Flying might make the world seem smaller but travelling by plane still comes with its stresses. A customer-friendly airport can offer great relief for travellers, especially when airports are readily equipped to make the waiting time between flights as enjoyable and comfortable as possible.
To find out which airports in European capitals are the most convenient, we examined a range of factors that define comfort and convenience. The final result is a ranking of the Most Convenient Airports in Europe.
Adolfo Suárez Madrid–
Barajas Airport (MAD)
Leonardo Da Vinci–
Fiumicino Airport (FCO)
Int. Airport (SVO)
Airport Prague (PRG)
Gaulle Airport (CDG)
Budapest Ferenc Liszt
Int. Airport (BUD)
Int. Airport (GYD)
Int. Airport (OTP)
Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) ranks as the best airport in Europe, with all of the examined facilities and a wide range of shops and restaurants. Passengers travelling through Madrid have 133 shops and 54 restaurants to choose from. In addition, few flight cancellations and above average flight punctuality make Barajas the most customer-friendly airport in Europe. London Heathrow ranks seventh place overall, but first place for facilities, with 20 lounges across the terminals. The main airports in Rome (FCO), Amsterdam (AMS), Copenhagen (CPH) and Moscow (SVO) also score high. Copenhagen is the best in terms of connectivity, with three different public transportation options covering the five-mile distance between the city’s central train station and the airport. Copenhagen Airport is also the best in terms of punctuality, with 96 percent of flights landing and taking off on schedule. Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport is the best in terms of culinary options, with 79 gastronomic facilities.
This study analysed the main airports across 30 European capital cities for 17 factors that ensure a customer-friendly and enjoyable experience. The distance and the number of public transport options connecting the airport to the city centre determined the airport’s connectivity score. Showers, hotels, smoking areas, rest and relaxation areas, airport lounges, public charging stations and pharmacies were evaluated to determine the quality and abundance of facilities. The number of shops, restaurants and bars was also examined to evaluate entertainment options during long waiting times. Finally, an analysis of stress-causing factors, including flight cancellations and delays, the number of daily air passengers, traffic congestion, and the average price of a taxi, also contributed to the final ranking of the most convenient European capital airports. Full methodology can be found here.
Flights in the UK form a major part of the air traffic network in Europe, so unsurprisingly the UK is home to some of its largest and busiest airports. London, in particular, is a major world aviation hub with a total of 6 international airports which, collectively, handle hundreds of millions of passengers each year. Of these, London Heathrow remains the country’s busiest airport by a long way, handling over 70 million international passengers annually. In fact, altogether, more than half of flight passengers in the UK travel via London's airports - other than Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, London Luton also makes the top 5 and London City makes the top 20. Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh Airport are the busiest airports outside London. With the rise of travel search sites and flight comparison tools, travelling between them has never been easier.
Heathrow handles more international passengers than any other airport in the world and is the busiest airport in Europe. At the moment, Heathrow has 2 runways and 5 terminals and is located in the west of London in Hillingdon, still within the M25 motorway ring. A massive amount of destinations and countries can be reached, both short-haul and trans-continental. It is the main hub for British Airways and the operating base of Virgin Atlantic, who offer transcontinental flights. The busiest routes within Europe from the airport are between Dublin (London - Dublin is one of the busiest routes in the world), Frankfurt and Amsterdam, with each of these seeing nearly 1.5 million passengers in a year.
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Gatwick Airport is a base for flag-carrier airline British Airways, as well as a number of low-cost airlines including easyJet and Flybe. The majority of its busiest routes are to destinations in Spain, as well as major cities around Europe including Dublin, Amsterdam and Geneva. Gatwick’s dedicated train station connects passengers to Victoria Station by the Gatwick Express service. Gatwick is home to Europe's busiest single-use runway and is the leading airport in Europe for point-to-point flights. As such it forms a key point in the network of low-cost carriers in Europe. Gatwick is about 30 miles to the south of central London, although it can be easily reached by public transport, including the Gatwick Express service from London Victoria station.
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London Stansted is the fourth-busiest airport in the country, behind Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester, with roughly 20 million passengers passing through its gates each year. It is the largest base in the UK for budget carrier Ryanair, which serves over 100 destinations from the airport. Stansted is approximately 30 miles to the northeast of central London, within the county of Essex. The Stansted Express train service travels directly from London to the airport in under an hour - booking well in advanced is advised.
The UK isn't entirely compiled of London; some of the busiest airports in Britain are outside the capital - a good 6 or 7 of them also among Europe's 100 busiest.
Edinburgh airport is the busiest airport in Scotland and the 5th busiest in the UK, with over 10 million passengers travelling through it each year. It is located about 6 miles to the west of Edinburgh city centre. Over 40 airlines, among them Jet2 and Norwegian Air, serve Edinburgh Airport, flying to over 140 destinations worldwide. The airport can be easily reached from the centre of Edinburgh via the light-rail tram link service which, since 2014, runs directly to the airport terminal.
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Birmingham Airport is the main operating base for flybe, as well as being a significant base for other major airlines offering cheap flights, such as Monarch and Ryanair. The airport has its own station - Birmingham International Station - which is served by trains on the West Coast Mainline between London and Birmingham.
The largest and busiest airport outside of London, Manchester Airport has flights to more than 220 different places, making it the airport in the UK that serves the most destinations. The airport has 3 terminals and 2 runways - the only one apart from London Heathrow to operate more than a single runway. Located just shy of 9 miles from Manchester city centre, the airport is well connected to the M56 motorway as well as to the public transport network, making it a viable option for not just people in the Manchester area, but from the entire North of England. Destinations in Spain such as Tenerife, Palma de Mallorca and Alicante are particularly popular from Manchester Airport. Domestic routes are also particularly busy, including those to London Heathrow, flights to Belfast and flights to Aberdeen. The airport has over 50 airlines operating a global network of flights, among them are Virgin Atlantic, Thomas Cook Airlines, easyJet, Monarch and Ryanair.
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