Minutes can drag while waiting for a flight and sometimes it can seem like time has stopped altogether.
However, some airports have such incredible customer service experience that means waiting for your connection can make the time fly.
A new survey released by the Airports Council International (ACI) has revealed the best airports for customer experience, as part of their Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards.
The world’s best major airport hubs, which see over 40 million passengers pass through their gates every year, have been named as Mumbai, Delhi, Rome and Toronto.
The UK’s Newcastle Airport has also made the list, as Europe’s best airport serving between two and five million holidaymakers.
This year’s results have unearthed some surprising findings, with a wave of new-comers winning, highlighting increased competition between airports.
According to the ACI: “This phenomenon reflects the increasingly competitive airport industry operating environment, where continuous service improvement is a key ingredient. Airports make the customer experience a high priority.”
The survey, which quizzed 600,000 passengers at 343 airports in 84 countries, looks at criteria including service parameters, airport access, check-in, security screening, restrooms, stores and restaurants.
Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja (CSIA) shares first place with Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport in the Asia-Pacific category, while Toronto won the North America category and Rome’s Fiumicino came top in Europe.
Appraised by some of its 45.4 million passengers, CSIA boasts three terminals spread over 1,850 acres. Terminal 2 has a multi-storey, two miles, Art Wall which showcases over 5,000 pieces of art from every region and corner of India.
Delhi’s airport has plenty of restaurants and bars for peckish passengers, an M&S clothing store and even innovative sleeping pods for those in need of a quick snooze before catching their connection.
Toronto’s Pearson is a cultural hub, exhibiting artwork which represents Toronto’s role as a gateway to North America, as well as a host of airport services including a full-service medical clinic and pharmacy.
In Europe, Rome Fiumicino, which welcomed 41.7 million passengers in 2016, has a personal shopper service, five lounges and an Eat&Drink Guide to help travellers navigate the wide range of dining options.
Meanwhile, Newcastle Airport prides itself on being a family-friendly airport with an arcade room with slot machines and an air hockey table, for keeping children entertained. There’s also a aerospace which offers massages, hydrating facials and manicures.
This triumph comes shortly after Newcastle was named Airport of the Year at the North of England Transport Awards in 2017.
The airport has invested £20 million in customer experience upgrades including new terminal flooring, premium wifi, gate are modernisation and a self-service bag drop.
Prizes also went to the world’s most improved airports. By region the winners were: Nairobi in Africa, Ahmedabad in the Asia-Pacific category, Zagreb in Europe, Brazil’s Belo Horizonte in Latin America-Caribbean, Dubai in the Middle East and Cleveland in the North America Category.
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Best Airport by Region
- Africa: Casablanca (CMN)
- Asia-Pacific: Delhi (DEL), Mumbai (BOM)
- Europe: Sochi (AER)
- Middle East: Abu Dhabi (AUH)
- North America: Indianapolis (IND), Jacksonville (JAX)
- Latin America-Caribbean: Guayaquil (GYE)
Best Airport by Size
- 2-5 million passengers per year: Lucknow (LKO)
- 5-15 million passengers per year: Hyderabad (HYD)
- 15-25 million passengers per year: Denpasar (DPS), Haikou (HAK), Sanya (SYX)
- 25-40 million passengers per year: Chongqing (CKG)
- Over 40 million passengers per year: Delhi (DEL), Mumbai (BOM)
Best Airport by Region (under 2 million passengers per year)
- Africa: George (GRJ)
- Europe: Murcia (MJV)
- North America: Portland Maine (PWM)
- Latin America-Caribbean: Mazatlan (MZT)
- Asia-Pacific: Indore (IDR)
Best Airport by Size and Region: Europe
- 2–5 million passengers per year: Newcastle (NCL)
- 5–15 million passengers per year: Sochi (AER)
- 15–25 million passengers per year: Athens (ATH)
- 25–40 million passengers per year: Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO)
- Over 40 million passengers per year: Rome Fiumicino (FCO)