Transport Airports

Which airports make you walk the most between terminals? Beijing and Atlanta top the list

Aug 10, 2012 3:20 pm

Skift Take

Harried passengers who feel like they’re running forever to get between terminals are right at these airports, although some (Zurich, Seoul, Dubai) make the experience much more pleasant than others.

— Jason Clampet

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New figures have revealed that passengers flying from Gatwick’s North Terminal can expect to walk up to 1.2 miles to reach their departure gate.

The study, carried out by Direct Line travel insurance, compares the distance that passengers must travel at some of Britain’s busiest airports. It showed that travellers at Gatwick face the longest walk, using the distance from the terminal entrance to the furthest departure gate.

Despite Heathrow’s position as the largest UK hub, the equivalent journey from the airport’s Terminal 5 was 0.76 miles, placing it second behind Gatwick.

Journeys at Manchester and Stansted came in at a more manageable 0.57 and 0.48 miles respectively, with part of the journey at Stanstead made by way of a new transit system.

Gatwick’s 1.2 mile hike also places it ahead of many of the world’s busiest airports, including New York JFK, Tokyo, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Hong Kong.

However, it is only half the distance that passengers travelling from Beijing Capital airport can expect to face. Those departing from the airport’s Terminal 3 have to contend with a mammoth two mile journey to the furthest gate.

Direct Line also recorded long distances at Atlanta, Zurich and Frankfurt, leaving Gatwick in fifth place worldwide.

Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line said, “Holidaymakers travelling from Gatwick may not realise they could face a journey of more than a mile to reach a departure gate. We would advise them to plan ahead and allow plenty of time to reach their flight.

“This is particularly important during the next few weeks as all of the major airports in the UK are likely to be very busy due to the peak summer holiday season.”

Airport distance from arrivals to furthest gate (miles)


  • Gatwick North Terminal – 1.12
  • Heathrow Terminal – 5 0.76
  • Manchester – 0.57
  • Stansted – 0.48
  • Luton – 0.33


  • Beijing Capital (Terminal 3) – 2.0
  • Atlanta -1.3
  • Zurich – 1.27
  • Frankfurt – 1.17
  • Gatwick North Terminal – 1.12
  • Seoul – 1.05
  • Hong Kong – 0.98
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 – 0.76
  • New York JFK – 0.7
  • Amsterdam Schipol – 0.61
  • Manchester – 0.57
  • Dubai International – 0.55

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