The airlines that are the most likely to spoil Christmas getaways by taking off late or being cancelled have been revealed – and it’s not good news for British Airways passengers.
That’s according to a Which? study that analysed punctuality and cancellation statistics for 35 major carriers to see who will get passengers home for Christmas without any hiccups.
The first ranking is based on the number of flights delayed by more than 15 minutes, and the second on the number of flights cancelled less than 24 hours before departure in the past 12 months, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
It suggests British Airways (BA) is among the worst airlines for last-minute cancellations, scrapping 3.3 per cent of its flights less than 24 hours before departure. And its subsidiary BA Euroflyer ranks last for punctuality.
Meanwhile, Etihad appears to be the surest bet – it’s the only airline to score top marks for punctuality and have zero last-minute cancellations.
The airlines that are the most likely to spoil Christmas getaways by taking off late or being cancelled have been revealed – and it’s not looking good for British Airways passengers
BA Euroflyer ranks last for punctuality, in 24th place with only 41 per cent of its flights leaving on time, according to the Which? study.
This is followed by Qantas (23rd, 43 per cent); Tui (22nd, 51 per cent); Air Malta (21st, 52 per cent); and Air Canada (20th, 57 per cent).
At the other end of the table, Etihad and Iberia appear to be the most reliable airlines, with 85 per cent of flights taking off on time – putting them joint first.
Finnair is runner-up with an 80 per cent punctuality score on take off.
Taking the bronze is KLM (79 per cent); followed by Aegean Airlines (fourth, 78 per cent); and BA Cityflyer and Virgin Atlantic (joint fifth, 77 per cent).
Ryanair vs easyJet
When it comes to punctuality, it was a close race between budget airlines Ryanair and easyJet.
Ryanair comes out slightly ahead, ranking 17th, with 62 per cent of its planes taking off on time.
While easyJet is 19th, with 60 per cent.
The worst airline for last-minute cancellations is Loganair in 25th place, according to the study, which found the Scottish carrier cancelled 4.5 per cent of flights within 24 hours
The worst airline for last-minute cancellations is Loganair in 25th place, according to the study, which found the Scottish carrier cancelled 4.2 per cent of flights within 24 hours.
The airline said that much of this was due to weather as many of its flights are from Scottish islands, where inclement weather is more frequent.
It also said that the figures include charter flights, which have a higher cancellation rate for a number of reasons ‘disproportionately affecting our position in the league table’.
A total of 3.3 per cent of BA flights were cancelled last-minute, placing it third from the bottom.
Only two airlines – Etihad and Singapore – didn’t cancel any flights at the last minute. This earns them joint first place in the study
Etihad is the only airline to score top marks for punctuality and have zero last-minute cancellations
‘That’s worse than any other major carrier with the exception of Loganair (4.2 per cent) – which had the excuse that many of its flights are to wind-swept Scottish islands – and its own subsidiary BA Cityflyer, which cancelled 3.7 per cent of flights,’ Which? commented.
Other low-ranking airlines were Aer Lingus and Eurowings (joint 22nd, 3.1 per cent); Lufthansa (21st, 2.5 per cent) and KLM (20th, 2.1 per cent).
Only two airlines – Etihad and Singapore – didn’t cancel any flights at the last minute – earning them joint first place in the study.
Ryanair vs easyJet
Ryanair was much less likely to cancel flights than easyJet – just 0.8 per cent were cancelled at the last minute, putting it joint ninth with Virgin Atlantic.
In comparison, easyJet cancelled two per cent of its flights, placing it 19th.
Commenting on the findings, BA said that it was hit harder than other airlines because it operates primarily from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City where slots are limited. The UK airline also blamed strikes by French Air Traffic Control.
A BA spokesperson said: ‘We always work hard to get our customers to where they need to be on time.
‘Like all airlines though, over the past year we’ve experienced several factors outside of our control that have had an adverse impact on our customers, such as adverse weather and air traffic control industrial action.
‘We apologise to customers for any disruption they’ve faced during these challenging periods and again thank them for their understanding.’
Eighty-five per cent of Iberia flights take off on time, according to the study