Belfast International is the UK’s worst airport for 2019, according to an annual survey by consumer group Which?
Passengers passing through Northern Ireland’s busiest airport expressed frustration over long queues, crowds and poor shopping options.
It received a customer approval rating of just 42%, scoring one star in the categories of seating, staffing and queuing at security.
A spokeswoman for the airport acknowledged it had faced “significant operational challenges” in the last 18 months, but said passenger satisfaction levels were improving since a £1m upgrade to security facilities.
She said the airport had made “considerable strides” to improve the passenger experience, including through enhanced” food and drink options in the new Northern Quarter facility.
London Luton (43%) came in second-to-last place in the Which? ranking after spending three consecutive years as the UK’s worst rated airport.
Which? said customers criticised its limited seating and congested security queues.
Manchester Terminal 3 (47%), London Stansted (49%), Aberdeen (50%) and Manchester Terminal 1 (50%) were also placed at the bottom of the ranking.
Doncaster Sheffield retained its crown as the country’s best-rated airport for the third year running with a score of 86%, achieving five star accolades for queuing experiences at security and passport control.
It also impressed travellers with its seating, toilets and level of staffing.
London Southend (79%), Southampton (77%), Exeter (73%) and Bournemouth (72%) made up the rest of the top five best-rated airports, outperforming some of the country’s larger flight hubs.
Glasgow International earned Scotland’s airports’ best score with 64%, Cardiff achieved 61%, Belfast City was given 67% and London Southend’s 79% was the best for airports linked to the capital.
Among the airports with more than 10 million passengers a year, Heathrow Terminal 5 had the best overall customer score of 66%.
The Which? research, conducted in April and May, was based on a survey of 4,499 of its members about 6,237 airport experiences.
Naomi Leach, of Which? Travel, said: “It is clear that smaller airports are generally outperforming their larger counterparts with seamless security checks and friendly staff making the biggest impression with flyers.
“So if you have the luxury of choice when it comes to which airport you fly from, choose Doncaster Sheffield over Leeds Bradford, Southend over Luton, Edinburgh over Aberdeen and Belfast City over Belfast International for a smoother start to your trip.”