Jetstar lands last place in international airline survey

No Australian airline earns more than three stars.

Budget airline Jetstar has ranked dead last in a survey of international airlines, losing out to more than 70 rivals from eight different countries.

The Qantas-owned airline trailed in almost all categories, often scoring among the worst for flight delays, plane space and comfort, and its onboard staff.

The international survey collected 11,273 responses from eight different countries, and was coordinated by 10 consumer advocacy groups including Euroconsumers, Consumers International and CHOICE.

Jetstar ranked 73rd for overall satisfaction, earning it the lowest available rating of one star.

The airline had the second highest percentage of flight delays, which on average were almost four hours long.

Jetstar questioned the veracity of the survey and blamed the weather – a factor confronting better performing airlines too – for its delays.

"Weather is often the source of delays, particularly in the more tropical destinations we operate to, and we'll always put safety before schedule," the company said in a statement, adding, "We know how important it is to get customers to their destination on time, and we recognise there is room for improvement."

American company United Airlines – which is in the midst of ongoing PR crisis – ranked higher at 49th.

Virgin Australia also trailed United Airlines, placing 51st. The two airlines both earned three-star ratings.

Virgin's budget offering, Tigerair, didn't earn enough responses to be included in the survey data.

The highest-ranking Australian airline was Qantas, earning three stars and a spot at number 36.

This was a long way from the top five-star airlines, which were Emirates, Avianca and Qatar Airways respectively.

The survey illustrates a need for more safeguards to protect consumers in the airline industry, says Tom Godfrey, the head of media at CHOICE.

"With Aussies being slugged with excessive cancellation fees, a lack of redress when flights are delayed and cancelled, and other unfair terms and conditions it is little wonder companies like Jetstar see their ratings plummet when it comes to customer satisfaction.

"It's time our airlines stopped flying below the radar when it comes to consumer protection."

The survey comes in the wake of a supercomplaint lodged by CHOICE with the industry regulator, which has since vowed to make airline travel part of its 2017 agenda.

The eight countries included in the survey are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.