As the summer holidays draw to a close, perhaps the most harrowing experience is dragging you and your family through the airport to get to sunnier climes.
Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to the number of airports on offer. The best? London Southend, according to consumer champs from Which magazine.
The Essex-based London airport walloped the competition. It received a customer satisfaction score of 84 per cent, 16 percentage points ahead of second-placed London City.
Passengers were asked to fill out an online survey and rank airports across eight categories. London Southend received a five-star rating in two of them, for staff friendliness and helpfulness. It also received four stars in another five out of eight categories assessed: baggage reclaim, seating, toilets, and queues at security and passport control.
The customer's choice: London's best airport
|Rank||Airports rated||Customer Score|
|3||Heathrow Terminal 5||61%|
|4||Heathrow Terminal 2||57%|
|5||Gatwick South Terminal||52%|
|6||Heathrow Terminal 3||52%|
|7||Heathrow Terminal 4||52%|
|8||Gatwick North Terminal||51%|
The boss of Stobart Stobart Aviation, which owns of London Southend Airport, was delighted at the news his airport had topped the rankings. But he hit out at local competitors and policy.
Glyn Jones said:
It shows just how badly customers are being let down by aviation policy, which has led to appalling congestion both in the air and on the ground. This failure affects London passengers in particular and this survey reflects the frustration they’re suffering on a daily basis.
London Luton got one star in half of the categories and was described as "chaos", "crowded" and a "rip-off".
How far away?
|Airport||Distance by road to Charing Cross||Fastest public transport to Charing Cross|
|London Southend||42 miles||81 minutes|
|London Stansted||39 miles||63 minutes|
|London Luton||34 miles||59 minutes|
|London Gatwick||28 miles||51 minutes|
|London Heathrow||20 miles||40 minutes|
|London City||9 miles||33 minutes|
Outside of the "capital" Doncaster Sheffield airport topped the national rankings with a customer satisfaction ranking of 87 per cent.
A spokesperson for Which said:
If you’re lucky enough to always fly from Doncaster Sheffield or London Southend then you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about.
“Passengers at these smaller airports told us that they breezed through well-equipped, queue-free terminals aided by friendly staff. The experience was so good, in fact, that some told us they are willing to drive that bit further to use a better airport.”