American travelers were unhappy with Stansted 2023


Flying to and from a main British airport is a unique experience that perfectly reflects life in the United Kingdom. However, not everyone is as well-prepared or as pleased with the experience.

For most Britons, a relaxing vacation begins at 4 a.m. with a struggle through overcrowded airport security, followed by an inexplicable trip to the fake pub in the middle of the terminal for a drink, but only after navigating the labyrinthine duty-free shopping corridor.

Then, regardless of how early you arrived, you’re always in a rush to the gate, which is odd given that you’ll likely wind up waiting there for what feels like an eternity.

For most Britons, this is how every vacation begins; it’s woven into the very fabric of our culture, and we’d never alter it. However, for some American tourists flying into or out of Stansted, this experience was not quite as enjoyable.

A few even took to the review website Yelp to express their “ideas” on our beloved airport culture, including but not limited to the “sullied” security guards, the blasts of excruciating heat followed by freezing temperatures, and the mind-numbing maze of long identical corridors as they attempted to locate their gate.

Below are some of the finest (and most angry) reviews of our favorite local airport. Imagine how grumpy those visitors would have been if they had landed at Luton instead of Stansted!

“Complete chaos”

Marina M surprisingly reported that she relished the train ride to the airport, but her experience deteriorated thereafter. She wrote, “I will only return if absolutely necessary. While the train journey from London to the airport was pleasant, the airport is a complete mess.

“The distance to the entrance is very great. Once we arrived at our gate, they made us stand on the stairwell for an additional 20 minutes, during which time it became extremely hot and people began to remove their jackets. Once the door was opened, we found ourselves outside in the dark next to an aircraft, freezing as we waited an additional 10 minutes to board. We’re ecstatic to have priority boarding.”

“Forced shopping”

Tracy L was perplexed by the ‘winding corridor of forced purchasing’ also known as duty-free.

She stated, “The express train ride from London to Stansted Airport took us 45 minutes. When we arrived, we were required to navigate a winding corridor lined with stores and salespeople – speak about forced shopping! It was somewhat inconvenient that carrying luggage through this retail corridor was such a lengthy endeavor.

“Overall, a mediocre airport; if not for the shopping corridor, I would give it a higher rating.”

“I’m confident that there are still people searching for their gate days later”

Scott T left a scathing review of the airport, stating, “Getting to your gate at this train wreck of an airport is like the rock and roll parody “This Is Spinal Tap,” and the memorable scene where the band is ready to perform but can’t find their way, continually turning another corner, going through another door, to an endless series of the same…

“Welcome to Stansted Airport, where to get to your gate you must pass literally hundreds of duty-free shops, bars, make-up counters, and juice bars, as well as every chain you’ve ever heard of and those you will quickly tire of.

“I’m fairly certain that people are still seeking for their gate days later, lost in the maze of duty liquor and cosmetic shops.

“When you reach the primary holding area, you are not given your gate until a few minutes before boarding begins. Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. is, you know, peak hour, and it is dreadfully crowded.

“Please take a seat on the most uncomfortable wooden chairs conceivable. In addition, there are no outlets for laptops or mobile devices. Nada. Find a store; they may carry it. I did.

“However, there is a silver lining: the security personnel are just as glum and miserable as anywhere else you’ve been. That is a plus in this case.”

“The campground for passengers of low-cost airlines”

Amber Y exclaimed, “Oh boy, Stansted.” The wilderness, where budget airline passengers lodge. It’s a 60- to 90-minute transfer from central London, and if you reach at midnight, there are rows of people sleeping outside departures to save money on a hotel room.

“Pros: Security is clean and comparatively swift, and border control has a sense of humor. Negatives: Distance from the city center or bus station; the cost of transfers may outweigh flight savings.

“I’m hesitant for others to discover this oasis, but the Prayer Room within the gates is the ideal location for a nap. Rest in the presence of whatever higher being you believe in or do not, am I right?

There is a wifi connection here that is distinct from the default airport wifi and is free for four hours.

“TSA needs to learn from the security team here”

Barbara B from Honolulu thought that airport security in the United States or the TSA could learn something from Stansted Airport.

She remarked, “The TSA needs to learn from the security team at this airport, which is so efficient at moving thousands of passengers through the lines! Highly impressive! Because Ryanair does not verify baggage to the final destination, you must stand in line once more!”

  • This story was initially published in July 2021.