Not all airports are equally exciting on a layover

Best International Airports for Layovers Critiqued

Our lovely friends over at Forbes have recently come up with their selection of the best international airport for layovers. It’s a great idea and something we have been discussing for a while here at LateDeparture. So, in true LD-style, let’s get that red pen out and add some notes to their recommendations:

London Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR)

Yes, London is exciting, however, the airport overall isn’t. Don’t get us wrong, we really like what they’ve done with Terminal 5 and the Virgin Clubhouse in Terminal 3 is simply fantastic, however, the average traveller would probably be quite underwhelmed by the airport overall. It still feels too crowded, outdated and confusing. Plus there’s always the chance of getting in or out late because of the airport is already at 99% capacity with its 2 runways. But then it is London, well known for being eccentric and a bit chaotic. So if that’s what you like, you’ll have a great time there!

Hong Kong International (IATA: HKG)

Yes, Hong Kong should definitely be on that list; we wrote about it numerous times, for example in one of our most famous headlines reading “When little airports grow up, they become Hong Kong International“. The airport has also won numerous awards and certainly has our seal of approval!

Munich International Airport (IATA: MUC)

Munich airport has two faces: a happy one and a rather confused if not angry one. Let us explain this further: Munich is one of the Lufthansa hubs and therefore receives special treatment by the German airline. The carrier occupies one terminal exclusively (together with its Star Alliance partners). This terminal, Terminal 2, is really nice and offers plenty of options for shopping or consuming one of those famous Oktoberfest beers. On the other side, Terminal 1 is dull and boring and doesn’t seem to fit next to its upmarket cousin. However, there’s a solution if you are not flying through Terminal 2: head outside and get into that middle section between the two terminals. There you find a few restaurants and other interesting stuff to spend your time with (read our more detailed review titled “Oktoberfest atmosphere at Munich Airport” to gain further insights).

Singapore Changi Airport (IATA: SIN)

Yes, yes, and yes! This airport ticks all the boxes and definitely belongs in this list. And no, we don’t get any money for writing this. But it is an open secret that this airport has been our long lasting favourite and we’ve covered it extensively (e.g. read our detailled review of Changi’s crown jewel, Terminal 3 here).

Amsterdam Schiphol (IATA: AMS)

Amsterdam, Amsterdam, what can we say? Maybe that we love you? There’s certainly no doubt that this is an exciting airport with plenty to see and do. In our opinion it’s probably the best European airport as it’s got the perfect size, it’s big but not too big. Plus similar to Changi airport, Amsterdam keeps introducing new and exciting things.  The latest one was the banner vending machine – we wrote about it. If you want to read more about the airport, a good start is our review here.

That’s where the Forbes list ends. Overall we believe it’s a good selection but might miss out on mentioning South Korea’s Incheon International Airport (IATA: ICN), an airport that has also regularly won awards, Zurich Airport (IATA: ZRH) which we also featured a number of times (e.g. here) or good old Los Angeles International (IATA: LAX) albeit not for the airport itself, but for it’s great location only minutes away from the beach and other superb layover options (read our extensive LAX reviews here, here and here).

[Photo from Flickr - Some rights reserved by Gerrit Wenz]

  • Tyler

    Are there statistic out there on average layover times for passengers at airports? E.g. how many passengers per month at an airport experience a layover?

  • http://www.latedeparture.com Tom/Latedeparture.com

    Hi Tyler, have a look through the IATA pages, they have tons of statistics: http://www.iata.org