The world’s best and worst airports for remote working

If you need to catch a flight for a meeting abroad or you’re travelling between offices, working from the airport is a productive way to kill some time – especially if your flight gets delayed. Thanks to faster Wi-Fi and quiet lounges, the airport can be the perfect place to get things done while you wait some more at your gate.

But which airports are the best for remote working? We researched the busiest airports in the world to find out where you’re more likely to be able to smash your targets before boarding. In order to rank them from best to worst, we analysed the following factors:

  • Punctuality of flights
  • Overall quality of service
  • Passenger sentiment
  • Number of lounges available
  • Access to free Wi-Fi
  • Number of passengers visiting the airport annually

Taking all these elements into account, we combined and weighted the results to produce an overall index score out of 10 for each airport.

Our research revealed that Narita International Airport in Japan is the best airport for remote working, while Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and London Gatwick were found to have the least favourable environments.

Passenger plane being refuelled in a UK airport.

Read on to find out where you’re more likely to find your work flow, and which airports probably won’t provide a productive environment…

Wifi Score denotes the following:

  • 0. No Wifi in Lounge with Highest number of ratings
  • 0.5. Paid Wifi in Lounge with Highest number of ratings
  • 1. Free Wifi in Lounge with Highest number of ratings
Airport Country Index Score(0-10) On-time Performance (Out of 10) Quality of service (out of 10) Passenger sentiment (out of 10) Passengers (2017) Wifi Score No. of Lounges
Sheremetyevo International
Airport
Russia 7.3 9.1 7.4 7.1 40,092,806 1.0 18
Frankfurt Airport Germany 6.4 7.9 7.8 3 64,500,386 1.0 27
Seattle-Tacoma International
Airport
USA 6.7 8.7 7.8 5.7 46,934,194 1.0 12
Singapore Changi Airport Singapore 7.1 8.5 9.2 5.1 62,219,573 1.0 26
Narita International Airport Japan 7.4 8.3 8.4 4.8 40,631,193 1.0 30
Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Taiwan 7.0 8.1 8 6.8 44,878,703 1.0 16
Seoul Incheon International
Airport
South Korea 6.8 5.9 9 7.5 62,157,834 1.0 18
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport Italy 7.0 8.1 7 6.5 40,968,756 1.0 18
Madrid Barajas Airport Spain 6.7 8.2 7.8 7.5 53,386,075 1.0 9
Barcelona–El Prat Airport Spain 5.8 8 7.4 8 47,262,826 0.5 4
Miami International Airport USA 6.6 8.6 7.2 4.2 44,071,313 1.0 16
George Bush Intercontinental Airport USA 6.6 8.8 7.4 3.4 40,696,189 1.0 16
Tokyo Haneda Airport Japan 6.9 9 8.8 6.1 85,408,975 1.0 26
Munich Airport Germany 6.6 8.2 8.4 3.2 44,577,241 1.0 19
McCarran International
Airport
USA 6.3 8 7.8 5.1 48,566,803 1.0 6
San Francisco International Airport USA 6.6 8.4 8.2 3.5 55,822,129 1.0 21
London Heathrow Airport United Kingdom 6.9 8.2 7.8 2.8 78,014,598 1.0 44
Toronto Pearson International Airport Canada 5.9 6.7 7.2 3.2 47,054,696 1.0 13
Hong Kong International
Airport
Hong Kong 6.8 7.3 8.8 5.8 72,665,078 1.0 25
Los Angeles International Airport USA 6.2 8 7 4.9 84,557,968 1.0 24
Indira Gandhi International
Airport
India 6.1 7.9 8.8 2.4 63,451,503 1.0 17
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport India 6.0 5.5 8.8 4.2 47,204,259 1.0 10
Denver International Airport USA 5.9 8.3 8.2 3.5 61,379,396 1.0 6
Orlando International Airport USA 5.9 8 7.4 2.9 44,511,265 1.0 6
Sydney Kingsford-Smith
Airport
Australia 6.5 8.2 7 2.5 43,410,355 1.0 23
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Netherlands 6.0 8.1 8.2 4.9 68,515,425 1.0 7
O’Hare International Airport USA 5.8 8.1 7.2 2.8 79,828,183 1.0 19
Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport France 6.3 6.7 6.8 5 69,471,442 1.0 26
Dubai International Airport UAE 6.0 5.9 8.8 4.4 88,242,099 1.0 25
Suvarnabhumi Airport Thailand 7.4 6.9 8.4 7.7 60,860,557 1.0 31
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta
International Airport
USA 5.1 8.4 7.8 0.9 103,902,992 1.0 15
Kuala Lumpur International Airport Malaysia 6.7 7.1 7.8 5.8 58,558,440 1.0 23
John F. Kennedy
International Airport
USA 6.6 8.2 7.6 2.8 59,392,500 1.0 30
Istanbul Atatürk Airport Turkey 6.2 7.8 7.8 5.2 63,859,785 1.0 10
Newark Liberty International
Airport
USA 5.7 7.5 6.4 1.5 43,393,499 1.0 14
London Gatwick Airport United Kingdom 5.6 7.3 7.4 0.6 45,561,694 1.0 12

