MoneySavingExpert.com is calling on 18 UK international airports to offer free drinking water fountains to passengers in their departure lounges.
For more than a decade, passengers have not been allowed to take liquids of more than 100ml through security at airports – meaning they're often forced to purchase expensive bottled water once airside.
After revealing earlier this summer how to find free water at airports which do have fountains installed, we contacted 30 UK airports which offer international flights to ask them if passengers can fill up an empty bottle for free at a water fountain after security. While many of the bigger airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted, do have fountains, 18 told us they did not.
We've now written to the chief executives of these 18 airports, urging them to install drinking water facilities in their departure lounges.
'Thirsty passengers at the mercy of airside retailers'
Steve Nowottny, news and features editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "It can be infuriating for passengers to have to abandon bottles of water before going through security, then shell out for pricey bottles in the departure lounge.
"Taking an empty bottle through security and then filling it up at a water fountain is the simplest answer – we've had a massive response from users since publishing a list of airport water fountains earlier this summer.
"Yet shockingly many UK airports still aren't offering this basic facility, leaving thirsty passengers at the mercy of airside retailers or having to ask at restaurants and cafés, which is far from ideal.
"That's why we're now urging airports that don't already have fountains to take action and install them as soon as possible, ensuring all passengers can fill up for free."
Airports with no water fountains
Here's a list of the 18 airports which told us they don't have any water fountains – and if they gave us a full response, where else they told us passengers can try to get free water:
- Aberdeen – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- Belfast International – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- Bournemouth – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- Cardiff – passengers can ask at the Beer House and Caffè Ritazza – both offer free drinking water on request and on hotter days will leave jugs and glasses for passengers to help themselves.
- City of Derry – passengers can ask at the bar and restaurant located after airport security.
- Cornwall Airport Newquay
- Doncaster Sheffield – passengers can ask in Wetherspoons.
- Durham Tees Valley – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- Exeter – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- George Best Belfast City – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- Glasgow Prestwick
- Inverness – mains-fed water which is suitable for drinking is available in the toilets, along with disposable cups.
- Leeds Bradford – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- Liverpool John Lennon – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- London City – passengers can ask in restaurants, including Caffè Nero and Brick Lane Brews, which provide jugs of water.
- London Southend – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- Newcastle – passengers can ask in restaurants.
- Norwich International
London Southend Airport's chief executive officer Glyn Jones immediately responded to our letter, saying: "We do not provide water fountains. However, free filling of water bottles is available on request, which we think is a better solution and one which is much more hygienic than even the best maintained water fountain.
"We were actually complimented last week by a guest on Twitter for this approach and, as always, we will continue to listen to our guests."
Update Tuesday 1 August: Leeds Bradford Airport and Cardiff Airport are considering installing water fountains. Inverness Airport has said it will ask passengers if they would like one in its next survey.
Airports with water fountains
The following airports told us they do provide water fountains. For where to find them at each airport, see How to find free water at airports. Regulator the Civil Aviation Authority has confirmed you can take an empty bottle through security to fill up before getting on the plane.
- East Midlands
- Glasgow International
- London Stansted