A survey of thousands of travellers from consumer bible Which? reveals Liverpool John Lennon Airport to be the UK’s best airport – with Manchester languishing at the bottom of the league. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) has been voted the UK’s best airport in a survey of thousands of travellers.
Consumer bible Which? asked almost 4,000 travellers to rate their experiences at 24 UK airports. They offered ratings in 11 categories, including seating, staff, toilets, queues at check in, bag drop, passport control and security.
An overall score was calculated using a combination of travellers’ overall satisfaction and their likeliness to recommend the airport. Passengers were also asked to report how long they had queued at security.
LJLA scored an impressive 82% with people offering the airport five stars for its check-in and security queues ‘“indicating an uncommonly hassle-free experience”, said Which?.
In contrast Manchester Airport, which is used by many travellers from the Liverpool city region, fared badly in the study. Its three terminals were judged as separate entities.
Its best performing terminal, Terminal 2, received a ranking of just 50%. Bottom of the league were Terminals 1 and 3 which scored a dismal 44% and 38% respectively.
One traveller summed up their experience of Terminal 3, saying it was “crowded, noisy, generally stressful and dispiriting from start to finish”.
Passengers were very positive about Liverpool. One said it was a “well run, efficient airport”. Its latest ranking means it has earned the coveted Which? Recommended Provider status for the second consecutive year.
In July this year another report New report saw the airport score top marks for being more accessible for disabled people and those with mobility issues
In October 2022, LBN reported on a Which? survey of 7,000 travellers which gave Liverpool an 83% rating. One passenger said: “It’s much smaller, less manic and so much more civilised than Manchester.”
John Irving, chief executive of LJLA, said: “LJLA has always focused on three words which are embedded in every member of staff that works at the airport – faster, easier, friendlier.
“These make up the core philosophy of what we expect the passenger experience to be when flying through the airport, no matter what time of day.
“It is that ethos and hard work put in by our staff, along with our dedicated third-party operator staff, which makes it no surprise to see LJLA named as the UK’s number one airport by travellers this year.
“We are extremely proud to be recognised, and it shows that LJLA customers continue to be in the best hands when they travel through.”
At the end of June this year, LJLA celebrated its 90th birthday. The airport has recovered strongly from the pandemic. In May LBN revealed a year-on-year rise in passenger numbers to 3.77m in the 12 months to March 31, 2023.
With Ryanair, easyJet and Lufthansa all significantly pushing up capacity on existing routes, and launching new ones, the airport could see passenger numbers return to pre-pandemic levels this year.
In February this year Ryanair announced four new routes out of Liverpool in an £80m investment that will see overall capacity increase by 15% and create 30 new jobs. It will take the total number of routes to 31 and will see a new aircraft based at LJLA.
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “Choosing the right airport isn’t often high on travellers’ holiday checklists, but taking the time to think about where you’re flying from can really pay dividends.
“We’d recommend opting for a smaller airport, as our survey shows they generally tend to perform better on queue times and customer service, giving holidaymakers the positive start to their holidays they should expect.”
The full Which? UK airports league table is as follows:
- Liverpool John Lennon – 82%
- London City – 78%
- Southampton – 77%
- Bournemouth – 75%
- East Midlands – 72%
- Newcastle – 72%
- Glasgow International – 62%
- Leeds Bradford – 58%
- London Gatwick North – 57%
- London Heathrow T4 – 57%
- London Heathrow T5 – 57%
- Bristol – 56%
- Aberdeen – 55%
- Edinburgh – 55%
- London Gatwick South – 54%
- London Heathrow T2 – 54%
- London Heathrow T3 – 54%
- Birmingham – 53%
- London Stansted – 51%
- Manchester T2 – 50%
- Belfast International – 49%
- London Luton – 49%
- Manchester T1 – 44%
- Manchester T3 – 38%