Airport train operators take holidaymakers for a ride

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Transport - Rail - Gatwick Express - London

The Gatwick Express has been judged the worst UK airport train service with the price of its tickets slammed - almost £20 for a one-way 30-minute journey. Which? claims the London Victoria-to-Gatwick service garnered underwhelming approval ratings compared to a far higher rated Virgin Trains Birmingham Airport operation. What's Virgin doing right?

More holiday expense

Offering decent value for money, it appears. Which? says Virgin Train passengers approve of its £2.40 price of an anytime single from Birmingham's New Street to Birmingham Airport. They're also broadly happy with luggage space, cleanliness and comfort.

In contrast, south east England holiday makers look increasingly rinsed out: Which? claims unhappiness with all three Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted express service providers, particularly on the value for money front.

Wide cost and quality of service variations between the best overall UK provider (Virgin) and the worst (Gatwick Express) isn't good enough says Which?

"There are unacceptably wide differences in the levels of customer satisfaction for airport trains, with many people especially unhappy about the high cost of some express services," the campaigning organisation said.

Do more

"Train companies must do more to listen to travellers' views, which is why we've launched a campaign to Get Trains on Track, calling for a better response to complaints."

For Newcastle, the Tyne and Wear Metro serving the airport had the second highest customer score. Passengers liked the service, frequency and the £3.20 ticket price from the city centre, Which? claims.

Manchester's First TransPennine Express services was rated highly but Northern Rail services to the airport got low ratings for cleanliness and comfort. Other Which? winners included the Docklands Light Railway with an 81% overall score.

Which? UK train operator customer approval ratings