By Vicky Anscombe on 23 March 2016

We can’t wait for the upcoming Easter holidays - and we bet that you can’t, either.

Will you be planning on exploring a new city, making the most of the last few days of skiing, or sunning yourself on a beach? Either way, the Easter break is a great opportunity to unwind. Whether you’re heading away with your family, friends, or someone special, it’s going to be terrific. Just make sure that you’ve got your passport, you’ve got your sunglasses, and that you get to the airport in plenty of time. There’s nothing like racing through the departure lounge to burn off all that Easter chocolate!

Of course, when it comes to airport niggles, there’s one factor which nobody has any control over. That’s right - we’re talking about flight delays. We’ve been looking into delays over Easter, and we’ve discovered that over 3 million people have faced delays since 2014.

The figures show that delays are becoming more common; during Easter 2014, 4% of European flights were delayed. In 2015, that figure jumped to 6%. Put simply, that means that three million fliers have experienced issues with flight leaving on time over Easter during the past two years. If it happens to you, you won’t be alone - but if you’d like to beat the crowds, we can help.

You’re our main priority, and we know that you don’t want to sit around twiddling your thumbs if you’re delayed. That’s why Columbus Direct travel insurance comes with FREE airport lounge access if your flight’s held back for one hour or more.

It’s your chance to walk away from the crowds, sip on a cold drink, sit back, and enjoy a bite to eat. Many lounges also offer free WiFi, so you can catch up on some work or chat with friends in comfort. There are over 500 lounges worldwide to choose from, and they’re a quiet, cosy place to relax while you wait. Put simply, it’s our way of saying thank you for choosing Columbus Direct.

Flight delays and compensation:

If you’re delayed, and you’d like compensation, here’s what we can offer you. We normally offer compensation if you’re affected by adverse weather conditions, if there’s a strike, or if there’s an issue with your plane.

Need to know more? Just give out customer service agents a call on 0800 068 0060.

The best of the bunch - which airlines are most likely to leave on time?

So, which airlines have had the least Easter delays over the past two years? Our research of European flight data* from 2014 and 2015 shows that Flybe came out on top, with just 17 flights delayed for more than an hour out of their 3,218 flights scheduled over Easter.

Of the 20 biggest airlines (those with over 5,000 flights scheduled in the period), other peak performers include Wideroe (the Norwegian regional airline) and SAS, both of who were likely to leave on time over 98% of departures. With typical German efficiency, both Lufthansa Cityline and Air Berlin also featured in the top 5 carriers.

In terms of cancellations, 16 out of 105 airlines suffered no cancellations, and of the larger airlines Aer Lingus came out on top with just 10 out of 5,684 (or 0.18%) flights cancelled. Other names who impressed included Norwegian Air Shuttle, Alitalia, Iberia and Air Portugal – all of whom had less than 1% of cancellations.

Top 10 airlines - by flights cancelled

Here are the top ten airlines least likely to cancel flights:

  • Aurora
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Canarias Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Condor
  • Etihad Airways
  • NAYSA
  • NordStar Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Transavia

Here’s a list of the airlines least likely to suffer from delays of up to two hours: 

  • Alitalia CityLiner
  • Belavia
  • Canarias Airlines
  • Eastern Airways
  • Flybe
  • NAYSA
  • Nordavia Regional Airlines
  • SATA - Air Acores
  • Swiss Global Air Lines
  • Wideroe

Top 10 airlines - by flight delay of 60 minutes or more

The worst offenders:

If you’d like to avoid delays, on the face of it you might want to avoid easyJet. They were the airline with the most delays, with over 1,800 Easter flights delayed for up to one hour (that�s nearly 5% of their flights), and they didn’t fare much better for two hour delays, with nearly 600 flights taking off late.

However, the number of total flights should be taken into account and with nearly 37,000 flights in total – that’s more than 11,000 more than the next largest carrier – they are far from the worst culprits when it comes to their percentage of delayed flights (6.6%). In fact there are over 30 other airlines you should probably be more concerned about.

Unusually, high flier British Airways also made the list, with 718 flights delayed for one hour, while German airline Lufthansa faced one hour delays for 854 of their flights. But once again, both these airlines have high volumes of flights so the actual percentage of delays is relatively low (both under 5%).

