Low-cost airlines operating in Europe are not exactly known for the stellar service they offer. They may have made travel within the European space easier and highly affordable, but on the downside, their infamously long delays, overly strict baggage and seating policies, and bad customer service have given rise to criticism for many years now.
There is one in particular, however, that has been rated the best low-cost carrier serving short-haul routes in the continent, not only due to its cheap rates but also quality service, on-time performance (OTP), seat comfort, and many other laudable attributes:
Jet2 Is Europe’s Top Performing Airline For Short-Haul Flights
Europe is one of the easiest continents to explore. Thanks to an enviable host of low-cost airlines, Americans country-hopping across the pond can easily travel between different countries in under three hours while paying the equivalent of a meal at a mid-range restaurant – the main caveat being the limited level of comfort offered.
Not all low-cost airlines have a history of failing customers, though. In the latest research carried out by Which?, a UK-based company promoting better-informed consumer choices, Jet2 came out as the top-rated low-cost, short-haul airline out of all European companies in operation, with an overall customer score of 80%.
Jet2 is a Britain-based carrier serving up to 65 destinations in Europe.
Explaining the methodology behind the research, Which? states a total of 8,046 adults were surveyed in October 2022 regarding their experience flying on short-haul, low-cost routes in Europe in the previous two years. Interviewees belonged to two groups: Which? Connect members, or those who have signed up for the company’s online research panel, and the general public.
Out of the 24 listed, Jet2 came out on top with 1,503 (mostly positive) impressions. Despite having a lower on-time performance of only 66%, a lackluster result compared to Aegean Airlines (83%) or Iberia (85%), it excels in a majority of the other categories, including last-minute cancellations: only 0.5% of Jet2 flights are axed 24 hours within scheduled departure.
Excellent Customer Service
As for the boarding experience, it is rated four stars out of five. Seat comfort is a moderate three stars, a status it shares with 11 competing airlines appearing on the ranking. Only Turkish Airlines has attained four stars on this subcategory while ranking at the runner-up slot overall with a customer score of 78% – only a marginal difference.
Other reliable airlines include Finnair, which rounds out the top three at a score of 75%, Swiss (also 75%) and Aurigny Air Service (74%). Jet2 customers are also quite pleased with the cabin cleanliness and value for money, awarding those four stars, while customer service is rated a maximum of five.
Which? adds that multiple customers have praised the ‘helpful and friendly staff,’ with one remarking that the airline excels in ‘all areas of customer support.’ Yet another customer claimed it is ‘the best airline by a country mile.’ For that reason, it has achieved the Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status once more.
Norwegian Airlines was the only other airline to achieve a WRP badge in the short-haul category. Interestingly, the top-three peaking Turkish and Finnair did not qualify due to their terms and conditions that allow return journeys to be canceled when a passenger misses an outbound flight due to circumstances out of their control.
The Bottom Tier
WizzAir, the worst-performing airline, has a customer score of only 48%, being awarded a maximum of two stars across categories. The Hungarian carrier has long been criticized as one of the least reliable airlines in the continent due to its poor on-time performance, suboptimal customer service, and uncomfortable seats with virtually no legroom.
Other airlines charting in the lower tier include the Irish Ryanair, with a customer score of 52% and one-star ratings in 4 out of 7 categories, and Eurowings (53%). Interestingly, Eurowings has one of the best on-time performance rates at 74%, much higher than the Wizz average of 56% or Ryanair’s 65%.
Other surprises included British Airways, considered one of Britain’s ‘premium’ airlines, and completely panned by respondents, who described their experience flying BA as a ‘race to the bottom, providing as little as possible and making cattle class sound like something better‘. BA scores two stars for boarding, seat comfort, and value for money, as well as an overall score of 56%.
A BA spokesperson argued against the credibility of the survey, calling it ‘small’ and reminding readers it was conducted during one of the most challenging periods in global aviation, and thus, it does not ‘accurately’ represent the views of ‘tens of millions of customers’: ‘While we don’t claim to get everything right every time, we continue to be recognized for the service we offer, recently winning Best airline 2022 at the News UK Travel Awards and nine Business Traveler Awards over the past two years‘.
Wizz Air blamed it on the pandemic-era challenges, too: ‘A number of issues affecting the global aviation industry contributed a worse time performance in 2022. These issues resulted from a widespread shortage in staff, in particular within air traffic control, ground operations and baggage handling, security and across airports‘.
The worst-performing airline for OTP is Tui Airways, with only 45% of flights departing on time and an overall score of 59%. Responding to the survey, the company rebuked it ‘once again only speaks to less than one percent of our customers, and therefore cannot be used as an accurate reflection‘.
The customer score of other popular airlines, low-cost or full-service, operating in the European space can be seen below:
- Norwegian – 74%
- Icelandair – 71%
- Aer Lingus – 67%
- Air Malta – 65%
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines – 65%
- Aegean Airlines – 62%
- Iberia – 61%
- KLM – 61%
- TAP Portugal – 61%
- Easyjet – 59%
- Air France – 58%
- Vueling Airlines – 58%
- Lufthansa – 57%
Travel Insurance Is Still A Must In 2023
Airlines in Europe, particularly in the low-cost subgroup, continue to struggle with the surging demand for travel in the post-crisis scene, and staffing shortages have led to cancellations and severe delays in the past. As a result, they may take weeks to process and issue refunds for a flight that has been canceled or even fail to respond to urgent calls or compensation claims.
The best way to protect yourself against last-minute cancellations, baggage mishandling, itinerary changes, and any other flight disruption is to take out travel insurance ahead of flying. This way, you can be covered for trip interruption, lost checked luggage, and even healthcare in the event of a medical emergency.
Find out which insurance company best suits your needs as a traveler on this link.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com