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Luton Airport, one of the UK’s major international airports is in the hot seat as it top the list of worst airports in the UK.

Its customer rating plummets to a dismal 1.3 out of 5, based on reviews on Trustpilot.

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Manchester Airport has earned the dubious distinction of being the least favored international airport in the UK.

SKYTRAX compiled data from Google reviews and customer ratings from the airport and airline review platform to calculate the average review score for the UK’s international airports.

Scoring just 2 out of 5, Manchester Airport was one of the bottom list. One disgruntled customer on Google Reviews lamented, “In all my travels, this airport is by far the worst. The staff seemed rude, the machines were slow, and everything took far longer than it should.”

It’s worth noting that airports can be subject to disruptions for various reasons, including adverse weather conditions, labor strikes, etc.

Take the case of London Gatwick Airport, for example.

Looking at flight delays of over 15 minutes and cancellations at European airports handling more than 5,000 flights that month, showed that London Gatwick was the most chaotic.

There’s always a bright moment when it comes to UK airports. Whether customer service issues at Manchester or staff strikes at Gatwick, these transportation hubs have challenges.

Let’s look at the full list

Top 5 UK’ Worst Airport

Luton Airport

Worst Airports in the UK
London Luton Airport

Regrettably, Luton has been ranked as the worst airport in the UK. Complaints are pouring in about queues, pricey parking, and discourteous staff which is common amongst other poor airports.

Rating: 2/10

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Take Nigel’s review in July 2023, for example, who advised, “Avoid Luton Airport at all costs, it is without a doubt the worst airport in the UK.”

Stephen’s feedback in June 2023 also raised serious concerns, accusing, “Theft from security. Crazy that we have to leave our most precious valuables in a tray.”

And then there’s Vaughan Taylor who, in July 2023, bemoaned, “Terrible Service at the Worst Airport. Arrived at 4.45 am. It took over 1 hour to drop my bag off with Easyjet.”

Despite these criticisms, Luton Airport has forecasted some promising travel trends for 2023.

The poll, published on the airport’s website, suggests that travelers are seeking transformative experiences, sunny destinations over food experiences, the return of older travelers, smart sightseeing, and the rise of “empty nest” explorers.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that Luton Airport currently holds a poor standing among travelers. That’s a tough spot to be in!

Read Also: Why is Flying With Kids So Hard?

Manchester Airport

Worst Airports in the UK
Manchester Airport

According to Trustpilot, a website that collects customer reviews of airports and airlines

Rating: 2/10

The most common complaints are about the long queues, the lack of seating, the poor cleanliness, the rude staff and the high prices. 

Some examples of recent reviews are:

  • “Waited 1 hour 45 min to collect our luggage. We landed at 5am and it was nearly 7am before we left the airport. No sign of any staff just a tannoy announcement after an 45 mins saying our cases would be coming in 45 mins. Therefore leaving a plane full of children and elderly people sitting on the floor as there was no where to sit. We couldn’t even sit on the carousel as it was going round empty. It seems to be the norm now at terminal 2 Not good enough.” (S Hawley, June 2023)
  • “Uninterested staff. Friday evening flight, eateries closing. Staff vacuuming around you. No smiles, no service. Appallingly depressing for anyone arriving into or heading out of the country. Shameful representation of a UK airport to the world.” (R Carsen, July 2023)
  • “A bus lane from somewhere between drop off parking space and drop off exit barriers. Had to reverse up from the barrier to go to another one. Messages on the machines at the barrier are unreadable. Got out the cat to read and clarify that not a message to say that have to input card code (for £6), whilst still unreadable, but you did have to enter card code. All this stress to charge you more for what was previously in the cost of your plane ticket.” (John Player, July 2023).

Leeds Bradford Airport

Leeds Bradford Airport is a regional airport serving LeedsBradford, and neighboring areas, is facing backlash from travelers.

Worst Airports in the UK
Leeds Bradford Airport

Rating: 3/10

Leeds Bradford ranks as the third worst airport in the United Kingdom. 

