Belfast International Airport has been rated the worst airport in Which? magazine’s annual airport survey.
Northern Ireland’s busiest airport came bottom of the small airport rankings with a customer score of 42%, making it the UK’s worst-rated airport overall.
London Luton (43%), Manchester T3 (47%) and Aberdeen (50%) were also among the poorest performers in the survey of more than 6,000 airport experiences.
Travelers described Belfast International as “tired and shabby”, with some commenting on the “poor layout” and others referring to the airport as “understaffed”.
The airport also scored poorly for security queues, seating and staff, as well as its limited range of shops and restaurants – a quarter of which are branches of WH Smith.
For the fourth year running, London Luton was at the bottom of the large airport table. Despite terminal improvement works finishing in December, Luton travelers complained of “limited seating” and “congested” security queues. One passenger noted that the airport seemed to have “taken all the bad ideas from other airports and incorporated them here”.
Aberdeen achieved the lowest rating (50%) of the airports in Scotland, scoring just two stars in most categories, including staff. It scored a single star for its lack of seating.
The highest-rated airports
Crowned the highest-rated airport in the country for the third year running, with a customer score of 86% was Doncaster Sheffield Airport. Customers described the Yorkshire hub as a “cosy airport” and “easy to navigate”, although many respondents felt that it should connect to more destinations.
Among the airports with more than 10 million passengers per year, Heathrow Terminal 5 has the best overall customer score (66%). Ample seating and helpful staff both earned the airport four out of five stars, but it was the quality of the toilet facilities which got the full five-star rating.
Travelers noted, however, that “too many half-empty luxury shops” made the terminal feel too much like “a shopping mall”, while car parking was described as “daylight robbery”.
Which? Travel’s acting editor/ travel editor, 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 fliers.”