London’s Luton airport has received the unwelcome accolade of the UK’s worst airport for the third year in a row.
Consumer association Which? surveyed over 11,000 members on their experiences of UK airports over the last year, with ratings for queues at bag drop, check-in, security and passport control, as well as baggage reclaim facilities, the range and pricing of food and retail outlets, customer seating, toilets and staffing.
Luton airport received an overall rating of just 35 per cent, placing it at the bottom of the list of larger airports (those handling over ten million passengers per year), and with a worse rating than the bottom placed small airport (Aberdeen – with a rating of 49 per cent).
The overall winner of the survey was Doncaster Sheffield airport, which received a customer rating of 87 per cent, with praise for its short queues and speedy baggage handling process.
In the larger airports category Heathrow T5 received the top rating of 63 per cent, followed by Birmingham (61 per cent), Heathrow T2 (60 per cent), Edinburgh (59 per cent) and Gatwick’s North Terminal (57 per cent).
London Stansted airport and Manchester’s Terminal 3 came joint second bottom overall in the survey, receiving a customer rating of just 44 per cent.
Which? highlighted one comment from a passenger complaining that Manchester airport is “too small for the numbers it’s trying to handle”.
It should be noted that Luton, Stansted and Manchester are all currently undergoing major development and expansion programmes. Luton is investing £150 million to increase capacity by 50 per cent by 2020, while Manchester airport is one year into a £1 billion transformation programme, and Stansted is also undergoing a £600 million transformation project.
The customer score in the Which? survey is based on a combination of overall satisfaction, and how likely respondents were to recommend the airport to a friend.
In response to the findings, Nick Barton, CEO of London Luton Airport, said:
“Which? polled 521 of its subscribers who had travelled through the airport between May 2017 and May 2018, 0.003 per cent of all passengers in that period. During this time we’ve undergone a period of significant change, investing £160 million redeveloping the airport to increase capacity and transform the passenger experience.
“In the first six months of 2018 alone, 1.2 million passengers responded to our customer service tracking, 70 per cent of whom told us they were happy with their experience.
“As we near the end of our the biggest transformation we’re proud to have recently opened 30 new shops and restaurants, we’ve added close to a thousand new seats throughout the terminal and doubled the size of our security search area.
“Evidence of our focus on improving the passenger experience is paying off, last week we were voted the best airport in London and objective data from the Civil Aviation Authority shows LLA has a perceived security wait time of just over five minutes with 82 per cent of passengers stating their satisfaction with security. Our advice is people should come and experience LLA for themselves.”