Airport foreign exchange bureaux are still offering less than €1 to the pound despite sterling’s recovery this year.

An analysis reported by The Times of rates before the bank holiday weekend shows that holidaymakers using Southampton airport are being offered the lowest rate at €0.94, which is 20% less than the current value of sterling.

A mystery shopping exercise conducted this week at the 14 biggest airports in England found that they offered an average of only €1.02 and $1.11 for a pound, with some bureaux charging commission on top of this.

On the day the mystery shop was conducted, sterling was trading at almost €1.18 and $1.29, giving the bureaux an average profit margin of more than 13%.

When a similar investigation was conducted at the end of last year, the average profit margin was less than 13%, suggesting that rates have got worse.

Only Moneycorp at Southampton offered a rate of less than one euro to the pound although travellers using International Currency Exchange at Birmingham and Luton would walk away with less once the commission of 3% was deducted.

Rates below one euro to the pound come despite sterling recovering some value this year and since the lows of last year.

In January, the pound fell to €1.13 but yesterday it was trading at €1.18. This is a 7% increase on the low of €1.10 reached in October last year.

Before the UK voted to leave the European Union in June last year, £1 would buy €1.30.

The analysis by Caxton FX found that travellers were being offered the best rate at Gatwick, where travellers would receive €54 more when exchanging £500 than those flying from Southampton, the study found.

Caxton chief executive Rupert Lee-Browne said: “With the pound 10% weaker than it was before the referendum, it’s tough enough for bank holiday travellers without being stung by nasty exchange rates.

“On £500, the Southampton traveller would get over €100 more from us than they would the airport bureau.”

Last year, an investigation by The Times found that airport profits from bureaux de change have soared to more than £100 million.

It discovered that passengers at UK airports receive markedly worse rates than travellers at European airports as the owners of Heathrow and Gatwick have increased rents and struck exclusivity deals with foreign exchange operators.

More than a million people are expected to fly from British airports over the weekend with over 400,000 travelling from Heathrow.

Pauline Maguire of Moneycorp said: “A more cost-effective way is to order online and collect at the airport.”