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Best and worst airlines

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Best and worst airlines

We asked thousands of fliers to rate their latest airline experience to find out which carriers offer the best customer service and value for money.

A great holiday begins on the outbound flight, but do you need to fly with the big names to have the best trip? Our survey of more than 7,500 Which? members reveals all. 

You told us about customer service, food and drink, and what it was like on board more than 11,000 flights and 35 airlines, from British Airways and Ryanair, to Easyjet and Emirates.

Members can log in now to see the full results, or if you're not a member, then sign up to a £1 Which? trial to access this and other reviews.

Best and worst airlines 

The table below shows the results of our latest airline survey.

 

Long-haul economy airlines
Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) Airline Seat pitch (inches) Punctuality Boarding Seat comfort Value for money Customer Score
Subscriber only content 32-34 89% 91%
Subscriber only content 32-34 88% 82%
Subscriber only content 31-35 90% 78%
Subscriber only content 31-33 97% - 77%
  Subscriber only content 31 86% 73%
  Subscriber only content 31-33 90% 68%
  Subscriber only content 31-35 85% 66%
  Subscriber only content 32-34 51% - - - 62%
  Subscriber only content 33 82% - 61%
  Subscriber only content 30-31 80% 60%
  Subscriber only content 31-33.5 85% - 56%
  Subscriber only content 32-33 75% 56%
  Subscriber only content 31-37 80% 52%
  Subscriber only content 29-31 82% - 51%
  Subscriber only content 31-35 84% 46%
  Subscriber only content 31-37 83% - 44%
Short-haul economy airlines
Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) Airline Seat pitch (inches) Punctuality Boarding Seat comfort Value for money Customer Score
Subscriber only content 31-34 77% - 80%
  Subscriber only content 29-31 74% - 76%
Subscriber only content 32-33 78% - 73%
Subscriber only content 30-32 83% 75%
Subscriber only content 29 84% 71%
  Subscriber only content 29-31 76% 70%
  Subscriber only content 29 74% 70%
  Subscriber only content 31 86% 69%
  Subscriber only content 30-32 87% 68%
  Subscriber only content 31-32 86% 67%
  Subscriber only content 29-34 80% 67%
  Subscriber only content 30-33 90% 67%
  Subscriber only content 30 77% 63%
  Subscriber only content 29 77% 63%
  Subscriber only content 32 81% 63%
  Subscriber only content 28-29 80% 61%
  Subscriber only content 30-32 85% 59%
  Subscriber only content 28-34 82% 56%
  Subscriber only content 30 72% 54%
  Subscriber only content 28-30 82% 52%
  Subscriber only content 30 85% 50%
  Subscriber only content 28-30 78% - 49%
  Subscriber only content 29-30 54% 41%

Full features table

Using the table: Sample sizes are in brackets. A dash indicates that there were too few responses for this aspect to give a star rating.
Seat pitch: The distance between two rows of seats, an indicator of legroom.
Punctuality: The percentage of members’ flights that they reported arrived at their destination within 15 minutes of due time (includes data for short-haul and all classes).
Boarding: The boarding process - waiting time, queues etc.
Cabin environment: Fixtures and fittings, temperature and lighting.
Customer service: On-ground and on-board staff. Customer score Combines overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend the airline.
Food and drink: Range and quality of on-board catering.
In-flight entertainment: Quality of free wi-fi, ear phones, TV screen. Varies by aircraft.
Customer score: Combines overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend the airline.
Sample sizes in brackets. All ratings for economy class travel.

 

 

National flag carriers top our table this year. Singapore, with a stunning 91% customer satisfaction score, is our leading long-haul carrier. It received glowing five-star ratings for boarding, food, in-flight entertainment, cabin environment and customer service.

Turkish Airlines, with 80% and a lip-smacking five stars for food, heads the short-haul table. It scored at least four stars in every category for which it was rated.  

The UK’s pride and joy, British Airways can be found chugging along with a mediocre 67% (for short-haul) and a barely respectable 60% (for long-haul). In 2011, it merged with another national carrier, Spain’s Iberia, but that doesn’t seem to have improved its cooking. On both short and long-haul, BA gets two stars for food (and in 2016 it scrapped free food on short-haul altogether).

Yet our survey shows holidaymakers still respect a decent ‘no-frills’ flyer for short journeys. While Ryanair finished near the bottom of our table and Easyjet is only a few places above it, rivals Jet2 has done much better this year, becoming a Which? Recommended Provider for the first time, with a customer score of 71%.

The tables above were updated in December 2016 and are split between flights of less than five-and-a-half hours (short-haul) and over five-and-a-half hours (long-haul).

What makes airlines Which? Recommended Providers?

In September 2016, we asked 7,534 Which? members to complete an online survey about their recent experiences of flying with an airline from the UK. They reported on a total of 11,359 flights and their customer score was based on a combination of overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending the airline to a friend. Only airlines rated by at least 30 members are included.

Which? Recommended Providers are those that you gave a customer score of at least 70%, but we also take into account things such as credit card charges or other issues that might affect consumers. 

Which? has long been campaigning on the issue of credit card fees and airlines including Jet2, Monarch and Virgin Atlantic completely scrapped them in 2016.