Doha is the best airport

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

The annual Skytrax awards which anoint the best airports in the world according to votes cast on Skytrax have been announced.

An image of the departures area at the airport in Doha from 2019 when I last flew through it

This year, for the first time in many years, the top award has not gone to an Asian airport but to the airport in Doha in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar.

I have been at Hamad International Airport on four occasions before the pandemic and I can confirm that it is a very clean,modern, well-laid out airport and that I had no problems getting around or through the airport. As an entry and introduction to Qatar it is as good as you would expect from a go-ahead industrious modern state.

But here’s the rub and this shouldn’t reflect on the airport at all.

The awards were based on a passenger satisfaction survey that was carried out between August 2020 and July 2021.

Now it may have escaped your attention but the period during which the voting took place was one where passenger traffic was badly hit by the pandemic. Very few passengers were flying according to IATA and those that were tended to have special dispensation by governments in order to fly.

The one thing that can be clearly said without any argument was that it was not a typical year.

The passenger make-up was very different and the numbers were low.

Why, then, should there be any awards at all when it is impossible to compare the results with previous years to say one airport is better in the eyes of passengers than another?

Even the worst airport in the world would seem better with fewer passengers travelling through it. There would be no queues or fewer queues and the only delays would be the extra time needed to process the health information that is a standard requirement of flying these days.

Normal it most certainly isn’t.

So why did Skytrax bother to carry out a customer satisfaction survey during the pandemic?

Only they can answer but it might be to maintain its name in front of its clients and future clients – to tell people that it hadn’t disappeared from the scene like so many other unfortunate companies did during the pandemic.

Whatever reason, travellers should view the results for this year with a considerable grain of salt.

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