Singapore's Changi Airport clinched the "World's Best Airport"

UPDATE: Sept 2010

Super Slide Opens in Singapore Airport

Who cares about delayed flights when you can pass the time riding a 40-foot-tall, jumbo twister slide?

Singapore’s Changi Airport recently unveiled the Slide@T3, the tallest slide in Singapore and, for the record, in any airport around the world. The attraction is the latest addition to a long list I like to call, “ridiculously amazing things to have in an airport,” including a movie theater, a rooftop swimming pool, and the Butterfly Garden (which is also home to a collection of 200 carnivorous or insectivorous plants).

For every $22 spent in the airport, adrenaline junkies (or really brave little kids) get tokens for two rides on the slide. Visitors who don’t want to travel at the speed of 19 feet a second, can take a ride down the shorter, one-and-a-half-story tall slide located at Terminal 3 Basement 2, which is free.

For a snapshot of the slide ride, check out the video (complete with jazzy music) below.

Changi Airport slipped to third place last year in the Skytrax rankings because of its washrooms and service, causing a stir.

But this year the airport flew back into first place again when on Tuesday, it won the World's Best Airport award ahead of South Korea's Incheon and Hong Kong, which ranked second and third, respectively.

The Skytrax accolade is the third and latest the airport has won this year; last month, it was awarded Top Worldwide Airport by British travel magazine Wanderlust, and Best Airport in Asia Pacific by DestinAsian, an Asian publication.

So how did Changi turn things around? Through rigorous reviews, and enhanced facilities and services, a Changi Airport Group (CAG) spokesman said. In the area of cleanliness, for instance, it was previously reported that its cleaners, numbering more than a thousand, had been sent for retraining.

They are trained to mop the floors "sector by sector", and to "try their best to clean every cubicle after each user leaves", said Ms Eriyani Sarfoodin, senior resident manager of Campaign Cleaning Solutions, the company contracted to clean Terminal 3.

Greater emphasis was also placed on service training, with half a day's training allocated for this.

"We encouraged them to smile often, and put up friendly faces," said Ms Eriyani.

Cleaners were also trained in the "do's and don'ts" of airport safety and regulations, and taught to hand lost items to information counters immediately.

Whenever toilets were closed for renovation, they also had to be able to direct passengers to the nearest washroom in operation. However, its reviews extended beyond washroom cleanliness, and covered "multiple aspects" including efficiency and flow of airport operations, amenities and facilities, as well as customer service standards, said the CAG spokesman.

This year's Skytrax survey covered 9.8 million travellers of over 100 nationalities amid "an extremely competitive survey environment", noted Skytrax chairman Edward Plaisted. It is Changi's third Skytrax win.

CAG's chief executive Lee Seow Hiang attributed the airport's success to "affirmation, encouragement and feedback" from stakeholders.

For Ms Eriyani and her colleagues, it is proof that their extra efforts have made a difference. "We had to work together as a team in order to (regain) this status as best airport in the world," she said.

TOP 10 World's Best Airport:

Changi Airport, Singapore: Rank 1
Recognised as one of the best airports in the world, it has 80 airlines serving 200 cities in 60 countries. The airport now has an annual handling capacity of more than 70 million passengers.
Changi Airport handles more than 4,500 arrivals and departures every week, and over 37 million passengers a year.
With over 40,000 square meters of commercial space, Changi Airport also has Singapore's largest shopping location.

Incheon International Airport, Seoul: Rank 2
The Incheon International Airport at Seoul airport has unique luxury features such as a golf course, spa, private sleeping rooms, a casino, and indoor gardens.
Incheon is the main hub for Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and Polar Air Cargo. It is connected to the mainland by Incheon International Airport Expressway (Expressway 130), a part of which is Yeongjong Bridge.
The airport is served by frequent bus service from all parts of South Korea as well as by traditional ferry service between Yeongjong pier and Incheon.
Airport limousines operate around the clock from Seoul to Incheon, and several backup highway buses escort people from places within and outside Seoul.
The airport opened for business in early 2001, replacing the older Gimpo International Airport, which now serves only domestic destinations.

