The Most Hated European Airline... is also the Most Punctual One
Ryanair is often criticized for the low quality of their customer service - but if there is one thing that travelers can't reproach the Irish airline, it's its punctuality.
Only 14% of Ryanair's flights arrived 15 minutes late or more in 2018, making it the most punctual global airline.
Ryanair ranked 7th in our 2019 Airline Rating - only the Irish airline's poor performance in compensation claim processing prevented it from reaching the podium.
Ryanair ranks better than all US airlines
Ryanair's terrific on-time performance resulted in its outranking all the US airlines:
- The best US carrier, American Airlines, ranks 9th with a global rating of 6.4 out of 10
- Delta is behind in 19th position, scoring 5.8
- United Airlines and Southwest are far behind
Not only were US airlines' flights delayed more often than Ryanair's in 2018: the average delay was also much longer, mainly due to the fact that Ryanair operates flights of shorter distances.
In Europe, only 5 airlines rank better than Ryanair: Scandinavian Airlines and KLM, respectively on the 2nd and 3rd step of the podium; Austrian Airlines (4th), and Luxair and Volotea, ex-aequo at the 5th position.
An exeptional on-time performance (OTP) for a growing airline
On average, 24.30% of the flights in the world are delayed.
It means that almost one out of four flights will arrive at least 15 minutes late at its destination. And that's despite airlines making their flights longer on purpose to artificially boost this stat.
With only 14% of flights delayed in 2018, Ryanair performed much better than the rest of the industry. On of their main competitors, easyJet, didn't fare quite as well, with 24.88% of delayed flights.
Ryanair's punctuality is all the more remarkable that their number of customers keeps growing (+8.3% compared to 2017): they operated over 600,000 flights for 130 million customers in 2018.
Ryanair isn't doing as well when it comes to processing passenger claims
We found that airlines are making it harder for passengers to get the money they are owed. That is an extremely worrying trend for the respect of passenger rights.
In 2018, it took on average 4 months (123 days exactly) for airlines to pay compensation to air passengers for their delayed, canceled, or overbooked flights. By comparison, they took about 3 months and a half (101 days exactly) in 2017 - that's 3 weeks more, in just a year.
By comparison, our data showed that it took on average 70 days for Ryanair to pay out compensations to their customers in 2018. A result certainly above the industry average, but far from the performance of the best airlines in this area.
Ryanair has also showed a certain disregard for passengers' right to be represented by a specialized agency to claim compensation. They indeed refuse to communicate with the agency and insist on communicating directly with the passenger, even when the latter made it clear they didn't want to deal with the claim themselves.
What about 2019?
It's worth noting that Ryanair's on-time performance is sourced from their own website. Indeed, no third-party provider was able to collect flight data on Ryanair's flights in 2018 - something that seems to be changing in 2019.
According to Flightstats, between January and March 2019, Ryanair's on-time performance is only 79.86%.
While this is still better than the industry average, it's also far from the numbers that the Irish airline boasts.
Something that could make one wonder about the airline's actual performance.
After all, it wouldn't be the first time that the low-cost airline crowns itself on false facts: Ryanair claims to be "Europe's greenest and cleanest airline", when a report from the EU's Transport & Environment group established that it was the only airline to be included in a list of Europe's top polluters.