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London Luton hits back at “UK’s worst airport” tag

The chief executive of the much-criticised airport says that a €177 million redevelopment is already changing things.

London’s much-criticised Luton airport has been rated the UK’s worst airport for the third year in a row. Achieving a score of 35% in the latest customer satisfaction survey held by the watchdog magazine Which?, it did especially poorly in customer service, passport control queues and facilities.

The survey was based on 11,265 passenger visits to UK airports, taking into account everything from queues at baggage drop to how clean the toilets are, TTG reports.

Luton’s score of 35% was the lowest of the UK’s 13 large airports (more than 10 million passengers a year), based on 521 respondents.

It also ranked 14% lower than the most poorly rated small airport (fewer than 10 million pax per year), which was Aberdeen.

Heathrow Terminal 5 led the way for Britain’s larger airports, while Doncaster Sheffield in the Midlands was the highest rated smaller airport, reaching a customer satisfaction score of 87%.

“Travellers want to start their trips in the smoothest way, but long queues through airports and a lack of facilities can cast a rain cloud over any getaway,” said Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor.

“If you can pick a smaller airport, choose Southend over Luton, and Doncaster Sheffield or Liverpool instead of Manchester, to get your holiday off to a better start.”

Big transformation
However, Nick Barton, Luton airport chief executive, has responded: “Which? polled 521 of its subscribers who had travelled through the airport between May 2017 and May 2018, 0.003% of all passengers in that period.

“During this time, we’ve undergone a period of significant change, investing £160 million (€177 million) redeveloping the airport to increase capacity and transform the passenger experience.

“In the first six months of 2018 alone, 1.2 million passengers responded to our customer service tracking, 70% of whom told us they were happy with their experience.

“As we near the end of our biggest transformation, we’re proud to have recently opened 30 new shops and restaurants. We’ve [also] added close to a thousand new seats throughout the terminal and doubled the size of our security search area.”

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