Wizz Air has been named the worst airline for short-haul flights in a survey ranking providers.
Customers shamed the carrier for repeated delays, in a survey carried out by consumer group Which?
British Airways’ popularity is also falling, according to the report, with customers accusing the once-loved premier carrier of effectively turning itself into a budget airline in a “race to the bottom”.
It comes after holiday makers were forced to endure high volumes of cancellations last year as carriers grappled with post-pandemic staffing shortages.
Almost half of Wizz Air flights arrived at their destinations late last year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority, the airlines watchdog.
Wizz Air received one out of five stars for its boarding experience, as well as for cabin environment and seat comfort. Its planes have some of the least generous legroom of all airlines, Which? found
Ryanair fared only marginally better, coming in second-last in the league table after being singled out as the worst performer last year. Just over half of its customers (52pc) said they were satisfied with the service they received and would recommend the company, in the survey of 8,046 people. Wizz Air received a “satisfaction rating” of 48pc.
Ryanair was criticised for its boarding experience, seat comfort, food and drink and cabin environment, but was praised for “good, competitive pricing”.
The airline had few cancellations. Just 0.5pc of its flights were axed with less than 24 hours’ notice in 2022, but more than a third arrived late.
British Airways ranked 21st out of 24 airlines. Although this was an improvement on its position last year, when it came in the bottom two, its customer satisfaction score fell from 63pc to 56pc.
One survey respondent accused BA of participating in “a race to the bottom, providing as little as possible and making cattle class sound like something better”.
BA received two stars for boarding, seat comfort and value for money, and no more than three stars in any other category. It was one of the least reliable airlines surveyed, with 2.3pc of flights cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice.
Eurowings rounded out the bottom four thanks partly to one of the highest rates of last-minute cancellations, affecting 3.4pc of flights.
Jet2 retained its spot at the top of the league table, with one customer describing it as “the best airline by a country mile”.
British Airways defended its service, saying it did not feel “this small survey, conducted during one of the most challenging periods in global aviation, accurately represents the views of the tens of millions of customers who’ve chosen to fly with us over the same period”.
“While we don’t claim to get everything right every time, we continue to be recognised for the service we offer, recently winning Best Airline 2022 at the News UK Travel Awards and nine Business Traveller Awards over the past two years,” a spokesman added.
A spokesman for Wizz Air said: “A number of issues affecting the global aviation industry contributed to a worse time performance in 2022. These issues resulted from a widespread shortage in staff, in particular within air traffic control, ground operations and baggage handling, security and across airports. We are committed to constantly reviewing processes to mitigate these issues and are seeing an overall improvement in the on-time performance of our routes.”
Ryanair strongly refuted the findings of the survey and said it was Britain’s most reliable and low fare airline. Eurowings did not respond to a request for comment.