What are the worst UK airports for queues?

Leeds Bradford Airport has the worst queues of any British airport, a new survey has revealed.

No one likes being stuck in a queue – particularly when you’ve got a plane to catch on the other side of security.

A new survey of 1,300 travellers by Consumer group Which? has revealed the UK airports where you’re most likely to have this unpleasant experience.

At Leeds Bradford Airport – the worst ranked in the country – more than a quarter (27 per cent) of travellers spend more than an hour waiting in security queues.

The airport’s average processing time has more than tripled since 2019 to 35 nail-biting minutes

“Your choice of airport shouldn’t make or break your holiday – but for too many travellers this year, that has been the case,” says Guy Hobbs, Editor of Which? Travel.

“We’d recommend choosing an airport with a better record on queues and treatment of passengers, even if that involves travelling slightly further from home.”

Which other UK airports are bad for queues?

Which? surveyed 1,296 adults who travelled from a UK airport between mid-February 2022 and mid-August 2022.

This period coincided with the peak of travel chaos across Europe, as airports and airlines struggled to make up staffing shortages sustained during the pandemic.

The 14 UK airports included in Which’s survey recorded varying degrees of chaos.

Overall, just five per cent of survey respondents spent more than an hour in the security queue.

This number jumped at Bristol (17 per cent of respondents), Birmingham (11 per cent), and Manchester (8 per cent).

The average security wait time at these airports was 30 minutes, 24 minutes, and 24 minutes, respectively.

Seven per cent of respondents said they had missed a flight because they were stuck in excessively long queues.

By contrast, City Airport in East London was the best performing airport – and the only London airport not to record any security wait times of more than an hour.

The average security wait time at City was just 12 minutes.

Have lines at UK airports improved?

Queues always peak over summer, as millions jet off on holiday.

Lines were particularly bad this season, as an industry-wide staff shortage led to thousands of flight cancellations and delays.

Between 1 April and 29 June, Europe’s top 10 worst performing airports cancelled a whopping 64,100 flights.

Queue times have since dropped, as traveller numbers subside and airports launch mammoth recruitment drives.

Responding to the Which? survey, Manchester Airport said that 90 per cent of passengers in the same period got through security in less than 30 minutes. A spokesperson added that things had markedly improved since then.

Bristol said 82.2 per cent of customers passed through security in less than 20 minutes.

Leeds Bradford has been contacted for comment.

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