Any passenger planning on boarding a long-haul flight, which includes any flight that requires five or more hours of travel time, should brace themselves for delays and disruptions. A new study uncovered that even the 75 most punctual long-haul airlines experience frequent flight disruptions.
The study, which looked at data from 2017, 2018 and January 2019, revealed that more than 50 percent of passengers on long-haul flights are likely to experience a flight disruption, since nearly three out of every five flights were delayed for at least 15 minutes, or were cancelled. Fifty-five percent of all passengers bound for a flight that is five or more hours can expect to experience a problem.
How does each airline stack up?
Hong Kong Airlines is the top performer in terms of on-time performance, with a punctuality rating of 83.6 percent. The top runners up were Kenya Airlines with on-time performance of 71.9 percent, and Singapore Airlines, with 67 percent of flights arriving on time.
Airlines based in Europe struggle particularly with their long-hauls; no carrier was placed within the top 10 performers. Iberia is ranked 11 with an on-time performance rating of only 64 percent for long-haul flights. People flying with Nordic carriers are particularly likely to endure travel chaos for their long-haul flights; airlines such as Finnair, SAS and Norwegian run on-time for less than 50 percent of their flights.
The good news for those on a long-haul flight with an EU carrier, or flying out of the EU, is they may be entitled to up to $700 per person in compensation for disruptions causing a delay of three hours or more to the final destination.
“For the past few years we’ve seen a lot of flight disruptions on record, especially for long-haul flights” said Henrik Zillmer, air passenger rights expert and CEO of AirHelp. “Globally, air passengers have suffered an unprecedented level of flight disruptions for long-hauls. More than 2.4 million departing flights were delayed or cancelled, which is more than half of the 4.4 million flights that were analyzed. With a growing number of delayed and cancelled flights, air passengers are enduring a rising tide of travel misery. Although it’s not always possible to avoid travel disruptions, passengers urged to check whether they are entitled to financial compensation. With one in two long-haul flights experiencing disruptions, many travelers are likely to have an eligible compensation claim.”
Zillmer continued, “Many low-cost airlines have tried their luck with long-haul flights, and the study proves that it is not easy to apply the stripped down, cost-effective business model for shorter routes to longer, more complex routes. There are simply fewer resources available, and fewer margins of error if something goes wrong.”