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Singaporean Travellers Reveal the Airlines with Most Delays and Cancellations

Flight cancellations and delays affect millions of passengers across the globe each year, causing many travellers disappointment, inconvenience and frustration.

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The following research was conducted with the consent of 1,700+ survey respondents, as part of a consumer research piece on behalf of MoneySmart. MoneySmart is aware that the results displayed on this page are conclusive from the perspective of the Singaporean travellers we spoke to and not as an actual depiction of the flight cancellations or delays each airline may have on record.

Whilst for the most part, flight delays and cancellations are just a minor inconvenience to our trips, they can sometimes cause disruptions to our moods, onward travel, and even our wallets. Travellers may even incur additional expenses for accommodation, meals, or alternative transportation – which can be difficult to get back without the appropriate travel insurance for flight cancellations and delays.


To understand exactly the issues travellers have experienced with flight cancellations and delays, we commissioned a survey of over 1,700 Singaporean travellers to find out which airlines they say they’ve experienced the most disruptions with and how this affected their travel experiences.

Which Airlines Did Travellers Experience The Most Flight Delays With?

Air India came in as the top airline with the highest number of flight delays, with 78% of respondents saying they’d experienced a delay.

Air China came next with 70% of their customers reporting a delay with them.

Cebu Pacific Air has the third-most reported delays, with 69% respondents who flew with the airline also encountering delays.

38% of the travellers surveyed that flew with Singapore’s largest airline, Singapore Airlines, said that they had experienced a delay.

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How Long Were Travellers Delayed For?

The most common delay duration for Singaporean travellers was 1 to 3 hours according to 40% of respondents. 38% said they experienced delays of 4 hours or more!

Air India has the most prolonged delays, with 23% passengers saying they were delayed for 7 to 9 hours.

All Nippon Airways has the second most prolonged delays with 4-6 hours as reported by 33% of their customers.

Which Airlines Did Travellers Experience The Most Flight Cancellations With?

Excluding flight cancellations due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, Air India took the top spot again, with 71% of survey respondents who had flown with the airline reporting that they had experienced a cancellation.

Cebu Pacific Air followed, with 65% of respondents who had flown with the airline reporting a cancellation with them.

Air China was the airline in third place, where over two-thirds (64%) of respondents reported cancelled flights.

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How Long Were Travellers’ Cancellations?

The most common wait time for Singaporean travellers’ replacement flights was 1 to 3 hours according to 27% of respondents.

All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines were the top airlines with respondents having reported the longest waits for replacement flights, with most waiting 10 to 12 hours.

Singapore Airlines was the quickest to get their cancellation customers a replacement flight, with 33% saying they only waited 1 to 3 hours for a replacement flight.

How Have The Airlines Handled The Disruption?

47% expressed extreme disappointment with their airline’s handling of delays or cancellations.

Across all airlines, 57% of travellers said that the airline staff were not as helpful as they would have expected, and another 43% stated that the airline was not very communicative with the handling of their disruption.

Almost 2 in 5 of the disrupted travellers we spoke to admitted that the way the airline dealt with their delay or cancellation has made them not want to fly with the airline again.

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How Often Are Airlines Compensating Passengers For Flight Cancellations And Delays?

32% of the respondents who had experienced flight cancellations said that they had not been compensated directly from the airline for their disruptions, compared to 42% of delayed travellers.

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What Are The Causes Of Flight Delays And Cancellations? And How Can I Avoid Them?

Often, passengers aren’t told the reasons for flight delays or cancellations, leaving them in the dark, adding to their frustrations. These causes can vary across the board, although few are unavoidable. Some of the most common reasons for delays and cancellations include:

While any flight is liable to experience delays or cancellations, some experts say passengers can use a few strategies to help lessen the chances of experiencing disruptions.

Many experts say booking a flight earlier in the day can help avoid delays, such as the knock-on delay effects of other aircraft throughout the day.

Similarly, some studies say Wednesday to Saturday are the best days for avoiding disruptions.

Do I Really Need Travel Insurance?

We definitely say yes! Travel insurance is a must-have to ensure that you are covered for any potential disruptions. It can also cover unforeseen emergencies, overseas medical costs, pre-trip crises, or personal accidents. For more information, check out our guide on why it’s necessary to get travel insurance.

65% of respondents who have experienced disruptions said that because of their recent flight cancellations or delays, they will now always ensure they pre-arrange travel insurance in future. And for the Singaporean travellers who were insured when their disruptions happened, and used it to make a travel insurance claim, we found that most were extremely pleased with the experience: 


  • 73% said the handling of their claim has made them want to choose the same travel insurance provider again.
  • 69% said they were pleased with the travel insurance provider’s handling of their claim.
  • 66% said their travel insurance provider compensated them quickly, and another 66% said they found the travel insurance claim process to be easy.

For more information check out our comprehensive guide to choosing travel insurance and to find the best and cheapest travel insurance for you, use our service to compare travel insurance plans.

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Member Exclusive: The Price to Pay for Flying Cheap

Are budget flights worth the travel disruptions? We took a closer look in this exclusive infographic, made exclusively for MoneySmart members. Log in or Sign up for a FREE MoneySmart account to access.

3 Tips On Choosing the Best Travel Insurance

Tip #1

Ensure sufficient overall coverage

Having too little coverage may result in you having difficulty in getting adequate medical and emergency help, plus you may end up paying more. For instance, if you’re a frequent traveller travelling more than thrice a year, it would most likely be cheaper to purchase an annual travel insurance plan rather than paying for three separate single trip plans. Choose wisely to suit your travel needs whether it is a single or annual plan.

