Ryanair has the dirtiest planes, says new poll

Emma Featherstone
Ryanair fared worst in the Which? research, followed by Wizz Air - Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Ryanair has been crowned the dirtiest airline in the UK in a poll by Which?. 

Less than half of passengers who flew with the Irish carrier said its planes were clean, a survey of the consumer group's members found.

Among those that flew Ryanair, 24 per cent rated cleanliness as poor. At the other end of the scale, Air New Zealand was rated the cleanest, with 97 per cent of passengers finding on board cleanliness good.

Ryanair was not only the worst for cleanliness in the study, its rating was significantly worse than other airlines included. Just 42 per cent of its passengers rated its cleanliness as good, compared to 62 per cent of Wizz Air’s, its nearest competitor.

A Which? investigator took a Ryanair flight to assess the cleanliness first-hand. They reported finding “greasy tray tables”, “soiled headrests” and “dusty window sills”.

There are simple steps for avoiding bugs on a flight, including washing your hands and tray table Credit: Getty

According to Which?, an ultraviolet light showed up stains on the tray table that could not be seen with the naked eye.

Wizz Air had the second lowest rating for good cleanliness (62 per cent of passengers), followed by Vueling Airlines (63 per cent). Meanwhile, both carriers received a poor cleanliness rating from 10 per cent of their passengers.

The worst airlines for cleanliness were:

  • Ryanair – 24 per cent of passengers told of poor cleanliness
  • Wizz Airlines and Vueling Airlines – 10 per cent
  • EasyJet – 8 per cent
  • Thomson/TUI – 7 per cent
  • Iberia and British Airways – 6 per cent

The study found that on average eight in 10 passengers rated cleanliness positively across 42 airlines. 

Almost all who flew with Air New Zealand (97 per cent), Singapore (96 per cent), Emirates (95 per cent), Cathay Pacific (94 per cent) and Swiss (94 per cent) rated onboard cleanliness as good.

The best airlines for cleanliness:

  • Air New Zealand – 97 per cent told of good cleanliness
  • Singapore Airlines – 96 per cent
  • Emirates and Qatar Airways – 95 per cent
  • Cathay Pacific and Swiss Airways - 94 per cent
  • Virgin Atlantic – 89 per cent

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said: “Faster and faster turnarounds are one thing but it is unacceptable for some airlines to be cutting corners when it comes to cleaning out their cabins properly – no matter how cheap the airline ticket.

“There are steps you can take; either choose your next flight on an airline that has a good track record for cleanliness or equip yourself with some antibacterial wipes.”

Telegraph Travel contacted Ryanair, Wizz Air and Vueling Airlines for comment.