May 18, 2024

Airlines failing to manage delays and cancellations

Nearly half (46%) of UK travellers have been put off from flying with certain airlines after experiencing delays or cancellations, according to research from CMAC Group.

Its survey of 1,100 UK adults, travelling for work or leisure, found more than half had faced disruptions in the past year, with one in three encountering them repeatedly.

It also found:

  • 78% of respondents reported experiencing significant delays to flights, compared to cancellations (14%) and flight diversions (8%)
  • half of the delays lasted less than two hours
  • 23% of flight disruptions led to delays of over five hours
  • 10% of respondents experienced delays of more than 12 hours or never reached their destination
  • 61% of those who needed to arrange temporary accommodation after facing delays reported receiving no support from the airline. These passengers either had to make the arrangements themselves (37%) or through someone in their party (24%).

Neil Micklethwaite, Executive Board Advisor at CMAC Group, said: “It’s clear that airlines face disruption factors that are beyond their control such as weather events, security threats, etc, but how they manage these disruptions can make or break their standing in the eyes of passengers.

“While the challenges posed by flight disruptions are undeniable, so too are the opportunities for airlines to differentiate themselves through exemplary customer service.

“By prioritising effective communication, timely updates and investing more in human resources, airlines can not only navigate the impact of disruptions but also create trust and loyalty among passengers.”

The research, conducted by an independent research house on behalf of CMAC Group, surveyed 1,100 people who had taken a flight, for business or leisure, in the past 12 months. They were asked about their personal experiences in the airport and during flight disruption.