British Airways named as second worst airline in new ranking

UK flag carrier plummets down table as travellers highlight poor seat comfort, food quality and value for money

Helen Coffey
Thursday 19 December 2019 07:23 GMT
British Airways named as second worst airline in new ranking

British Airways has been named the second worst airline in a new ranking.

The results were revealed in Which? Travel’s annual airline survey, which rated 17 short-haul and 15 long-haul airlines operating flights to and from the UK based on the experiences of 6,500 holidaymakers.

The UK British flag carrier, which just four years ago was named the best short-haul airline, was rated the second worst long-haul airline behind American Airlines, and third worst short-haul brand following Ryanair and Vueling.

Its customer satisfaction score was just 55 per cent, only 11 per cent higher than Ryanair.

BA customers derided the airline for the quality of food and drink, the comfort of its seats and value for money for both its short-haul and long-haul services.

It follows a year in which several passengers have shared pictures of sub-standard food served onboard British Airways flights.

Ryanair, meanwhile, scored the lowest of all the rated airlines, both short and long-haul, for the fourth year running.

Many passengers who had flown with the low-cost carrier bemoaned the add-ons and change in luggage allowance, with one saying customers were treated like “cash cows”.

Customers gave the airline the lowest score of one star out of a possible five in nearly all categories including boarding, customer service and cabin experience.

American Airlines also fared poorly, landing at the bottom of the pack for long-haul travel.

While the boarding process and cabin cleanliness scored three stars, everything else was rated by passengers as below average.

One traveller said: “The cabin was scruffy, the staff rude, the food awful.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Channel Islands carrier Aurigny claimed the top spot for short-haul travel, scoring five stars across boarding, cabin environment and customer service and garnering a customer service score of 82 per cent.

Proving that price doesn’t determine quality, budget airline Jet2 came second, followed by SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

In the long-haul category, Singapore Airlines cruised to victory with a customer satisfaction score of 88 per cent and four and five stars across the board.

Qatar Airways and Emirates weren’t far behind.

BA rival Virgin Atlantic also scored highly, with survey respondents even saying that the former airline “could learn from” the latter.

“Year after year the same culprits continue to sink to new lows yet for many of us there is a choice,” said Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor.

“You don’t have to keep booking with an airline that has let you down – or one that you loved for years but has slipped in quality.

“If you get a choice and you are flying short-haul, choose Jet2, it is better quality than BA and often has better fares than Ryanair.

“If you are heading to the states, Virgin Atlantic beats BA hands-down.”

British Airways said in a statement: “Our own data shows customer satisfaction scores have increased, and continue to increase, as we deliver our £6.5bn investment for customers on new aircraft, new food, new lounges and new technology.

“We offer our customers a choice of cabins on all our flights, lounges for business class customers, free food for all long-haul flights and business class for short-haul, and we are delighted to be able to offer our customers the most extensive network by any UK airline, including newly-added destinations to Pittsburgh, Charleston, Osaka and Antalya.”

An American Airlines spokesperson told The Independent: “American Airlines takes customer feedback very seriously, and we were disappointed to see the findings of the Which? survey, based on the experiences of 53 customers. American’s 130,000 team members serve 200 million customers annually, and we operate 6,800 flights a day to more than 365 destinations in 61 countries.

“We have invested more than $28 billion in our product and people since 2013, and we are growing in the UK market. Our 2020 schedule will offer up to 25 flights per day from the UK to the United States, offering our customers more choice to more destinations across the Atlantic. However, we recognise there is always room for improvement and we will continue to strive to deliver an excellent service that cares for our customers on life’s journey.”

The Independent has contacted Ryanair for comment.

Short-haul airlines (best to worst)

  1. Aurigny
  2. Jet2
  3. SAS
  4. Aer Lingus
  5. Swiss
  6. Norwegian
  7. Lufthansa
  8. Eurowings
  9. EasyJet
  10. KLM
  11. Tap Portugal
  12. Flybe
  13. Tui Airways
  14. Wizz Air
  15. British Airways
  16. Vueling Airlines
  17. Ryanair

Long-haul airlines (best to worst)

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. Emirates
  4. Virgin Atlantic
  5. KLM
  6. Air Transat
  7. Thai Airways
  8. Delta Airlines
  9. Tui Airways
  10. Qantas
  11. United Airlines
  12. Air Canada
  13. Etihad Airways
  14. British Airways
  15. American Airlines

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