SOUTHAMPTON Airport has been rated among the best in the country for passenger experience.

The facility was highly praised by its passengers in the annual Which? survey of all the UK’s airports.

Its score of 77 per cent satisfaction placed it third in among UK airports.

All the top-rated small airports had higher scores than their large counterparts.

The Which? survey was completed by 4,499 members and detailed 6,237 airport experiences.

Doncaster Sheffield held onto top place with a customer satisfaction score of 86 per cent, with London Southend at 79 per cent. Southampton was ahead of Exeter (73 per cent) and Bournemouth (72 per cent). At the bottom of the survey were Belfast International (42 per cent), followed by Luton (43 per cent), Manchester Terminal 3 (47 per cent), London Stansted (49 per cent), and Aberdeen (50 per cent).

The scores were based on the combined satisfaction levels of the passenger and how likely they were to recommend the airport.

Individual areas assessed included queues for bag drop, check-in, security, and passport control; waiting time for baggage reclaim; and overall customer experience provided by airport staff.

Simon Young, Southampton Airport’s head of passenger operations, said: “We are thrilled to receive such a great vote of confidence from our passengers and be recognised as one of the very best airports in the country by such a respected consumer champion as Which?

“We pride ourselves on being a really well-connected, friendly, quick and easy airport to breeze through. You can be from car park or train station, through security and at your departure gate in just minutes – taking so much stress out of travel.

“This reinforces our position as Best Airport in Europe for Customer Service Excellence, a title we were given earlier this year by the Airports Council International ASQ awarding body and is testament to the hard-work and dedication of everyone who works here.”

Southampton Airport is said to contribute more than £160million a year to the local economy and employs nearly 1,000 staff.

In 2018, it welcomed more than two million passengers, for the second year in a row. It also celebrated its first year of service with easyJet, which launched direct flights to Geneva at the end of 2017.

The airport has regularly taken first place in the UK for overall satisfaction in the ACI Airport Service Quality Survey.

It has recently revealed its ambition to expand in a draft ‘master plan’, which envisages passenger numbers reaching five million by 2037.