British Airways and Ryanair are the airlines most likely to leave passengers disappointed when they complain, says Which?
- Which? surveyed 2,500 passengers who had suffered delays and cancellations
- Three-quarters of BA passengers were left dissatisfied about their complaint
- Six in 10 Ryanair customers said they struggled to find airline staff to assist them
British Airways is the airline most likely to leave customers disappointed when they complain about problems with delays and cancellations, according to a Which? survey.
The consumer champion collected details of more than 2,500 experiences from passengers who suffered delays and cancellations – finding out how they rated the airline’s immediate response and handling of any subsequent complaints or claims.
The results reveal that in some cases passengers had the stress of facing delays or cancellations compounded by woeful customer service.
British Airways is the airline most likely to leave customers disappointed when they complain about problems with delays and cancellations, according to a new Which? survey
A table showing the split of satisfied and dissatisfied passengers with British Airways, Ryanair and easyJet after they complained
In almost half (44 per cent) of all cases, passengers said there were no staff at all at the airport available to help them – and even when airline employees could be found they were not helpful in one in five cases (20 per cent).
Only one in four people (27 per cent) told Which? they were satisfied overall by the way their grievance was handled when they complained about a delay – whether by email, letter, face to face, phone or social media – while six in ten (61 per cent) were left disappointed.
The lowest level of satisfaction was recorded by British Airways passengers – only one in seven passengers (15 per cent) were satisfied with the outcome of their complaint, while three-quarters (75 per cent) were left dissatisfied.
This was considerably higher than the number of disappointed travellers with Ryanair (63 per cent) and easyJet (49 per cent).
But British Airways passengers affected by disruption were at least able to find a member of staff at the airport in (69 per cent) seven in ten cases.
Ryanair customers were the least likely to be able to find a member of staff to assist them – six out of 10 (61 per cent) passengers with the no-frills Irish carrier said they found themselves in this position.
The passengers most likely to be given assistance by staff in the event of a delay or cancellation were those who flew with Emirates (74 per cent), Jet2 (73 per cent) and Virgin Atlantic (73 per cent).
Which? found that when airline staff were on hand to assist with inquiries, they were generally helpful – passengers said staff were helpful in 80 per cent of cases overall.
No customer service frills: Ryanair customers were the least likely to be able to find a member of staff to assist them – six out of 10 (61 per cent) passengers with the Irish carrier said they found themselves in this position
This was the case for BA customers who reported helpful staff in four out of five (82 per cent) occasions. However, 18 per cent of passengers told Which? that the airline’s staff was not helpful.
Just over half (58 per cent) of Ryanair customers who managed to find a member of staff said that they found them helpful, while two in five (42 per cent) found them to be unhelpful.
Norwegian Air and Jet2 staff were both deemed to be the most helpful overall (92 per cent).
Which? Travel’s Naomi Leach said: ‘Our research shows that it’s not just the usual suspects who are letting their customers down with poor customer service.
‘Airlines must ensure they have the staff and resources to deal sensitively with passengers hit by delayed or cancelled flights.’
British Airways said: ‘We continually review and improve our customer service performance, and always aim to provide our customers with a satisfactory and speedy response to their complaints.
‘Our social media team respond to enquiries 24 hours a day, and together with our contact centres and customer relations teams, provide assistance to tens of thousands of customers every week.
‘We’ve now made it even easier for customers to receive assistance by launching a dedicated page on our website at ba.com/helpme.’
MailOnline Travel has contacted Ryanair for comment.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR FLIGHT IS DELAYED OR CANCELLED
With a series of pilot strikes looming, Which? has some timely advice for airline passengers who suffer delays and cancellations.
What to do if the airline won’t pay for food…
According to Which?, if you are delayed for two hours or more, regardless of the reason, you have the right to refreshment. If the airline refuses to pay for food or drinks, the consumer champion says you should buy your own as the carrier will have to reimburse you eventually but you must keep all receipts. It suggests sticking to a limit of £5 for lunch and £10 for dinner.
What to do if the airline won’t pay for accommodation…
Regardless of the reason for the delay, Which? says airlines have to provide accommodation if your flight is delayed overnight. If your carrier chooses to ignore this rule, the consumer group says you shouldn’t spend the night on the airport floor and should instead book into a three-star hotel nearby. It adds that they have to reimburse you for the room and transport but stresses that you must keep all receipts.
What to do if the airline won’t pay compensation…
Which? says that if an airline refuses to pay compensation for a delay or cancellation, the key is to be persistent. It says all compensation claims should be put to the airline first then to an alternative dispute resolution organisation if the carrier refuses to pay up. Which? adds that for more details you can visit which.co.uk/flightrights.