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Airport Guide

Delays at UK airports could have a knock-on effect for return flights so our guide to holiday airports is essential.

Click on a destination airport...

Balearics/Canaries
Ibiza
Majorca
Menorca
Tenerife
Lanzarote
Gran Canaria
Fuerteventura
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Almeria
Costa Blanca
Costa del Sol
Costa Dorada
Barcelona
 
Portugal/Other Med
Algarve
Italy
Madeira
Malta
Cyprus
Tunisia
Greece
Corfu
Crete
Kos
Rhodes
Santorini
Zakynthos
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Krakow
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Australia

Brisbane

A huge modern airport comprising two terminals approx. 1-mile apart and linked by train and taxis. The terminals are well equipped with duty-free shops, retail outlets, cafes, bars and money changing facilities. Car rental and parking are available. Check-in is usually open 3 hours before the flight. A reliable train service is available to shuttle passengers cheaply and quickly into the city running every 15 minutes throughout the day.

Sydney (Kingsford Smith)

Six miles from the centre of Sydney, this vast airport is always easy to navigate for weary passengers. There are three terminals within walking distance or linked by trains and buses. There are dozens of duty-free shops, restaurants, bars and banking facilities throughout the site in addition to shower cubicles to freshen-up. Daytime buses operate from the airport to the city centre.

Barbados

Facilities are limited at this small airport. There's a bar, one restaurant and a couple of shops. Limited banking and foreign exchange available.

A bus travels to Bridgetown 5 times an hour but they're often crowded and most arrivals with lots of luggage tend to prefer to take a taxi for the short journey.

Car hire is also limited and best booked in resort.

Of all the gripes we get about the airport, slow baggage handling is the biggest complaint.

Majorca:

Palma Airport

This is a vast development, built to cope with the tens of thousands of travellers who pass through and you'll find that, despite the enormity of the airport, it's clean and well run. There are dozens of shops selling everything from ice-cream to designer clothes, in addition to a huge duty-free supermarket. The cafeteria which serves mainly pre-packaged snacks can get crowded and is pricey. Cash-machines on site.

Tip: Once you've checked-in and stocked up on duty free, escape the crowds by making your way to the gate. It can take up to 30 minutes to walk, and along the route you'll find plenty of rest areas, plus one or two quieter bars.

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Ibiza:

Ibiza Airport

A huge site capable of handling the masses quite efficiently. After check-in the departure area comprises a duty-free supermarket, modest souvenir shops and a few high-class boutiques.

The self-service cafeteria is pricey even for snacks and drinks. Other restaurants offer more varied menus.

There are several bars and it's worth reminding travellers that because of the island's reputation there is less tolerance of drunken behavior. For children there is a supervised play area. Cash machines on site.

Menorca:

Mahon Airport

Menorca Airport reflects the pace of the rest of the island - easy going and spacious. The terminal has a large indoor seating area, a cafeteria serving freshly prepared snacks, a fast food takeaway and a sundeck on the roof with a bar - so overcrowding isn't much of a problem.

There's a good sized duty free store and a selection of shops although there's no great choice.

The cheapest prices are in the resorts. Cash machines on site.

Tip: If you're traveling home with under11s keep some euros spare for the airport's small but supervised indoor play area.

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Costa del Sol:

Malaga Airport

Two terminals serve this vast site. The departure lounge comprises a spacious seating area on one floor and a small mall-type area upstairs with duty-free, fashion outlets, a newsagent, etc.

There is also an outside terrace area where travellers can grab some last minute ultra-violet.

The self-service cafeteria is efficient but pricey and often gets crowded at peak times.

Other places to eat include a tapas bar and a Burger King. Banking facilities and a children's play area available. Cash machines on site.

The train station with services to Torremolinos and Fuengirola is on site

Costa Almeria:

Almeria Airport

Tourism in the Almeria region has grown rapidly in recent years but still not to the extent of some of the other 'Costas' and the local airport still reflects this - small but efficient.

There are limited last minute shopping opportunities, along with a small but well-stocked duty-free.

Facilities are clean although seating areas get crowded, especially if the airport has to cope with major delays.

Cash machines on site.

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Costa Blanca:

Alicante Airport

Approximately 4 million passengers use this airport in the course of a year, the majority pass through the single terminal during the peak summer months heading for Benidorm and there appears to be enough seating provided to cope with the masses.

For a holiday airport Alicante has better than average amenities including a large duty-free store, numerous gift shops, a record store, jewellers, even a bakery.

Several restaurants, a cafeteria and a choice of bars provide adequate refreshments while young children are catered for with a play area. Cash machines on site.

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Costa Dorada:

Reus Airport

A small site with few facilities so expect some overcrowding at peak times.

