Haneda AirportFree

While airports often charge a fee even if a vehicle is simply dropping someone off, a number do allow you to do so for free.

Just under half (46%) of the world’s 50 busiest airports offered an initial period where cars are allowed to drop someone off free of charge.

Which airport has the most restaurant choices?

Airport report - Image module

Restaurants - Seoul Incheon International Airport (264)

By far the airport with the highest number of dining options for its passengers is Seoul Incheon, in South Korea, with 264 restaurants.

Here travellers can enjoy restaurants featuring Korean food and cuisine from other Asian countries, as well as a number of fast-food outlets.

Which airport is the best for shopping?

Airport report - Image module

Shops - Mexico City International Airport (226)

Shopping doesn’t just help to pass the time at the airport, but you can also pick up some great deals at duty-free outlets. The airport with the most shopping options is Mexico City, with 226.

Which airport is closest to its nearest city? 

Airport report - Image module

Estimated taxi transfer time - Mexico City International Airport (7 minutes)

From the 50 busiest airports, as well as having the most shops, Mexico City’s airport was also the one where travellers have to travel the least distance to the city. 

Benito Juárez is fairly unusual for an airport in that it is located right outside the city centre, just a seven-minute taxi journey away.

Which airport has the cheapest transfer cost?

Updated 30 March 2022
AirportEstimated taxi transfer cost
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport£10
Dubai International Airport£10
Indira Gandhi International Airport£10
Istanbul Airport£10
Mexico City International Airport£10
Ninoy Aquino International Airport£10
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport£10
Singapore Changi Airport£10

The cost of actually getting from the airport to your destination can sometimes be a nasty surprise upon arrival.

Nine out of 50 of the busiest airports in the world have an estimated cost of just £10 when it comes to getting into the city.

So if you are travelling soon, there are a plenty of options for you to make the most out of your trip, starting at the doors of the airport.

Methodology and sources

About Salman Haqqi

Salman is our personal finance editor with over 10 years’ experience as a journalist. He has previously written for Finder and regularly provides his expert view on financial and consumer spending issues for local and national press such as The Express, Travel Daily, and The Daily Star.

View Salman Haqqi's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.

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