United Kingdom’s Consumers’ Association charity, Which? recently conducted its annual airline customer satisfaction survey, to find out travellers’ opinions about various airlines servicing British air routes.
Irish airline service provider Ryanair has found itself at the bottom of the ladder once again, as it receives the lowest customer ranking from British travellers on the Customer Satisfaction Scorecard, effectively making it the worst airline in the UK.
The Scorecard, which is designed to get customer ratings on various airline features, predominantly evaluates an airline’s competitiveness on factors like airport services, cabin staff friendliness & service, airline seat comfort, inflight entertainment, onboard catering, ticket cost and overall value for money.
Ryanair’s epic fall
Ryanair clocked in at the bottommost rank on the Which? customer satisfaction survey, scoring the lowest star rating on factors like cabin cleanliness, seat comfort, in-flight F&B quality & variety and boarding efficiency. The airline also received a two-star rating for its customer service; a rating that fellow airline provider Wizz Air also received. Ryanair achieved an overall scoring of a mere 40%, one of the lowest ever recorded by Which?
While Ryanair officials cited their low prices as the reason for the lack of in-flight comfort; close rivals EasyJet proved their reasoning wrong by scoring 63% on the Which? customer satisfaction survey. On many air routes, easyJet offers better prices, compared to Ryanair.
Ryanair’s extremely poor customer satisfaction reviews also stemmed from their extremely inefficient operations. The Dublin-headquartered airline has been one of the most frequent to delay or entirely cancel flights. In the Autumn of 2017, over 400,000 Ryanair passengers were told that their flights had been indefinitely cancelled and that the company would make no other alternate arrangements for travellers to reach their destination; a move that was in complete disregard of the EU’s rule about rerouting stranded passengers to other airlines. Most delays in 2017 came during the Christmas & New Year period, adding to the woes of vacation goers. It was only after the involvement of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that Ryanair and its owner Michael O’Leary agreed to make alternative arrangements for some passengers. Currently, CAA reports show that Ryanair’s punctuality has taken a huge hit, and only 68% of its flights arrive and depart on time.
The Irish airline also blatantly refused to pay customers for damages caused due to unanticipated and unannounced flight cancellations and delays. According to CAA regulations, airlines are required to pay customers between €250 & €400 for all delayed or cancelled short haul flights. It was only after the CAA threatened legal action, that Ryanair followed-through with their obligation.
Ryanair’s constantly changing luggage policies too added to the list of customer grievances. The company has been called out for charging unfeasible amounts for certain luggage types and forcing travellers to purchase priority boarding.
Other poor performers
Other airlines like Thomas Cook, Wizz Air and British Airways too received flak for their poor performance and service. Thomas Cook was another bottom-ranked, with 52% customer satisfaction rate. Just above it, ranked Wizz Air, with 54%. Between 2017 and 2018, British Airways too had a meagre 50% customer satisfaction rate on the Which? survey. While British Airways has acknowledged its poor service and promised to make amends, Thomas Cook and Wizz Air have remained silent about their performance.