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Worst airports for security queues revealed

Leeds Bradford has been named the worst airport in the UK for security lines, with more than a quarter of people facing wait times in excess of an hour.

The average hold-up at the West Yorkshire travel hub between February and August was 35 minutes, giving it the unwanted honour of having the longest of any nationwide.

It ranks top of a list of 14 assembled by consumer group Which?, after almost 1,300 people who travelled from a UK airport over the six-month period were asked how long they queued at security.

1. Leeds Bradford – 35-minute average wait

2. Bristol – 30 minutes

3. Birmingham – 24 minutes

4. Manchester – 24 minutes

5. Heathrow – 20 minutes

6. Luton – 19 minutes

7. Belfast International – 18 minutes

8. Stansted – 18 minutes

9. Edinburgh – 16 minutes

10. Gatwick – 16 minutes

11. Newcastle – 15 minutes

12. Glasgow International – 13 minutes

13. Belfast City – 13 minutes

14. London City – 12 minutes

Travellers reported security queues in excess of an hour at nine airports, including Bristol (17% of respondents), Birmingham (11%) and Manchester (8%).

Many UK airports struggled to cope earlier this year with a combination of heightened demand following the end of COVID restrictions and staff shortages, with long queues, baggage problems, and flight cancellations.

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At Leeds Bradford, electronic screens were installed in August providing live updates on estimated wait times to help allay passenger frustration.

A spokesperson said: “Earlier this year, like many airports across the UK, we had periods of long queueing due to the rapid resumption of international travel after the lifting of pandemic restrictions.

“We were transparent about these difficulties at the time and worked hard to address those short-term issues.

“We have since significantly reduced queueing in our terminal.

“We remain committed to delivering the best possible passenger experience at Leeds Bradford Airport and being an outstanding airport for our region.”

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Industry trade body the Airport Operators Association said airports had worked hard to recover from “one of the most restrictive travel regimes in Europe”.

The “overwhelming number of passengers were able to enjoy the summer holidays with minimal disruptions”, a spokesperson added.

Guy Hobbs, editor of magazine Which? Travel, suggested travellers avoid airports with the worst record on wait times, even if that means picking one slightly further from home.


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