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The worst airlines for customer satisfaction revealed

BA, Ryanair and Vueling were the three airlines at the bottom of the list


  • After a year of IT failures, rota blunders and catering complaints, watchdog Which? says airlines need to “step up their game”.

British Airways has plunged to third from bottom in an annual survey of customer satisfaction on short-haul airlines.

Research by consumer group Which? shows the carrier received a customer score of just 52% – a drop from 67% in 2016.

The poor scoring comes in a year when BA stopped free catering for passengers travelling in economy class on short-haul flights.

The airline was given a score of just two stars for its food and drink and received the same poor rating for seat comfort and value for money.

In joint last place were Ryanair and Vueling – owned by BA’s parent company IAG – with a customer score of 45%.

Tens of thousands of BA passengers were affected after an IT failure in May
Image: Tens of thousands of BA passengers were affected after an IT failure in May

BA’s positioning as the third worst long-haul carrier puts it for the first time behind airlines such as TUI Airways and Thomas Cook.

An IT failure during bank holiday weekend in May triggered the cancellation of flights affecting 75,000 passengers.

The survey saw United Airlines ranked the worst long-haul airline (39%), followed by American Airlines (46%).

Neither airline scored more than two stars for anything other than cabin environment.

Rory Boland, Which? travel editor said: “Passengers are telling us that there are many different ways to be a great airline, but providing great service at an acceptable price is a musthave.

“BA’s poor customer satisfaction shows it clearly needs to step up its game in a year that has been beset with problems.

“From the food and drink on offer to the poor value for money of the journey itself, the airline has a lot of work to do to improve the experience that passengers associate with the airline.”

British Airways plane
Image: BA scored badly for food and drink and seat comfort in the Which? survey

Which? based the research on responses from 11,625 passengers who had flown from the UK.

The scores are a combination of overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending the airline to a friend.

A BA spokesman said: “British Airways is a premium airline committed to customer choice.

“We offer customers the biggest network from London’s most central airports, a loyalty programme with huge benefits and the best punctuality record of the three big short-haul operators from the capital.

“We also give our growing numbers of customers a wide choice of fares and services.”

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