Hong Kong International Airport: Rank 3
The Hong Kong International Airport has about 90 airlines operating flights to around 150 destinations worldwide. HKIA also operates one of the world's largest passenger terminal buildings.
Direct ferry services are available from the airport to various destinations throughout the Pearl River Delta.
The airport saw a passenger movement of 46.1 million in 2009. The airport offers a great shopping and dining experience.

Munich Airport: Rank 4
Munich Franz Josef StraussAirport is the second busiest airport in Germany in terms of passenger traffic (34.73 million in 2008), behind Frankfurt Airport.
Most of the airport's facilities are located in the area between the two runways.
The approach road and railway divide the west part into a southern half, which contains cargo and maintenance facilities and a northern half, which contains mostly administrative buildings, a holiday long-term parking lot and the visitors' centre.
The Munich Airport Centre is a shopping, business and recreation area that connects the two terminals.
Airport authorities cater to visitors and sight-seers by creating a 'Visitors Park' that includes a 'Visitors Hill' from which a good view can be obtained of the westerly aircraft apron and Terminal 1.

Kuala Lumpur Airport: Rank 5
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is one of southeast Asia's major aviation hubs.
It is also Malaysia's main international airport.
The airport is designed to handle up to 100 million passengers per year.
The runways and buildings cover an area of 100 square kilometres. With its 75 ramp stands, it is capable of handling 120 aircraft movements at a time. There are 216 check-in counters at the airport.

Zurich Airport: Rank 6
Zurich Airport is Switzerland's largest international flight gateway and th ehub for Swiss airlines.
The airport lost a lot of traffic when Swissair shut down its operations. Since Lufthansa took over its successor, Swiss International Air Lines, traffic has started growing again.
Zurich Airport handled 22.1 million passengers in 2008. Skyguide is responsible for all air traffic control at the Zurich airport.

Amsterdam Airport: Rank 7
Amsterdam airport, Schiphol, is the Netherlands' main international airport.
Schiphol has large shopping areas as a source of revenue and as an additional attraction for passengers.
Schiphol Plaza is the shopping centre before customs, hence it is used by air travellers and non-travelling visitors.
The Rijksmuseum operates an annex at the airport, offering a small overview of both classical and contemporary art. Admission to the exhibits is free.
Schiphol has its own mortuary, where the dead can be handled and kept before departure or after arrival. Since October 2006, people can also get married at Schiphol.
For aviation enthusiasts, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has a large rooftop viewing area, called the Panoramaterras.

Beijing Capital International Airport: Rank 8
The Beijing Capital International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in China.
In 2009, it won the Cond Nast Traveler magazine's World's Best Airport Award for factors such as cleanness, speed of security/immigration clearance and luggage handling.
More than 5,000 scheduled flights are available to 88 cities in China and 69 cities abroad.
The enormous Terminal 3 was added in 2008. This is the second largest airport terminal in the world after Dubai International Airport's Terminal 3, and the third largest building in the world by area.
The T3 food-service area offers the best dining experience at the same prices as in central Beijing.

Auckland Airport: Rank 9
Auckland Airport is one of New Zealand's most important infrastructure assets, providing thousands of jobs for the region and is the country's second largest cargo 'port' by value, contributing around $14 billion to the economy and catering to over four million visitors each year.
The airport handles 5 15 million passengers annually.

Bangkok Airport: Rank 10
Suvarnabhumi Airport, also known as (New) Bangkok International Airport, is an international airport serving Bangkok, Thailand.
The airport is currently the main hub for Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Orient Thai Airlines and Thai AirAsia.
Designed by Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn Architects, this airport has the world's tallest control tower and the world's third largest single-building airport terminal.
Suvarnabhumi is one of the busiest airports in Asia and is also a major air cargo hub.


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