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The UK’s Longest and Shortest Airport Baggage Wait Times

May 16, 2014 4:00 am

Skift Take

It is quite notable that the largest airports with the greatest resources have the longest wait times.

— Jason Clampet

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Luggage on a baggage carousel. Getty Images


Air travellers coming into the UK picked up their suitcases quickest at Manchester Airport – waiting 16 minutes 15 seconds.

In contrast, those arriving at London Gatwick, according to the experiences of travellers passing through, hung around the longest, for 33 minutes 21 seconds.

Other more efficient airports named in the research included Birmingham and London City, where waiting times were 17 minutes 49 seconds and 18 minutes 13 seconds respectively.

The figures were based on the time travellers said it took between them arriving at the baggage carousel and the luggage starting to appear. The average time was 21 minutes, meaning that those arriving at Gatwick waited a full 12 minutes and 21 seconds more than the norm.

All respondents taking part said that they had checked luggage and had gone straight to the baggage carousel after going through passport control, as opposed to stopping for a toilet break.

Adam Ewart, Founder of SendmyBag.com, a luggage transport company that conducted the research, said:

“Airports are constantly upping their targets to be the quickest and the best around, however it’s not always possible. Something might happen that throws a spanner in the works and causes delays, such as if a bag gets stuck somewhere or temporarily lost.”

He admitted the research was reliant on the memories of Britons who have used various airports around the UK, and stressed that speed was not all that mattered. “It’s important to get baggage off the flight and to the carousels as quickly, but as safely, as possible,” he said. “Airports don’t want the hassle of having to pay out for damaged or lost luggage claims.”

A Gatwick spokesperson said: “London Gatwick works closely with airlines and their partners to ensure the best passenger experience possible on every journey. Significant survey data tells us that we are London’s airport of choice and we have made big strides to cut queues and waiting times since new ownership in 2009.”

Respondents were also asked about other time-consuming aspects of airport experiences in the UK. A third said “security/customs”, while “check in’ (voted most time-consuming by 27 per cent of respondents) and “boarding” (21 per cent) also proved to be travelling gripes. The Gatwick spokesperson said that 95 per cent of the time, all passengers at Gatwick pass through security in under five minutes.

Shortest baggage carousel waiting times

  1. Manchester Airport – 16 minutes 15 seconds
  2. Birmingham Airport – 17 minutes 49 seconds
  3. London City Airport – 18 minutes 13 seconds
  4. East Midlands Airport – 18 minutes 52 seconds
  5. Aberdeen Airport – 19 minutes 33 seconds

Longest baggage carousel waiting times

  1. London Gatwick Airport – 33 minutes 21 seconds
  2. Edinburgh Airport – 31 minutes 47 seconds
  3. London Heathrow Airport – 29 minutes 29 seconds
  4. Liverpool John Lennon Airport – 28 minutes 51 seconds
  5. Bristol Airport – 27 minutes 02 seconds

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