The airlines to watch are KLM and KLM Cityhopper, as they were the most likely of the large carriers to leave late, with roughly 1 in 10 of all flights suffering a delay of at least 60 minutes.

When it comes to cancellations, once again KLM Cityhopper came bottom of the big carrier list with 290 (4%) of their flights axed.

Air France also fared poorly, with 3% of their Easter flights cancelled over the past two years - that’s 570 in total. They’re followed by easyJet and Lufthansa, who terminated 550 and 320 of their flights respectively. So, who’s got the worst track record for delays?

Here’s our list of the top ten European airlines who are most likely to be delayed:

  • Yakutia
  • Pobeda
  • Alrosa Air
  • El Al
  • Icelandair
  • VIM Airlines
  • NordStar Airlines
  • Tunisair
  • Air China
  • Aigle Azur

Top 25 airlines most likely to delay flights by 60 minutes or more

...and here are the airlines most known for cancelling Easter flights.

  • Alrosa Air
  • Sun-Air
  • VIM Airlines
  • HOP!-BRIT AIR
  • HOP!-REGIONAL
  • Saravia
  • Yamal Airlines
  • HOP!-AIRLINAIR
  • Cityjet
  • KLM Cityhopper
Airline Total Flights No. of Cancelled Flights % of Cancelled Flights No. of 60 minute delays % of 60 minute delays No. of 120 minute delays % of 120 minute delays
easyJet 36,759 555 2% 1,841 5% 573 2%
Lufthansa 25,352 320 1% 854 3% 233 1%
British Airways 19,233 143 1% 718 4% 182 1%
Air France 18,009 570 3% 624 3% 199 1%
SAS 15,932 87 1% 218 1% 60 0%
Air Berlin 14,186 75 1% 277 2% 63 0%
Aeroflot 13,506 113 1% 401 3% 116 1%
Norwegian Air Shuttle 12,489 26 0% 268 2% 85 1%
Vueling 12,143 121 1% 540 4% 217 2%
Alitalia 10,558 36 0% 188 2% 46 0%
Wideroe 8,586 136 2% 114 1% 8 0%
KLM 8,554 191 2% 782 9% 217 3%
Lufthansa CityLine 8,538 113 1% 139 2% 33 0%
Germanwings 8,091 67 1% 298 4% 50 1%
KLM Cityhopper 7,876 290 4% 523 7% 211 3%
SWISS 7,667 44 1% 169 2% 27 0%
Air Nostrum 6,047 68 1% 130 2% 35 1%
TAP Portugal 5,755 28 0% 378 7% 122 2%
Aer Lingus 5,684 10 0% 222 4% 72 1%
Iberia 5,048 23 0% 115 2% 25 0%
S7 Airlines 4,764 9 0% 132 3% 17 0%
Air Europa 4,577 21 0% 96 2% 38 1%
Aegean Airlines 4,270 11 0% 44 1% 11 0%
Austrian 4,177 75 2% 97 2% 23 1%
Transaero Airlines 4,146 3 0% 183 4% 43 1%
LOT - Polish Airlines 4,108 52 1% 91 2% 15 0%
UTair 4,022 10 0% 99 2% 21 1%
HOP!-BRIT AIR 3,850 243 6% 82 2% 23 1%
Finnair 3,570 9 0% 47 1% 11 0%
Air Baltic 3,373 15 0% 31 1% 8 0%
Rossiya Airlines 3,270 4 0% 58 2% 15 0%
Flybe 3,218 9 0% 15 0% 2 0%
HOP!-REGIONAL 2,974 182 6% 72 2% 8 0%
CSA 2,370 6 0% 75 3% 27 1%
Brussels Airlines 2,349 0 0% 29 1% 7 0%
Alitalia CityLiner 2,341 4 0% 18 1% 5 0%
Olympic Air 2,339 15 1% 39 2% 9 0%
Loganair 2,285 42 2% 124 5% 39 2%
Iberia Express 2,263 16 1% 56 2% 24 1%
Stobart Air 2,244 19 1% 79 4% 37 2%
NAYSA 2,118 0 0% 20 1% 0 0%
Croatia Airlines 1,915 6 0% 33 2% 7 0%
