UK’s best and worst airports named by flight tips site, with Glasgow ranked No1, Heathrow second and London Stansted bottom of the pile

  • The ranking has been produced by flight tips site The Points Guy UK 
  • In an inaugural annual report it reviewed the largest 20 airports across the UK 
  • Each airport was judged on amenities, commute and on-time flights 

The best and worst airports across the UK have been named in a new study, with Glasgow Airport taking the top podium position and London Stansted languishing in last place.

The ranking has been produced by flight tips site The Points Guy UK in an inaugural annual report after an ‘extensive review’ of the largest 20 airports across the UK.

Heathrow Airport comes second, with George Best Belfast City Airport in third place, Newcastle Airport fourth and Edinburgh Airport fifth.

Glasgow Airport takes the top podium position in The Points Guy UK ranking

Heathrow Airport comes second overall and top in the amenities category

Each airport was given a score out of 100, with the rating made up of three criteria – amenities, commute and on-time flights. Each criterion was given an equal weighting.

London Stansted had a bottom-three result for flight delays – an average of 23 minutes across the year – and ended up last for commuting time.

The Points Guy UK said: ‘By branding themselves as a London airport, they were given the same city centre commute point of Trafalgar Square that was also attributed to Heathrow and London City. And so, Stansted, along with the two other “London” airports, Luton and Southend, were all hit with weak commute scores and all three found themselves in the bottom five for commutes.’

George Best Belfast City Airport, which came out on top in two categories – commute and time

London Stansted has been named as the UK’s worst airport by The Points Guy UK

The site said that the Stansted commute time on public transport from Trafalgar Square was 74 minutes and 75 minutes for driving.

In a video report to accompany the study Nicky Kelvin, Director of Content at The Points Guy UK, takes viewers on a journey with him from Trafalgar Square to Stansted and then to Glasgow Airport.

He describes the journey as a ‘schlep’ and ‘segmented’ – and is ‘outraged’ at the £19 Stansted Express train fare from Tottenham Hale. Oyster cards don’t work, he explains, and you can’t ‘touch in and out’ with a bank card.

The Points Guy UK also points out that ‘rideshare and parking costs were also comparatively astronomical at £62 and £63 respectively’.

Nicky Kelvin, Director of Content at The Points Guy UK, takes viewers on a journey with him from Trafalgar Square to Stansted (pictured) and then to Glasgow Airport

Nicky says that he enjoyed spending time in Stansted’s Escape lounge (pictured)

The full Points Guy UK airport ranking, which puts Britain’s 20 largest airports in order from best to worst

At the airport, Nicky says that it’s a ‘mixed bag’, with 20 restaurants on offer (‘plenty’) and lots of aircraft stands, but only one lounge, no spas and no kids’ areas.

He visits the Escape Lounge during a quiet period and enjoys the experience, but warns that it probably wouldn’t be so great when it’s busy.

Nicky then gets a coach to his gate for a flight to top-ranked Glasgow, but doesn’t rate the transfer process, describing it as ‘a mess, too confusing’.

The Director of Content is far more content further north.

He approves of the £13.80 return fare for the Glasgow city centre express bus service, which he says is quick – at just 15 minutes – luxurious, and generally ‘fantastic’.

‘Not only is it cheap and quick, it’s also incredibly comfortable,’ he says. And the travel expert is most impressed with the wireless phone-charging ports on the tables.

At the airport, he enthuses about the range of eating options at the foodcourt and is also taken with the mini spa and the four lounges. One of these is called the ‘Upper Deck Lounge’, which you can pay to enter.

What’s more, he says, it has one of the lowest average delay times of just 14 minutes across a whole year.

Nicky is impressed with Glasgow Airport. He’s pictured here at its mini spa

Nicky on the ‘fantastic’ Glasgow Airport express bus service

The Points Guy added that parking costs were also significantly cheaper than other airports, coming in at £15. The highest parking cost for reference, it said, was London City at £79.

Nicky concluded: ‘With a solid score across both commute and on-time categories, Glasgow Airport comes out as our champion. Heathrow, taking silver, was head and shoulders above the rest when it came to amenities, with a plethora of lounges, spas and restaurants – but this wasn’t enough to carry its particularly low commute score.’

The Points Guy UK added: ‘A special mention must go to George Best Belfast City Airport, which came out on top in two categories – commute and time – but unfortunately a poor amenity score, due to few dining options and lounges and its lack of spa and kids’ area, meant it only nabbed the bronze medal overall.’

In response to the survey results, a London Stansted spokesperson said: ‘Millions of people travel to London Stansted from our core catchment of north and east London every year, making use of the convenient and affordable travel options that mean we have the highest proportion of passengers using public transport of any UK airport. A multi-million pound programme of improvements has also resulted in in record satisfaction scores among our passengers, including the choice and quality of shopping and restaurant options, with revenue from these helping us keep our airline charges among the lowest in the country.

‘Significant investment by the airport and our airline partners has also helped ensure that in the past 12 months we have been one of the best performing airports across Europe for on-time performance, in particular during the busy summer peak.’ 

Heathrow Airport comes top of the amenities ranking

POINTS GUY UK RATINGS SYSTEM

The Points Guy UK said: ‘This report compiled countless hours of research and utilised data from the Civil Aviation Authority, as well as data gathered directly from the airports, local public transport organisations and taxi firms, rideshare apps and ExpertFlyer. An average was then reached per section to produce the scores and TPG UK’s final rankings revealed the best and worst airports in the UK.’

Amenities

This section includes the ratio of restaurants to passengers, the ratio of lounges to passengers, the ratio of spas to passengers, the ratio of kids’ areas to passengers and the ratio of jet bridges to flight movements.

Commute

This section includes the following to the city centre – drive time, public transport time, rideshare and public transport cost, plus parking costs.

On-time flights

This section includes minimum connection time between flights, delays (percentage of flights 0-15 minutes delayed and an average overall delay on flights), the presence of E-Gates at passport control and cancellations.  

 

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