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UK Airports

Best and worst small UK airports

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Want to know the best airport to fly from on your next holiday? We reveal which small UK airports are rated best by customers.

More than 100 million passengers use London Heathrow and London Gatwick every year, but what can you expect when flying from one of the UK's smaller airports? Will you be guaranteed shorter queuing times? Will you be able to pick up your last-minute holiday essentials from the terminal? Our survey of more than 10,000 passenger airport experiences reveals all.

Small UK airport reviews

The UK's small airports handle a fraction of the millions of travellers passing through the terminals of the UK’s large airports. On average, those passengers flying from a small UK airport rated their experience more highly compared with the large airports, but with Birmingham and London Heathrow Terminal 5 outscoring eight of the small UK airports, it’s not a given that flying from a small airport will provide a better passenger experience. That’s why the results of our survey will prove useful, regardless of what size of airport you fly from.

Doncaster Sheffield and London Southend airport are top of the table, both receiving four stars for security queues, baggage reclaim, seating and toilet provision. 

Small/medium airports - Fewer than ten million passengers per year
Airport Queues for bag drop Queues at passport control Queues at security Baggage reclaim Seating Toilets Range of shops and food outlets Customer score
Doncaster Sheffield (63) 87%
London Southend (67) - 84%
Norwich (35) - 75%
Southampton (137) 75%
Exeter (79) 71%
Bournemouth (71) 69%
Cardiff (66) 69%
London City (121) 68%
Newcastle (191) 68%
Liverpool (144) 67%
Belfast City (64) - - - 60%
Bristol (442) 60%
Glasgow International (216) 59%
East Midlands (244) 58%
Inverness (39) - - - 56%
Belfast International (89) 53%
Leed Bradford (218) 52%
Aberdeen (69) 44%

Using the table: Star ratings range from one to five. The more stars the better. A dash indicates we didn't receive enough respondents to provide a rating. Sample sizes in brackets.
Queues at bag drop: Having checked in online.
Food outlets: Quality, price and range of food available.
Queues at passport control: Queues on your return journey.
Seating: Numbers of seats, comfort and location.
Baggage reclaim: Waiting time on your return journey.
Customer score: Based on a combination of overall satisfaction and how likely people are to recommend the airport to a friend.

 

How we rate UK airports

In April/May 2017, we asked Which? members to complete an online survey about their experiences of flying from and to a UK airport. Our results are based on 10,532 member experiences.

Large airports have 10 million or more terminal passengers every year. Small airports have fewer than 10 million passengers.

You can have your say on what we research and help us achieve change by joining Which? Connect.

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