Two of the UK' s leading airlines are languishing almost at the foot of a table claiming to rate “the saints and sinners of the global airline industry”. A no-win, no-fee claims handler, AirHelp, has assessed more than 30 airlines using scores for quality, on-time performance and responses to claims for compensation.
The firm says “Air travel is about more than just the price of a ticket”. It says the scorecard was created “to help travellers better predict how the airlines will treat them, when carriers end up missing the mark and flights inevitably get delayed, cancelled or overbooked”.
Top place is taken by Qatar Airways, with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in second place. Air France, Lufthansa and a small Latvian airline, Air Baltic, tie for third place. The highest-ranked UK airline is British Airways, rated ninth. The very worst carrier is said to be Sata, a small airline based in the Azores with most of its flights short island-hops. While its quality was rated as average, its on-time performance was below average and its claims responses were judged poorest. Second from bottom is easyJet, which carries more passengers than any other UK-based airline. Virgin Atlantic was judged third-worst; even though it was judged above-average for quality, its record on claims - at least from the point of view of AirHelp - dragged down its overall score.
Claims handling is a controversial subject, with a number of no-win, no-fee firms chasing passengers who have been delayed or overbooked, or whose flight has been cancelled. AirHelp says its survey takes into consideration claims that were originally rejected by the airline but later upheld in court; the time the airline takes to acknowledge and handle a claim; and how long the airline takes to pay out on valid claims. A spokesperson for easyJet said, "We do not recognise these findings: easyJet has been commended by its regulator the CAA for its handling of EU261 claims and we will always pay compensation when it is due."
AirHelp't top 10 airlines:
- Qatar Airways
- Air Baltic
- Air France
- Air Canada
- Croatia Airlines
- British Airways