A delayed flight is certainly one of the more stressful and frustrating aspects of travel. When your outbound flight is delayed, it could interfere with your initial travel plans, such as your hotel or car hire reservation. This also eats up your valuable holiday time. And if your inbound flight is delayed, this could prove unnerving as well, since you may have places to be or things to do, not to mention the fact that you want to be rested for your return to work.

Sometimes you just can prevent flight delays. The weather, for example, is not in your control. But it’s also true that some airlines are worse for flight delays than others. So, in the name of helping you feel a bit more at ease when going on holiday, we have compiled here a list of the worst airlines for flight delays. If you can, try to avoid these airlines and opt for ones with a better track record for punctuality.

Poor performing budget airlines 

Which has analysed flight statistics for the UK’s biggest airlines over the past five years. Its research reveals that 8.7% of easyJet flights, 8.1% of Tui flights, and 7.8% of Ryanair flights were all significantly more delayed last year compared to the previous four years.

Not all budget airlines have an issue with punctuality

Jet2 is a growing budget airline that is proving that a low-cost flight doesn’t have to entail extra worry and stress of delays. 5.3% of Jet2 flights were over an hour late, down from 5.9% in 2014.

British Airways maintains its good track record

Which highlights that major UK airlines like British Airways (BA) have been able to maintain their good track record on punctuality, in spite of challenging conditions, such as UK airspace becoming busier (and, therefore, slower) over the last five years. Aviation analysts OAG also showed in its Punctuality Report published last year that BA had an on-time performance (OTP) of 78.55%. According to this research, the world’s most punctual mega-carrier was Japan Airlines, with an OTP of 85.27%, followed by All Nippon Airways (83.81%).

Ryanair operates the most delayed routes 

Out of the 10 most delayed routes that Which identified, seven of them were operated by budget airline Ryanair. The most delayed route of the 10, which was handled by Ryanair, was between Liverpool and Malpensa in Italy, with nearly one in four flights delayed an hour. The other six flights from Ryanair all departed from Stanstead, the UK’s worst-performing airport for punctuality, with over 10% of flights an hour late.

The world’s least punctual airlines 

If you’re using a non-UK-based airline and want to avoid flight delays, then watch out for these poor-performing airlines (figures below are based on OTP):

  • Norwegian (66.7%)
  • Air Berlin (65.4%)
  • XiamenAir (58.3%)
  • Philippines AirAsia (58.0%)
  • Cebu Pacific Air (57.6%)
  • Indonesia AirAsia (56.8%)
  • Shenzhen Airlines (53.5%)

Of course, as well as providing information on the worst airlines for flight delays, it’s always worth pointing out which of the world’s airlines perform the best in terms of punctuality. OAG’s research, for example, shows that the five most punctual airlines in terms of OTP are:

  1. airBaltic (90.01%)
  2. Hong Kong Airlines (88.83%)
  3. Hawaiian Airlines (87.24%)
  4. Copa Airlines (86.39%)
  5. Qantas Airways (86.18%)

Be sure to keep punctuality in mind when booking your flights for your next holiday. Among budget airlines, UK mega carriers, and non-UK airlines, there are notable differences in OTP. Often, you can better your chances of a punctual flight by being specific about who you fly with – and this doesn’t always have to involve paying extra.


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