Which? asked more than 4,000 passengers to estimate how long they were kept waiting while going through security on their most recent visit to the airport.
The results showed passengers travelling through the northern hub’s three terminals faced average security waiting times of 16 minutes per passenger – the longest of any large UK airport.
In the worst-case scenario, one traveller reported queuing for up to 90 minutes.
The London airports of Stansted (13.7 minutes) and Luton (11.7 minutes) also featured among the worst large airports for security queues, while Heathrow T5 was the best performer (8.6 minutes).
Next best were Gatwick’s South (8.6 minutes) and North (8.7 minutes) terminals, followed by Heathrow’s T4 (9.4 minutes), T2 (9.6 minutes) and T3 (10.3 minutes).
Meanwhile Belfast International airport had the longest queuing times among the UK’s small airports, and was ranked as the worst in the UK overall, with passengers stuck at security for 22 minutes on average.
A recent annual airport survey from Which? also named Belfast as the worst UK airport overall, with passengers frustrated by problems including long queues, crowded terminals and pricey parking charges.
In contrast, security waiting times at Southampton and Southend airports emerged as just 5.2 minutes.
Commenting on the findings, Which? Travel Editor, Rory Boland, says: “Never-ending queues through security are a pain at the best of times, but if you are left waiting for hours on end you could find your flight has left without you.
“To add insult to injury, if this happens you are unlikely to qualify for compensation as the time it takes to get through security is out of the airline’s control.
“Airlines will rarely delay a flight due to long queues at security so it’s important to arrive at the airport in plenty of time, especially if you are flying from Manchester or Belfast.”