Getting a good deal on airfare may not be worth your time if you consider your time to be valuable. That’s because a low-cost long-haul flight almost always means a late flight. One only has to look at recent headlines to see just how disappointing discount long-haul carriers can be.
Ryanair’s delays have gotten so bad that stranded crew members were reportedly forced to sleep on the floor of a windowless office in Spain’s Malaga Airport. They aren’t even the worst budget airline when it comes to delays. Which airlines out there actually have the worst records when it comes to on-time performance?
OAG just released a new ranking that puts TAP Portugal in last place. A shocking 42.4 percent of that carrier’s arrivals are delayed by more than 15 minutes. Which airlines populate the rest of the list? You may be disappointed to find out that even highly regarded budget carriers like Norwegian Air make an appearance on the list. Here’s how it all breaks down:
- TAP Portugal with 42.4 percent
- Cebu Pacific with 41.6 percent
- Pakistan International with 40.6 percent
- Philippines AirAsia with 38.9 percent
- Norwegian Air with 38.3 percent
- AirAsia X with 37.7 percent
- Czech Airlines with 36.7 percent
- Shenzhen Airlines with 36.5 percent
- Air India with 35.9 percent
- Egyptair with 35.6 percent
What is the reason behind such huge delays? Norwegian Air had a particularly bad 2018. Most of the delays experienced by Norwegian flights last year were due to engine failures on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Several instances related to engine failure saw Norwegian flights being pushed back by five to six hours. That’s pretty bad when you consider that Norwegian Air is Norway’s largest airline.
Short-haul budget carriers don’t do much better when it comes to delivering on-time performance. Ryanair also had a pretty disastrous 2018 in terms of on-time flights due to staff-related circumstances. Many Ryanair flights were cancelled in 2018 as a result of a pilot strike.
The budget carrier has faced harsh criticism related to the fact that it doesn’t pay its crew members enough for the amount of hours they fly. Of course, a big part of being a budget carrier has to do with cutting costs enough to keep prices as low as possible.
What’s the big takeaway for travelers? The big reason why budget long-haul carriers universally experience bigger delays than traditional carriers has to do with resources. The fact is that budget carriers tend to have skimpier fleets than legacy carriers. That means that backup planes aren’t in place to swoop in when technical issues leave planes grounded. Of course, budget carriers aren’t exactly in a position to throw money at the problem. That would defeat the entire business model.