Bott and Co commissioned an independent survey to find out more about passengers experiences of using UK airports, in particular when there are flight delays.
The survey looked into the views and opinions of 1,011 people living in the UK aged over 18 and who had travelled by aeroplane in the past 12 months.
Let’s look at some of the some of the results:
Flight delays are the number one source of passenger stress at airports
Delayed flights were the most common cause of airport stress, closely followed by a fear of missing your flight or misplacing your passport/boarding pass. Other passenger worries included: Going through security; not being able to smoke; long queues in security and being scared of flying itself.
One respondent even replied “My wife” when asked what stressed him out most at the airport!
Losing a day of holiday is the biggest passenger peeve during flight delays
After saving all year for a week of fun in the sun, it’s no wonder Brits are most annoyed when flight delays cause them to lose a day of holiday. Other annoyances include having to make new transport arrangements, the cost of having to buy extra food and drink at the airport and finding a way to keep the kids amused.
Passengers who experience a delay of two hours or more are entitled to two free telephone calls, emails, telex or fax messages. After five hours passengers can ask to exchange their ticket for a refund, but this means they will lose their seat on the plane and will not be able to claim flight delay compensation at a later date.
Flight delay compensation of up to £470 can be claimed for some delays of three hours or more that happened within the last six years. You can find out if you have a valid claim by entering your flight details into our free flight claim checker.
How people spend their time when delayed
We didn’t want to just look at whether people were being delayed but also what they do and how they feel when they are held up at the airport.
The majority of people pass the time when they’re delayed with activities that cost money
When asked how they spend their time when delayed, respondents revealed that late-boarding can often be an expensive affair.
Other responses included: People watching; plane spotting; playing on slot machines; doing work on a laptop; chatting with fellow travellers and playing cards.
Passengers who suffer delays of two hours or more are entitled to refreshment vouchers but Bott and Co say many of their flight delay clients complain these often don’t cover the cost of a meal at airport outlets.
Passengers named being kept updated and free Wi-Fi as the most important things to have when delayed
Being kept up to date by airline staff was, by far, the most important thing for passengers, according to the survey findings. Free Wi-Fi came a close second with other answers including comfortable seating, quiet areas and a good selection of places to eat and drink.
71% of delayed passengers say the level of communication during delays is average, poor or awful.
Airports not delivering what delayed passengers want most: 71% of delayed passengers say the level of communication during delays is average, poor or awful and free Wi-Fi is often limited.
Despite passengers identifying being kept up to date by airline staff as the most important thing during a delay, the survey suggests this is an area where airlines need to improve. A huge 71% of respondents who had experienced a delay in the past rated the information given to them by staff at the time as average, poor or awful.
24.7% of respondents chose free Wi-Fi as most important to them during long airport hold-ups. So it’s bad news for delayed passengers because none of the UK’s six busiest airports offer unlimited free access:
- Heathrow provides 4 hours
- Edinburgh provides 2 hours
- Manchester provides 1 hour
- Stansted provides 1 hour
- Gatwick provides 45 minutes
- Luton provides 30 minutes
The majority of people use Facebook to tell their friends if they are delayed
It’s no wonder free Wi-Fi is so important given that nearly half of people said they would share news of their flight delay with family and friends via social media.
Of those who said they would update their social media accounts to let people know about a late-running trip, the overwhelming majority said they would do so on Facebook. The next most popular social media platform was Twitter, followed by Instagram and Snapchat. Others said they would opt for Whatsapp and Viber.
- Survey of 1,011 UK residents aged 18+ who had travelled by plane within the past year.
- Conducted by Mark-e-Test on behalf of Bott and Co Solicitors