Skytrax names new best airport for 2021

There’s a new world’s best airport, according to Skytrax which has handed out its World Airport Awards for 2021.

Hamad International Airport (HIA) in Doha, Qatar has been named the Best Airport in the World, beating out perennial winner Singapore Changi Airport which this year took third spot, just behind Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

Other winners included Istanbul Airport, which was voted the World’s Most Improved Airport, Changi Airport Singapore was recognized for having the World’s Best Airport Staff while’s Tokyo Haneda Airport was voted the World’s Cleanest Airport. In the 35 to 45 million passenger category, Guangzhou Baiyun Airport in China was considered the world’s best.

Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) also won awards for Best Airport in the Middle East, Best Airport 25 to 35 million Passengers, Best Airport Staff in the Middle East, and COVID-19 Airport Excellence.

“Inaugurated in 2014, Hamad International Airport has rapidly become a customer favourite and moved from No 3 in the world in 2020 to be ranked World’s Best Airport this year,” said Edward Plaisted of Skytrax.

“As travel hubs worldwide have been impacted by the pandemic, Hamad International Airport was undeterred by the global travel disruptions and continued with its expansion plans while introducing additional airport health and safety standards.”

In response to the pandemic, HIA accommodated changing traveller needs for increased sanitisation measures and contactless services by implementing advanced technological solutions. The airport retrofitted its existing services with touchless capabilities at key passenger touchpoints such as self-check-in, self-bag-drop and terminal elevators. It implemented its home-grown automated facial detection system to ensure the wearing of masks for all its staff.

HIA uses its Smart Screening Helmets for contactless temperature measurement and autonomous disinfectant robots that emitting concentrated UV light in high passenger flow areas to protect the airport environment.

Here in Canada, the nation’s three largest airports cracked the top 100 with Vancouver finishing in 24th, Toronto was in 38th place and Montreal was 63rd.


Unlike YYZ and YVR, YUL won’t separate vaccinated from unvaccinated passengers

Montreal Trudeau airport welcome to Canada sign

Even as Toronto and Vancouver’s international airports have stated they would divide arriving passengers by vaccination status in order to streamline customs inspections, Montreal’s Trudeau International Airport has already abandoned the practice.

“The goal was to have a smooth process; however the configuration of the area in the primary border control inspection line and the volume of fully vaccinated passengers did not permit the goal of smooth traffic flow,” Anne Marcotte, director of public relations for the Aéroports de Montréal airport authority explained in an email to Presse Canadienne.

Some medical experts say that the idea to separate passengers by vaccination status is a good idea, for a variety of reasons.

“This will allow people to move very quickly, in and out of customs and what not,” said Saskatoon-based intensive care unit physician Dr. Hassan Masri in an interview with CTV News. “But also in addition to that, I think it’s good to have a way to minimize the risk of interactions with other people who are potentially higher risk of having COVID-19 or spreading it.”

Even though Canadian border agents are asking incoming travellers for proof of vaccination status, Canada does not yet have any sort of official vaccine passport or certificate for its own citizens.

So far, the federal government has pushed the idea to the provincial level, but there’s no agreement between provinces on what approach to take. The premier of the country’s most populous province, Doug Ford, rejected the idea earlier this month saying “we’re not gonna have a split society.”

But Toronto-based emergency physician Dr. Kashif Pirzada told CTV News that he believes vaccine passports are a good tool to encourage people to get the vaccine.

“You know, we’ve tried the carrot approach, maybe it’s time with vaccine passports for a more coercive approach to convince people on the fence,” said Pirzada. “There’s people who will always refuse and they have that right. But we need to move on as a society. I don’t think this economy in this country can afford a fourth lockdown.”

Flight Aware lets you map airline flights around the world

Flight Aware screenshot

There are numerous flight trackers online which let #avgeeks track flights on every speck of the globe.

I’m a fan of Flight Aware, although am too cheap and not that plane obsessed that I subscribe to their premium service, but if you’re a hardcore airplane fan, you might want to consider it.

Click on one of the thousands of plane icons on Flight Aware map and you get information about the flight’s point of origin and destination along with vital flight data and other details about the plane and its flight history.

While I was grounded from travel during the pandemic, I would like to call up Flight Aware to look at the flights around me and in exotic locales to imagine what it was like to be flying again. Whenever a plane would fly overhead, I’d check to see where it was coming from or where it was going to and envied those aboard.

If you’re curious about the ebb and flow of flights around the world, then Flight Aware is a great tool to turn you into a planespotter. Or you can simply use it to track the flights of friends and family as they finally fly to reunite with each other.

Travel Quiz #7 – Airport code or text abbreviation? Can you tell the difference?

texting on a smartphone

Airlines rely on handy three-letter codes to identify the world’s airports while smartphone users are fond of three-letter abbreviations to use as shorthand in their texts. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell an airport code from a text abbreviation which is why we have this quiz. Can you tell which is which?

Welcome to your Travel Trivia Quiz #7 - Text abbreviation or airport code?

Is BRD an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Is CAK an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Is BRB an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Is SMH an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Is IYK an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Is NVM an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Is LIT an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Is OFC an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Is ILY an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Is ACK an airport code or a text abbreviation?

Women like to get to the airport earlier than men, survey reveals

One of the biggest hassles of travel for me is having to wait at the airport, which is pretty much in line with a recent survey that found women are more eager than men to get to the airport early in order to avoid missing their flights.

A survey of 230 travellers, commissioned by the GO Group, LLC, an international ground transportation provider, found that 47 per cent of women preferred to get to the airport at least two hours in advance of departure time for a domestic flight compared to only 39 per cent of men.

More men (42 per cent) thought 90 minutes was the ideal time to arrive, although an equal number of women agreed. Meanwhile, 14 per cent of men thought an hour was enouugh time as did 10 per cent of women. Unsurprisingly, no one thought 30 minutes was enough time.

The results were different for international flights, with 44 per cent of women and 39 per cent of men saying they arrived three or more hours prior to their departure time. The preferred time was two hours with half of the men (50 per cent) and women (52 per cent) choosing that amount of time. Only eight per cent of men and two per cent of women said 90 minutes was their target, while another two per cent cut things close, arriving just one hour prior to their scheduled departure.

Clearly, how you respond to the question depends a lot on the airport you are leaving from and the time of day. All I know is that no matter how much I tell myself I will leave later for the airport to avoid waiting, I still end up spending far too much time sitting at the departure gate.