Best High-Tech Airports and Airlines
No contest. Two words that sum up the model airports and airlines of the planet versus the duds and the flops. And in what can be no bombshell to anyone with a pulse, the best of the best, high-tech or otherwise, cluster primarily in parts of the world with sunny economic upsides, massive capital investments in infrastructure and significant expat numbers. In other words, Asia and the Persian Gulf.
With that, take a look at ten airports and airlines where perks like WiFi, iPad docks, luxe lounges and in-flight entertainment systems and shower spas come standard.
Munich Airport – Photo credit
Hong Kong International Airport
The airport that has won more awards over the last decade than any other is the high-tech hub exemplar. Hyper-efficient and spotless, Hong Kong International’s state-of-the-art rapid transit system makes the trip to Central in 24 minutes, with complimentary hotel and MTR transfers.
Where to stay: The Langham Hong Kong Hotel
Singapore Changi Airport
Another Skytrax 5-star airport, Singapore Changi’s sleek high-tech bent looks like it came from the analytical wellspring of a crack operations management team. Clearly, this is an airport built for the upwardly-mobile 21st century leisure and business traveller.
Where to stay: Marina Mandarin Singapore
Incheon International Airport
South Korea is bound to make a star turn on any high-tech list and the realm of airports and airlines is no exception. Incheon International is a perpetual candidate for the best in the world with Hong Kong International and Singapore Changi. With a sci-fi look and WiFi ethos, it makes airports in North America and most of Western Europe look like dinosaurs.
Where to stay: JW Marriott Hotel Seoul
While no secret that Munich Airport is one of, if not the best in Europe, that alone is insufficient to secure it a spot with the likes of Incheon, Changi and Hong Kong. Relatively new Terminal 2 tips the scales, however, and is up there with the best in Asia.
Where to stay: Mandarin Oriental Munich Hotel
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Facility and amenity-wise, few airports eclipse KL International. The roomy, immaculate hub of Malaysia is one of only nine 4-star Skytrax airports in the world.
Where to stay: Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur By Shangri-la
The flag carriers of the Persian Gulf are embroiled in a fierce war of financial attrition for prestige credibility and moneyed, international executive-level business passengers. As a result, Qatar Airways and its ilk are equipping fleets with some of the most jaw-droppingly plush premium class cabins and amenities the airline industry has ever seen. The Doha company won the Skytrax Airline of the Year Award in 2011.
Changi, as one of the best airports in the world, has a worthy, accolade-laden flag carrier. From economy to first class, Singapore Airlines pampers passengers like no other carrier in Southeast Asia.
With a Skytrax Airline of the Year win in 2010, Asiana Airlines took a lot of wind out of Korean Air’s sails. The Star Alliance carrier is the one to take from Incheon International.
Etihad’s Diamond First Class is so legendary it has prompted dozens of YouTube tributes with hundreds of thousands of subsequent views. In a (hyphenated) word: ultra-high-tech.
From its fuel efficient Alliance GP7200 engines to its sophisticated Flex Track passenger load and flight routing technology, Emirates is on the cusp. Naturally, however, what dominates headlines is the carrier’s Ã¼ber-swank First Class suites.