We’re right in the midst of peak holiday season, and for the hundreds of thousands of British passengers set to flee the unseasonable showers this summer, we have bad news: our in-house database has shown that flight disruption at the hands of the UK’s most popular airlines is widespread. Holidaymakers, be prepared.
Last year saw an unprecedented level of summer holiday flight chaos, with a staggering 33% increase in flights cancelled or delayed over three hours compared to 2017, when only a comparatively reasonable figure of 1.31% of flights were disrupted.
What’s more, the UK’s aviation industry hasn’t exactly boosted its reputation within the past year, as out of the ten worst offending airlines for punctuality, seven of them were based in the UK. Let’s take a look at which ones you may want to avoid if you’re booking upcoming travel.
Vueling Delays Increased By 145% Compared To 2017
Winning the unfortunate award for the biggest increase in flight delays was Spanish airline Vueling, whose delays went from 55 in 2017 to 135 in 2018, a huge upsurge of 145%.
While many delays are due to factors beyond the airlines’ control, last year’s data raises the question of whether airlines are doing enough to alleviate disruption for passengers?
Faring much better in the delay stakes was the more stable operation Flybe, whose passengers experienced just a 1% increase in delays compared to 2017 – yet it is still an increase in late schedules, so congratulations certainly aren’t in order.
Ryanair British Airways And Thomas Cook Amongst The Worst Culprits
We’ve joined forces with Lennoc Flight Intelligence , whose data shows that Ryanair passengers suffered the most disruption to their schedules, as a shocking 1,000 flights were delayed during summer 2018 – an average of 11 per day departing over three hours late from and into the UK. Hot on Ryanair’s tardy heels was easyJet, with the airline’s passengers suffering 907 delays – a 21% increase in delays compared to 2017.
Thomas Cook scooped the accolade for the single longest delayed flight. The carrier’s MT431 flight on 13 June last year from Antalya, Turkey to London Gatwick was a completely unacceptable, and almost unimaginable, 40 hours and 41 minutes delayed. Not only this, but Thomas Cook was responsible for four out of five of the longest delays in summer 2018.
Technical Reasons Are The Most Common Reason For Flight Delays
Unsurprisingly, we have found that in 2018, airlines often hid behind the excuse of “extraordinary circumstances” with the most common reason listed being “technical faults“. We’re all too familiar with coming up against this excuse from the airlines, but disgruntled passengers should know that, if they are told their flight isn’t claimable as a result of an extraordinary circumstance, it isn’t necessarily the end of the claims process.
We would therefore encourage people to look into the nature of the delay and how the airline managed it, even if it is extraordinary circumstances
We regularly successfully recover compensation from the airlines after they hide behind the excuse of a delay or cancellation being “extraordinary” and therefore out of their control. It should come as promising news to passengers that the situation isn’t always black and white; there are nuances within the EU Regulation 261/2004, which often favour the passenger.
Examples of an extraordinary circumstance include extreme weather conditions such as volcanic ash cloud, political or civil unrest and hidden manufacturing defects.
Delayed Passengers Can Claim Up To 600 Euros Under EU Regulation 261/2004
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Compensation Solicitor at Bott and Co explains that such widespread delays are simply unacceptable: “While many delays are due to factors beyond the airlines’ control, last year’s data raises the question of whether airlines are doing enough to alleviate disruption for passengers?
“The law was put in place to protect air travellers and to make sure that airlines are doing all that they can to limit passenger inconvenience. Bott and Co looks at each case individually to determine whether the operating air carrier has done enough to avoid the disruption occurring.
“The law entitles passengers to compensation of up to 600 Euros each for delays over three hours and cancellations that are not caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances’. Airlines do not have a valid defence when flights are affected by factors which are considered inherent in the day to day running of an air carrier, are within their control or where reasonable measures could have been put in place to limit or avoid disruption.
“We would therefore encourage people to look into the nature of the delay and how the airline managed it, even if it is extraordinary circumstances.”
Coby also emphasises that airlines need to look after their delayed passengers: when customers have been delayed for over two hours, “care and assistance” should be provided, including food and drinks vouchers, the means of communication such as a telephone call or an email, and overnight accommodation must be arranged, along with transport to and from the hotel if the delay lasts overnight.