/ Travel & Leisure

Best airlines – who matters most?

Plane trail

Which? Holiday’s Head of Research, Rochelle Turner, replies to a criticism of our airline survey. Why do we only ask typical British holiday makers about their journeys, rather than frequent fliers?

A member of the public – let’s call him Pete – recently wrote to us about the results of our 2008 survey.

He complained that we didn’t question frequent fliers, adding that all respondents were likely to be ‘typical British holiday makers’.

Why regular holiday makers count

Well, yes, that was indeed the case in 2008 and is also the case with our just published 2010 survey results. We surveyed regular people who have regular hopes about the service they receive when booking, checking in and while on board the aircraft. These are also people who pay for their flights out of their own (regular) salaries, rather than relying on company credit cards.

The complaint also said that the people responding would be ‘unable to make valid comparisons between the airlines’. Well, we didn’t ask people to make comparisons between the airlines on their own; we look at all the data to do that ourselves.

How we research and compare airlines

This is why we must have a minimum of 30 people who have experience of an airline before we will report on it. And everyone who answers our survey must have flown within the previous 12 months to ensure the experience is fresh in their minds. We let the statistics do the rest.

Yes, those flying more frequently have something interesting to say about the flights they take, but they may also have different priorities to those of British holiday makers. Entertainment will be less of an issue, whereas the airline lounge may be essential, for example.

Sorry Pete, but as one of the largest surveys of its kind, it’s best viewed as one that will help leisure travellers choose the best airline for their journey.

Comments
Profile photo of drawdlaniger
Member

I'm sorry, but I agree with Pete. You must be limiting your outcome to the market that your asking the questions. Do only families going on holiday matter. Is there not a business concept to travel.

Profile photo of gdavidbeck
Member

I agree with Pete too. If you call the survey "Airlines for Holiday Trips" you might have a point but business travel priorities differ from holiday travel and your survey should either chose one or differentiate. If I'm two hours late arriving for a week's holiday I'm upset but not much affected, if I'm two hours late for a meeting at the airport that I just missed I will carefully consider the carrier next time. My rule for northern European air travel in the winter, fly the carrier who is going home. You'd be surprised how many times I landed when others were diverted.

Member
Alan Preskett says:
19 July 2010

In the latest survey Air New Zealand were praised for their online check in even though they don't provide this service. Suggests that the respondents may have been checking boxes while watching Eastenders.

Profile photo of chris
Member

I used to travel by air a lot and so did my colleagues (press) – we always avoided British Airways; it was simply awful.

When the tag-line came out "The worlds most favourite airline" we all spluttered up our over priced in- flight drinks, howled like wolves, lay on our backs and kicked our heels.

Most amusing – voted by who?
Not the customers.

Member
Ted Woodhouse says:
14 March 2014

I also think Pete is right. The first two comments are also right – the survey is about holiday trips. You say that, “… those flying more frequently have something interesting to say about the flights they take, but they may also have different priorities to those of British holiday makers. Entertainment will be less of an issue, whereas the airline lounge may be essential, for example.” That is your assumption, and not itself based on survey results. At the very least, I would suggest that you differentiate the requirements. Better still, how about asking holiday-makers and business travellers what their priorities are, and then comparing each airline to both? Punctuality should certainly be a factor. Price should also be a comparison factor, but based on a standard approach, so all the extra costs that the budget airlines charge are included in the comparison.

You also say, about the survey, “… it’s best viewed as one that will help leisure travellers choose the best airline for their journey.” Well, yes, it is best viewed as that, but it would be better to be able to “view” it as a survey which will help ALL travellers. The fact that it is “one of the largest surveys of its kind” doesn’t excuse its inadequacies.

Member
Mike says:
6 March 2015

Rochelle, you have got it wrong again.

i am beginning to think we can get better advice from the Telegraph.