We understand life is hard for nearly all print publications as readership continues to decline but we had not realised just how bad things must be for Which? magazine.
They have just published their annual survey of airlines based on surveys completed by their readers. We always take such surveys with a massive pinch of salt because, inevitably, they are going to be biased based on the style of publication. The readership of a middle-class, middle-aged, vaguely liberal publication such as Which? is likely to produce very different views to other titles. The results can never be a proper reflection of the views of all UK travellers.
Which? is very good at self-promotion and has carefully chosen a slow news day just before Christmas (and the start of the holiday booking season) to come up with its latest survey but, despite heroic attempts by their PR people, the only thing genuinely surprising is that Which? does not seem to have many readers.
They stipulated that only airlines that received more than thirty responses would be included in the survey. Turkish Airlines was thus voted “the second best airline” with just 36 responses. Apparently, these 36 people approve of their catering (which we agree is above average) but the views of such a tiny number of people are meaningless – and we doubt many airline professionals would agree.
Which? say they were “inundated” with responses for Ryanair but 563 reports is a laughably small sample – less than four full plane-loads. Anyway, Ryanair came bottom which no doubt pleases them because it just adds to their “bad boy” reputation and allows them to make a sneering comment about Which? and the other airlines.
Which? used to be a serious consumer publication which did a lot of ground-breaking work. Expecting people to take such statistically meaningless surveys seriously shows just how far they have fallen.