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10 November 2020

Best and worst airlines

We asked thousands of fliers to rate their latest airline experience to find out which are the best airlines, and the worst.
W
Which?Editorial team
Singapore airlines 458693

A great holiday should begin with your flight, but do you need to fly with the big names to have the best trip? 

Our survey of more than 6,500 passengers reveals all. You told us about customer service, food and drink, and what it was like on board more than 10,000 flights and 29 airlines, from British Airways and Ryanair, to easyJet and Emirates. 

We found budget airlines at the top and bottom of our table, as well as some big name carriers that passengers thought were poor quality. 

Members can login to see the full results, or if you're not a member, then join Which? to get instant access to this and other reviews.

Best and worst airlines 

The table below shows the results of our latest airline survey including which airlines are Which? Recommended Providers (WRP).

Long-haul economy airlines
WRP*
Airline
Seat pitch (inches)
Punctuality
Boarding
Seat comfort
Food and drink
In-flight entertainment
Cabin environment
Customer service
Value for money
Customer Score
 
32-34
73%
88%
 
31-33
80%
79%
 
32-34
79%
76%
 
29-34
82%
72%
 
31-35
83%
-
69%
 
32-33
62%
68%
 
31-34
60%
-
-
-
-
68%
 
31-35
79%
67%
 
33
66%
67%
 
31-32
46%
-
-
64%
 
31-35
77%
62%
 
31-35
67%
60%
 
31-33
88%
56%
 
31
79%
55%
 
31-37
78%
48%
Short-haul economy airlines
WRP*
Airline
Seat pitch (inches)
Punctuality
Boarding
Seat comfort
Food and drink
In-flight entertainment
Cabin environment
Customer service
Value for money
Customer Score
 
29-31
83%
-
n/a
82%
 
29
81%
n/a
79%
 
30-33
72%
-
n/a
74%
 
31-32
81%
n/a
71%
 
29-34
75%
n/a
71%
 
29-38
69%
n/a
70%
 
30-32
73%
n/a
69%
 
30-32
77%
-
n/a
67%
 
29
70%
n/a
65%
 
29-33
83%
n/a
65%
 
28-30
66%
n/a
61%
 
30-31
79%
n/a
60%
 
28-34
66%
n/a
59%
 
30-32
78%
n/a

56%
 
29-34
79%

n/a


55%
 
29-30
69%
-
n/a
54%
 
30-34
75%
n/a

44%
*WRP (Which? Recommended Provider) Using the table: Customer score: Combines overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend the airline. All ratings for economy class travel. 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: Percentage of flights that arrived in to the UK within 15 minutes of time due, according to CAA data (short-haul and long-haul). Boarding: The boarding process – waiting time, queues, etc. Cabin environment: Fixtures and fittings, temperature and lighting. Customer service: On-ground and on-board staff. Food and drink: Range and quality of on-board catering. In-flight entertainment: Quality of free wi-fi, ear phones, TV screen. Sample sizes in brackets below. Long-haul airline sample sizes: Singapore Airlines (77) Emirates (213),Qatar Airways (47), Cathay Pacific (45), KLM (38), Norwegian (44), Virgin Atlantic (202), Etihad Airways (44), Air Transat (40), Qantas (37), Air Canada (81), Delta Airlines (49), British Airways (309), Thomas Cook Airlines (41), Thomson/Tui Airways (68), United Airlines (43), American Airlines (69). Short-haul airline sample sizes: Aurigny Air Services (42), Swiss (58), Jet2.com (1,020), Norwegian (185), KLM (150), Air Malta (40), SAS Scandinavian Airlines (57), Aer Lingus (127), Lufthansa (104), Flybe (574), easyJet (2,099), Eurowings (55), TAP Portugal (94), Thomson/Tui Airways (604, British Airways (1,023), Vueling Airlines (75), Wizz Air (69), Thomas Cook Airlines (301), Ryanair (1,161). Short-haul airline sample sizes: Aurigny Air Services (42), Swiss (58), Jet2.com (1,020), Norwegian (185), KLM (150), Air Malta (40), SAS Scandinavian Airlines (57), Aer Lingus (127), Lufthansa (104), Flybe (574), easyJet (2,099), Eurowings (55), TAP Portugal (94), Thomson/Tui Airways (604, British Airways (1,023), Vueling Airlines (75), Wizz Air (69), Thomas Cook Airlines (301), Ryanair (1,161).

What makes an airline a Which? Recommended Provider?

In September 2019, we asked 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 10,180 flights. 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 that's not all. Our researchers then scrutinise each company and its policies to make sure the company is worthy of a WRP.

SAS, Aer Lingus, Swiss Airlines, Singapore and Qatar Airways had their WRP status withheld for their 'no show' clause. This is the outrageous practice of airlines cancelling your return flight, sometimes without even letting you know, when you've missed your outbound flight. You lose your flight and in most cases, your money too. We won't make any airline that cancels your return flight in these circumstances a WRP.