The airlines most likely to get your holiday off to a flying start aren’t those that call the UK home, according to the latest Which? airlines satisfaction survey.
In the long-haul airlines category, national flag-carrier British Airways lags winner Air New Zealand and second and third-placed Singapore Airlines and Emirates by some distance. Fierce rival Virgin Atlantic did better, but still only managed to achieve seventh place in the 17 carrier survey.
UK-based charter flight giants Thomson Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines came 14th and 15th respectively, with only United Airlines and South African Airways putting in a worse performance.
The troubles for British Airways – in a year marred by cabin crew strikes and record losses – continue in the short-haul airlines category. The self-styled ‘World’s Favourite Airline’ came 11th overall in the poll topped by Swiss, Aer Lingus, and Air Malta. Best rated British airline was no-frills Exeter-based Flybe.
In the battle of the no-frills giants, Easyjet did significantly better than Ryanair. The Irish airline only narrowly missed out on last place thanks to a truly abysmal showing from Thomas Cook Airlines.
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 to your holiday. No one wants their trip abroad to start in a cramped or dirty plane.
‘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.’