The 10 best airports to remote work from

Ranking Airport Country Index score
1 Narita International Airport Japan 7.4
2 Suvarnabhumi Airport Thailand 7.4
3 Sheremetyevo International Airport Russia 7.3
4 Singapore Changi Airport Singapore 7.1
5 Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Taiwan 7.0
6 Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport Italy 7.0
7 Tokyo Haneda Airport Japan 6.9
8 London Heathrow Airport United Kingdom 6.9
9 Hong Kong International Airport Hong Kong 6.8
10 Seoul Incheon International Airport South Korea 6.8

Japan’s Narita International Airport is the world’s best airport for remote working

Narita International Airport in Japan scores highest across all our ranking factors, making it the best airport to work remotely.

With 30 lounges and free Wi-Fi access, there’s plenty of space to get your head down and plough through your to-do list. Narita is also less crowded than other airports on the list – it sees the second fewest number of passengers walk through its doors (40,631,193), suggesting it’s not too hectic and therefore a place where you can truly concentrate.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand is also a great place to get stuck into your workload. With 31 lounges offering free Wi-Fi access, a high quality of service (8.4), and good passenger sentiment (7.7), you needn’t have to worry about missing important emails while waiting to board your plane.

London Heathrow among one of the best airports to remote work from

Despite being the 6th busiest airport (with 78,014,598 annual passengers), London Heathrow sits comfortably in the top 10 best airports for remote working.

Boasting the highest number of lounges on the list (44), the airport offers plenty of space to escape the crowd and catch up on all-important work. It also had high on-time performance (8.2) and good quality of service (7.8).

The 10 worst airports to remote work from

Ranking Airport Country Index score
1 Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport USA 5.1
2 London Gatwick Airport United Kingdom 5.6
3 Newark Liberty International Airport USA 5.7
4 O’Hare International Airport USA 5.8
5 Barcelona–El Prat Airport Spain 5.8
6 Orlando International Airport USA 5.9
7 Denver International Airport USA 5.9
8 Toronto Pearson International Airport Canada 5.9
9 Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Netherlands 6.0
10 Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport India 6.0

Don’t expect to get any work done at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International or London Gatwick

Passenger plane being refuelled in a UK airport.

The world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, USA, may have scored well for on time performance (8.4) and quality of service (7.4), but it got low marks for passenger sentiment (0.9), receiving an overall ranking of 5.1.

While the flights might usually be on time, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta only has 15 lounges to accommodate its annual 103, 902,992 passengers. This congested environment undoubtedly makes it a difficult place to concentrate on emails and other tasks.

London Gatwick Airport follows closely behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, receiving an overall index rating of 5.6 and ranking the lowest for passenger sentiment (0.6). However, it scored well for on-time performance (7.3) and quality of service (7.4) suggesting it prioritises flight experience over airport facilities.

Forget about checking emails at Barcelone-El Prat airport

Barcelona-El Prat also fares badly for remote working and is the only airport on the list without free Wi-Fi access in its lounges (0.5). With only four lounges, finding some quiet space to get in the working mindset is also likely to be difficult.

It did, however, top the list for passenger sentiment (8.0), meaning it could be a great option if you want to unwind and forget about your to-do list before your flight!

For more ways to improve your remote working experience while waiting around at the airport, take a look at our web conferencing services.

Methodology

Overall score

The airports were selected from the top 50 busiest according to Wikipedia: Airports by Passenger Traffic. The overall score was calculated by analysing each of the different factors that relate to remote working: on-time performance, quality of service, passenger sentiment, Wi-Fi data, and number of passengers in 2017. We then then combined and weighted the results to produce an overall score out of 10 for each airport.

Lounge data: Lounge data taken from Lounge Buddy.

Wi-Fi data: Wi-Fi data taken from Lounge Buddy. We picked the lounge with the most ratings as of October 2018 and looked at whether it had free Wi-Fi, working under the assumption that the rest of the lounges offered the same.

Wi-Fi score denotes the following:

  • 0: No Wi-Fi in lounge with highest number of ratings
  • 0.5: Paid Wi-Fi in lounge with highest number of ratings
  • 1: Free Wi-Fi in lounge with highest number of ratings

On-time performance: Data sourced from AirHelp.

Quality of service: Data sourced from AirHelp.

Passenger sentiment: Data sourced from AirHelp.