Airports

World’s Best Airport: getting better

 

Proclaimed “World’s Best Airport” for five years in a row, Singapore’s Changi Airport is where you want to be if you’re ever going to be stuck at an airport.

There are shops, restaurants and attractions galore, but once the Jewel mixed-use complex gets built in the center of the airport, Changi will become even more of a destination all its own.

Scheduled to be completed in early 2019, Jewel will boast the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, a five-story garden filled with thousands of trees, plants, ferns and shrubs, a branch of the YOTEL hotel chain, shops, restaurants and a 164-foot-long Canopy Bridge with some glass flooring to offer great views of the waterfall and other attractions.

This week, we’ve learned that the attractions planned for Canopy Park (on level five) will include Sky Nets, Canopy Mazes, and Discovery Slides as well as well as an open play area called Foggy Bowls, where kids will get to wander through mists “as though walking among clouds.”

 

 

 

Photo Credits: Jewel Changi Airport Devt.

New terminal at Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport celebrated the opening of its new $3 million, 30,000-square-foot South Terminal last week with a party on the terminal’s patio, live music, a ribbon cutting ceremony and a water cannon salute for the first flight: Allegiant’s Air’s Austin – Albuquerque nonstop.

 

The 3-gate South Terminal is in a building that dates back to the original Bergstrom Air Force Base that once occupied the area and is totally separate from the airport’s main Barbara Jordan Terminal.

The look of new facility invokes “the nostalgia of mid-century travel, with stylish retro 70s architecture and décor,” according to the airport, and features colors and textures native to Texas Hill Country and white canopies (outside) onto which changing colors will be projected.

Passengers will go outside to board their planes on ‘old-fashioned’ stairs. Indoor amenities include charging stations, water bottle refill stations, grab-n-go sandwiches and drinks, with an outdoor patio area with seating, a pet relief area, and a food truck. There’s also a stage for live music and plans for a food-truck style indoor eatery as well.

Allegiant Airlines is now operating its 10 non-stop Austin flights out of the new terminal and Sun Country Airlines and ViaAir will move operations over to the new terminal later this year.

(All photos courtesy: Sandy L. Stevens, Austin Aviation Dept.)

World’s Best Airports – and the cleanest

The 2017 Skytrax World Awards have been announced and – no surprise – Singapore Changi Airport has been named as the World’s Best Airport for the fifth consecutive year.  The Crown Plaza Changi Airport was also named Best Airport Hotel – again.

Awards were announced in a wide variety of other categories – including cleanest airports and most improved.

A few of those lists are below. You can see the all the awards here.

The World’s Top 10 Airports

  1. Singapore Changi Airport
  2. Tokyo International Airport (Haneda)
  3. Incheon International Airport
  4. Munich Airport
  5. Hong Kong International Airport
  6. Hamad International Airport
  7. Chubu Centrair Nagoya
  8. Zurich Airport
  9. London Heathrow Airport
  10. Frankfurt Airport

The World’s Cleanest Airports

  1. Tokyo Haneda
  2. Seoul Incheon
  3. Centrair Nagoya
  4. Taiwan Taoyuan
  5. Tokyo Narita
  6. Singapore Changi
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Zurich
  9. Kansai Osaka
  10. Doha Hamad

The World’s Most Improved Airports

  1. Soekarno–Hatta
  2. Hamad Doha
  3. Houston IAH
  4. Delhi
  5. Haikou Meilan
  6. Guangzhou
  7. Phoenix
  8. Tokyo Narita
  9. Paris CDG
  10. Los Angeles

The World’s Best Airport Hotels

  1. Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
  2. Pullman Guangzhou Airport
  3. Hong Kong Sky City Marriott
  4. Hilton Munich Airport
  5. Regal Airport Hong Kong
  6. Langham Place Beijing
  7. Fairmont Vancouver Airport
  8. Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain
  9. Hilton Frankfurt Airport
  10. Sofitel Heathrow

The World’s Best Regional Airports

  1. Centrair Nagoya
  2. Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky
  3. Hamburg
  4. Denver
  5. Cologne / Bonn
  6. Durban King Shaka
  7. London City
  8. Dusseldorf
  9. Xi’an
  10. Gimpo

Drinks on the go – maybe – at St. Louis Int’l Airport

Looks like there will soon be one more airport – St. Louis Lambert International Airport – where passengers my purchase a drink at a bar and take that drink with them to their gate or somewhere else in the airport.

The Missouri House has passed a bill that allows a change in the liquor laws in the state’s airports, allowing people to order alcoholic beverages “to go” from a bar and carry them to their gates in a branded plastic cup, the Associated Press reports,  although travelers would not be able to take those drinks onto planes or through security.

While STL could adopt the rule, Kansas City International Airport probably wouldn’t as most bars at KCI are before security and the law would not allow passengers to take their drinks through security.

There are other airports around the country where “to go” drinks in the terminal are already allowed, including Nashville and Memphis in Tennessee.  Airports in Houston, Portland, OR and Tampa, FL allow this too, says AP.

Good idea?

Beer cans

An indoor forest for Vancouver Int’l Airport

(Note: I’m filling in on USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky blog this week. My story about Vancouver Airport first appeared there).

Like so many North American airports, Vancouver International (YVR) is looking forward to accommodating more travelers, more airlines and larger planes.

The airport, which was crowned Best Airport in America in the 2016 Skytrax World Airport Awards (for a record seventh consecutive year), served more than 22 million passengers in 2016 and expects to welcome more than 35 million passengers a year by 2037.

To get ready, the airport is fine-tuning a phased $5.6 billion “Flight Plan” that includes a variety of proposed amenities that were shared with the public last week.

“This plan is built to provide for the long-term capacity needs at YVR, while meeting and enhancing our sustainability goals and ensuring we build in an incremental fashion” said Craig Richmond, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority, speaking at a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade event.

As part of a terminal expansion, YVR is investigating the idea of adding a new geothermal plant that will greatly reduce the airport’s greenhouse gas emissions, an added plane spotting location and, inside the terminal, expanded food options and restaurant experiences and the addition of sleeping pods and showers for those with long layovers.

Vancouver’s airport already has an award-winning art program that highlights British Columbia’s landscape and people and includes two large aquariums and a public Observation Area with giant windows and great views. But to bring more of the West Coast beauty into the terminal, the Flight Plan proposes to add an indoor glassed-in forest that is open at the top.

YVR posted an animated “Fly Through” on Twitter showing what the forested international terminal may look like in the future.

“Looks beautiful!” wrote Andre Velez in response, suggesting the airport send their designers to fix “eyesore airports like Newark and LaGuardia.”

Polite Canadians that they are, YVR’s Twitter response: “Our pals at @lgacentral are doing big things down there. Bright future.”