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Terminal gripes: Overpriced food, long queues and misleading duty-free shops

18 October 2017

GoCompare research reveals passengers’ biggest airport annoyances ahead of the busy half-term getaway

Around 25 million passengers will pass through the UK’s 60 plus airports in October*, but research from GoCompare Travel** has found that for many the airport experience isn’t the ideal start to their holiday they’d hoped for.

GoCompare surveyed over 1,300 UK adults who’d taken a holiday abroad in the last five years, to ask them what they found most annoying about airports.

Holidaymakers' terminal gripes:

 1 Overpriced food and drink in the departure lounge 66%
 2 Long queues for check-in and security 54%
 3 Duty-free shops which are no cheaper than normal shops 50%
 4 Having to check-in three hours before departure 44%
 5 Delayed flights 43%
 6 Expensive airport parking 37%
 7 Long waits in areas with uncomfortable/insufficient seating 37%
 8 People laying across the seats in the waiting areas 29%
 9 Having to show your boarding pass in the shops 23%
 10 Lack of information about delays 23%

Georgie Frost, head of consumer affairs at GoCompare, said: “Getting away at half-term can put a real strain on families’ finances. Airlines, hotels and car hire firms traditionally hike their prices at this time of year, but the rip-offs begin before you get into the air.

“Airports know they have a captive audience and prices are generally much higher than you will find on the high street. 

“There’s not really much you can do about delays and long queues, unless you want to pay a premium for queue-jumping services. However, when it comes to overpriced food, shops and airport parking, planning ahead could save you significant amounts of time and money and help you avoid an even bigger financial holiday hangover.”

Top tips to help you avoid spending your holiday money at the airport:

  • Compare online: Go online for the best airport parking deals before you go and you could pay a fraction of the price;
  • Don’t get caught out: Check you comply with airline rules such as hand baggage allowance or printing your tickets at home so you don’t get needlessly stung;
  • Plan ahead: Buy snacks or try to eat before you travel;
  • Don’t be impulsive: Gone are the days when duty-free meant a guaranteed bargain. Remember that often you can get a cheaper deal online or on the high street;
  • Be duty-free savvy: If there is something you have in mind that you want to buy, many airport duty-free chains have websites where you can check prices before you arrive and even reserve before you fly. That way you can see if the deal is really worthwhile or you are better off waiting until you get home;
  • Get mobile: If you are in an EU country new rules mean you can browse the internet for free, so remember you don’t have to pay for expensive airport Wi-Fi anymore.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

*Source: Civil Aviation Authority data 2016

**On 25 May 2017, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2,005 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.