As peak summer holiday season approaches, the UK’s airports are set for their busiest time of the year. To make the process of getting away a bit less stressful, we’ve done our research to determine the best and the worst of the UK’s airports. An independent survey of British holidaymakers* conducted in June has ranked the UK’s top 15 airports by a range of criteria, from the shopping experience, general cleanliness, Wi-Fi access and the bar and restaurant selection to the speed and ease of passing through security, the check-in process – and even the toilets! Check out the infographic below for the full rundown of the UK’s airport winners and losers.
We’ve also pulled together some expert airport survival tips to help make things run smoothly, wherever you’re taking off from. Happy flying!
- Get to the airport in plenty of time – whatever time you think it will take and still be relaxed, add an hour onto this! Road accidents can happen, trains can be delayed, last minute to-dos pop-up, crucial items can be forgotten and turned back for. Do all you can not to start a holiday with a panicked dash to make the plane. Each airline sets its own rules when it comes to tardiness, for example, EasyJet introduced a ruling in May 2016 that passengers will be turned away if they arrive less than 30 minutes early
- Weigh your bags at home before you depart for the airport – most airlines have different rules on the limit, so research this and stick to it to save a scene at bag drop and sweaty flight wearing ten layers of clothing
- Consider if it’s actually cheaper and easier not to carry a bag for the cabin. With the maximum size of 100ml liquids rules still in place, and the fact that you can only have one small clear bag of liquids, creams, gels or pastes, plus rigorous security checks, cases routinely placed in the hold anyway due to over-crowding or baggage stored in an overhead locker away from you on the plane anyway… look into whether it’s worth checking a bag for ease and expense of replacing toiletries, make up and liquids.
- Take a handbag/hand luggage with compartments – an airport is not the time for big handbags without compartments, that open up into a Tardis that constantly hides passports/ boarding pass/ phones, etc
- Pack chargers for a laptop, phone, tablet, etc in hand luggage – sad but true, if delays hit, you many need the chargers to keep connected. Especially if using a digital boarding pass to board the plane
- Pre-book everything you can – from seats on the plane, transport to the airport or parking place to even pre-booking shopping to collect, from Duty Free to toiletries and baby milk at a chemist past Security (Boots usually needs seven days for this service)
- Know how family-friendly your airport is, and make the most of it! – travelling with children is stressful enough as it is, let alone at busy airports. So do your research to see how to make life easier, as some airports have buggies for loan, family assistance lanes through the security processes and kids’ entertainment zones. Remember the liquids rules, you may carry enough baby milk or baby food for your journey in your hand luggage, but you should pack the rest in your checked-in baggage
- Buy healthier, better food at the airport shops than on the plane – don’t be at the mercy of the cabin crew and their trollies, if you eat before you fly or take food on-board you get to choose what you eat, when you eat, and there’s no chance of not getting a meal to your liking. Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic fluids is important to keep jetlag at bay too. But just don’t open your Duty Free alcohol, that doesn’t make you any friends at the airport…