EVERYONE, at least all those who travel, has an opinion for good and bad about airports.
And, wouldn’t you know it, despite the rip-offs (premium coffee, and everything else, at premium prices), the frustrations (the interminable queues through immigration) and the inconveniences (the hassles of security checks) we keep coming back for more. It’s a case of can’t fly with ’em, can’t fly without ’em.

Although we all like to complain about them, and for good reason, the truth is that airports have improved enormously over the years. Some, such as Singapore’s Changi Airport, are actually rather pleasant, comfortable places to be for a few hours or longer, while more than a few, like Beijing Capital Airport, are architectural showpieces

So, with these thoughts in mind, please proceed directly to check in and check out the Doc Holiday’s inaugural Aeros, the first, and possibly last, annual awards for airports around the world, including our own backyard. The votes are in (actually, there was just one voter, and that was me, based on my travels both recent and in the past). Feel free to offer your own suggestions.

Ready for takeoff?

MOST IMPROVED AIRPORT
The winner: Sydney International Airport Australia
Sydney’s gateway airport, also known as Kingsford Smith, has attracted a lot of criticism over the years and deservedly so. But half-a-billion dollars worth of improvements in recent years have greatly transformed the airside areas in particular where there are more and better shops, more space and more and superior places to eat and drink. Externally, with so many building additions to the original 1970s-era terminal over the years, it’s still nothing to look at.

BIGGEST OFF
The winner: Sydney International Airport, Australia
Four bucks to “rent” a luggage trolley as you de-taxi laden at kerbside still rankles, as do the airport fees imposed on cab fares. I never seem to have enough or any change when I step out of a taxi there though last time the was a sign on the machine saying that credit cards were coming soon.

BEST AIRPORT TOILETS
The winner: Changi Airport, Singapore
Changi Airport’s loos are so darned clean you could eat Singapore noodles off their sparkling floors (though please don’t try it as you may be arrested by airport security). Each toilet facility is fitted with a simple system whereby departing users press a button to vote on the cleanliness of the facilities, which is linked to a central control room. When the votes fall below “excellent” the cleaning crews are dispatched to restore standards.

NICEST CUSTOMS OFFICERS
The joint winners: New Zealand’s international airports
The New Zealanders keep giving their trans-Tasman cousins lessons in rugby and could do well , too, to give their Australian airport customs counterparts some tuition in friendliness, courtesy and smiles (though their Aussie counterparts have lifted their game in recent times).

BEST AUSTRALIAN AIRPORT TERMINALS
The joint winners: Qantas Domestic Terminal Sydney/Adelaide Airport
The Sydney domestic terminal of the national carrier is attractive, spacious, well-designed and well-lit with abundant natural light. It’s even a tiny bit chic. rightly The influential UK-based Monocle magazine recently named it the journal’s favourite terminal in the world. Adelaide suffered for decades from having the worst airport in Australia; now it has one of, if not, the best. Spacious, simply-designed, easy-to-navigate and with legible and stylish signing. Like it.

BEST AIRPORT HOTEL
The winner: Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Singapore
This smart, modern hotel, which feels more like a resort, is connected to Changi’s Terminal 3. Rooms can be overpriced but if it was any more convenient, especially for those early morning flights, it’d be attached to a plane door.

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD
The winner: Perth Domestic Airport, Australia
They’re finally fixing and expanding the nation’s most neglected and wretched airport, thank goodness. An long-time embarrassment in a state of riches.
MOST AMAZING AIRPORT SCULPTURE
The winner: Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi
This new airport, built just in time for the 2011 Commonwealth Games, is a massive improvement on its predecessor. Its most arresting feature is a huge bronze wall sculpture of mudras, or traditional Hindu and Buddhist hand gestures, that confronts, awes and inspires passengers before they enter the modern immigration hall.

BEST AIRPORT TRANSPORT LINK
The joint winners: Tokyo’s Narita Express/Shanghai Airport Maglev train
Narita is a notoriously long way from central Tokyo but the journey from the Narita Express, which departs frequently from under the terminal, makes it a relative breeze and vastly better than the “limousine” bus alternative, delivering passengers right into the heart of the capital at Tokyo Station, not far from Ginza. Shanghai Airport’s Maglev train arrives in an inconvenient part of the city in record time and it’s worth taking just for the sheer buzz.

BEST ARCHITECTURE
The winner: Beijing Capital International Airport
The bigger they get, the less beautiful they come, but it’s hard to beat Beijing Capital Airport, designed by the master British architect, Lord Norman Foster and built for the 2008 Olympics, with the roof of the massive main terminal shaped like a dragon. Copenhagen International Airport is, like the Danes themselves, not bad-looking either.

BEST FOOD
The winner: Narita Airport, Tokyo
The Doc loves Japanese food but no other airport in my experience eclipses the food hall at this airport for quality than this one. Forego the onboard tucker and dine out here before you fly.

BEST AIRPORT TAXIS
The winner: Changi Airport, Singapore
Clean, courteous, orderly, honest and efficient. Just like Singapore itself. I like the angle parking of taxis at Changi so that their boots are facing the footpath for easy and speedy luggage access.

WORST AIRPORT TAXI QUEUING SYSTEM
The winner: Sydney International and Domestic Airports
Awful most of the time. It shouldn’t be this hard. Please hire a consultant from Changi. Sydney’s taxis aren’t too flash either.

MOST HATED AIRPORTS
The joint winners: Heathrow, London and Los Angles International
Hell on earth. Both of them. Avoid where possible. Enough said (though LAX is under a major and overdue upgrade).

BEST AIRPORT UPGRADES
The winners: Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban airports, South Africa
Oh what a difference a World Cup makes. On a recent visit to South Africa, the Doc was wowed by the country’s airports, especially Durban’s King Shaka Airport, which were the recipients of lavish funding before the successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup of soccer.

BEST AIRPORT
The winner: Changi Airport, Singapore
Hassle-free heaven (or as near as an airport gets to the divine) where everything and everyone works.

 

Ref : http://www.news.com.au