Who do you believe?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Gatwick Airport performs badly in the AirHelp research

How do you decide whether an airport is “best” or not?

Do you decide by punctuality of flights, the speed with which you can get through check-in and passport control, the facilities that it has or the number of different destinations it serves? Do you take into account the views of passengers and, if so, do you interview them just before they get on a plane so that they have experienced what an airport offers or does this bias the results because they are only outgoing passengers? How do you persuade people who have just got off a plane to talk to you when all they want to do is collect their baggage and get on their way?

With the latest announcement on “best” and “worst” announcements by AirHelp, the passenger can be forgiven for being confused. It all depends on how the airport is assessed.

AirHelp ranked an airport’s on-time performance, quality and service as rated by Skytrax and analysis on social media. It ranked Gatwick and Manchester as the second and third worst whilst Edinburgh was the fifth. They only provided the “worst” airports not the “best”.

OAG considered just punctuality in its analysis into 54 million worldwide flights and found that Birmingham, Newcastle, Cardiff and Liverpool John Lennon had the best punctuality rates. But which had the worst? The airport with the worst punctuality in the UK was the Isle of Man followed by Exeter, Belfast International, East Midlands and Aberdeen. The three that AirHelp identifies were not in the lower region of OAG’s wide study.

Manchester Airport might look like this when redevelopment is completed in 2025. At present AirHelp says it is the second worst airport

ACI, (Airports Council International) the “trade body” of airports around the world runs a regular quarterly survey that receives about 600,000 responses. Passengers are asked a variety of questions about the airport and its facilities on their Airport Service Quality survey. It measures passengers’ views of 34 key performance indicators. Each airport uses the exact same survey, creating an industry database that allows airports to compare themselves to other airports around the world. Heathrow won the top award in the European section for airports with more than forty million passengers per year. ACI doesn’t release the airports with the worst ratings.

Last year, Cheapflights.co.uk undertook some independent research to come up with it claims is our best and worst airports. The research covered just UK 15 airports and based its results on shopping experience, general cleanliness, Wi-Fi access and the bar and restaurant selection to the speed and ease of passing through security, the check-in process  and the toilets. Topping the list as “best” was Newcastle followed by Edinburgh. How does that compare with the AirHelp results? Edinburgh is at different ends of the spectrum.

It all goes to show that there is no standard way of deciding “best” or “worst.” Passengers will remain confused whilst so many organisations provide conflicting results.

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