Americans are used to the notion that America is number one. Or at least very nearly so. But in two recent studies and polls, America has taken it in on the chin.
Skytrax’ World Airport Survey is the gold standard of airport rankings as it comes directly from the feedback of 13 million airline passengers who were flying across the globe between May 2014 and January 2015.
The results are devastating for the United States and North America as all top ranked airports are either in Asia or Europe.
Travelers again recognize Singapore as the world’s best airport after it got the top spot in 2014. Seoul comes second with Munich being the best in Europe and third globally.
World’s Best Airports 2015
- Singapore Changi Airport
- Incheon International Airport (Seoul, Korea)
- Munich Airport, (Germany)
- Hong Kong International Airport
- Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
- Zurich Airport (Switzerland)
- Central Japan International Airport (serves Nagoya)
- London Heathrow Airport
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (Netherlands)
- Beijing Capital International Airport
The survey asks airline passengers to rate different points such as airport access, terminal comfort, the check-in process as well as waiting times at immigration and security.
Not surprisingly to many travelers, American airports don’t do well in these regards as passengers have to pay for trolleys and spend ages waiting at immigration. And let’s not forget the stringent TSA security checks.
The first North American airport on the list is Vancouver at 11 and the best U.S. airport is Cincinnati—of all places—coming in at 30. New York’s JFK comes in at 60 with Denver (33), San Francisco (36), and Atlanta (44) in between.
Los Angeles is far down the list at 98 and La Guardia is not even on the list. Most New Yorkers would not find that surprising.
Strangely, however, Newark, NJ is also not on the list. Many New Yorkers find it easier to get to, more clean and tidy than JFK and you have shorter wait time at security and immigration.
Quality of Living
The other study which should give Americans pause is the Mercer Quality of Living Rankings, where San Francisco is the highest rank U.S. city at 27 globally. Boston (34) and Honolulu (36) also do well, at least relatively.
Mercer looks at factors like the local economy, culture, medical and educational infrastructure, nature, and public services. The top 10 is dominated by Europe, especially Germany, which has three cities in the Top 10.
Most embarrassing for the United States is the fact that a Canadian city, Vancouver (5) is in the top 10 and even Canadian cities that didn’t make it into the top ten are far ahead than their American counterparts: Toronto (15), Ottawa (16), and Montreal (24).
Cities With the Best Quality of Living
- Vienna, Austria
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Munich, Germany
- Vancouver, Canada
- Dusseldorf, Germany
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Geneva, Switzerland
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Sydney, Australia