TripAdvisor survey reveals favourite British airport and airline


London Heathrow is the UK’s favourite airport while British Airways is the nation’s favourite international airline, a survey of over 3,700 UK travellers by TripAdvisor has revealed.


The annual Air Travel Survey also revealed British holidaygoers’ pet likes and gripes about the experience of booking and taking flights.


More than a fifth (21 per cent) of those polled named London Heathrow as the UK’s best airport. Manchester Airport was a close second, cited by one in six (17 per cent) of those polled, followed by London Gatwick in third (15 per cent).


For the second year running, British Airways was named Brits’ favourite airline with nearly a quarter of the vote (23 per cent). Virgin Atlantic polled 13 per cent to claim second spot, while just over one in 10 (11 per cent) named Emirates as their favourite airline. Ryanair polled just two per cent of the votes cast.


The survey also revealed the extent to which smartphones have become synonymous with air travel. Four in ten Brits (40 per cent) say they have researched flight options on their mobile, while more than a third (34 per cent) have used their mobiles to check into flights and nearly a fifth (19 per cent) have used their phone as an electronic boarding pass.


When asked which aspects of air travel had most improved in the last five years, nearly three quarters of Brits named the ease of booking online (74 per cent), while nearly half (47 per cent) cited comparison shopping options on flight search sites like TripAdvisor.


The survey also revealed a shift in attitude since last year’s survey, which had revealed that price was the most important factor for passengers when picking flights.


This year, fewer travellers named price as a key factor when choosing flights than those citing departure and arrival times or the option to fly direct, suggesting a majority of Brits are now prepared to pay more for convenience.


While many airlines have been quick to adopt the new slimline seat design, it seems British travellers are yet to be convinced they offer a better experience than the previous seat designs.


Of those British passengers who’ve experienced the new slimline economy seats, over half (55 per cent) said they found the seats to be less comfortable than the previous economy class seats.


Indeed, comfort and legroom remain a source of frustration for many passengers, with uncomfortable seating being Brits’ biggest gripe about air travel by far – cited by a whopping 71 per cent. In fact, over a third of those polled (33 per cent) cited more legroom as the amenity that would most improve their in-flight experience.


When asked which added fees they found most annoying, a third of British passengers (33 per cent) named and shamed checked baggage charges. Seat selection charges were second on Brits’ pet hate list, cited by over a quarter (28 per cent) of those polled.


“The numerous added fees that have become the norm in the aviation industry can drastically alter the cost of flying, so it pays to research up front what you’re likely to fork out for those extras. The Fees Estimator tool on TripAdvisor is one way to do that, as it helps you calculate the full cost of flying before you book,” commented James Kay, spokesperson at TripAdvisor.


To help travellers make the best booking decision, TripAdvisor Flights features comprehensive in-flight insights, amenities information and candid traveller photos along with the ability to scan for the lowest prices for airlines globally.