Wing and a prayer passengers count cost of flight delays

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Brits are being kept up in the air - or not! - with airline information.

Plane truth is almost a third of passengers have to pay more to make alternative travel plans after airline delays.

But further third of us understand if their flight is delayed by bad weather.

Aviation data and analytics experts Cirium's survey counts £23 billion annual cost of cancelled and delayed services.

The study shows 38% of Brits believe they don’t receive enough information about such airport issues.

Research reveals need for better management of disruption with more communicative customer-friendly proactive updates.

Stats confirm 29% of “weather obsessed” Brits forgive disruptions due to climatic conditions while 33% would be most understanding if aircraft technical issues are to blame.

Last year saw annual 3.9 million flights – 10,700 a day – delayed by over 30 minutes or cancelled globally, affecting 20 million-plus passenger journeys in the UK, over 470 million worldwide.

Airline flight delays and cancellations are caused by such factors as as aircraft technical issues, poor weather, air traffic control problems, strikes, medical diversions and congested airports.

The YouGov study, conducted for Cirium, showed revealed 27% of people polled in the UK, who had experienced delayed or cancelled flight, did not find it easy to change travel plans while 32% were left out of pocket making alternative travel plans.

Airlines also bear brunt of disruption, suffering £5 loss for every departing passenger, slightly less than net profit per person per departing flight.

Cirium president and CEO Christopher Flook said: “Flight delays and cancellations are an unfortunate aspect of modern air travel that can have a big impact on travellers, whether flying for business or leisure.

"We recognise that the cost of disruption for airlines is also a significant problem.

“While our survey reveals nearly a third of passengers still have to pay more for alternative travel plans, airlines can proactively issue flight alerts ahead of travel and re-allocate tickets without fees to take the sting out of flight disruption.”

The survey revealed nearly two thirds (65%) of those polled only found out about their flight delay or cancellation once they had reached the airport. When asked, 29% of Brits said they would prefer to be informed about a delay via a text alert, with over half (51%) saying they would use an app which alerted their friends, family or company about their delay.

Nearly two thirds of those surveyed (59%) said they would be most frustrated if their flight was affected while they were going on a leisure trip.

Sharp differences emerged in how those surveyed felt about the reason for a flight delay or cancellation. A third (33%) said they would be more understanding if a flight was delayed or cancelled because their aircraft experienced a technical issue, while another third (29%), said they would be more understanding if they were delayed by bad weather. However, only a tiny 3% had any sympathy with delays or cancellations due to problems caused by air traffic control.

The response from British adults was similar to the overall global opinion of those who were surveyed for Cirium, as part of the poll. Overall, 31% of those surveyed in UK, UAE, China and the US said they wanted more information about their delayed and cancelled flights. Meanwhile, 35% of those who had experienced a delayed or cancelled flight, said they did not find it easy to change their travel plans, compared to UK travellers (27%).

Overall, more people globally (40%) said they’d been left out of pocket as a result of flight disruption, than just in the UK (32%) having to pay extra to make alternative travel plans. On a global level, 61% compared to 51% in the UK, were interested in using an app which alerted their friends, family or company if their flight was disrupted.

Added Mr Flook: “We all want to travel stress free and get people to where they want to go, which is why at Cirium we work closely with airlines around the world on initiatives which reduce the impact of disrupted flights.”

Cirium enables the wider travel industry to manage the impact of disruption with intelligent data and analytics solutions. For example, Cirium analyses more than 70 million passenger journeys annually to provide meaningful insights and keep the travel industry in motion.

This data is used by a wide range of customers, such as airlines and airports, to improve the travel experience by smart devices and metasearch engines, like Google, Amazon and Expedia, to provide information directly to passengers, enabling them to make more informed choices when on the move.

Cirium’s data and analytics divisions have been the first to bring innovative solutions to market, such as the first to automate the ticket waiver process during times of flight delays and cancellations.

It employs over 400 technologists, analysts, data scientists and market experts in the UK, US, Europe, Middle East India and Asia-Pacific.

The group has significantly grown in recent years with the acquisition of leading data intelligence companies, including Ascend, Innovata, Diio and FlightStats.