Airports for More Than Taking off ; with Asia in the Lead, Competition Grows to Offer the Best Experience

By Sharkey, Joe | International New York Times, May 9, 2015 | Go to article overview

Airports for More Than Taking off ; with Asia in the Lead, Competition Grows to Offer the Best Experience


Sharkey, Joe, International New York Times


While American airports have improved significantly in the past 25 years, surveys of global travelers show that most top-rated airports are in Asia.

As major airports around the world scramble to brand themselves as luxury entities rather than mere transportation centers, some have adopted a star-ranking system, like hotels. It was inevitable.

Munich Airport, calling itself "Bavaria's gateway to the world," boasts that it has become "Europe's first five-star airport." The five-star distinction was awarded in mid-March to the German airport and four other international airports by the London air-travel research firm Skytrax, based on surveys completed by more than 13 million fliers in 2014.

Modern airports' positioning themselves in a firmament usually occupied by stylish hotels is an indication of how far the concept of airport-as-brand has come in the last 25 years. What used to be utilitarian -- a place to grab a magazine, a candy bar or beer and get on or off a plane -- has become far more elaborate, with amenities at many airports, including art galleries, interior gardens, theaters, mall-like concourses filled with shops and restaurants and, in some foreign airports, exotic experiences.

"Have you flown through the Kuala Lumpur airport?" said Sharon M. Schweitzer, a business traveler who lectures on intercultural communication. "When you get to that airport you have this experience of going into a rain-forest-like setting. The Singapore airport is another example. They have a butterfly garden, a sunflower garden, an area where children can paint; they have movie theaters."

Business travelers who fly mostly to airports in the United States might be amazed by this array of attractions -- Incheon International Airport in Seoul, South Korea, even has a 330-yard golf driving range. But across the board, in the United States and abroad, seasoned travelers generally concur that airports have improved significantly in the last quarter-century, as facilities have expanded and terminals have been modernized to generate local revenue.

And that presents a paradox, with airports becoming more attractive and comfortable for all, even as airline service and amenities have steadily deteriorated in recent years, except for those lucky passengers flying in the highest priced luxury seats in the front of the plane on international routes.

Local governmental entities typically manage airports as showcases to bolster regional economic growth. But airlines fly planes strictly in ways and along the routes dictated by the bottom line.

Since 2008, airports in the United States have committed $52 billion to capital improvement projects, many still underway. Globally, $385 billion worth of projects are in progress, led by China and the Middle East, according to estimates by CAPA Center for Aviation, a research organization.

Surveys of global travelers show that most top-rated airports are in Asia. Of the top five on the Skytrax 2015 list of the world's best 100 airports, Singapore Changi is No.1, followed by Seoul Incheon, Munich, Hong Kong International and Tokyo Haneda International. Airports in the United States do not appear in the top 25, though the Cincinnati, Denver and San Francisco airports are in the top 40.

The American airport industry says it needs more federal tax money for capital improvements to keep pace with those at foreign airports, especially to attract more international business travel, which accounts for 15 percent of all arriving air passengers in the United States. In a speech last year, Kevin M. Burke, the president of the trade group Airports Council International, North America, said airports in the United States were "at the breaking point" in struggling to finance the $75. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Airports for More Than Taking off ; with Asia in the Lead, Competition Grows to Offer the Best Experience
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.