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Which? reveals best and worst airlines for 2024

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More than 10,000 flights to rate British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Tui, Jet2 and other carriers.

Wizz Air – which finished below Ryanair in Which?‘s annual airline survey for the second year running – got just one star for seat comfort and cabin environment and only two stars in every other category.

Although its headline price can appear cheap, passengers who put a small case in an overhead locker with Wizz can pay £90 on top of a return flight ticket. Wizz is also more likely than other airlines to split up groups that don’t pay for seat selection.

Which?’s survey lets you compare your favourite airlines for everything from cabin cleanliness and boarding, to those crucial measures on long haul: food and drink and the in-flight entertainment. Equally important is the service you’ll receive if anything goes wrong. Delays and cancellations are a fact of life in air travel, but some airlines will look after you if there are problems – and others won’t.

Jet2 has once again been rated the UK’s best short-haul airline. It gets five stars for customer service, and while its headline fares aren’t always as low as budget rivals, it can work out cheaper when you factor in the free cabin bag allowance.

On long haul, once again the Asian and Middle Eastern airlines are far better than most of their European and American rivals. Virgin Atlantic is the notable, impressive exception. Singapore and Emirates at the top of our long-haul table stand out for spotless planes, excellent entertainment systems and friendly service. Emirates, however, has far more routes from the UK, including from Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester. Emirates is punctual too, with three quarters of flights arriving less than 15 minutes late. The only smirch on its reputation – and of most other luxury, long-haul carriers – is its ‘no-show’ clause. Its terms give it the right to cancel your return ticket if you miss the outbound leg. That’s unfair to people who want to simply take the next flight and return as planned, so we haven’t made either airline a Which? Recommended Provider.

Jet2 scores as the best airline

Jet2 consistently ranks as a leading airline in the UK, as evidenced by passenger feedback in our surveys, demonstrating significant progress in recent years. The airline’s exceptional five-star customer service rating distinguishes it within a competitive market, particularly among budget holiday routes traditionally dominated by easyJet and Ryanair. Feedback highlights Jet2’s commitment to maintaining clean, well-kept cabins and ensuring an organized boarding process.

The majority of passengers experience seamless service with Jet2, with 80% reporting no issues during their flights. On the rare occasions when issues arise, they are typically addressed with commendable efficiency and a friendly attitude.

While Jet2’s fares may not always be the lowest at first glance, the value proposition is enhanced by the inclusion of a reasonably-sized cabin bag in the ticket price, a benefit not consistently offered by easyJet and Ryanair. This, along with positive passenger feedback, has earned Jet2 a four-star rating in terms of value for money.

Wizz Air scores as the worst airline

Wizz Air faced significant challenges in 2022, leading to numerous customer disputes over unpaid expenses and compensation claims. These issues persisted, with enforcement actions initiated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in July 2023 due to substantial complaints and non-compliance with passenger rights. Despite Wizz Air addressing these concerns by refunding £1.24 million in outstanding expenses, and the CAA acknowledging these efforts, feedback suggests that concerns remain.

In assessments of airline performance, Wizz Air ranks at the bottom, with minimal satisfaction in customer service and seat comfort, even scoring lower than Ryanair. A notable 44% of passengers reported experiencing issues, the highest among all airlines surveyed. Additionally, the cost implications for passengers, particularly concerning luggage fees, diminish its appeal as a budget-friendly option for travelers carrying even minimal luggage.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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