Singapore Changi Airport

Celebrating the history of airports

The history department here at StuckatTheAirport.com is a big fan of anything having to do with the history of airports.

Airport libraries? We’ve read up that.

Moving walkways at airports? We’ve researched that too.

And we’re always glad to learn more about airport history over on the AirportHistory.org site.

The team there recently posted their top five illustrated airport history stories from 2021, starting with #5: a photo feature celebrating Vancouver International Airport on its 90th anniversary. You can see that feature here.

#4 on their list is a great story about the history of Montréal–Mirabel Airport. #3 is a story about Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the 1960s (see that story here).

And #2 on their list is a roundup of the world’s 10 busiest airports at the dawn of the Jet Age in 1961. See that story here.

And we are not surprised to see that their #1 story for 2021 is a piece featuring some great photos celebrating the 40th anniversary of Singapore’s Changi Airport, one of our favorites. See that story here.

A new “World’s Best” Airport

Hamad International Airport

There are many contests, and many ways, to pick “The Best Airport in the World.”

One of the most coveted is the Skytrax World Airport Awards. And this year’s awards present a bit of an upset.

For the past eight years Singapore’s Changi Airport (SIA) has won the Skytrax award for Best Airport in the World, but this year Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar has claimed that prize. The airport also took home prizes for Best Airport in the Middle East, the World’s Best Airport in the 25 to 35 million Passenger category, and for the Best Airport Staff in the Middle East.

Here’s the rundown of the Skytrax 10 Top Airports for 2021

  1. Hamad International Airport
  2. Tokyo Haneda Airport
  3. Singapore Changi Airport
  4. Incheon International Airport
  5. Narita International Airport
  6. Munich Airport
  7. Zurich Airport
  8. London Heathrow Airport
  9. Kansai International Airport
  10. Hong Kong International Airport

Some other airports winners of note: Istanbul Airport got the nod for World’s Most Improved Airport. Singapore’s Changi Airport got the award for World’s Best Airport Staff. And Tokyo Haneda Airport was declared the World’s Cleanest Airport.

No U.S. airport made the Global Top Ten list, but here are the winners in the Best Airports in North America category this year:

  • Vancouver International Airport
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport
  • Toronto Pearson Airport
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Houston Hobby Airport
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • San Fransico International Airport
  • Montreal International Airport

Another category we like to call out in the Skytrax contest is the World’s Best Airport Hotels. But because many airport hotels have and still are being used for COVID arrival quarantine purposes or were fully or partially closed during the height of the pandemic, Skytrax decided to skip that category this year. The Best Airport Leisure Amenities category, Best Airport Shopping, and some other categories were skipped this year as well.

Airport attractions we miss: Changi Airport

As we enter another week of staying off the road and close to home, we find ourselves missing the fun of hanging out in airports that go the extra mile to make the terminals enjoyable.

With lots of greenery and gardens, cool shops and restaurants and plenty of entertaining art, Singapore’s Changi Airport is one of the best.

Here are just a few of Changi’s treasures we look forward to seeing on a future trip.

A Million Times at Changi

Kinetic Rain sculpture

Light & Sound Show – Rain Vortex at Jewel Changi Airport

What airport attractions are you missing?

Winners: World’s Best Airports for 2020

Even if spending time in an airport was once your least favorite part of traveling, we bet standing in line to go through security is probably sounding pretty good.

And when the time comes to begin traveling again, we hope that adventure will begin or end in one of the winners from the 2020 Skytrax World Airport Awards.

To no one’s surprise, Singapore’s Changi Airport wins the award for the World’s Best Airport for the eighth consecutive year.

Already a four-terminal wonderland of shops, restaurants, gardens, wide-open spaces and fun activities, in 2019 Changi opened The Jewel.

The bonus addition connects three of the airport’s four terminals and is filled with more shops, restaurants, gardens and activities built around a circular 130-foot tall Rain Vortex that is the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

Courtesy Changi Airport

Changi also won the award for the World’s Best Airport Leisure Amenities, ahead of South Korea’s Incheon Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

Here’s the full list of the winners for World’s Top 10 Airports 2020:

  1. Singapore Changi Airport
  2. Tokyo Haneda Airport
  3. Hamad International Airport Doha
  4. Incheon International Airport
  5. Munich Airport
  6. Hong Kong International Airport
  7. Narita International Airport
  8. Central Japan International Airport
  9. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
  10. Kansai International Airport
Richmond, British Columbia on December 16, 2015. (BEN NELMS for YVR)

In the Best Airports in North America category, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) took the top spot, followed by Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), Denver International Airport (DEN) and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

No North American airport shows up on the 2020 list of winners for World’s Cleanest Airports (Tokyo’s Haneda Airport wins that category) or World’s Best Airport Dining (Narita International Airport in Tokyo wins there).

However, the Houston Airport System took first place in the World’s Best Website and Digital Services category.

See the full list of winners in all categories on the Skytrax World Airport Awards website.

Airports upping their safety act with helmets and more

What are airports up to now?

If you’re heading to an airport now or sometime in the future, the new normal is going to be, well, different.

Masks for everyone, please.

As more and more airlines now require each employee and passenger to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth, airports from Seattle to Singapore are adding that requirement to anyone entering the terminals.

Temperature checks may become the new normal.

Airports in Asia have been scanning travelers’ temperatures for quite some time.

Now Fiumicino Airport in Rome is using ‘smart helmets’ to check the temperature of passengers.

The device is worn by airport workers and allows them to check and measure the body temperature of passengers at a distance.

Frontier Airlines, which stepped back from charging an extra fee to keep middle seats free, will begin pre-boarding temperature screenings for passengers on June 1.

Customers will be screened via touchless thermometers prior to boarding.

If the temperature reading is 100.4 degrees or higher, they will be given time to rest and, if the flight departure time allows, get another temperature check.

“If the second check is 100.4 degrees or higher, a Frontier gate agent will explain to the customer that they will not be flying that day for the health and safety of others,” the airline said in its statement. Any passenger with a 100.4 degrees or higher fever will be offered the option to rebook travel on a later date or make other arrangements.

And don’t be surprised if in the not-too-distant future TSA officers scan you for a fever at the same time they’re looking through your stuff.

What do you think of these moves? Will it make you feel safer when you fly?