As you stand in a huge queue at the check-in desk, are herded through airport security and then have to brave a scrum at the boarding gate, you may well feel that if cattle were to take to the air they would be treated better than people, and it seems that you are not alone. Never has the saying “small is beautiful” been more apposite than when it comes to airports.
Barely a week goes by without some of the larger airports hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, especially in the height of the summer. Now research carried out by Which? Travel magazine shows that passengers are far happier with their experience at small regional airports than at the larger hubs.
Topping the poll was Southend airport with a satisfaction rating of 84%. Easyjet switched many of its Stansted flights to Southend in 2012 and, as a result, the Essex airport now handles over 700,000 passengers a year with a predicted 2 million by 2020. It is only to be hoped that it does not become a victim of its own success.
Also scoring highly in the customer satisfaction survey were other local airports such as Humberside, Robin Hood Doncaster, London City, Southampton and Blackpool, all of which scored between 74% and 81%.
The only major-league players to appear in the top 10 were Newcastle International, Birmingham Terminal 1 and London Heathrow Terminal 5, all of which scored between 66% and 69%. Whilst the relatively new Terminal 5 at Heathrow may have got a thumbs-up from its users, the older Terminals 2 and 3 only managed to score 45% and 46% respectively. Also performing badly was Luton airport with only 43%.