The 20 Best Airlines for Customer Service
Whether you fly once a year or zigzag the world weekly, everyone has an opinion about airlines. Here are the 20 best airlines for customer service ranked from first to 20th; the rankings are based upon on-time performance, comfort, food, and how they handle complaints.
"Qatar Airways ranks as the best airline in the world in 2019 because not only does it have high ratings for service quality and claims processing, but it also performs significantly better than most airlines in terms of on-time performance. Qatar Airways delivers passengers to their destinations on time 84 percent of the time," according to Henrik Zillmer, CEO of AirHelp, a site dedicated to fighting for and protecting travelers' rights to compensation for issues such as overbooked and canceled flights, airline strikes, missed connections, and delays. The rankings come from AirHelp's 2019 report.
Despite what you may hear from the airline's critics on social media, American Airlines jumped from 23rd last year to 2nd place this year based on AirHelp's metrics. The U.S.-based carrier "scored highly in claims processing, showing the airline is making an effort to provide a better experience for travelers when their trips don't go as planned and giving them the compensation they deserve by processing their claims." The airline's representatives deal with unfortunate issues like delayed baggage during international travel with a generous reimbursement policy that allows passengers to buy essential clothes and toiletries to bridge the gap until they're reunited with their suitcases. Having status on American has its perks but there are still things you can get for free on an airplane.
Another huge year-over-year jump sees Aeromexico move from 26th overall to 3rd in AirHelp's ranking of the best airlines in the world. Like American, Aeromexico excels in claims processing and in quality of service. AirHelp remarks that "it is refreshing to see the high score in claims processing as this airline is putting an emphasis on the fair treatment of passengers, and that has led to strong results in this year's ranking."
SAS Scandinavian Airlines
Named one of the world's most punctual airlines numerous times, SAS also scores high marks for offering free coffee and tea, well-priced youth tickets, and deeply discounted children's fares. There are also complimentary newspapers and magazines available to peruse in the airline's free app. Maybe you can only afford an economy ticket but there are ways to make flying economy feel like first class.
If being truly green falls under the customer service umbrella, Qantas is holding open a huge one to keep the earth safe beneath it. The Australian carrier "has launched an ambitious plan to find new ways of recycling, reusing and composting at least three quarters of its general waste by the end of 2021," says Forbes, "and plans to remove over 100 million single-use plastic items per year from its flights and lounges by the end of 2020."
LATAM is the parent company for several airlines in South America and, across the board, receives high marks for its onboard products—namely the seats, comfortable planes, and food and beverages served—as well as the overall quality of the cabin staff serving passengers in-flight. There's nothing to fear about flying on a LATAM plane, but if you struggle with being airborne, here are life-changing tips to get over your fear of flying.
Calgary-based WestJet was just acquired by a private equity firm in a deal that surprised aviation analysts across Canada. Hopefully, the new owners won't slow down the increase in ranking position thanks to key improvements in on-time performance. WestJet should get you there on time but it's still helpful to know the best time of day to fly to arrive avoid delays.
This niche regional carrier based in Luxembourg serves much of Europe well by offering reasonable fares with a free checked piece of luggage and not skimping on service during short journeys. Travel site GodSaveThePoints.com notes that even in an economy seat on a 55-minute flight, homemade sandwiches and glasses of Brut were offered complimentary.
Curiously, AirHelp notes that "Austrian Airlines is one of the only top airlines to drop in rank this year, but the carrier still performed well in all key areas—on-time performance, service quality, and claim processing—and remains in the top 10." It's no myth that flying Austrian is a pleasant experience but here are 20 airplane myths you need to stop believing.
Emirates has a robust in-flight wine program to help you fully unwind during your trip—and they take good care of kids too. According to Emirates flight attendant Lauren Guilfoyle, "toys and goodie bags are available on each flight to inspire the greatest imaginations and keep kids busy so mom and dad can relax!" If all else fails, there are stellar screen-time options with over 150 channels, including 50 Disney movies, 100 video games, and plenty of music, ready to save the day.