Worst UK Airports for Security Queues Named Who?

Passengers faced lines of more than an hour to pass security at nine airports

Researchers asked nearly 1,300 people who had flown out of a British airport during that period how long they had queued for security. In August, Leeds Bradford installed electronic screens to provide passengers with live updates on estimated waiting times.

Leeds Bradford said it had been “transparent” about the issues and “worked very hard” to address them to ensure that disruption was minimal. An airport spokesperson said: “Earlier this year, like many airports across the UK, we had long waiting times due to the rapid resumption of international travel after the lifting of pandemic restrictions.

“We were transparent about these difficulties at the time and worked hard to address those short-term issues. Since then, we have greatly reduced the queue at our station. We remain committed to providing the best possible passenger experience at Leeds Bradford Airport and being the airport of choice for our region.”

Leeds Bradford Airport has been named the UK’s worst airport for security queues (Composite: Mark Hall/NationalWorld)

Travelers reported security queues of more than an hour at nine airports in total across the UK, including Bristol (17% of respondents), Birmingham (11%) and Manchester (8%). A total of 7% of all those surveyed said they missed a flight because they were stuck in a long line.

On the other end of the scale, the city of London was the best performing airport in the search, with an estimated average security wait time of just 12 minutes. Half of airport users report waiting times of between five and ten minutes. Belfast City and Glasgow International are second, with an average waiting time of 13 minutes.

Jay Hobbs, editor of Which Magazine? Travel said: “This year, travelers have borne the brunt of the unprecedented chaos at UK airports, with huge numbers enduring long queues and some even missing a flight due to excessive waiting times to clear security.

“Your choice of airport shouldn’t make or break your vacation – but for many travelers this year, that was the case. We recommend choosing an airport with a better record on queues and passenger treatment, even if it involves flying a little further from home.”

A spokesperson for the Airport Operators Association trade body added: “The UK had one of the most restrictive travel regimes in Europe until March and the aviation industry faced significant recruitment challenges as international travel reopened.

Our airports have worked tirelessly to alleviate this staff shortage and the huge number of passengers has been able to enjoy the summer holidays with minimal disruptions.

“We recognize the impact any delay or disruption can have on passengers, and the airline industry continues to work together and with government to recover from the effects of the pandemic – and the near shutdown of UK aviation – to ensure all passengers enjoy the service passengers have rightly come to expect from Air UK.”

What are the best and worst airports for security queues in the UK?

Average reported security wait times at UK airports are listed betweenebruary and August, according to Which? Exploratory study:

  • 1. City of London – 12 minutes
  • = 2. Belfast City – 13 min
  • = 2. Glasgow International Airport – 13 minutes
  • 4. Newcastle – 15 min
  • = 5. Gatwick – 16 min
  • = 5. Edinburgh – 16 minutes
  • = 7. Stansted – 18 min
  • = 7. Belfast International Airport – 18 min
  • 9. Luton – 19 min
  • 10. Heathrow Airport – 20 minutes
  • = 11. Manchester – 24 minutes
  • = 11. Birmingham – 24 min
  • 13. Bristol – 30 min
  • 14. Leeds Bradford – 35 min

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