The major gripes? Unending queues, subpar facilities, inadequate infrastructurequestionable management, and sky-high prices.

Here’s what some recent reviews had to say:

  • Liz Waite (July 2023): “Worst airport I’ve ever used. It’s run-down, grimy and you’re herded through check-in like cattle.”
  • Steve Linton (July 2023): “Security processes are in desperate need of an overhaul – they’re utterly chaotic at present.”
  • Victor Owston (April 2023): “I was slapped with a whopping £49 fine for entering the free carpark twice.”

Seems like Leeds Bradford Airport has some serious housekeeping to do. Travelers’ reviews speak loud and clear – there’s much room for improvement.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport

The UK’s second busiest airport, Gatwick, finds itself with an unenviable reputation, as recent ratings place it among the worst airports in the UK.

Rating: 3/10

The low rating stems from various complaints from customers. Issues highlighted include poor cleanliness, inadequate seating and frustratingly long queues. Here are a few snapshots of the recent reviews:

  • M Jones (June 2023) says, “The airport is dirty and overcrowded. The toilets are unsanitary, seating is scanty. Limited food choices are exorbitantly priced. Security checks are slow and inefficient, while the staff appears rude and unhelpful.”
  • L Smith (July 2023) voices, “Gatwick is a nightmare. The signage is baffling, and the layout lacks logic. The baggage drop-off is chaotic, and passport control is understaffed. The terminal is noisy and cramped, the shops are mundane, and the wifi is weak.”
  • R Patel (July 2023) states, “Gatwick is the worst airport experience. The check-in process is disorderly, and boarding is chaotic. Flight information screens are inaccurate, and announcements are unclear. The terminal is hot and stuffy, and the staff seems indifferent and unfriendly.”

Notably, a survey conducted by consumer organization Which? in January 2023 placed Gatwick Airport as the second worst in the UK. The North terminal scored a mere 56% on customer satisfaction, with the South terminal faring only slightly better at 55%.

In a nutshell, Gatwick Airport has an uphill battle to improve its reputation among travelers, given these poor ratings from multiple sources.

East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport is a regional airport in the UK that serves the cities of Derby, Leicester and Nottingham and the surrounding areas. The airport has a customer rating of 1.6 on Trustpilot.

The airport has also been rated as one of the worst airports in the UK.

Some of the negative reviews are:

  • “Flew to Berlin on Saturday 29 July- shambles. Arrived early, straight through security and into Escape lounge which was all great. From then on what a shambles – priority through boarding only to then be crammed into a small room with no seating for over an hour with no seating and no one telling us what was happening.” (Colin Peacock, July 2023)
  • “Why should i pay £5 for rapid drop off if i was queing for 25mins to get through … if i didnt get the service i should have to pay the fee.” (Nadine, July 2023)
  • “Queue queue queue. This place has gone downhill fast in the last 12 months …. 1.5 hour queue to check in (1 person checking in at least 4 flights for Tui). …. Queue queue queue…. Queue for grumpy security bullies …. Queue to eat … awful way to start a holiday.” (The Bowmanator, July 2023)

Sadly, As a frequent traveler, those involving UK airports like Luton, Manchester, and Gatwick often fall short of expectations as the are ranked the worst airports in the UK.

Despite hearing upbeat projections about airport services, the harsh truth experienced by passengers paints a grimmer picture.

Reading through fellow travelers’ reviews, it’s apparent we’re all voicing the same concerns. Services often fall below par, and facilities leave much to be desired. It’s a distressing reality that screams for immediate action and substantial changes.

Delving deeper, it’s evident that the troubles extend beyond long queues, cleanliness concerns, and steep pricing. A broad spectrum of issues mars the airport experience, as revealed by persistent customer feedback.

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Acknowledging these issues is the first step to making progress.

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I'm Ian, a travel blogger with a background in publishing. My hobby is exploring new places, and here, I share my discoveries from quaint towns and bustling cities. Each trip inspires my next post, inviting you to join me on this exciting journey.