Which? conducted its annual poll to create a list of the worst long-haul and short-haul airlines. A survey involving more than 6,500 holidaymakers helped the organisation create the list. While Ryanair continued its consistent reign as the worst short-haul airline, British Airways was featured very high on both the lists. Even though the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) crowned British Airways the best airline of the year, customers seem to disagree with CAPA's verdict.
More than 6,500 travellers were asked to rate different airlines on different criteria. The voters could give one to five stars based on their experience. Some of the criteria were: seat pitch (seating area and leg-space put together), boarding process, punctuality, seat comfort, and value for money.
Based on the number of stars the airline received in each category, an overall percentage was calculated. The airline with the lowest percentage was deemed the worst, while the ones with the higher percentage fared better with customers.
After the percentage was calculated, Ryanair was deemed the worst short-haul airline (44%) and American Airlines the worst long-haul airline (48%). The Sun revealed that Ryanair scored one star in almost all criteria except for the value for money criteria. American Airlines scored two stars in all categories except in-flight entertainment and boarding, in which the customer average was three stars.
CAPA's best airline of the year was also scraping the bottom of the barrel according to customer votes. British Airways was the third-worst short-haul and second-worst long-haul airline according to customers.
While Ryanair and American Airline have been consistently low on the table, British Airways' rank has fallen slowly. In 2015, British Airways had been voted best airline on the annual Which? survey.
Which? travel editor, Rory Boland, recommended passengers to opt for airlines such as Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic for short-haul and long-haul flights respectively.
British Airways and American Airlines did not agree with the data unveiled by Which?
Both airlines pointed out that the sample size of voters was too small and disproportionate. British Airways claimed that Aurigny Air Services fared better since it only had 34 passenger responses. Meanwhile, British Airways had 831 passenger responses, which is a very small sample of the 45 million customers the airline caters to each year.
Similarly, an American Airlines representative claimed that the passenger response rate is not sufficient to judge the airline's service. The representative also pointed out that the airline was planning to expand in the United Kingdom and was open to customer feedback.