Eurowings 1,906 35 2% 73 4% 16 1%
Ural Airlines 1,891 21 1% 180 10% 80 4%
BA CityFlyer 1,832 64 3% 100 5% 37 2%
Condor 1,739 0 0% 67 4% 11 1%
Emirates 1,693 3 0% 114 7% 29 2%
Air Corsica 1,627 13 1% 27 2% 13 1%
NIKI 1,620 4 0% 27 2% 9 1%
Transavia 1,551 0 0% 16 1% 4 0%
United Airlines 1,526 23 2% 77 5% 32 2%
Delta Air Lines 1,511 5 0% 51 3% 16 1%
RusLine 1,450 35 2% 129 9% 73 5%
Belavia 1,426 0 0% 12 1% 1 0%
Canarias Airlines 1,334 0 0% 7 1% 0 0%
Swiss Global Air Lines 1,255 34 3% 27 2% 2 0%
Air Malta 1,207 5 0% 33 3% 10 1%
Yamal Airlines 1,169 66 6% 79 7% 46 4%
Donavia 1,129 0 0% 52 5% 23 2%
Globus 1,126 5 0% 60 5% 12 1%
Qatar Airways 1,124 1 0% 39 3% 10 1%
Tyrolean Airways 1,061 36 3% 36 3% 6 1%
Cityjet 1,002 37 4% 23 2% 3 0%
Portugalia Airlines 983 18 2% 93 9% 40 4%
Icelandair 963 1 0% 85 9% 60 6%
SATA - Air Acores 950 6 1% 12 1% 0 0%
American Airlines 884 13 1% 34 4% 14 2%
El Al 872 5 1% 130 15% 22 2%
Air Dolomiti 852 1 0% 9 1% 2 0%
HOP!-AIRLINAIR 842 45 5% 30 4% 10 1%
Tunisair 842 15 2% 98 12% 26 3%
Estonian Air 832 23 3% 13 2% 5 1%
Aurora 806 0 0% 36 4% 13 2%
UTair-Express 800 7 1% 36 4% 18 2%
Helvetic Airways 748 4 1% 14 2% 6 1%
Volotea 743 2 0% 19 2% 9 1%
NordStar Airlines 712 0 0% 64 9% 41 6%
VIM Airlines 708 53 7% 71 10% 35 5%
Aigle Azur 663 13 2% 77 12% 16 2%
Etihad Airways 628 0 0% 36 6% 6 1%
ORENAIR 617 8 1% 6 1% 3 1%
Thomas Cook Airlines 614 2 0% 29 5% 13 2%
Air Canada 580 3 1% 16 3% 5 1%
EuroLot 579 1 0% 6 1% 2 0%
Nordavia Regional Airlines 572 2 0% 3 1% 0 0%
Sun-Air 547 44 8% 10 2% 6 1%
US Airways 512 2 0% 38 7% 15 3%
EgyptAir 502 1 0% 26 5% 10 2%
Ak Bars Aero 499 6 1% 26 5% 14 3%
Singapore Airlines 496 0 0% 21 4% 12 2%
Air China 461 1 0% 50 11% 15 3%
Yakutia 446 0 0% 73 16% 53 12%
Virgin Atlantic 426 3 1% 37 9% 14 3%
Angara Airlines 405 0 0% 36 9% 13 3%
Red Wings 403 10 2% 34 8% 14 4%
Severstal Aircompany 386 2 1% 3 1% 1 0%
Pobeda 372 0 0% 78 21% 26 7%
Uzbekistan Airways 333 0 0% 15 4% 4 1%
SATA Internacional 332 5 2% 28 8% 10 3%
Thai Airways International 331 2 1% 9 3% 3 1%
Saravia 327 19 6% 10 3% 5 1%
Cathay Pacific 318 0 0% 7 2% 3 1%
Eastern Airways 280 10 4% 7 3% 0 0%
Ethiopian Airlines 273 3 1% 9 3% 2 1%
Alrosa Air 259 21 8% 54 21% 16 6%
IrAero 247 0 0% 65 26% 31 12%
Jet Airways (India 236 0 0% 19 8% 6 3%
Saudia 234 3 1% 14 6% 6 3%
Korean Air 230 0 0% 2 1% 0 0%
Aircompany Polet 227 8 4% 2 1% 2 1%
Flydubai 224 1 0% 29 13% 14 6%
Middle East Airlines 220 1 0% 4 2% 0 0%
Binter Canarias 211 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Izhavia 210 18 9% 0 0% 0 0%
Gazpromavia 207 1 0% 14 7% 6 3%
ANA 196 1 1% 4 2% 1 1%
Air India 190 0 0% 9 5% 4 2%
White Airways 172 0 0% 4 2% 1 1%
Atlantic Airways 167 1 1% 6 3% 0 0%
TAM Linhas Aereas 160 0 0% 3 2% 3 2%
JAL 156 2 1% 1 1% 0 0%
China Eastern Airlines 142 1 1% 19 13% 3 2%
China Southern Airlines 140 0 0% 31 22% 5 4%
