If you’re from Cambridgeshire it’s more than likely you’ve flown from Stansted Airport.
And while it may not have been the most pleasant experience (probably because it was at 4am and you were severely sleep deprived) you successfully soldiered on through the endless duty free shopping, past the self check-in and onto your budget airline with no leg space bound to Spain.
For most Brits this is how every holiday starts, but for American tourists flying from Stansted this experience was simply not good enough.
It was so bad in fact that many of these American tourists have taken to review site Yelp to vent their frustrations, including but not limited to the “sullen” security guards, the huge changes in temperature, and getting utterly lost trying to find the right gate.
These reviews were left before the pandemic so they don’t even take into consideration trying to social distance at the airport.
We’ve found a few of the best (and angriest reviews) of our local airport below:
“I’m pretty sure there are folks still roaming around days later searching for their gate”
Scott T left a scathing review of the airport saying: “Getting to your gate at this train wreck of an airport is akin to the rock and roll mockumentary ‘This Is Spinal Tap’, and the memorable incident where the band is ready to go on stage and yet can’t find their way, continually turning another corner, going through another door, to an endless series of more of the same…
“Welcome to Stansted Airport where to get to your gate you have to walk by literally hundreds of duty free shops, bars, make-up counters, juice bars, every chain you’ve ever heard of and those you soon will be sick of.
“I’m pretty sure there are folks still roaming around days later searching for their gate, lost in the maze of duty liquor and cosmetic shops.
“Then you arrive at the main holding area where you aren’t provided your gate until a few minutes before it’s ready to board. It’s horribly overcrowded at 2:00 p.m. on a Tuesday, you know, peak time.
“Proceed to sit on the most uncomfortable wooden seats imaginable. But wait, there’s more: no plug-ins for your laptop or phones. Nada. Find a shop, they may have one. I did.
“But there is one up-side: the security people are just as sullen and unhappy as anywhere else you’ve been. That counts as a plus here.”
Marina M amazingly said she enjoyed the train ride to the airport, but her experience went downhill from there.
She wrote: “I will not come back here unless I really have to. While it was a nice train ride from London to get here, once at the airport it is a complete chaos.
“The walk to the gate is super long. Once we got to our gate they made us stand on the stairway for another 20 minutes, it got really hot so people started to take off their jackets and once they opened the door we found ourselves outside in the dark next to a plane, freezing waiting another 10 minutes to get on the plane. Sure glad we had priority boarding.”
“The campground of budget airline travellers”
Amber Y said: “Oh boy – Stansted. The boonies, the campground of budget airline travellers. It’s anywhere from 60 – 90mins transfer from downtown London, and if you arrive in the midnight hours – rows and rows of people sleeping outside departures to save on a night’s accomodation.
“Pros: Clean, relatively speedy security, border control has a sense of humour. Cons: Distance from the centre/coach station; cost of transfers just might outweigh flight savings.
“I hesitate for others to discover this oasis, but inside the gates, the Prayer Room is totally the spot to nap. Rest in the presence of whatever higher being you do/do not believe in, amirite?
“Bonus – there’s a wifi connection here separate from the default airport wifi that’s free for 4h.”