Tip #2

Compare policy premiums

The actual cost of your travel insurance depends on your destination and length of stay. Most travel insurance companies offer 2 to 3 tiers of plans at different price points, with varying comprehensiveness and reimbursement limits. So you’ve got to do comparisons between packages offered by different companies to find out what’s best for you and your budget.

Tip #3

Get pre-existing conditions and/or extreme sports coverage if needed

Being equipped with any additional add-on coverage allows you to claim for in-patient hospitalisation expenses overseas such as medical, surgical, nursing or hospital charges, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation costs, helping you to save money in unforeseen circumstances.

Best Travel Insurance Plans For Flight Delays And Cancellations

MoneySmart Exclusive
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FWD First

Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$1,000,000
Trip Cancellation
S$15,000
Loss/Damage of Baggage
S$7,500
Total Premium
Total PremiumS$32.8325% Off
S$24.62

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• Enjoy 25% off your policy premium
• Get S$20 iShopChangi e-voucher and Eskimo Global 1GB eSIM with every policy purchased. T&Cs apply.
      
BONUS:
For a limited time only, there are over S$11,000 worth of prizes to be given away in our Grand Draw.
Stand a chance to score:
1x Rolex Oyster Perpetual - 124200 34mm Silver (worth S$9,000)
1x Samsonite Robez 68/25 EXP (worth S$550) weekly
      
Increase your chances of winning when you refer friends today. T&Cs apply

Valid until 31 May 2024
MoneySmart Exclusive
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Starr TraveLead Comprehensive Gold

Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$1,000,000
Trip Cancellation
S$15,000
Loss/Damage of Baggage
S$7,500
Total Premium
Total PremiumS$60.8450% Off
S$30.42

[Win a Rolex, Samsonite Luggage & More! | FLASH DEAL]
 
• Enjoy 50% off your policy premium
• Get an Eskimo Global 1GB eSIM with every policy purchased.
• Additionally, receive up to S$50 via PayNow OR 1 x Apple AirTag (worth S$45.40) and up to S$20 iShopChangi e-voucher with eligible premiums spent. T&Cs apply.
  
BONUS:
For a limited time only, there are over S$11,000 worth of prizes to be given away in our Grand Draw.
Stand a chance to score:
1x Rolex Oyster Perpetual - 124200 34mm Silver (worth S$9,000)
1x Samsonite Robez 68/25 EXP (worth S$550) weekly
  
Increase your chances of winning when you refer friends today. T&Cs apply

Valid until 31 May 2024
MoneySmart Exclusive
Win up to $55,000 | Most Comprehensive
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Win up to $55,000 | Most Comprehensive

MSIG TravelEasy Premier

Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$1,000,000
Trip Cancellation
S$15,000
Loss/Damage of Baggage
S$7,500
Total Premium
Total PremiumS$7455% Off
S$33.30

[Win a Rolex, Samsonite Luggage & More! | MoneySmart Exclusive]
    
• For a limited time only, enjoy up to 55% off your policy premium
• Get an Eskimo Global 1GB eSIM with every policy purchased.
• Additionally, receive up to S$45 via PayNow OR 1 x Apple AirTag (worth S$45.40) and up to S$20 iShopChangi e-voucher with eligible premiums spent. T&Cs apply.
    
BONUS:
For a limited time only, there are over S$11,000 worth of prizes to be given away in our Grand Draw.
Stand a chance to score:
1x Rolex Oyster Perpetual - 124200 34mm Silver (worth S$9,000)
1x Samsonite Robez 68/25 EXP (worth S$550) weekly
    
Increase your chances of winning when you refer friends today. T&Cs apply

Valid until 31 May 2024
MoneySmart Exclusive
Win up to $55,000 | Most Flexible Plan
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AIG Travel Guard® Direct - Enhanced

Overseas Medical Expenses
S$1,000,000
Travel Cancelation / Postponement
S$10,000
Loss/Damage of Personal Baggage
S$5,000
Premium
S$52

[Receive your cash as fast as 30 days*]
  
• Get up to S$220 worth of cash and rewards with eligible premiums spent.
• Additionally, receive an Eskimo Global 1GB eSIM with every policy purchased. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 31 May 2024
Includes Covid-19 cover
Includes Covid-19 cover

Singlife Travel Plus

Med. Coverage (Overseas)
S$2,000,000
Trip Cancellation
S$15,000
Loss/Damage of Baggage
S$5,000
Total Premium
final-price

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Methodology

The research was conducted on behalf of MoneySmart by Savanta amongst 1,730 Singaporean adults who have travelled within the past year. The survey was conducted online between the 5th and 15th May 2023 and all participants were 18+. All our data is based on the experiences, perceptions, and reports of the Singaporean travellers from the above survey group. Percentages of delayed and cancelled travellers for each airline were calculated by asking respondents to select all airlines they had flown with in the past year and whether they had experienced a delay or cancellation with those airlines. All airlines which had less than 30 respondents flying with them in the past year were excluded. Those who had not experienced flight disruptions with any of the airlines they had flown with were then filtered out from answering the remaining research questions. Participants of our research were shown all leading airlines in Singapore, as well as smaller airlines too. MoneySmart is aware that this dataset is not conclusive to the actual data for flight delays and cancellations in Singapore in the past year that airlines may have recorded.