Birmingham Airport tops out across choice, price and review categories, but Newcastle’s poor vegetarian provision and negative feedback sees it come bottom of the pile.
Flight and travel comparison site Netflights.com has analysed¹ the online ratings, prices and vegetarian options of Britain’s biggest 10 airports and ranked them for pre-flight dining. British travellers spend an average of nearly £12 each on takeaway food, and £25 on a sit-down meal, prior to flying² – the Netflights ranking is designed to help them to know what to expect when they get to the airport, and make the best possible choices.
Netflights.com analysed online reviews of the UK’s 10 largest airports by passenger volume. It then overlaid those findings onto the average dining price data of each airport, and its current restaurant listings, to award each a score out of 10.
Taking the top spot, with a score of 7.3, was Birmingham Airport. A concentration of 12 different eateries in a single terminal meant it achieved a high passenger satisfaction score for choice on the review sites analysed. Travellers can choose from a wide range of options, including a prosecco bar, a good variation of coffee shops, and a long list of family-favourite sit-down restaurants like Giraffe or Frankie & Benny’s. Together the different eateries boast a wide selection of vegetarian dishes and a reasonable price point overall, which combined to push the airport to the top of Netflights’ rankings.
Factory Bar and Kitchen, for example, has 10 vegetarian sit-down meals on its menu and is exclusive to Birmingham Airport. Bottega Prosecco Bar, also exclusive to the airport, offers up to six meat-free options. Alongside those, well-known airport staples including a Wetherspoon pub, Pret a Manger, Caffè Nero and Costa Coffee offer up to 102 further vegetarian options combined.
Edinburgh, Gatwick, Manchester and Heathrow ranked next-highest after Birmingham for being vegetarian-friendly according to the Netflights research.
Bottom of Netflights’ rankings was Newcastle International Airport with an average score of 5.3. Here, limited vegetarian options and poor passenger feedback online meant it narrowly pipped Glasgow Airport to the lowest spot, despite scoring well overall for the pricing of its dining options.
For those who like to treat themselves before boarding a long-haul flight, Netflights’ analysis also identified the best airport for high-end eateries. Heathrow Airport came in first place, with eight of the highest-rated restaurants in the highest price bracket in the UK. Travellers can splash out on top-notch seafood and Champagne at Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar, or choose from a menu of high-end classics at Terminal Five’s Fortnum & Mason Bar.
Newcastle is the worst airport for treating yourself pre-flight as it has the least number of high end eateries – although size isn’t on the airports side as it only has nine eateries, compared to more than 40 at London Heathrow.
Andrew Shelton, Netflights’ Managing Director, commented: “The days when airport dining was a grim choice between a speedy sandwich or a greasy fry-up are long gone. We expect airports to mirror the high street, with variety, quality, good value and options to suit different dietary needs, and maybe even the odd high-end choice for when we want to treat ourselves.”
“Our rankings show that when an airport invests in meeting those expectations, it can pay off – and will certainly encourage passengers to come back again in the future. With over a third of Brits citing the cost of airport food as one of the main annoyances of travelling by air², it’s vital for airports to get a good balance between choice and value.”
The full breakdown of the Netflights’ top 10 UK airports for pre-flight food and drink can be found here.