Pakistan International Airlines 136 0 0% 32 23% 10 7%
Air Astana 134 0 0% 5 4% 0 0%
Malaysia Airlines 132 0 0% 5 4% 3 2%
Corsair 131 0 0% 9 7% 1 1%
Royal Jordanian 130 0 0% 2 2% 1 1%
Cyprus Airways 123 0 0% 9 7% 3 3%
Asiana Airlines 116 1 1% 3 3% 0 0%
South African Airways 112 1 1% 2 2% 0 0%
AVIANCA 106 0 0% 3 3% 1 1%
Darwin Airline 104 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
LAN Airlines 98 1 1% 9 9% 2 2%
Groznyy Avia 88 14 16% 0 0% 0 0%
Mistral Air 80 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
CAI Second 76 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Air Contractors 74 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Aeromexico 74 0 0% 2 3% 2 3%
Kenya Airways 73 1 1% 1 1% 0 0%
EVA Air 72 0 0% 6 8% 0 0%
Hainan Airlines 70 0 0% 5 7% 4 5%
Edelweiss Air 69 4 6% 1 2% 0 0%
China Airlines 67 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
C.A.I. First 65 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Aerolineas Argentinas 64 0 0% 6 9% 2 3%
Central Connect Airlines 63 2 3% 2 3% 0 0%
Qantas 56 1 2% 5 9% 4 7%
Gulf Air 56 0 0% 1 2% 1 2%
Vietnam Airlines 52 0 0% 13 24% 5 10%
Air Mauritius 51 0 0% 1 2% 0 0%
Georgian Airways 47 4 9% 0 0% 0 0%
DOT LT 45 0 0% 3 7% 3 7%
Tajik Air 42 2 5% 11 27% 10 23%
SriLankan Airlines 40 0 0% 2 5% 0 0%
Air Kyrgyzstan 39 19 49% 0 0% 0 0%
PrivatAir Switzerland 39 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Air Austral 37 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
NextJet 36 4 11% 2 5% 0 0%
UTair-Ukraine 34 0 0% 1 4% 0 0%
OpenSkies 32 1 3% 2 7% 0 0%
Sprint Air 32 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Royal Brunei Airlines 28 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Lan Peru 28 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Air Arabia 26 0 0% 6 23% 2 9%
Air Bishkek 22 6 27% 4 17% 0 0%
Arkia Israeli Airlines 21 0 0% 3 14% 0 0%
Philippine Airlines 19 0 0% 1 5% 1 5%
Air New Zealand 14 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Welcome Air 12 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Lan Ecuador 12 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Air Madagascar 8 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Trade Air 8 0 0% 1 13% 0 0%
Air Canada rouge 6 0 0% 1 17% 0 0%
Iran Aseman Airlines 4 3 75% 4 100% 4 100%
Titan Airways 3 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Germania 2 0 0% 0 0% 0 0%

*Flight data supplied by FlightStats. Only airlines with more than 250 flights scheduled during the Easter periods were included. Ryanair not included in the dataset.

This information is also available in PDF for download (3MB). 

Please note: You’re welcome to use our data, but if you do, all we ask if that you link back to us. Thanks very much!


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