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New Zealand's best airports

5 Feb 2017

Queenstown Airport has the best terminal in New Zealand, according to research by the travel firm.

Reviewing the main departure points across New Zealand, their survey found Queenstown International receives the highest marks (8 out of 10 on average) for general cleanliness, the range of bars and restaurants, and the all-important state of the bathrooms.

Auckland Domestic Airport was left in bottom spot (7.1 out of 10), behind Christchurch and Wellington Domestic airports (both 7.3 out of 10), with the check-in process, the wait at baggage claim and the friendliness of airport staff failing to take-off with travellers.

Nathan Graham, Regional Sales Manager at Cheapflights ANZ, said: "Overall, travellers are generally content with the big terminals across the country, which scored 7.5 out of 10 on average. The majority (76 per cent) have a positive airport experience, with 58 per cent of respondents saying their most recent visit was ‘pleasant enough'."

Kiwis are most impressed by the general cleanliness (8.1 out of 10) of local airports, however there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to shopping facilities (6.9 out of 10). And with 14 per cent of people admitting that visiting duty free is a favourite way to pass the time before boarding, expectations are high.

Along with shopping, the most enjoyable airport activities are plane spotting (25 per cent) and getting a bite to eat (34 per cent), although a third of respondents (31 per cent) said terminal food and drink is overpriced.

"Having undergone upgrades to provide fresh facilities in recent years, it's no wonder Queenstown airport is impressing travellers. And with a raft of site improvements underway at Auckland as well as regional hubs like Rotorua and Nelson, it's clear that airports are realising that they need to create an environment where people - even those not flying - want to spend time.

"Beyond physical upgrades, we expect to see a strong focus on streamlining boarding and check-in processes to improve the end-to-end visitor experience. Competition for the consumer traffic and spend is definitely heating up," Mr Graham said.

Flight delays and unruly kids (both 21 per cent) are the least favourite parts of #AirportLife. Queuing is a major pain point at Auckland International Airport (41 per cent) and parking is a hassle at Auckland Domestic Airport (29 per cent) and Christchurch Domestic Airport (23 per cent). Flight delays are most likely to impact Auckland Domestic Airport fliers (31 per cent).

Additional findings from the #AirportLife survey include:
- Four per cent of travellers are looking for love in airports, with Dunedun Domestic Airport (11 per cent) and Queenstown Domestic Airport (nine per cent) where people are most likely to search for romance.
- Plane spotting is a favourite way to pass the time at Auckland International Airport (28 per cent), Christchurch Domestic Airport (27 per cent), Queenstown Domestic Airport (23 per cent) and Darwin international Airport (21 per cent).
- Fliers passing through Christchurch Domestic and Auckland International Airport are the most likely to lap up the luxury of a premium airport lounge (12 per cent and 10 per cent respectively).
- Some of the first to complain about Wi-Fi connections, it's those from Wellington International Airport (34 per cent), Queenstown International Airport (33 per cent), Christchurch International Airport (27 per cent) and Auckland International Airport (25 per cent) who insist on browsing the internet before take-off.