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The Top 10 Airlines and Airports, According to AirHelp – No US Airline Made the Cut

Written by Charlie

Here is a list of the top 10 airlines and airports in the world, according to AirHelp. My personal airline of loyalty made the list but not one US airline is on this list! Find out which ones made the cut and what they used to make up this list!

Are you ready to see what 10 airlines make the cut, according to AirHelp? Maybe you will be surprised (or maybe not) but there is not a US airline on the list! 🙂

The Top 10 Airlines and Airports, According to AirHelp

Link: Top 10 Airlines According to AirHelp

Many sites put out top 10 lists on pretty much everything. I like to see how they rank those lists to get those particular members on the list. This list, assembled by AirHelp, is a nice little look within the scope of the following criteria:

  • The quality of service
  • On-time arrivals
  • How well they resolve flight delay compensation claims

Check out their methodology here on this PDF

Here is how they categorize what goes into each of those areas:

  • On-time performance: We pull each airline’s on-time arrival statistics for the last season to determine how likely they are to arrive on time
  • Quality of service: This rating factors in hundreds of metrics and details to give us a measure of an airline’s quality, both in the air and on the ground
  • Claim processing: This rating takes into account how efficiently and fairly a carrier handles delay and compensation claims, including percentage of claims rejected, as well as turnaround times for processing and payouts.

I think it is safe to say that the last criteria, claim processing, would be the wild card. Airhelp is a web service that helps with these claims so they have firsthand knowledge of this area. But, if an airline does not have to issue compensation for a delay, I am not sure how that is handled (as rejection or delay in the process, or N/A?).

One final thought – airlines in Europe may have worse scores in the claim processing department since EU261 is great for customers but can act as a very hard lever to pull with the airline (companies like AirHelp can be very handy with that). See, for example, Jet2 was on the top 10 list from TripAdvisor. Here, it is ranked 61. That is largely due to an abysmal 3.8 (out of 10) rating for claim processing.

Top 10 Airlines in the World

So, with the ranking stats out of the way, let’s take a look at the top 10 airlines in the world, according to AirHelp!

  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

Having flow 7 of those 10 airlines in both economy and business/first class on all 7, I can definitely say that those airlines do deserve a place on a top airline ranking. Personally, I feel that Turkish has also treated me exceptionally well in most cases but their on-time performance was a hindrance for them (that on-time performance can definitely do a number for an airline!).

My Airline Made It!

“My” airline is Aegean Airlines. That is the airline I fly more than just about any other and the one that I have top status with and actually get quite a bit out of it. I have always found my Aegean flights to be great in both service and on-time performance and both of those reasons why I have always chose Aegean over Ryanair for inter-Greece flights when the times are similar – even when Aegean costs about $30-40 more!

Qatar Airways has moved up from 3rd place last year and that is impressive given the difficulties they have experienced over the last year or so.

Why No US Airline?

So, no US airline?!  FWIW, they did not have Southwest or JetBlue in their list of airlines they considered.

How is that possible? Well, I think it is for a couple of reasons. First of all, the one airline on that list that has more than one major hub would be Lufthansa. Most international airlines have many of their flights passing through a single hub or two. That allows them to provide better service since their major hub is a good base for their service and maintenance. With an airline like Delta, they have hubs at JFK, Detroit, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and Seattle. That is a big footprint for service issues and delays!

Another thing may be that they just aren’t that good in the customer service area when compared to many international airlines. Seriously. I have had to deal with US airlines for years on issues that are easily and politely resolved by international carriers in similar situations. That is not to say that all US airline reps are bad but just that the system itself is pretty bad (having to wait 4 hours on the phone to change a flight that got cancelled from weather is not good service).

For those curious, American Airlines came in at 23, United Airlines at 37, and Delta Airlines at 47. While their rankings for on-time performance and claims were good, their quality of service numbers were only in the 6s out of 10.

Top 10 Airports in the World

This was also something AirHelp looked at and here is their results for the top 10 airports in the world.

For this ranking, AirHelp considered on-time performance, quality of service, but also passenger sentiment that they were able to pull from Twitter about the airport experience.

  1. Hamad International Airpot (Doha, Qatar)
  2. Athens International Airport (Athens, Greece)
  3. Haneda Airport (Tokyo, Japan)
  4. Cologne Bonn Airport (Cologne, Germany)
  5. Singapore Changi Airport (Singapore, Singapore)
  6. Chubu Centrair International Airport (Nagoya, Japan)
  7. Viracopos International Airport (Campinas, Brazil)
  8. Amman Queen Alia International Airport (Amman, Jordan)
  9. Recife/Guararapes–Gilberto Freyre International Airport (Recife, Brazil)
  10. Mariscal Sucre International Airport (Quito, Ecuador)

Again, no US airport on this list either. The first is Seattle at number 33.


I am honestly not sure how I feel about these lists. Obviously, they are using data to put these together but that can be difficult to judge sometimes when it comes to the Service component. How one person feels about the service provided could be vastly different from another customer. I once heard a person complaining about how bad their seat was and they said they couldn’t believe they were flying with this “miserable” airline. That airline and seat? It was Lufthansa First Class! 🙂

But, you have to start somewhere! Overall, I think lists like this are important for airlines and I am glad to see something like compensation as part of the makeup of the list. Many airlines try their best to wiggle out of any compensation and I think this is one area that they need to improve.

So, what do you think of these lists? Do you agree with any/all of the rankings? Which airlines/airports would you put on the list?

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • Etihad and Qatar both have sterling reputations, when things go right. When things go wrong, the reputations are horrible. The fact that both are among the “best” tells me that this is pretty much an invalid or wildly biased comparison. It would be great to see a believable ranking.

    • You hit the nail on the head with the problems with lists like this – they do not take into account how bad things can get. I have had great flights with both Etihad and Qatar in economy and business and first. But, I know from others’ experiences that problems can turn into real nightmares. Part of my pleasant experiences were, no doubt, due to the fact that I never had to speak with customer service and did not have issues with weather.
      I am not sure if there is a list that would be believable. I think TripAdvisor may get the closest but the base they use is their own visitors’ rankings. It is hard to weight all of those opinions the same – like if you have an elite flyer that is cared for when things go bad at one end and a one-time-per-year flyer at the other end.

  • Agree with Christian here that this ranking is invalid. Turkish is great on board, but terrible at service recovery for things big (canceled flights) and small (baggage delays). Not to mention that Delta our score American and United on almost every other customer satisfaction survey.

    • And that is an issue with these – I have experienced Turkey being great for baggage delays and recovery and only mediocre with customer service with canceled flights. The ratings are likely to be all over the place and ultimately very subjective based on the representative in front of us or on the phone at the time.

  • Why no US airlines or airports? Simple: they’re shit, that’s why. Not exactly a surprise. Flying ‘murcan is never a pleasant experience. Anyone with half a brain would avoid them at all costs.

    • I think JetBlue, Southwest, and Alaska deserved a place in the rankings. Not only that, I think there are some airports that can offer pleasant experiences in-airport (that could be ruined by the airlines there, though!). One of my favorites – though others hate it – is PHL.

    • Definitely a surprise! I think that smaller airports would be weighted higher if the normal passengers are based out of there as it is ranked by percentage points. I could definitely think of airports that I would say would be better!