Luton Airport named UK's 'worst airport' for the third year in a row

David Harding
The UK’s worst airport: London Luton (Rex)

Luton Airport has again been named Britain’s worst airport by passengers.

It ranked bottom of an annual study of UK airports by consumer group Which? for the third consecutive year, after fed-up travellers voiced concern about its toilets, staff and bag drop queues.

The Bedfordshire airport received a customer score of just 35% after being given the lowest rating in half of the 10 categories assessed.

London Luton, as it is officially know, hit back at the criticism, saying that its own research found 70% of passengers were ‘happy with their experience’.

Stansted Airport also fared badly, according to passengers (Rex)

It’s a double hit for Luton after a recent analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data found it is the worst UK airport for flight punctuality, with departures typically 20 minutes behind schedule last year.

London Stansted and Manchester (Terminal 3) both scored 44% in the Which? study, putting them in joint second-to-last place in customer satisfaction.

Doncaster Sheffield earned the highest score of 87% after passengers were particularly impressed with its security queues, baggage reclaim, prices in shops and food outlets, seating, toilets and staff, which were all given five stars.


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London Southend was closely behind in second spot on 84%, followed by Newcastle (74%) and Southampton (73%).

The best score out of Scotland’s airports was earned by Inverness (68%), while Aberdeen received the lowest (49%).

Cardiff was given a score of 64%, while Belfast International and Belfast City were given 50% and 62% respectively.

Passengers named Inverness as Scotland’s best airport (Rex)

The research was based on a survey of 11,265 passengers which was conducted in April and May.

Some 521 people were questioned about London Luton.

Rory Boland, editor of magazine Which? Travel, said: ‘Travellers want to start their trips in the smoothest way, but long queues through airports and a lack of facilities can cast a rain cloud over any getaway.’

Doncaster Airport – previously named Robin Hood Airport – was named as England’s best for passengers (Rex)

London Luton chief executive Nick Barton said: ‘Which? polled 521 of its subscribers who had travelled through the airport between May 2017 and May 2018, 0.003% 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.’

The top 10 airports, as compiled by Which?, with customer scores in brackets:

1. Doncaster Sheffield (87%)
2. London Southend (84%)
3. Newcastle (74%)
4. Southampton (73%)
5. Exeter (72%)
6. Bournemouth (71%)
7=. Liverpool (70%)
7=. London City (70%)
9=. Inverness (68%)
9=. Norwich (68%)
11. Bristol (66%)
12. Cardiff (64%)
13=. Glasgow International (63%)
13=. London Heathrow Terminal 5 (63%)
15. Belfast City (62%)
16. Birmingham (61%)
17=. East Midlands (60%)
17=. London Heathrow Terminal 2 (60%)
19. Edinburgh (59%)
20. London Gatwick North Terminal (57%)
21. London Heathrow Terminal 4 (56%)
22=. London Gatwick South Terminal (55%)
22=. London Heathrow Terminal 3 (55%)
24. Leeds Bradford (54%)
25. Manchester Terminal 2 (51%)
26. Belfast International (50%)
27. Aberdeen (49%)
28. Manchester Terminal 1 (46%)
29=. London Stansted (44%)
29=. Manchester Terminal 3 (44%)
31. London Luton (35%)