Reus check-in area is about the size of an average school hall and consists of just eight desks with toilets and a small shop. In our view the departure lounge has enough seating capacity for no more than two flights - anymore and it could be standing room only.

The cafeteria serves snacks and shares its seating area with the three departure gates - again, another recipe for congestion.

A small 'duty free' shop selling a limited stock of cigarettes, perfume and spirits completes the picture. Not the place to be delayed for any length of time.

Barcelona

This huge site is split between two terminals, both bulging with modern amenities and scores of shops.

Our researcher found the signs to be rather confusing on entering the airport and within the two terminal buildings.

There are dozens of check-in desks which should help to speed up the vast numbers of passengers who flood through Barcelona Airport.

Passengers travelling by taxi for return flights to the UK should ensure they know exactly which terminal to return to, the journey cab between the two buildings can be quite steep.

Poland 

Krakow

This tiny airport can get stretched to capacity at busy times thanks to the popularity of short breaks to Krakow and to the steady flow of nationals travelling to the UK and back. 
Facilities and amenities are extremely limited especially once through passport control. The waiting lounges are also the gates to the boarding point and provided very limited services. Seating is also in short supply.

Algarve:

Faro Airport

Millions of euros have been spent to more than double the number of check-in counters and boarding gates.

There is a well-stocked duty-free store and a clean cafeteria supplemented by two other restaurants offering a much wider choice.

Lounge areas can still quickly become bloated so grab a seat while you can.

Nothing here for the serious shopper, just a few stores selling sunglasses, etc and unfortunately there's nothing much to keep young children entertained. Cash machines on site.

Search for deals on flights from London to Faro at cheapflights.co.uk

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Madeira:

A pleasant and functional airport with adequate facilities for both inbound and outbound passengers.

A cafeteria in the departure lounge provides a fair selection of food and drink, and all at a reasonable price.

There's not a vast amount of shopping available but enough to pass an hour-or-so. 

Tip:  If the departure lounge gets too crowded you may find more space down the escalator in the arrivals hall. 

Warning: Take-off and landing can be fairly hair-raising, even for the seasoned traveller. The runway juts out into the sea which makes for novel landing over water and taking-off planes have to 'bank' sharply to avoid the hills. All good, stomach-churning fun!

Fuerteventura:

Puerto del Rosario Airport

Like most Spanish-run airports this site is fairly well geared-up for the type of holidaymaker it serves.

Upstairs from the check-in area is a cluster of around half a dozen shops each specializing in; duty-free goods (some may be cheaper in resort), magazines, sweets and chocolate, clothing, etc, in addition to an open-plan cafeteria. Not much for kids except for a few coin operated rides. Cash machines on site.

TIP: It's useful to be aware that Fuerteventura is renowned for strong winds which can occasionally cause a few little bumps on landing or take-off. Nothing to worry about, though.

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Gran Canaria:

Las Palmas Airport

A large check-in hall at Las Palmas Airport leads to the comfortable departure lounge boasting a coffee shop, cafeteria and a couple of bars.

At least a dozen shops offer a range of goods, from the usual tourist tat to some exclusive designer stores. There's a large duty-free shop (alcohol and cigarettes are cheaper in resort), a jewellers and toy shop. A florist on-site sells some more unusual gifts and souvenirs to take home.

The lounge area is very spacious with plenty of seating areas and good views of the runway.

Disabled facilities include a ramp and lifts.

Tenerife:

Tenerife South Airport

A vast terminal building with few shortcomings.

The site is easily capable of coping with the huge crowds thanks to its ample seating areas, and it is usually kept spotlessly clean.

There are plenty of shops, restaurants and bars through Passport Control, along with a few amusements for children.

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Lanzarote:

Arrecife Airport

The tourism boom has forced the authorities to upgrade Arrecife Airport. A few years ago visitors found conditions cramped and unappealing. Now thanks to some renovation work the terminal building has been modernised and expanded.

More shops and facilities have been added to the departure area including a smarter cafeteria, souvenir shops, fashion boutiques, a jewellers and a newsagent.

As with all the Canary Islands you may find duty free items cheaper in resort. Very little for children. Cash machines on site.

Rhodes:

Rhodes Airport

A well developed airport with plenty of facilities. Overcrowding can be a problem at the height of the season especially when a flight or two is delayed. However under normal circumstances the departure lounge is big enough to cope.

Tourist shops provide the usual last minute souvenir-hunting opportunities along with a cafeteria and bar.

It is generally clean and well run although children could be better catered for.

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Kos:

Kos Airport

The 12 check-in desks and three baggage reclaim carousels aren't enough to stop queues forming at peak times in the arrivals and departure halls.

The departures lounge has limited shops and refreshments available, not the place to be delayed for any length of time.

