AirHelp, a rising air passenger rights advocacy firm, has revealed its annual AirHelp Score that rates global airlines and airports according to how passengers are treated when flights are cancelled or significantly delayed.
The data-based evaluation of airlines and airports started in 2015 with ratings looking at service quality, on-time performance, claim processing, and food and shops - taking into account flight and after-flight services.
The highest rated airline in the 2019 is Qatar Airways, which also held the top position in 2018 due to consistency in effective claims processing and high punctuality. Specifically, Qatar Airways scored 7.8 for claim handling and 8.4 for its on-time performance. 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 fifth, which showed significant achievement in claims processing and punctuality.
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. For example, Ryanair's staff went on strike, causing countless disruptions, and then the airline refused to pay out the compensation that passengers were owed. This shows that poor passenger support when flight plans go wrong will show in poor rankings.
''The 2019 AirHelp Score proves that airlines with higher passenger satisfaction provide more than consistent punctuality. We need to keep in mind that airlines are dealing with a new type of traveler: educated, increasingly aware of her needs and rights, and able to choose between a broad range of air carriers. It means that 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. 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," said AirHelp CEO and co-founder Henrik Zillmer.Top Airports to Enjoy in Cases of Delay
Among 132 analyzed airports, customers enjoyed the best experience at Hamad International Airport, Tokyo Haneda International Airport and Athens International Airport, who have ranked as the top three airports since the first AirHelp Score ranking. Eindhoven Airport, Kuwait International Airport, and Lisbon Portela Airport fell short with the bottom spots this year. All airports were rated based on on-time performance, service quality and food and shopping options.
"It is clear the global airline industry is in need of significant improvement, with overbooked flights and cancellations making national headlines month after month, and the consistent mistreatment of passengers," said Zillmer. "Although most U.S. airlines and airports rated well this year, there is still a lot of work to be done as more than 90% of U.S. travelers are still unaware of their air passenger rights."How Airlines and Airports are Rated
The 2019 AirHelp Score marks the company's eighth report since it began evaluations in 2015. AirHelp developed this report to combine expert knowledge and industry expertise to give air passengers better predictions for what their experiences will look like at different airports, how the airlines will treat them under normal circumstances, and what to expect if their flight gets delayed, canceled or overbooked.
To determine the airline rankings, AirHelp rates airlines equally on three areas, including claims processing, on-time performance, and quality of service. Airports' scores are determined by on-time performance, which accounts for 60% of the score, and then quality of service, which is 20% of the score, and food and shopping options which makes up the remaining 20% of the score. AirHelp uses top data sources, including its database of flight statistics, which is 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.
Air passengers who have experienced a delayed or canceled flight can check their eligibility for compensation free of charge, and make a claim in a matter of minutes through the form on www.airhelp.com.