Which airline is best?

It’s hard to imagine a more frustrating feeling than when you’ve spent hours going through the rigmarole of airport check-ins and security only to find out your flight has been delayed – or worse – cancelled.

While it’s not much consolation, a recent report from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics has uncovered some telling truths. For the month of June, all domestic routes averaged 82.5 per cent for on-time arrivals, down by more than five per cent from June 2015. On-time departures showed a similar record, with the June 2016 figure sitting at 83.9 per cent – almost five per cent less than the same period last year. Average cancellations represented 2.2 per cent of all scheduled flights, up from to 1.5 per cent in 2015.

So, which are the worst offenders? Tracking the domestic traffic of Jetstar, Qantas, QantasLink, Regional Express, Tigerair Australia, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, the report found that Virgin Australia had achieved the highest on-time arrivals for the Australian domestic market at 85.4 per cent. The airline also achieved the best score for on-time departures at 87.7 per cent; however, it also had the highest percentage of cancellations for the month, at 2.6 per cent.

Qantas wasn’t far behind for on-time performance, recording 84.8 per cent for arrivals and 86.5 per cent for departures. Its cancellation percentage was significantly lower at 1.7 per cent. Tigerair was third across the board when it came to timing, achieving 80 per cent for on-time arrivals and 82.7 per cent for departures. Jetstar scored 73.4 per cent and 70.9 per cent, respectively. However, Jetstar had a higher rate of cancellations at 2.2 per cent, compared to Tigerair’s 2.1 per cent.

flight timetable

For regional carriers, QantasLink was the best performer for on-time arrivals at 84.3 per cent, followed by Virgin Australia Regional Airlines at 81.6 per cent and Regional Express at 81.5 per cent. QantasLink and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines tied for the highest rate of on-time departures at 85.3 per cent, with Regional Express recording 84.8 per cent. QantasLink also had the highest number of cancellations at 2.5 per cent, with Virgin’s regional division at 2.3 per cent. Regional Express had the lowest rate of cancellations at 1.5 per cent.

While the on-time performance of domestic airlines varied across their 66 routes, the results showed that Virgin Australia’s carriers were less likely to be delayed than Qantas services, however, there was a higher chance that your flight may be cancelled with Virgin. So, that sort of leaves the best option up in the air.

Do you think this information would influence your choice of airline? Would you like to share any experiences with domestic carriers?

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Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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