Wizz Air takes bottom spot in airline passenger survey for second year running

Wizz Air takes bottom spot in airline passenger survey for second year running
Among short haul airlines, Wizz Air fared the worst overall with a "paltry" customer score of 44 per cent (Image credit: @Tupungato/Adobe Stock)

Low-cost carrier Wizz Air has placed last in an annual airline satisfaction survey carried out by Which?, the UK’s consumer watchdog.

Analysing results for over 10,000 flights, Which? surveyed passengers’ experiences of flying over the last year.

Among short haul airlines, Wizz Air fared the worst overall with a “paltry” customer score of 44 per cent.

Meanwhile 46 per cent of passengers surveyed who flew with Wizz Air reported issues with their flight, with delays noted as a common problem.

According to data collected by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), 63 per cent of the airline’s flights were on time in the last year (October 2022 – September 2023)

And 2 per cent of its flights were delayed by over three hours – higher than most of its rivals.

Wizz Air received low star ratings across the board, scoring just one star out of five for customer service.

One customer reported it was “impossible to communicate with the airline” about their flight cancellation.

Another claimed the budget carrier was “extremely unhelpful and unresponsive” when they needed assistance.

It received no higher than two stars in all other remaining categories, including value for money.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “Air fares have soared in recent years, and the bare minimum passengers should expect in return for their hard-earned cash is a reliable service, with friendly, easy to access customer support when they are let down.

“Our survey shows that passengers of many airlines are sadly being shortchanged – with high rates of last minute cancellations, abysmal customer service and sneaky extra fees for luggage hiking up the final price.”

The consumer watchdog added that the standard of service across a number of airlines has fallen “well short of the mark” and that the sight of passengers abandoned in airport terminals with no way of getting through to airline staff for help and information when flights are delayed and cancelled has become all too common.

According to the survey, many respondents reported difficulties getting hold of customer support when needed, and one in 10 (11 per cent) of those who used email to contact an airline received no response within 90 days.

In response to the survey’s findings, a Wizz Air spokesperson said: “We do not consider the findings of this report to be representative or an accurate reflection of our performance today, which is among the strongest in Europe.

“We have been honest about our performance in summer 2022, which was not up to our standards.

“We have invested more than £90 million to rectify this and have made significant improvements which the results of this survey fail to recognise, but are evident from independent data, as well as our own.”

Close behind Wizz Air with a customer score of just 47 per cent is Ryanair, which also received an unimpressive run of results, scoring just one star for seat comfort, food and drink and customer service.

One passenger surveyed remarked that Ryanair “treats customers with disdain”, and another claimed the airline “doesn’t do customer service”.

It scored just two stars for the boarding experience, cabin cleanliness and cabin environment, and received three stars for value for money.

Though Ryanair had a similar proportion of delayed flights to Wizz Air – 62 per cent according to CAA data – its cancellation rate was more positive, with just 0.8 per cent cancelled at short notice.

In response to the survey’s findings, a Ryanair spokesperson said: “Ryanair has industry leading punctuality with average on-time performance of 87 per cent in 2023, despite UK punctuality being severely impacted by the inefficient NATS and its incompetent CEO, whose ATC [air traffic control] system has collapsed twice this year delaying thousands of flights and millions of passengers travelling to and from the UK.”

Iberia, Vueling and British Airways completed the bottom five for short haul, with customer scores of 49, 53 and 56 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile Jet2 took first spot in the survey among short haul airlines for the third consecutive year.

The airline topped the table with a customer score of 81 per cent, and received a full five stars for its customer service.

Jet2’s passengers reported a largely hassle-free flying experience, with 80 per cent of respondents reporting no problems with the airline.

Of those who experienced a hold up to their flight, 84 per cent reported that staff were helpful during the delay.

Jet2 also has among the lowest rate of last-minute cancellations of any airlines in the survey, with just 0.5 per cent cancelled at short notice, according to CAA data.

Customers said it offers great value for money, scoring it four stars in that category.

It also received four stars for the boarding experience, cabin environment and cabin cleanliness.