The 50 best and worst travel firms for cancellation refunds: Ryanair and Teletext fail, Hays Travel and Jet2 succeed

The coronavirus pandemic has been uniformly devastating for the travel industry, with millions of holidays and travel bookings either unavailable or cancelled. Yet how firms treat their customers due to the pandemic has led to a stark divide, according to a major new investigative survey by MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE).

More than 27,000 travel customers responded to MSE’s coronavirus travel survey, which asked for their rating, feedback and experiences dealing with 81 airlines and travel firms (1) due to problems arising from coronavirus. Firms were then ranked by subtracting the percentage who had a poor experience from those who had a great experience with the company.

Of the 53 firms that received more than 100 responses, travel agent Travel Trolley was the worst with a net score of -95%, followed closely by TravelUp at -95% (with a slightly lower proportion of ‘poor’ votes) and Teletext Holidays at -94%. Of the big-name firms the worst were Ryanair at -82% (from a massive 2,500 responses) and Tui at -60%.

At the other end of the spectrum, some firms did manage to impress the majority of their customers. Travel Counsellors came top with a net score of +91%, followed by Hays Travel with +70% and Airbnb with +56%. Other big names that did well were Jet2 Holidays with +54%, Booking.com with +18% and BA with +8%.

MSE will now be reporting these findings, with both the ratings and people’s experiences, to the Government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as well as the Competition and Markets Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "This is a tough time for the travel industry. It’s one of the sectors worst hit by coronavirus, but it’s a tough time for the public too, many of whom are also in dire straits. And they’ve been strident in telling us that they’ll remember how firms dealt with them during this time – good and bad.

“People aren’t just judging on whether firms failed to give a refund – though that plays a big part. Many poor ratings are also about difficulties in getting in touch, being given the run around, and terrible management of expectations – such as Ryanair sending vouchers to those who’d specifically requested cash refunds.

“People shouldn’t be annoyed with firms offering to move bookings or offering vouchers as refunds. Indeed I’d encourage those who don’t need the cash to take them, especially from firms with solid financials, as it’ll help keep the industry going and keep people in work. Yet when people are entitled to monetary refunds, to make them sit on phones on hold for hours, often getting cut off to get it, when vouchers are available at the click of a button leaves people feeling rightly riled.

“Sadly, out of the 53 companies rated, only 17 were net positive. Yet that means they should get even louder plaudits for trying to do it right. They’re struggling, but are protecting customers too, and the likelihood is when this is all over, they’ll come out stronger and with more brand loyalty because of it.”

Travel firms ranked from best to worst

The table below ranks firms by net score (number of 'Great' votes minus the number of 'Poor' votes – we excluded the 'OK' votes as a neutral rank) and lists the number of responses for each. Only firms with more than 100 responses have been included and in bold are the 10 biggest firms by number of respondents in the survey.

Travel firms ranked from best to worst

Rank & firm Responses Net score (1)

1. Travel Counsellors 

207

+91

2. Hays Travel

1,017

+70

3. Airbnb

924

+56

4. Jet2 Holidays

1,621

+54

5. Jet2

1,593

+47

6. British Airways Holidays

289

+45

7. Center Parcs

202

+42

8. Disney Holidays

147

+37

9. Trailfinders

233

+32

10. Haven

212

+30

11. Saga

151

+26

12. Hotels.com

441

+21

13. Booking.com

1,178

+18

14. Easyjet Holidays

163

+10

15. British Airways

1,809

+8

16. HomeAway

199

+8

17. American Airlines

123

+1

18. Ebookers

108

-11

19. Onthebeach

283

-18

20. Qatar Airways

112

-21

21. Travel Republic

266

-27

22. Easyjet

2,425

-28

23. Expedia

811

-28

24. P&O Cruises

603

-30

25. Eurotunnel

106

-35

26. Aer Lingus

193

-38

27. Norwegian

196

-42

28. Riviera 

142

-45

29. Eurostar

239

-46

30. Wizz Air

158

-48

31. Emirates

450

-48

32. Lufthansa

142

-49

33. Brittany Ferries

253

-50

34. Virgin Atlantic

627

-51

35. Cottages.com

244

-54

36. First Choice

223

-60

37. Tui

3,252

-60

38. Vueling

119

-61

39. Hoseasons

451

-68

40. Love Holidays

677

-70

41. Virgin Holidays

775

-73

42. Air France

149

-76

43. Secret Escapes

299

-76

44. STA Travel

150

-77

45. Sykes Cottages

610

-79

46. KLM

596

-82

47. Ryanair

2,563

-82

48. Opodo

283

-86

49. Lastminute.com

550

-87

50. Holiday Extras 

291

-92

51. Teletext Holidays

251

-94

52. TravelUp

593

-95

53. Travel Trolley

338

-95

(1) Net score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who rated their experience with the firm as 'Poor' from the percentage who rated their experience as 'Great'. The number who rated their experience as 'OK' is not factored in.

Note: We allowed users to write in firms that weren't included in our initial list of options and have put them in the table if we received more than 100 responses for that particular firm. The 100 response threshold is why most of the firms included are national brands, rather than smaller, independent companies. Travel Counsellors, Riviera and Holiday Extras were written in by users and did not appear on our original list of firms.

-ends-

Notes to editors

(1)    The survey also allowed people to add their own travel firms if they weren't included in MSE’s list.