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Best or Worst: Airlines

Watchdog Live’s “Best or Worst?” strand analyses the performance of the leading companies in a different sector each week, using existing data in the public domain, to produce rankings in different categories, and an overall “super league” ranking from these.

For this week’s programme (Thursday 17thOct, 20.00 on BBC One), the Royal Statistical Society’s Jennifer Rogers has analysed the performance of the biggest airlines in UK and Eire.

Thomas Cook has been included since it was operating during this time period.

Jennifer has produced rankings for three categories, using complaints data and delays/cancellations data for the last year available (Jul 18 - Jun 19, source: CAA), and customer satisfaction survey data (source: Which?).

The categories are:

1. COMPLAINTS
2. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
3. DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS
Companies were ranked within these categories. Using these category rankings, Jennifer calculated ranking of the companies, from “Best” (number 1) to “Worst” (number 11). The companies were rated in the following order:

Airlines- Best or Worst?- “Super League”:
1. Jet2
2. Aer Lingus
3. Virgin Atlantic
4. Flybe
5. Easyjet – Wizz Air- British Airways
6. -
7. -
8. Thomas Cook - Ryanair
9. -
10.TUI
11.Norwegian Airlines

1. COMPLAINTS

We looked at complaints data from the Civil Aviation Authority, comprising complaints to CDRL (Consumer Dispute Resolution Limited - also known as Aviation ADR), CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) and PACT (Passenger Advice and Complaints Team - CAA), and including data for the number of complaints upheld. Complaints for Ryanair and Aer Lingus and are reported to the CAA even though the airlines are based in Eire.

Complaints ranking (1 = “best”- lowest number of complaints/million):

1. Aer Lingus
2. Jet2
3. Virgin Atlantic
4. British Airways
5. Flybe
6. Easyjet
7. Ryanair
8. Wizz Air
9. Thomas Cook
10.TUI
11.Norwegian Airlines

Complaints upheld ranking (1 = “best”- least number of complaints upheld):

1. Jet2
2. Aer Lingus
3. Virgin Atlantic
4. Flybe
5. British Airways
6. Ryanair
7. Easyjet
8. Wizz Air
9. Thomas Cook
10.Norwegian Airlines
11.TUI

OVERALL COMPLAINTS RANKING (average of rankings for complaints + complaints upheld):

1. Jet2
2. Aer Lingus
3. Virgin Atlantic
4. Flybe
5. British Airways
6. Ryanair
7. Easyjet
8. Wizz Air
9. Thomas Cook
10.Norwegian Airlines
11.TUI

2. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Source: Which? Best and Worst Airlines survey data
Customer Satisfaction ranking (1 = “best):

1. Jet2 – Aer Lingus
2. –
3. Flybe
4. Virgin Atlantic- Norwegian Airlines
5. –
6. Easyjet – Thomas Cook – TUI/Thomson Airways
7. –
8. –
9. British Airways
10.Wizz Air
11.Ryanair
3. DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS

Source: Civil Aviation Authority data

Rankings were produced for total number of cancellations, and total minutes of delays (see spreadsheet for details). These were combined to produce the following Delays and Cancellations Ranking (1 = “best”):

1. Jet2
2. Aer Lingus - Virgin Atlantic- Wizz Air
3. -
4. -
5. Ryanair
6. British Airways
7. Thomas Cook - TUI - Easyjet
8. -
9. -
10.Flybe
11.Norwegian Airlines

Statement from Norwegian Airlines:

“We are pleased that Norwegian was ranked fourth highest in customer satisfaction, however, we understand that punctuality is vital for our passengers and we strive to operate all flights on schedule. As a leading European carrier, we take customer care very seriously and we always follow EU Regulation 261/2004 regarding delays and cancellations where applicable and cover the expenses our passengers incur in these circumstances.”

Statement from TUI:

We are disappointed in the results, however we feel this research is not representative of the many millions of customers we take on holiday each year. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we take their views very seriously. We listen to feedback and our own customer satisfaction scores have increased this summer compared to last summer.
We know how important great customer service is and we continue to do all we can to ensure our customers have the very best experiences when they are on holiday with us.

Ryanair did not comment