Worst UK Airlines For Flight Delays In 2021

A recent investigation into the worst airlines for flight delays in the United Kingdom revealed Wizz Air as the worst. In 2021, the Hungarian carrier’s UK flights departed an average of 14 minutes and 24 seconds behind schedule.

Delays, delays, delays

The investigation was conducted based on information from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The Hungarian airline, Wizz Air, operates short-haul flights from 10 airports in the United Kingdom. Wizz led the competition by over 60 seconds, with Tui averaging 13 minutes and 18 seconds delays. In third place was British Airways and its subsidiary BA CityFlyer, with average delays of 12 minutes and 42 seconds. Virgin Atlantic and Loganair rounded out the top five worst airlines for delays, with average delays of 12 minutes and 11 minutes and 30 seconds, respectively.


TUI was the second-worst airline for delays in the UK in 2021. Photo: TUI

Two of the leading airlines were also two of the most used airlines by passengers in the United Kingdom. Ryanair and easyJet were at the top field, and only Aer Lingus performed better. The ranking of 14 major UK airlines is as follows (from longest to shortest delays):

  1. Wizz Air: 14 minutes and 24 seconds
  2. Tui Airways: 13 minutes and 18 seconds
  3. British Airways: 12 minutes and 42 seconds
  4. Virgin Atlantic: 12 minutes
  5. Loganair: 11 minutes and 30 seconds
  6. Air France: 11 minutes and 12 seconds
  7. Lufthansa: 10 minutes
  8. KLM: Eight minutes and 42 seconds
  9. Eastern Airways: Seven minutes and 48 seconds
  10. Jet2.com: Seven minutes and 42 seconds
  11. American Airlines: Seven minutes
  12. Ryanair: Six minutes and six seconds
  13. EasyJet: Four minutes and 36 seconds
  14. Aer Lingus: Three minutes and 12 seconds

The study analyzed all scheduled and chartered flights from airports in the United Kingdom by airlines that operated more than 2,500 flights and did not include flight cancellations. Punctuality across airports in the UK is better than before the pandemic, primarily due to COVID restrictions which reduced the number of flights. Though average delays are now shorter, numerous flights have been canceled because of staff shortages across several airports and airlines.

easyJet denies compensation

Airlines worldwide have seen an increase in refund and compensation requests due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the pandemic, airlines were forced to cancel numerous flights and ground aircraft, and now that air travel has rebounded so quickly, airlines are dealing with staffing shortages. In the UK, consumer laws protect passengers when flights are delayed, but compensation is dependent on the reason for the delay.

Passengers on easyJet flight U25104 were told that snow was the reason for their delay, which the airline quickly had to correct. Photo: easyJet

A few weeks ago, an easyJet flight from Jersey (JER) to London Gatwick (LGW) was delayed by more than three hours. A three-hour delay often means that passengers will receive compensation, but passengers on this specific flight, which arrived three hours and three minutes late, were denied their compensation claims. easyJet initially claimed that the delay was because of snow clearance at the Jersey airport, though temperatures in Jersey reached 23 degrees Celsius. The airline later corrected its statement and stated that passengers had been given the wrong information and that the reason for the delay was “heavy fog and low clouds.”

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