Heathrow Terminal 5 is the Best Airport Terminal in the World???

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You could easily be forgiven for wondering whether I got my dates mixed up and that this article was meant to go out yesterday morning (1st April)… but I’m really not joking when I state that the airline and airport rating agency SKYTRAX has awarded Terminal 5 at London Heathrow the title of ‘World’s Best Airport Terminal’.

If you’re currently thinking, “T5 probably isn’t even the best terminal at Heathrow!”, you’ll no doubt be interested to hear that Heathrow Terminal 2 is apparently the 4th best Terminal in the world – after Singapore Changi Terminal 3 and Terminal 2 at Munich.

You can check out the full top 10 below:

  1. London Heathrow – T5
  2. Singapore Changi – T3
  3. Munich – T2
  4. London Heathrow – T2
  5. Dubai – T3
  6. Singapore Changi – T4
  7. Tokyo Haneda – International Terminal
  8. Guangzhou Baiyun – T2
  9. Madrid Barajas – T4
  10. Baku – T1

Ross Baker, the (presumably delighted!) Chief Commercial Officer at Heathrow Airport had this to say,

“To have two of our terminals be voted amongst the world’s top five is testament to the hard work our team has done to transform Heathrow for the better. We are tremendously pleased our passengers are not only voting for us through these awards – but also with their feet – as we saw with this year’s record breaking numbers. Going forward, we will continue to invest in Heathrow to give passengers an enjoyable, reliable and affordable journey every time they travel through the airport.”

The list of top 10 best airports is less surprising, but could perhaps still raise a few eyebrows:

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

Bottom line

I’m not looking to be nasty or unfair to Heathrow here, I’m just genuinely baffled by the result. When things go to plan, Heathrow is ‘fine’ – it’s not (usually) the nightmare some people make it out to be and every airport has to cope with the occasional challenging day. But, “Best Airport Terminal in the World”? No chance.

Maybe I’ve just been oblivious to T5s charms; what do you think about the award?


  1. Andrew H says

    It’s Ludicrous.

    For the first few years when T5 opened, it was a pleasant place to be – never overcrowded and quite relaxing. Then they closed T1 and a ton of flights shifted over and the place became massively overcrowded. So did the lounges. It’s a stressful experience.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Based on that, I can only assume that SKYTRAX would put you in the ‘maybe’ column Andrew! Otherwise, I’m really not at all sure how they managed to get it to the number 1 spot.

  2. A K says

    They obviously dont consider general access lounges given the aspire lounge that never has enough room, only has about 8 bread rolls out at any one time at breakfast which last for about 60 seconds then take 10 mins to refil and that theres never anyone staffing the bar so you have to stand there for 5 mins every single time.

    The terminal is okay, but to beat changi?!

    • Joe Deeney says

      Yeah – as I say, I don’t particularly dislike Heathrow/T5 anymore than I do most large, busy airports, but best in the world???

  3. David S says

    Maybe it was a typo!!! I have been through most of them and no way is T5 the best terminal. Would love to know the criteria and who voted.

  4. DREW dunn says

    Where is Atlanta , San Francisco , Washington DC , ? I have never went in a healthrow terminal without ceiling panels missing , cables hanging down , half the walkways stationary , etc . Even Malaga , Paris , and Auckland is more fun to visit .

  5. Mike Wynn says

    Yet more Brits condeming anything British. For goodness sake stop moaning and be proud of a number 1result. Terminal5 is certainly very busy (again isn’t that good for Britain) but has excellent BA lounges and fantastic shopping opportunities .

    • Joe Deeney says

      Hi Mike,

      I’m extremely happy to celebrate success when it’s deserved, but nobody in their right mind can genuinely believe that T5 is the best airport terminal in the world – it’s, arguably, not even the best terminal at Heathrow! There are many wondrous, beautiful and truly world-leading things in the UK, but T5 sadly isn’t one of them.

      • Andrew H says

        I’m in agreement with Joe. Mike, we’re not moaning – if Heathrow wants to consider itself one of the best airports in the world, it’s got some considerable work to do to catch up with the likes of Singapore Changi.

        • Craig Sowerby says

          I’ve never quite shared the fetish-isation surrounding Changi as the ideal airport or whatever. It has a lot of things I don’t want or need from an airport, and is quite spread out so that getting to your gate takes forever.

          What Heathrow T5 does well, from the perspective of a BA frequent flyer, is get you through fast track security quickly and into a decent lounge with the underground trains to get you to your gate. Take away that Gold or Silver card and it’s an entirely different experience.

          • Joe Deeney says

            Agreed – I’ve had good experiences at Changi and some not so good ones (like most airports). To be honest, unless I’ve got access to an incredible lounge and time to kill, I normally want an airport to be as small as possible (without being crowded!).

            You’re also spot on about T5 – if you’re flying First or have Gold status, it’s actually very good these days, but that’s obviously not how most people normally experience it. Flying Biz or with Silver, I’d say it’s quite good, but still nothing special.

    • D H Dunn says

      Where is the excellent shopping ? It is great for getting ripped off . A lot of the products are cheaper on the high street . Go to Dubia , Hong Kong , Qatar and experience great shopping

  6. Mike Williams says

    Just come from Heathrow 5 to Changi and can you compare the number of flights and passengers in each? Changi is lovely -also quite quiet and empty. Compare like with like

    • Joe Deeney says

      In 2018 Changi had about 65 million passengers a year (more this year with the new terminal – the intention is to get to about 85 million), Heathrow was about 80 million passengers, so there’s a difference but not a massive one. Once the new Terminal at Changi is running at capacity, the airport will serve more passengers than Heathrow – and there’s no reason to think that standards there will fall to compensate, given that the new terminal looks great.

      It’s not just about Changi though – as I think I said in the article, Heathrow T5 is usually fine, it’s just nowhere near the “best in the world”. Top 10 at an airport serving over xx million passengers would still be pushing it.

  7. Ron says

    I would love to agree, but it is just not true. Generally speaking both T2 & T3 are better than T5.
    Maybe, as another contributor has stated, it is true for Gold Members or persons flying first class, but it is definitely not true for persons flying business class. I cannot imagine economy class travellers fare much better, although there is a good selection of bars serving food that often seem more attractive than the BA business class lounges.

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