20% of all flights to and from the UK are lateFlybe are the least delayed UK airline

28 December 2014


One in five flights to and from ten UK airports are delayed new Which? Travel research reveals.

The travel industry defines flights as 'on time' if they are early to less than 15 minutes late. But 20% of the flights we looked at fell outside of this definition.

Flybe is the least delayed of the UK airlines with an average delay of 10 minutes for flights to the UK between September 2013 and August 2014. 

Ryanair flies seven of the most punctual routes to the UK including flights from Sandefjord in Norway and Gdansk in Poland, which were delayed by less than one minute on average.

Monarch and Thomas Cook are the only two airlines that fail to meet the industry standard of 'on time', with average delay times of 17 minutes and 18 minutes respectively when travelling from ten popular destinations to the UK.

Find out more:  Best and worst long and short-haul airlines – full table of results.

One in five passengers could claim delay compensation

The new Which? Travel research reveals that nearly four in ten (37%) passengers experienced a flight delay in the last two years, with as many as a fifth (21%) of those delayed being held up for more than three hours. Despite this only four in ten (38%) claimed the compensation they were entitled to. And nearly half (44%) said they’d be happy to pay up to £50 more for a £250 flight, if the airline had an excellent rather than average punctuality record.

Civil Aviation Authority flight punctuality figures

Which? Travel analysed monthly flight punctuality data published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for all flights to ten UK airports - Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, London City, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Stansted - between September 2013 and August 2014.

The eight largest UK airlines – British Airways, Easyjet, Flybe, Jet2, Monarch, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Virgin - are featured in the study along with Ryanair. Destinations featured are Australia, Canary Islands, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United States which are the most popular with Which? Travel members.

Which? Travel magazine Editor Jill Starley-Grainger told us: 'Nobody wants to be held up by flight delays so airlines must do everything in their power to ensure they fly on time. If you've suffered a flight delay of more than three hours you could be entitled to compensation.'

Best and worst airlines for customer satisfaction


Swiss, Aurigny and Norwegian are the airlines Which? members are most satisfied with on short-haul routes with Thomson, Ryanair and Thomas Cook bottom of the table. 

On long-haul routes Singapore Airlines and Emirates are top with American and United bottom. The Which? Travel survey results are based on more than 11,000 member experiences of flying with the airlines featured. 

In all, there are airline satisfaction scores for 20 short-haul and 16 long-haul airlines on the which.co.uk site - see the full results of the airlines survey here.

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