SOUTHAMPTON Airport is flying high after being placed as the third best airport in the country.

After researching 6,237 airport experiences and 4,499 participants, review service Which? found the city airport was ahead of most small airports and all the large terminals when it came to passenger experiences.

The airport achieved an overall score of 77 percent in the survey, based on how likely passengers would be to recommend the airport and the combined satisfaction levels of customers.

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

Doncaster Sheffield held onto top place with a customer satisfaction score of 86 per cent, with London Southend at 79 per cent. Southampton’s 77 per cent put it in third place, ahead of Exeter (73 per cent) and Bournemouth (72 per cent).

The individual areas assessed for the survey included queues for bag drop, check-in, security and passport control; waiting time for baggage reclaim; prices and choice in food and retail outlets; quality and quantity of seating available; standard of facilities and overall customer experience provided by airport staff.

This achievement comes after being named the ACI Airport Service Quality Best Airport for Customer Service Excellence in Europe in March 2019.

Simon Young, head of passenger operations for the airport, 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.”

He added: “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.”

For its second year in a row, Southampton Airport welcomed more than two million passengers in 2018 and celebrated a successful first year of service with easyJet, which launched direct flights to Geneva in December 2017.

The Hampshire transport hub also contributes more than £160 million a year to the local economy and employs nearly 1,000 members of staff.

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

At the bottom of the survey were Belfast International (42 per cent), followed by London Luton (43 per cent), Manchester Terminal 3 (47 per cent), London Stansted (49 per cent), Aberdeen (50 per cent) and Manchester Terminal 1 (50 per cent).

The Which? survey was based on 6,237 airport experiences.