The best and worst airports in the UK

Doncaster Sheffield gets highest rating from passengers while Belfast International scores lowest

(Image credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Belfast International has been ranked the UK’s worst airport in a consumer survey, with an approval rating of just 42%.

Passengers quizzed for the annual poll by Which? magazine said Northern Ireland’s busiest airport was “understaffed” and “shabby”, and has a “poor layout”.

London Luton Airport did almost as badly, with a 43% approval score, followed by Manchester Terminal 3.

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A total of 4,499 Which? members were asked to give ratings in categories including queue times, seating, toilets and staff.

Belfast International Airport managing director Graham Keddie told the BBC that the survey took place just after the airport invested more than £1m in its security systems, following months of complaints about long delays.

“We have now got a tracking system in place and we’re seeing more than 90% of our passengers going through in less than 15 minutes,” he said.

London Luton bosses also defended their poor rating, amid complaints of “congested” security queues and “limited seating”. Luton scored the lowest of all airports with more than ten million passengers a year for the fourth consecutive time, reports The Independent.

A spokesperson for the airport, which underwent improvement works in 2018, said: “We’re disappointed by our ranking but pleased to see this year’s customer score has improved 23% compared to last year.

“This highlights passengers are now beginning to see the benefits of our £160m redevelopment.”

At the other end of the scale, Doncaster Sheffield Airport landed the top spot, getting a score of 86% from customers, who described it as “easy to navigate” and “cosy”.

Next up for best airports of any size were London Southend and Southampton, while Heathrow’s Terminal 5 scored highest of all of the country’s larger flight hubs.

Which? Travel’s Naomi Leach said: “It is clear that smaller airports are generally outperforming their larger counterparts with seamless security checks and friendly staff making the biggest impression with flyers.”

Best large airports

London Heathrow Terminal 5 - customer score 66%

Birmingham - customer score 65%

London Heathrow Terminal 2 - customer score 64%

Worst large airports

London Stansted - customer score 49%

Manchester Terminal 3 - customer score 47%

London Luton - customer score 43%

Best small airports

Doncaster Sheffield - customer score 86%

London Southend - customer score 79%

Southampton - customer score 77%

Worst small airports

Leeds Bradford - customer score 53%

Aberdeen - customer score 50%

Belfast International - customer score 42%

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