Air travel mishaps are going to happen—how the airline deals with the situation post-situation is often the most important selling point. AirHelp, a website focused on helping customers collect their compensation from airlines, released information on the brands that are the best—and worst—and keeping their flyers happy after unsatisfactory experiences. AirHelp pulled information from Skytrax and FlightsStats combined with their own data to track wrongfully rejected customer claims, as well as the amount of time it takes for an airline to 1) acknowledge a claim, and 2) actually complete compensation for the claim.
Here's how it works: 27 airlines were given a score out of 800—the higher the better. Points are docked for flight delays and cancellations. Here are a few takeaways to keep in mind the next time you're planning a trip:
The Top Three
AirBaltic, Austrian Airlines, and Lufthansa all made it into the No. 1, 2, and 3 spots (respectively) on the survey. So, what does it take to make your customers happy (most of the time)? Timely claim response, on-time flights, and a lack of wrongful rejections. AirBaltic was the only airline out of the 27 with a truly "Great" rating at 650 points—Austrian Airlines and Lufthansa both fall under the "Fair" rating with 500 and 475 points, respectively.
The Bottom Three
SATA International, TAP Portugal, and US Airways take the bottom three spots, mostly due to flight delays and an affinity for wrongfully rejected customer claims. Tied with 225 points, SATA International and TAP Portugal take last place—it's not a jab at the quality of the airlines (both have relatively fair ratings in that field).
Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.