The UK’s most delayed airlines revealed


A departures board at Gatwick airport.


Only 75% of UK flight arrivals landed on time, according to Which?

Air Transat, Icelandair and Norwegian Air Shuttle are the least punctual airlines in Britain, research from Which? has found.

The consumer group analysed landing times for 850,000 flights at 25 UK airports and found that on average only 75% of all flights arrived on time.

Dutch airline KLM was the most punctual carrier, followed by Qatar Airways.

Air Transat was the most tardy, with only 55% of flights landing within 15 minutes of their planned arrival time.

Icelandair and Norwegian were not much better, with on-time performance rates of 56% and 60%, respectively.

A spokesperson for Montreal-based Air Transat said it was not wholly responsible for its low punctuality ranking.

“The statistics in this report do not take into account the delays caused by factors beyond our control such as weather and air traffic control.

“When these factors are excluded, our punctuality rate is in fact 78%.”

Icelandair also blamed issues such as air traffic strikes as well as renovations at Reykjavik airport for its performance.

Payouts for unpunctuality

Passengers who travel on delayed flights from the UK are entitled to compensation under EU rules. But that might not apply if flights are delayed due to factors such as extreme weather or airport strikes.

A spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority said new measures were recently introduced for passengers who were finding extracting compensation from airlines difficult.

“Last year we introduced alternative dispute resolution to the aviation industry so passengers, who have been unable to resolve a complaint with an airline, can get an independent decision that the airline must abide by,” they said.

“Nearly 80% of passenger journeys from the UK are now covered by airlines who are signed up to dispute resolution services.”

EU flight delay rights

  • If your flight departed the European Union or was with a European airline, you might have rights under EU law to claim if the delay or cancellation was within the airline’s control
  • If your flight’s delayed for two or more hours the airline must offer food and drink, access to phone calls and emails, and accommodation if you’re delayed overnight – including transfers between the airport and the hotel
  • If you arrive more than three hours late in a journey of less than 1,500km you are entitled to €250 in compensation from the airline
  • If you arrive more than three hours in a journey spanning more than 1,500km, but within the EU, you can get €400 in compensation from the carrier
  • Journeys to non-EU destinations more than 3,000km away that arrive between three and four hours late put you in line for €300 in airline payouts, while delays longer than four hours to these destinations are due €600 in compensation.