Small airports soar in UK survey

Ahead of the bank holiday get away, the 2014 Which? UK airport passenger survey reveals how you can avoid Holiday Hassles by choosing a small airport.

The annual Which? member survey of UK airports finds that small airports are, on average, providing a better experience than larger ones. Southend comes top for the second year running, jointly with Doncaster Sheffield both scoring an impressive 85% customer score.

We rate airports on areas that matter the most to consumers, including pick-up and drop-off, seating provision, queues at security, passport control and baggage reclaim.  Southend airport managed to achieve a full five-star rating in seven of the 10 categories.

The highest rated larger airport, Newcastle, only managed a customer score of 66%. Luton remained grounded coming bottom again this year with just 37%, dropping 6 percentage points from last year. The airport was described by one member as a ‘hell hole’.

Which? believes people deserve to have an enjoyable, stress-free break which is why we launched our Stop the Holiday Hassles campaign. We found baggage reclaim was a top holiday gripe, with 37% of Which? members naming it as one of their biggest airport frustrations. Large airports fare particularly badly on this, with 14 of the 20 large airports we looked at scoring only two stars for queues at baggage reclaim.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said:

“The message from travellers is clear – larger airports continue to let people down on the basics, from baggage reclaim to food outlets. People deserve an enjoyable break without any stress, so we want to hear from consumers so that we can help to stop the holiday hassles.”

In a separate snapshot investigation, we checked to see what savings can be made on package holidays when travellers are willing to fly from any airport up to a two-hour drive from Birmingham, London or Manchester city centres. We found holidaymakers could save almost £600 by switching their chosen airport on a seven-night break. A summer holiday to Portugal departing from Luton with Thomson could be £584 cheaper if you flew from Gatwick instead.

Consumers can get clued up on their rights if they are affected by delays or cancellations on holiday, by visiting the Which? Consumer Rights website which has free advice and information.


Notes to editors:

1.    In June 2014, we asked Which? members to complete an online survey about their experiences of flying from and to an airport in the UK. Results are based on experiences from 7,011 members.

2.    Airport frustrations statistic is based on a representative sample of 1,032 Which? members surveyed in May 2014.

3.    Please find below a table of top six and bottom six overall airports:


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