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Posted: June 14, 2018

These are the best and worst airlines and airports of 2018, according to AirHelp

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By Fiza Pirani, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The 2018 report cards are in for the aviation industry, and not a single American airline or airport earned a coveted gold star (or ranked among the top 10).

» READ: These are the world’s most punctual airlines for 2018

That’s according to tech company AirHelp, which provides legal help to passengers facing delays, cancellations or overbooking in or out of the European Union.

AirHelp experts considered on-time performance, quality of service and claim processing for the global airline scores using thousands of public reviews and claim processing anawlyses from the first quarter of the year. Data came from government agencies, airport databanks, flight-tracking vendors and more.

» READ: Atlanta airport offers nonstop flights to the Kingdom of Wakanda

AirHelp measured minimal delays of less than 15 minutes as on-time performance. Claim processing, which consisted of AirHelp claim data, measured an airline’s responsiveness to claims, its processing turnaround time and how quickly customers are paid out for valid claims.

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Of the 72 international airlines with statistically significant data, Qatar Airways soared highest. The company, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, scored a 9.08 out of 10 overall.

» READ: Delta No. 2 in airline quality ranking, nearing top spot

Rounding out the top five: Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and South African Airways, which was recognized for having a “fantastic claims-processing score” of 8.69, AirHelp industry advisor Ashley Raiteri told Bloomberg.

In the U.S., American Airlines came in at No. 23 with a score of 7.84, followed by United Airlines at No. 37 (7.59) and Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines at No. 47 (7.33).

Barry Williams/Getty Images
File photo

American Airlines was also recognized as the second-best airline for claim processing with a high score of 9.5.

» READ: The best way to reach customer service at the most popular airlines

Here’s more on how the three U.S. airlines included scored:

American Airlines

  • Rank: 23
  • Overall score: 7.84
  • On-time performance: 7.8
  • Quality of service: 6.3
  • Claim processing: 9.5

United Airlines

  • Rank: 37
  • Overall score: 7.59
  • On-time performance: 7.9
  • Quality of service: 6.0
  • Claim processing: 8.9

Delta Air Lines

  • Rank: 47
  • Overall score: 7.33
  • On-time performance: 8.1
  • Quality of service: 6.5
  • Claim processing: 7.4

In addition to AirHelp’s report, Delta Air Lines was also ranked third among the world’s top 20 operators in OAG’s 2018 punctuality ranking.

» READ: When should I book a refundable flight?

Iceland’s WOW Air was deemed the worst international airline based on AirHelp’s ranking. The low-cost airline scored 5.04 out of 10 overall.

When it comes to the world’s best airports, AirHelp analysts compared on-time departure statistics from the first quarter of 2018, considered an airport’s quality of service (terminal comfort, passenger facilities, check-in and security) and accounted for passenger sentiments on Twitter.

» READ: Hartsfield-Jackson still world’s busiest in global ranking

Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, the official home of top-ranked Qatar Airways, earned top honors among the world’s 141 airports included. The Qatari airport scored 8.77 out of 10.

With a low score of 5.40, Kuwait Airport came in dead last.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington was the first American airport to make an appearance on the list at No. 33. Sea-Tac scored 7.98 overall.

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Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport came in 89th with a 7.39 overall score and measly passenger sentiment figures: 0.9 out of 10. In fact, the airport was the second worst in passenger sentiment, though it’s important to note it’s considered the world’s busiest airport with close to 104 million passengers estimated to have traveled through in 2017, so the high traffic may have influenced passenger complaints on social media.

However, last year’s calamitous 11-hour blackout that forced tens of thousands of passengers to be stranded in terminals or inside planes on the tarmac, probably didn’t help the airport.

» READ: A behind-the-scenes look at Hartsfield-Jackson’s blackout

Since then, the Atlanta City Council approved a $130 million plan for emergency generators to prevent recurring disasters. The airport will be installing 20-21 generators to add to its current 15.

While the Atlanta airport scored incredibly low among passengers, it ranked fairly high in on-time performance (No. 41, 8.4) and about average in quality of service (No. 69, 7.8).

New York’s Newark Liberty International Airport ranked worst in the country with a 6.40 overall score and 1.5 in passenger sentiment.

» READ: Record number of guns caught at Hartsfield-Jackson security checkpoints

How U.S. airports fared:

  • No. 33: Seattle Tacoma International Airport in Seattle (7.98)
  • No. 45: San Francisco Airport in San Francisco (7.82)
  • No. 51: Denver International Airport in Denver (7.76)
  • No. 62: George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (7.69)
  • No. 65: Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport in Cincinnati (7.66)
  • No. 68: Las Vegas McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (7.63)
  • No. 72: Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston (7.61)
  • No. 75: Miami International Airport in Miami (7.52)
  • No. 86: New York J.F. Kennedy International Airport in New York (7.39)
  • No. 89: Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta (7.39)
  • No. 100: Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles (7.24)
  • No. 103: Orlando International Airport in Orlando (7.24)
  • No. 106: Boston Edward L. Logan International Airport in Boston (7.18)
  • No. 107: Chicago O’Hare International Airport (7.15)
  • No. 131: Newark Liberty International Airport in New York (6.40)

» READ: AJC@ATL: News and notes from Hartsfield-Jackson, the world’s busiest airport

Explore more from AirHelp’s 2018 scorecards at airhelp.com.


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