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Cars & travel.

Updated: 11 Aug 2021

UK airports with the worst queues

Want to know which UK airports to avoid if you hate queues? Which? reveals the ones with the longest lines.
Which?Editorial team
Stansted security check 481916

Luton, Manchester and Stansted have all failed to take off in our most recent survey of best and worst airports in Britain, coming at the bottom of our table of 25 airports when it comes to queuing at security and passport control.

See our best and worst UK airports results to find out how Heathrow, Birmingham and 20 other airports were rated for queues, as well as what 8,000 passengers thought of the food, seats and toilets at each airport.

Airports with long security queues 

When we asked more than 8,000 passengers about their airport experiences the long queues at security and passport control were a common source of complaint, but that was especially true if you travel from Luton, Manchester and Stansted. The queues at airport security at Manchester Terminal 1 and 3 and Stansted were rated just one star out of five by passengers, while Terminal 2 and Luton weren't much better with two stars.

It will come as no surprise to passengers who have used Manchester Airport previously that the airport security experience is a nightmare. The airport recently failed in its target of getting 98% of passengers through security in less than eight minutes. But instead of fixing the problem it simply lowered its targets. Now only 92% of its passengers have to make it through security in less than 15 minutes.

The worst queues at passport control 

The same airports weren't any better at getting you back into the country according to passengers. Manchester (Terminals 1,2 and 3) as well as Stansted and Luton all all received a dismal two stars out of five by passengers for the amount of time spent queuing at passport control.

Large airports - Ten million or more passengers per year

AirportQueues at passport controlQueues at security
Manchester Terminal 2 (365)
London Luton (521)
Manchester Terminal 1 (510)
London Stansted (686)
Manchester Terminal 3 (269)

Using the table: Star ratings range from one to five. The more stars the better.

Airport peak times

We have previously tracked the busiest times at the UK's busiest airports. You're more likely to face queues between 5am and 7am and between 4pm and 7pm. See our report on airport fast track to see the busiest times at individual airports.