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Tuesday 28 August 2018

Why European airlines are lying to their customers

Have you noticed how improved technology has done nothing to improve flight times?

Faster planes haven't resulted in fast flights - but that's because airlines are lying to their customers.

In Europe, airlines are being accused of tinkering with their flight schedules in order to improve their punctuality ratings and avoid paying out delay compensation.

An investigation by consumer rights organisation Which?, based on the timetables of aviation data company OAG, found scheduled flight times are up to 35 minutes slower this summer than a decade ago.

Which? said that, according to airlines' timetables, 76 out of the 125 flights it analysed now take longer than in 2008.

This included nine out of 11 Ryanair routes, nine of 12 Virgin Atlantic flights and 16 of 26 Easyjet flights examined.

It said timetables show British Airways flights from Heathrow to Bangkok, New York and Singapore were extended by 20 minutes, EasyJet's London Gatwick to Berlin Schonefeld service is scheduled to take 19 minutes longer and Virgin's London Heathrow to Newark Liberty International route has increased by 35 minutes.

Which? quoted Keith Mason, professor of air transport management at Britain's Cranfield University, as saying airlines regularly use "schedule padding" to give themselves some "wiggle room".

This would allow them to improve their punctuality and to avoid paying delay compensation. While Australians do not get compensated for late flights, they should ask whey a 55--minute flight from Melbourne to Hobart is listed as taking 75 minutes.

British Airways, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic all said they were flying aircraft at slower speeds to reduce fuel consumption and also pointed to air traffic congestion.

European Union rules stipulate that passengers can claim up to €600 ($955) if their flight is delayed by more than three hours. Airlines, however, do not have to compensate travellers for circumstances outside their control, such as bad weather.


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