Ryanair again named worst short-haul airline in consumer survey

Which? Travel survey rates Aer Lingus highly but marks Ryanair andf BA down

Ryanair has achieved an unenviable seven in a row after again being declared the worst short-haul airline in a survey carried out by one of the leading consumer watchdogs in Europe.

The news was almost as bad, if not worse, for British Airways which has been ranked among the worst airlines in Europe for both short-haul and long-haul passengers.

Just four years ago the airline topped the short-haul category in the Which? annual survey.

By contrast, BA's sister airline Aer Lingus did well and was ranked the fourth best short-haul airline flying out of UK airports, according to the survey.


The consumer champion asked more than 6,500 holidaymakers to rate their experiences of flights taken over the last 12 months. People were asked to describe their experiences of customer service, boarding and cabin environment.

Ryanair was given a score of only 44 per cent, with many of the budget carrier’s passengers pointing out the endless add-ons and the finicky luggage requirements.

Customers gave the airline the lowest possible score of one star out of a possible five in all categories – including boarding, customer service and cabin experience – apart from value for money where it managed a two-star rating.

Customer care

Aer Lingus received an overall score of 71 per cent and was given four out of five stars for its customer care and cabin environment. In each of the other categories, it was given three stars.

British Airways was third from the bottom in the short-haul table and fared even worse when it came to its long-haul offering where it was second from the bottom.

Holidaymakers panned BA for the quality of food and drink, the comfort of its seats and value for money for both short- and long-haul services – with both only managing a 55 per cent customer score overall.

In 2015, the British flag carrier was named best short-haul airline in the Which? Travel survey. IT failures, strikes and mass cancellations have conspired to see the airline fall in customers’ estimations.

Vueling Airlines, on 54 per cent, and Wizz Air, on 56 per cent, were also among the worst of the short-haul carriers. American Airways meanwhile landed with a bump at the bottom on the long-haul table with a customer score of 48 per cent.

Some airlines did soar above the rest, however, and it wasn’t just premium airlines. Short-haul travellers continued to praise the efforts of Jet2 for its budget prices with premium service earning a 79 per cent customer score and five stars for customer service.

There were clear winners when it came to the long-haul airline too, Singapore Airlines scored four or five stars for each category excelling in in-flight entertainment and customer service with a total 88 per cent customer score.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast