CHRISTMAS is one of the busiest times of the year to fly as everyone’s trying to travel to be with their loved ones.
But if you’re travelling this December, there are a few UK airports you should avoid if you don’t want to be caught up by delays.
Sun Online Travel looked at the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s flight data from December 2018 to see which airports had the most delays.
In our ranking, we’ve only included delays of 16 minutes or more – but London City Airport wasn’t included as the data was unavailable.
London Stansted has been revealed as the UK airport with the most delays
A total of 12,786 flights took off from the airport in December last year, and third of these were delayed for 16 minutes or more.
A spokesperson for the airline told Sun Online Travel: “Airline on-time performance at London Stansted in 2019 has substantially improved on previous years and places the airport as one of the top five best performing major airports in Europe, despite operating in the heavily congested London airspace system.
“This has been achieved through significant investment and close collaboration between the airport and our airline partners.”
The airport that came a close second was Bristol.
A total of 4,592 flights took off from the airport, but a third of those were delayed (33.53 per cent).
A spokesperson for Bristol Airport told Sun Online Travel: “A variety of reasons cause flights to be delayed and operate off schedule, these include adverse weather, industrial action across the European network and technical issues with aircraft.
“The vast majority of flights operate on schedule from Bristol Airport. On the occasions when delays do occur we work closely with airlines and business partners to keep passengers informed and to minimise disruption to travel plans.”
Coming in third was Luton, which saw over 29 per cent of its 8,201 flights delayed.
The airport’s spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “As the CAA statistics clearly show, delays are an issue for all UK airports, particularly those in the South East.
“This is partly because the way we use our airspace has not changed since the 1950s despite a significant increase in the number of flights.
“Making use of new technology and changing the way we use the UK’s airspace will not only reduce delays, but will also reduce the number of people overflown and cut CO2 emissions.
“Along with all UK airports we’re now pressing the government to help the industry deliver this as soon as possible.”
London Gatwick and Heathrow had remarkably low delay rates given how many flights they handle.
Stats revealed that 38,308 flights took off from Heathrow last December, and 29.6 per cent of those were delayed.
In comparison, 19.961 flights took off from Gatwick, and 26.85 per cent of those were delayed.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Leeds Bradford Airport performed the best as only 15.57 per cent of flights were delayed.
Newcastle came a close second, with 17.89 per cent.
Fortunately for those who are caught up in delays, you might be entitled to compensation.
Passengers flying with an EU airline or a non-EU airline flying from a EU airport are protected by the Denied Boarding regulations.
This means that the airline must offer you the option of either being reimbursed for a cancelled flight or rerouted on either the next possible flight or on an agreed date.
It must also provide you with meals and phone calls and hotel accommodation and transfers if the rerouting involves an overnight stay.
If you opt for a full refund instead then the airline has to give you the money back for the part of the journey that wasn’t made and any parts already made that are then useless.
You are also entitled to the earliest possible return flight.
You may also be able to get some money back if your flight is delayed by three hours or more and you were flying from or to a European airport, or with an EU-based airline such as Ryanair or British Airways.
In the case of strikes or computer glitches, like the one that affected BA passengers in 2017, you can claim compensation from the airline for cancellations and delays of more than three hours.
Sun Online Travel previously revealed the airlines with the worst delay records.
While Air Traffic Control issues are often blamed for delays, we explain why this isn’t always true.
There are also secret codes you should listen out for that could mean your flight could be delayed.