BIRMINGHAM Airport has been named as the best large airport in the country outside of London in the Which? Travel’s 2019 Annual Airport Survey.
The respected consumer watchdog ‘Which?’ surveyed around 5,000 members, looking at more than 6,000 airport experiences, highlighting the best and worst airports across the UK.
Birmingham Airport finished second to London Heathrow Terminal 5 in the category of airports with more than 10 million passengers per year.
Which? said: “Hot on the heels of Heathrow T5, ‘hassle-free’ Birmingham earned a 65 per cent customer score and three stars across all categories, although some travellers used words like ‘unremarkable’ and ‘functional’.”
Heathrow T5 achieved a customer satisfaction rating of 66 per cent. 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.
Which? Travel’s 2019 Annual Airport Survey asked members to rate areas including airport seating, toilets, staff, prices across concessions, baggage reclaim and queue times.
Stuart Haseley-Nejrup, Head of Customer Experience at Birmingham Airport said: “Over the past year we have heavily focused on our customer service and the Which? survey results are testament to the investment we have made to improve the overall satisfaction of passengers who fly with us.
“We have focused heavily on creating a seamless customer journey with efforts being placed on increasing staff on the ground, improving the overall airport infrastructure, speeding up check-in times with more self-service check in desks, as well as improvements to security and passport control.
“In addition to the recent developments we have made across the airport site, we are investing even further with the aim of making Birmingham one of Europe’s leading regional airports growing the current 13 million passengers to 18 million passengers by 2030.”
Belfast International was rated the worst airport in the survey, with passengers frustrated by problems including long queues, crowded terminals and pricey parking charges, achieving an “abysmal” customer score of 42 per cent.
London Luton (43 per cent), Manchester T3 (47 per cent) and Aberdeen (50 per cent) were also among the poorest performers.
Which? added: “London Luton was again at the bottom of the large airport table, where it has been tethered for the fourth year running.
“Despite terminal improvement works finishing in December, Luton travellers complained of ‘limited seating’ and ‘congested’ security queues.
“The refurbishment does not appear to have fixed the airport’s problems, with one passenger noting that the airport seemed to have ‘taken all the bad ideas from other airports and incorporated them here’.”
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.
“So if you have the luxury of choice when it comes to which airport you fly from, choose Doncaster Sheffield over Leeds Bradford, Southend over Luton, Edinburgh over Aberdeen and Belfast City over Belfast International for a smoother start to your trip.”