The world’s best (and worst) airlines and airports revealed

The world’s best (and worst) airlines and airports revealed: Qatar named No1 airline, Hamad gets the gong in the airport category – and London Stansted comes second from bottom

  • Study ranks 72 airlines and 141 airports on punctuality and quality of service
  • UK and US carriers get mixed results with only Virgin Atlantic in the top ten 
  • Other airports faring badly include the UK’s Manchester and Edinburgh 
  • Edinburgh and Stansted attack report for being ‘a self-serving PR exercise’ 

The world’s best and worst airlines and airports have been revealed in a new study.

Qatar Airways is ranked as the number one airline but UK and US carriers get mixed results with Virgin Atlantic in 10th place, easyJet coming fourth bottom out of 72 and American Airlines is the best-rated U.S carrier – but it only comes twenty-third.

The top airport is Hamad International Airport in Doha, which knocks 2017 winner Changi into fifth. UK airports fare badly, with London Stansted coming second bottom out of 141, Manchester coming 136th and Edinburgh 131st.

The world’s best airline according to a report by AirHelp is Qatar Airways

The top airport is Hamad International Airport in Doha, pictured, which knocks 2017 winner Changi into fifth

The study was carried out by AirHelp, a company that assists passengers with compensation claims for delayed, cancelled or overbooked flights.

It ranks 72 airlines and 141 airports based on on-time performance and quality of service, as well as Twitter sentiment.

In terms of airlines, after Qatar comes Lufthansa followed by Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Austrian Airlines and Aegean Airlines.

The most highly ranked Australian carrier is Qantas in eighth placed followed by Air Malta and Virgin Atlantic.


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In terms of UK-based airlines, British Airways comes 21st in the list, while Thomas Cook is 51st and Jet2, 61st.

Other American carriers come much further down the list than AA, with United Airlines 37th and Delta Air Lines 47th.

The lowest rated carriers in the study include Ryanair, easyjet, Air Mauritius, Pakistan International Airlines, Royal Jordanian Airlines and Iceland-based Wow Air, which comes last.

A spokesperson for easyjet told MailOnline Travel: ‘We absolutely do not recognise these findings. EasyJet takes its responsibilities under Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 extremely seriously and will always pay compensation when it is due.

‘We offer simple webforms easily found on our website and are currently processing valid claims in less than 21 days. We have plans to further improve this payment processing time later this year.

Easyjet comes fourth bottom in the report against 72 other airlines

Not such a high flyer: Icelandic carrier Wow came last in the study


 Top 10  

1. Qatar Airways

2. Lufthansa

3. Etihad Airways

4. Singapore Airlines

5. South African Airways

6. Austrian Airlines

7. Aegean Airlines

8. Qantas

9. Air Malta

10. Virgin Atlantic

 Bottom 10   

63. Jet Airways

64. Aerolineas Argentinas

65. Iberia

66. Korean Air

67. Ryanair

68. Air Mauritius

69. EasyJet

70. Pakistan International Airlines

71. Royal Jordanian Airlines

72. Wow Air

Source: AirHelp 

‘We want to make it as easy as possible for our passengers to claim with us directly rather than sacrificing a significant portion of their compensation to other organisations like AirHelp unnecessarily.’

When it comes to airports, after Hamad International is Athens International followed by Tokyo Haneda, Cologne Bonn and Singapore Changi in fifth place.

Rounding off the top ten are Nagoya in Tokyo, Viracopos Airport in Sao Paulo, Amman Airport in Jordan, Guararapes-Gilberto in Recife, and Quito International in Ecuador.

The highest ranked UK airport is London Heathrow in 80th spot, while the top rated US hub is Seattle-Tacoma in 33rd place. Highest ranking in Australia is Sydney Airport in 111th spot.

The worst ranked airport is Kuwait International, while also faring badly are Lyon, Paris Orly and Stockholm Bromma Airport.

AirHelp CEO and co-founder Henrik Zillmer said: ‘For some time now UK airports have seemingly been in the news for all the wrong reasons and that has been realised in this data.

One of the worst rated airports in the study by AirHelp is London Stansted

Hall of shame: Kuwait Airport ranks bottom in this study


 Top 10 

1. Hamad International, Doha, Qatar 

2. Athens International, Greece

3. Tokyo Haneda, Japan 

4. Cologne Bonn, Germany 

5. Changi, Singapore

6. Nagoya Chubu, Japan

7. Viracopos International, Sao Paulo, Brazil 

8. Amman Queen Alia, Jordan 

9. Gurarapes Gilberto Freyre International, Recife, Brazil 

10. Quito International, Ecuador  

 Bottom 10 

132. Eindhoven Airport, Holland 

133. Bordeaux Merignac Airport, France 

134. Edinburgh, UK 

135. Boryspil International, Kiev, Ukraine 

136. Manchester Airport, UK 

137. Stockholm Bromma, Sweden 

138. Paris Orly, France

139. Lyon, France 

140. London Stansted, UK 

 141. Kuwait International, Kuwait         

Source: AirHelp 

‘The UK is enviably positioned when it comes to physical movement of people globally, but this report needs to serve as a wake-up call when it comes to actual performance.

‘Passengers are clearly not happy and while it will be a challenge to address the issues highlighted in this report, it is also an opportunity to halt the decline in performance and provide consumers with a better experience.’

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: ‘Another year and yet more bogus findings which serve to do nothing more than generate PR for a compensation firm. It’s factually inaccurate and uses a convoluted formula which doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

‘We regularly hear from our passengers and airlines about how we’re performing and we’ll continue to work hard at providing the best service we can, correctly measuring our performance and listening to make sure we improve where we can.’ 

A London Stansted spokesperson said: ‘Stansted is the fastest growing London airport with passengers voting with their feet in record numbers – we will serve 29 million passengers this year – and is investing significant sums of money to ensure that our passengers are provided with the high levels of customer experience that they are entitled to.

‘However, as with their previous PR initiatives, this latest survey from AirHelp is purely a self-serving exercise based on very little or no substantive evidence and designed to promote a company seeking to take a share of flight compensation claims.’

MailOnline Travel has contacted Manchester Airport for a comment.

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