Air Transat, Icelandair and Norwegian have been named the worst airlines for punctuality as KLM takes the top spot, new research reveals.
After analysing data on more than 850,000 inbound flights across 35 airlines at 25 UK airports, Which? can reveal that an average of just 74% of flights arrive on time to their destination.
A mere 55% of Air Transat’s inbound flights arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time, landing them bottom of the table. Coming in second and third from bottom respectively were Icelandair (56% of flights arrive on time) and Norwegian (60% on time).
At the other end of the spectrum, KLM has been crowned the most punctual airline, with 88% of flights arriving on time. It beat Qatar Airways into second place (86%) and Iberia into third (84%).
Passengers who travel on delayed flights are potentially in line for compensation under the current EU Denied Boarding Regulation. However, where flights are delayed due to factors such as extreme weather or airport strikes, they’re unlikely to get compensation.
However, the future of compensation for delays and cancellations post-Brexit is currently unclear. Which? wants the next government to swiftly introduce a system to replace the current compensation scheme that covers all airlines that fly to and from the UK.
Air passengers are currently poorly served when they have a complaint against airlines on issues such as compensation. In its Consumer Agenda, Which? has called for the next Government to introduce a Transport Ombudsman that all airlines must join, to improve the way in which passenger complaints are resolved.
Passengers looking to claim compensation for a delayed flight can use the Which? guide and letter template to help claim compensation: www.which.co.uk/flightrights. This is a free tool, so travellers who successfully claim compensation using Which? help won’t have to share part of their refund with claims management companies.
Richard Headland, Which? magazine editor, said:
“Flight delays are one of the most annoying things about travelling. These figures show just how frequently flights fail to reach their destination on time.
“If you’re unlucky enough to experience a severe delay, compensation is available and people should claim what they’re rightly entitled to.
“We know that resolving complaints with airlines can be very tricky process, so we’re calling on the next Government to legislate for a new, mandatory Transport Ombudsman.”
Notes to eds
1. Best and worst airlines for punctuality
2. We focused on inbound flights because arrival times are the best indicator of punctuality, as a plane can take off late but catch up on time during the flight.
3. Compensation is provided at a set figure in Euros, dependent on how long the delay is and how far you are flying.
- Delayed long haul travellers could be entitled to €300 if their plane landed between three or four hours late, or €600 if their flight was at least four hours behind schedule.
- Passengers flying short haul are also potentially eligible to claim up to €250 if they are delayed by more than three hours.
4. Passengers looking to claim compensation for a delayed flight can use the Which? guide and letter template to help claim compensation: www.which.co.uk/flightrights. This is a free tool, so travellers who successfully claim compensation using Which? help won’t have to share part of their refund with claims management companies.
5. ‘On time’ is defined as arriving within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival. We analysed data on more than 850,000 flights from the monthly punctuality statistics published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) from Jan to Dec 2016. W focused on inbound flights (as the best indicator of punctuality) for 25 UK airports and 35 airlines most used by Which? members
6. Which?’s ‘Consumer Agenda for Government’ – www.which.co.uk/consumeragenda
7. Air Transat said that the data does not take into account delays caused by factors beyond their control, such as the weather or air traffic control. They say that excluding those factors, 78.02% of their flights would arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time.
8. Icelandair said that they had a difficult spell early last summer due to strikes and airport renovations, and despite improvements on time performance for the rest of the year it did affect their overall record.
9. Your flight delay rights explained:
- You will be covered by the Denied Boarding Regulation if you are travelling from or to an EU airport, on an airline based in the EU.
- If your flight is delayed, you may be entitled to meals, refreshments, phone calls and emails. You could also be entitled to overnight accommodation, depending on the circumstances.
- You can also claim for compensation, but this won’t be due if the airline can prove the delay or cancellation was caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
- Your entitlement to compensation will depend on how long the delay is and how far you are flying.