BA is best airline, Ryanair rated worst

RyanairAFP/Getty Images

With thousands of families set to jet off for half term next week to grab their last chance of a holiday before Christmas, passengers will experience at first hand the good, the bad and the downright ugly of air travel.

And despite the stresses of check-in queues, delays and cancellations, more than half of us still enjoy going on holiday by air. Find out who the nation's best and worst airlines are.

According to research from comparison site Gocompare.com, when it comes to customer satisfaction some airlines reach for the sky and others just don't get off the ground.

It no longer calls itself 'the world's favourite airline' but British Airways is still a big hit with British travellers. The survey of 3,000 UK adults put BA firmly at the top of the list of the nation's best airlines, comfortably beating Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic into second place.

Ryanair was the clear winner of the worst airline category, picking up nearly half as many votes as its nearest rival, easyJet. In fact, the two biggest budget airlines accounted for nearly a third of all the 'worst' votes cast, indicating that cheap isn't always cheerful. However, this doesn't stop most people booking with Ryanair or easyJet again even if they've had a bad experience.

By contrast, charter airlines Thomas Cook, Thomson Airways and Monarch made the top ten best list while the highest placed foreign airlines were Emirates and Singapore Airlines, with American Airlines just squeezing into joint 10th place with Qantas.

Those polled were asked to choose the best and worst airlines out of all they had flown with, bearing in mind the cost, the service and the overall comfort of their journey. As well as casting a vote, some felt so strongly they were moved to add extra comments.

But the worst airlines list wasn't exclusively populated by budget airlines and charter operators. Despite topping the best airlines list BA also managed third place in the worst airlines table too.

Jeremy Cryer, Gocompare.com's Head of Travel, said: "Clearly some airlines will get your holiday off to a better start than others and it's interesting that even with the bucket shop pricing of the budget airlines plenty of passengers still don't consider their service good value for money.

"Our research found that whilst some people will put up with poor service in return for low fares many have vowed never to fly with a particular airline again. Travel insurance can give you cover for many holiday mishaps, including cancelled and delayed flights, but unfortunately there's no such cover against the scrum for unreserved seating, a lack of legroom or being served by unfriendly airline staff."

Other research highlights include:
  • 35% of Brits find airports stressful
  • 33% think it takes too long to check in
  • 11% think the security checks are too strict
  • 40% would prefer not to sit near families with young children
  • 17% think alcoholic drinks should be banned on aeroplanes

Brits' 10 favourite airlines

Rank

Airline

% of votes

1

British Airways

19.1%

2

Virgin Atlantic

13.8%

3

Thomson Airways

6.4%

4

Easy Jet

4.9%

5

Emirates

3.7%

6

Thomas Cook

3.3%

7

Singapore Airlines

2.7%

8

Monarch

2.5%

9

Ryanair

2.1%

=10

American Airlines and Qantas

1.6%


Brits' 10 worst airlines

Rank

Airline

% of votes

1

Ryanair

19.3%

2

easyJet

12.1%

3

British Airways

5.9%

4

Monarch

4.4%

5

Thomas Cook

2.7%

6

Thomson Airways

2.5%

7

Virgin Atlantic

1.7%

8

Jet2

1.4%

9

American Airlines

1.2%

10

Flybe

1.1%

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