Santorini (Thira)

Modernised but still small with limited facilities.

The departure lounge houses one bar serving light refreshments and can quickly become crowded if flights begin to stack up. Expect long waiting times for baggage reclaim during busy periods.

A modest duty-free shop supplies essentials only and a jeweller's.

Mainland Greece:

Eleftherios Venizelos

Athens' new 'state-of -the-art ' airport opened in 2001 and was plagued by teething problems which have now been overcome.

The facilities for arrivals and departures are a vast improvement on the old site while the many shops and other amenities have received the thumbs-up from our contacts.

Zante/Zakynthos

Far too small to accommodate the growing numbers of summer visitors, Zante airport is not the place you would want to be stranded at for any length of time.

Arrivals are greeted with just ONE baggage reclaim carousel which often has to cope with several incoming flights at once creating large crowds and plenty of confusion.

Departing holidaymakers often have to endure queuing outside the tiny terminal building before checking-in.

Beyond passport control a cramped lounge with poor facilities awaits and there's a small duty-free shop and snack bar. BE PREPARED.

N.B. A small extension has been built onto the check-in hall. However the site is still in desperate need of vast improvements

Corfu:

Kerkyra Airport

Considering the vast numbers of summer visitors this airport has to cope with it's not nearly adequate.

The sight has a small check-in area and once through passport control there's a desperate shortage of seating.

A handful of shops are supplemented by a bar and cafeteria.

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Crete:

Chania Airport

A vast airport with all the usual amenities on sight including a few tourist shops and a large duty-free.

Refreshments available at a cafeteria with its own seating area plus a bar.

Generally a well run site with clean facilities and adequate seating areas plus some entertainment for children.

Italy

Naples Airport

A good selection of shops and restaurants serve Naples Airport. There are some nice Italian touches, too like the coffee bar and wine bar. We discovered an excellent standard of catering from international cuisine to snacks. On the more practical side there are cash dispensers and banking facilities.

Rome Airport

There are two terminals on this site, one for international departures, the other for domestic flights. Travellers have a reasonable choice of facilities including restaurants and gift shops in addition the usual duty-free store.

Pisa Airport 

Pisa Airport has two restaurants which can become crowded very quickly. There is a shopping area on two floors selling a range of gifts and duty-free products. The children's play area and supervised facilities for the very young are useful for parents.

Malta:

Malta International Airport

Large and fairly well-run, Malta International offers extensive amenities for the departing travellers. The lounge area is comfortable and lined with a well-stocked duty-free store, a tempting confectioners, bookshop and newsagent. There are a few eating places including a bistro and some fast food.

A recent survey of business leaders however, found much to criticize. Baggage handling, catering and check-in were named as areas for improvement along with transport facilities between the airport and Gozo. Some described the helicopter service as 'unsafe'.

A small play area has been provided for young children. Cash machines on site.

For arrivals a taxi booking scheme operates.

TIP: If departing late at night bring your own refreshments because most facilities tend to close down after 10pm.

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Tunisia:

Monastir Airport

The main check-in area is fairly large with up to 50 desks and several souvenir shops - all offering the same selection of leather goods and pottery. There's not enough seating on this side of passport control so most people head straight through to the departure lounge.

A modest cafeteria provides a limited choice of sandwiches and snacks.
Even those with money to spare won't be too tempted by the handful of shops, however a modest duty-free store has a reasonable selection of perfumes, etc.

Tunisia doesn't allow its currency to be taken out of the country and there are money changing facilities near the check-in desks. Shops in the departure lounge will accept pounds and dollars.

Morocco:

A modern site with ample space and facilities to cope with the growth in summer trade.

The departure area is set on two levels with plenty of seating areas plus two restaurants and several cafeterias.

The departures lounge includes a small shopping centre selling duty-free goods and last minute souvenirs. Overall a comfortable and clean airport but with no provision for children.

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Cyprus:

Paphos Airport

Serves Paphos, Coral bay and Limassol. The smaller of the two airports on southern Cyprus with limited facilities. In the summer seating areas become cramped, particularly if flights are delayed which puts an extra strain on resources.

A small duty free shop offers well known brands but nothing exceptional. Gifts are best purchased in resort.

The caf� gets busy and serves only fast food and snacks. Special facilities for handicapped travellers, such as truck-lifts, wheelchairs and a washroom. Immigration is somewhat stricter than most other Mediterranean countries and if you have a Turkish stamp in your passport you must seek advice from your travel agent or tour operator.

Cash machines on site.

TIP: Paphos Airport has a second departure lounge through a set of doors off the main lounge ... it is usually less crowded.

Lanarca Airport

Serves Ayia Napa and Protaras.

