Exeter has come out on top in a ranking of the world’s ‘happiest airports’, based on the feedback passengers give when pressing buttons with smiley or unhappy faces on them.

Four British airports were in the top eight, ranked by Finnish firm HappyOrNot, which is behind the customer service rating now installed at 160 airports in 36 countries.

The scores were gleaned from 158 million data points on feedback given between November 2016 and November 2017 at airports which received more than 120,000 feedbacks across at least two points of experience (eg security, baggage reclaim).

Exeter scored 88.66% in its happiness rating, ahead of the 76.52% average. Cork airport, in the Republic of Ireland, was in joint second place with Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino, in Rome.

Newcastle, Southend and Cardiff also made the top eight as the scores indicated that regionals performed well.

The eight happiest airports, according to HappyOrNot, were:

1. Exeter Airport, U.K. – 88.66%
2.= Cork Airport, Republic of Ireland – 88.45%
2.= Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (Rome), Italy – 88.45%
4. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, U.S.A. – 87.35%
5. Newcastle International Airport, U.K. – 87.05%
6. London Southend Airport, U.K. – 86.79%
7. Cardiff Airport, U.K. – 86.57%
8. Keflavik International Airport, Iceland – 86.35%

Exeter airport’s managing director, Matt Roach, said: “The HappyOrNot units around the airport have proven to be a very effective and simple way to evaluate passengers’ experiences. We know that the procedures at an airport can be stressful, but our staff do their best to ease the journey for the travellers and this shows in the consistently high positive ratings. I am very proud of the performance reflected in the responses, and the magnificent achievement of being in the top spot.”

Ville Levaniemi, HappyOrNot founder and executive VP, added: “While the stressful airport is sometimes employed as a Hollywood trope, this report demonstrates the happiness of the majority of people taking to the skies. Our analysis presents a unique opportunity to celebrate those places that make the air travel experience pleasurable, based on an enormous amount of data rather than just anecdotal evidence. We want to congratulate Exeter airport, as well as all the other airports in this list, for ensuring passengers are so often on cloud nine.”