Aviation

REVEALED: The world’s best airlines and airports

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

With the release of the 2019 AirHelp Score, the results go to show that airlines who put customers first come out ahead.

And for the second year running, an airline that ranks among the best in the world for its consistency in effective claims processing and on-time performance achieved the number one spot: Qatar Airways.

AirHelp, the world’s largest organisation for air passenger rights, rates global airlines and airports in its AirHelp Score in terms of their service quality, on-time performance, claims processing, and food and shops.

The AirHelp Score also takes into account flight and after-flight services, pooled from data gathered by the organisation including its database of flight statistics – reportedly one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world – tens of thousands of customer opinions and its own experience in helping “10 million passengers around the world process compensation following flight disruption”.

Other than Qatar Airways, a major shift occurred among the rest of the top five airlines: American Airlines, Aeromexico, SAS Scandinavian Airlines and Qantas ranked second through to fifth, which, AirHelp said, showed significant achievement in claims processing and punctuality.

AirHelp's best airline in the world Qatar Airways and one of its planes at Hamad International Airport (another high achiever in the rankings).
AirHelp’s best airline in the world Qatar Airways and one of its planes at Hamad International Airport (an equally high achiever in the airport rankings).

“Our study shows that airlines that put passengers first and hold themselves accountable by executing the rightfully owed compensation claims quickly and without hassle earn customers’ trust in this highly competitive market,” AirHelp CEO and co-founder Henrik Zillmer said.

While the top five airlines scored well in passenger-focused areas like claims processing and punctuality, several of the lowest rated airlines, including Ryanair, Korean Air, EasyJet, and Thomas Cook Airlines, made headlines this year for mistreatment of passengers.

Last year, Ryanair went through a series of staff strikes, causing countless disruptions to service; the airline later refused to pay out the compensation that passengers were owed.

“The 2019 AirHelp Score proves that airlines with higher passenger satisfaction provide more than consistent punctuality,” Zilmer said.

He also said that the industry needs to keep in mind that airlines faced a new type of traveller.

“[E]ducated, more and more aware of [their] needs and rights, and able to choose between a broad offer of air carriers … even those airlines which cannot keep their punctuality high, have a chance to keep passengers connected to their brand by providing a positive after-flight service when their travel plans go wrong,” he said.

Among 132 analysed airports, customers enjoyed the best experience at Hamad International Airport, Tokyo Haneda International Airport and Athens International Airport: the top three airports since the first AirHelp Score ranking began in 2015.

Eindhoven Airport, Kuwait International Airport, and Lisbon Portela Airport fell short with the bottom spots this year.

Perth Airport was ranked the best of Australian airports, scoring 26th place in the international rankings. Sydney was ranked 65th, Melbourne 76th and, in New Zealand, Auckland Airport was ranked 60th.

Airports’ scores are determined by on-time performance, which accounts for 60 per cent of the score, and then quality of service, which is 20 per cent of the score, and food and shopping options which makes up the remaining 20 per cent of the score.

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