Around 1.3 million passengers had their flights delayed by at least three hours last year, according to new research from Which?.
The consumer group analysed Civil Aviation Authority punctuality data in the year to June 2018, focusing on airlines with at least 1,825 flights a year to and from UK airports.
The research found that easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways were the worst affected airlines, with 0.7 per cent of total flights delayed. That meant that more than 630,000 passengers on these airlines were severely delayed, according to Which?.
Which? found that more than 13,000 flights flying to or from UK airports were delayed by at least three hours in the year to June 2018.
The study also analysed flight delays according to time spent in the air.
For long-haul, Norwegian, Thomas Cook and TUI topped the list with the highest percentage of severe flight delays. In terms of medium-haul delays, Thomas Cook, TUI and Saudi Arabian Airlines had the highest proportion of severely delayed flights. And for short-haul journeys, Icelandair, Aurigny and TUI had the highest proportion of severely delayed flights.
What are you entitled to if your flight is delayed?
Under EU regulation, passengers delayed by three or more hours are entitled to compensation, which ranges between £220 and £360 for short-haul flights, and up to £535 for longer flights, depending on the length of delay.
“Severe delays can be a complete nightmare and totally wreck a long awaited trip abroad, especially if it means you’re stuck in an airport terminal for hours on end,” said Which? managing director of home products and services Alex Neill.
"Passengers are often entitled to compensation when airlines get it wrong and it is vital that automatic compensation is introduced across the industry so that people no longer have to jump through hoops to get what they are owed."
Which? is calling for airlines to start automatically compensating eligible passengers for delayed and cancelled flights. It calls the current process “complicated and time consuming”.
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