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Which? has just published its best and worst airlines for 2019.The survey is based on responses by more than 6500 members of the organisation having made in excess of ten thousand flights. Only airlines rated by more than 30 members are included. The results can be sliced and diced using a wide variety of criteria but here we’ll just look at economy for long-and short-haul.

Star ratings are given in four categories for boarding, food and drink, customer service and value for money, aggregated as a customer score. A punctuality score and a seat pitch measure are also given.

Long-Haul

Very few surprises here…

  1. Top of the list is Singapore Airlines, with a customer score of 85% and punctuality rating of 82%.
  2. Second is Emirates, with an 81% customer score and punctuality of 76%
  3. Next is Qatar; 80% and 85%.

Virgin is 7th, British at 13th

The poorest ratings are for two American carriers; United (55/78) and at the very bottom, American. (52/77)

Short-Haul

A couple of bigger surprises in this table, not least at the top.

  1. Aurigny, based in the British Channel Islands (‘Guernsey’s Airline’) is top with a customer score of 81% and punctuality of 74%.

  1. At second is Swissair with 80% and 73%.
  2. Third; Jet2 with 75% and 77%

Lufthansa is 9th and easyJet at 11th.

At the bottom of the rankings are British, (56/77) Vueling, (54/69) and Ryanair. (40/68)

Reactions

British Airways weren’t happy about the results. BA were the top short haul in 2015, but with mass cancellations, data breaches and pilot strikes their ratings have plummeted. They say their own data has shown an improvement as a result of a £6.5 billion investment in aircraft, food, lounges and technology. That’s all well and good, but it seems it hasn’t had the desired effect. It’s doubtful whether the average passenger gives a tiny packet of pretzels about whether they’re on an older 737 or a brand new A319, and the Which? rating of BA food is a weak two (out of a possible five) stars.

Ryanair have taken a tough line; they say the results are ‘totally unrepresentative and worthless.’ Strong words indeed. But they have something of a point; the respondents were Which? members; hardly representative of the flying public at large. And with low cost carriers in general it’s like criticising a cat because it’s not a dog. They are what they are.

To emphasise, the results are for the UK only. Who gets YOUR votes?

Founded in 1957 in London, ‘Which?’ Magazine is a brand name of the Consumers’ Association and regularly publishes independent reviews and ratings of goods and services available in the UK.

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