/ Travel & Leisure

What’s your biggest airport bugbear?

Airport queue

What’s your biggest gripe when you’re at an airport? We surveyed more than 1,000 Which? members to tell us what frustrates them most before they fly off for their holidays…

If we can ignore late or delayed flights, there isn’t much that gets me down at airports.

But it would be good if airports could provide more space to get dressed again after passing through security.

At busy times it’s obvious that there will be a bottleneck of holiday makers putting on belts and shoes and re-packing bags but the space to do this never seems to be adequate.

It reminds me of the supermarket checkout experience; you’ve paid for your shopping, but still packing your bags and the checkout assistant starts putting through the next customer’s shopping – causing unnecessary stress at a time you really don’t need it.

What we’re asked to unpack, pack or remove at airport security has changed over recent years and there are good reasons for this, but the space to do it in feels like it’s just the same.

Endless airport security queues

We asked Which? members what their biggest airport frustrations are. Top of the list is the endless queue to get through security, followed by paying to drop-off and pick-up passengers. And completing the top three is the price of airport parking.

But some people simply aren’t bothered by the stresses of finding a parking space or queuing for security – 10% said they didn’t find anything frustrating at all about UK airports.

Top airport frustrations survey results

• Queuing for security (49%)
• Paying to drop off/pick up passengers (47%)
• Price of airport car parking (46%)
• Lack of seating, such as too few seats or uncomfortable seating (43%)
• Queuing at passport control (43%)
• Queuing at check-in (41%)
• Price of food at outlets (39%)
• Waiting at baggage reclaim (37%)
• Lack of space to dress after security (37%)
• Having to walk long distances between terminals (35%)

What’s your biggest frustration when you go to the airport?


The endless queues.

Catherine says:
28 June 2014

Lack of cold water taps or water fountains to refill water bottles, when you can’t bring liquids through security.


I strongly agree – drinking water taps should be widely available in all airports, in fact it should be obligatory for airports to provide these. I was overjoyed to find one in Dubai Airport, where I had no local currency to buy a drink. So I don’t understand why UK airports don’t have them. Flying can be very dehydrating.


I can understand why they don’t have water fountains: it’s so they can rip you off. EVERYTHING in UK airports is extortionately overpriced. Water is just the start!


Too right; your point is proven by the refusal of the airside shops to sell water in small bottles. There are sometimes drinking water fountains available but you have to have an empty bottle available to make use of it . . . and you got rid of that [together with half its contents!] before going into the security zone. It’s another one of those “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza” scenarios.


I’ve started to carry an empty bottle, so I can refill it if I find a fountain. Never been stopped.

Best. Richard

Jane says:
4 July 2014

I used to carry empty bottles and fill them in the Ladies … but now the taps aren’t labelled as to whether the water is OK to drink, and they’ve started using the automatic taps which are pre-set to provide warm water – no good for drinking at all!!

judith lacey says:
4 July 2014

They do have them, but they are usually quite well hidden! Often situated near cloakrooms.

Maccbmw says:
5 July 2014

In Manchester there is a water fountain on the left in the wide corridor just as you leave the security area and move towards the first shopping area. At Zurich there is a chilled water dispenser just inside the pharmacy. I carry a small empty bottle and refill it once I am through security checks.