A total of 35 airlines were rated by customers in our latest survey
A budget airline owned by the same company as British Airways (BA) has come last in our latest league table of short-haul airlines.
Which? polled more than 7,500 members to ask about their experience of both short-haul and long-haul flights.
Singapore Airlines topped the long-haul list with an impressive customer score of 91%, while Turkish Airlines, which flies to more countries – 117 – than any other airline, came top of the short-haul carriers, with 80%.
BA and Vueling
Vueling Airlines, owned by BA’s parent group IAG, achieved a dismal customer score of 41%.
Vueling’s former chief, Alex Cruz, last year became chief executive of BA; some passengers have told Which? they feel that BA is ‘moving in the direction’ of the budget airlines.
The end of free food
One of Mr Cruz’s first major decisions was to scrap free food on BA flights of less than five hours. Instead, the airline now offers a £7.55 Marks & Spencer sandwich deal, which was met with controversy on social media. When we polled a further 1,500 members for their views, 81% felt that ticket prices should be reduced as a result. So far, Which? has seen no sign of this.
Food on BA’s long-haul flights is included in the ticket cost, but customers don’t rate it highly – it got just two stars out of five. As recently as 2013, it received four stars in our survey. In 2014 and 2015 this was three stars. In January 2016 and in the latest survey it received just two stars.
The bottom three in our short-haul table were Ryanair, with a mediocre score of 50%, followed by Iberia (49%) and Vueling. Both Ryanair and Easyjet scored worse for food and drink in the short-haul survey than BA, receiving just one star out of five from passengers.
Easyjet got an overall customer score of 63%, while the highest-scoring no-frills carrier was holiday sun specialist Jet2, with 71%. The UK-based carrier also became a Which? Recommended Provider.
British Airways and national carriers
BA, which is currently facing strike action by its cabin crew, received a customer score of 67% for short-haul and 60% for long-haul flights. Other national flag-carriers got lower scores; for long-haul Air Canada came second from last with 46% (just above United Airlines, which got 44%). Among short-haul carriers, Spain’s flag-bearer Iberia achieved just 49%. The company is also owned by BA’s parent company IAG.