A large well run site with good amenities including spacious lounges with good seating. An extensive range of duty free goods can be purchased and there is a souvenir shop and news kiosk.

A cafeteria offers self-service catering; other outlets providing snacks. Special facilities for handicapped travellers, such as truck-lifts, wheelchairs and special washrooms.

Immigration is somewhat stricter than most other Mediterranean countries and if you have a Turkish stamp in your passport you must seek advice from your travel agent or tour operator. Cash machines on site.

Florida:

Orlando Airport

A major revamp has been undertaken at Orlando International to update the 1970's-era structures and more seating has been added.

This is the region's main airport dealing with the vast majority of international as well as domestic flights and this site is so huge a mono-rail serves as a link between the various buildings. The departure lounge areas are just about spacious enough to cope with large numbers of passengers and quality shops are in plentiful supply - there's even a Disney store just incase you can find space in your luggage for one last cuddly Mickey, etc.

International passengers have long complained about the process of having to claim their baggage twice - once in customs and then in the main terminal.

A dozen restaurants, mainly of the fast food variety and scores of bars cater for all tastes, while the facilities are clean and well maintained. Play areas provide a welcome distraction for younger travelers. Cash machines on site.

Sanford Airport

Sanford is the area's second airport dealing with mainly holiday flights from the UK.

The departure lounge area is small by comparison to Orlando International with a handful of shops and a couple of places to eat, including a 'pub' serving hot and cold snacks. Seating areas can get overcrowded, although washroom facilities are well maintained.

Cash machines on site.

New York 

Newark is a growing airport almost right on the edge of New York and it is certainly the most convenient for transportation into the heart of the city.

The terminal handles both domestic and international flights and tends to be less crowded than JFK. Shops line the departures building walkway and there's a large food court near the gates with a dozen-or-so options for fast food dining.

Los Angeles

LA Airport covers a vast area with modern facilities and amenities across all of its terminal buildings. The lounge areas are spacious and transportation is reliable. Most US airports now operate a self-service only check-in facility which some travellers find confusing and time consuming. Therefore allow plenty of time before departure and ensure all of your documentation is printed off and up-to-date.

Las Vegas

McCarran Airport (to give the site its proper name) is where the fun begins for most visitors to Las Vegas. On arrival you'll be directed past hundreds of slot machines to baggage reclaim and you'll never be far away from gambling from here on. The departures building has dozens of shops and fast food diners, plus more opportunities to spend your last few dollars.

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Jamaica:

Montego Bay Airport

A fairly modest airport handling mainly holiday flights from America, Europe and neighbouring islands. A cafeteria provides the basics and a row of kiosk-style shops offers some duty-free goods, newspapers, etc, but no great choice. Be aware that security and customs checks will be very thorough on landing back at your UK destination.

DO NOT accept packages from people or leave your luggage unattended - the consequences for ignoring this advice are unthinkable. TIP: Jamaican dollars cannot be changed back into sterling so have some spare to tip the trolley handlers.

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Dubai Airport

The departures hall is spacious with  221 check-in desks and a huge plasma screen  displaying flight info.

The main concourse boasts more than 20 food and drink outlets from quick snacks to luxury dining.

The Irish Village serves typical Irish fare and Starbucks serves up its vast variety of coffees

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

The largest airport serving Paris and the second busiest passenger airport in Europe after London Heathrow Charles de Gaulle Airport offers numerous transport links to the French capital city by road and rail thanks to its integrated train system. The journey to the city centre takes approximately 45 minutes while Disneyland, Paris is ten minutes.

There are three huge terminals linked by free shuttle buses and each building offers a good selection of shops, restaurants and bars.

UK Airport Heaven Or Hell?

Cramped check-in halls and over-priced foreign exchange services are some of the findings in a Holiday Which? study of UK airports.

Here are some points raised in the recent survey:

Birmingham: Well-linked terminals and good shops Dislikes Terminal 1 departure lounge dark and noisy.

Bristol: Plentiful seating Dislikes Poor range of shops

Cardiff: Airy food village. Dislikes Dated facilities

East Midlands No long walks Dislikes Drab and ugly

Edinburgh: Plenty of seating nicely laid-out shops Dislikes Crowded landside facilities

Glasgow: Good seating Dislikes Cramped food areas

Gatwick North and South: Shopping and seating areas Dislikes Long walk to some gates

Heathrow: Good shops and seating areas Dislikes Poor lighting at terminals 2 and 3

Liverpool: Convenient & good facilities Dislikes: Long stay parking too far from terminal

Newquay: Convenient for the resorts Dislikes: Small terminal and the 'improvement' charge.

 


Manchester: Top marks for spacious lounges, shops and food Dislikes Airside amenities

Stansted: Good shops and food Dislikes Landside food areas crowded

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