UK airlines compare unfavourably with foreign carriers in passenger satisfaction figures from Which? Holiday magazine out today.

Thomas Cook Airlines was bottom of an 18-airline satisfaction table for short-haul flights. Ryanair, Monarch, Thomson and bmibaby were among other UK carriers towards the bottom of the table which was headed by the airline Swiss, with Aer Lingus second and Air Malta third.

While Swiss scored 72 points and Aer Lingus 71, Thomas Cook could only manage 37 points in the short-haul survey which was based on responses from 5,745 Which? members and concerned their most recent short-haul flight.

The 17-airline long-haul satisfaction table was headed by Air New Zealand with a score of 86 per cent. No UK carrier was in the top six, but Virgin Atlantic was the best-judged UK airline in seventh place with a score of 67 per cent.

British Airways was 11th with 58 per cent. First Choice was 14th with 51 per cent and Thomas Cook was 15th with 49 per cent. Bottom of the long-haul list, compiled from responses from 2,987 Which? members, was South African Airways with a score of 37 per cent.

Rochelle Turner, head of research for Which? Holiday, said: "Flying with a good-quality airline, such as Swiss or Air New Zealand, can really make a difference. Our rigorous research shows that while the cost of flights is important to customers, it's things like friendly cabin staff and reasonable luggage allowances that leave a lasting impression."