Here are the airlines and airports that treat customers the best -- and worst

Photo (c) Virojt Changyencham - Getty Images

Flying somewhere for the holidays? You're in luck if you're going to California

Ask anyone what the most important considerations are when they travel and they’ll tell you customer care. One bad experience with an airline could taint that company’s relationship with a person forever. 

To demonstrate which carriers cater to consumers with all their love and which ones don't, all one needs to do is look at air passenger rights experts AirHelp's 7th annual ranking of best service, fly on time, and treatment of passengers if and when problems occur.

To calculate the scores, AirHelp uses its own database of flight statistics, thousands of customer poll responses and its own experience in helping 1.3 million passengers around the world receive compensation following flight disruption.

The winners

While a few U.S. airlines fared well, international carriers and airports left most of their U.S. peers at the gate. Qatar Airways, United Airlines, Qantas, Etihad Airways, and South America’s LATAM Airlines were rated highest among carriers worldwide.

As far as airports are concerned, AirHelp found Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Recife/Guararapes-Gilberto Freyre International Airport in Brazil, and Tokyo Narita International Airport to be the best global airports for 2022. 

In addition to its second place finish worldwide, United Airlines was also ranked as number one in the U.S., followed by American, and Delta finishing 8th and 19th respectively. As for airports stateside, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston was the highest-scoring airport. 

When you break that down to individual metrics of claim handling, on-time performance, and customer satisfaction among domestic airlines, Delta ranked first in on-time performance; JetBlue came in number one in customer opinion and United earned the top spot in how effectively claims were handled.

And the losers

Overall among domestic airlines, Spirit, Frontier, and JetBlue came up as the losers in the overall AirHelp Score.

JetBlue took last place in on-time performance; Frontier in customer opinion and Spirit in the claims processive category. Newark Liberty Airport was ranked as the worst both at home and in the world. 

As for the holidays…

In a separate study, Forbes Advisor thought it would be interesting to find where the trouble spots for holiday travelers might be. For that study, researchers analyzed data from the Bureau of Transportation to determine which airports and airlines are the best and worst for holiday travel, specifically considering data from November through January for the 100 busiest airports and eight of the largest airlines. For them, the good and the bad look like this:

Worst airports for holiday travel: Westchester County Airport (HPN) earned the top spot on the list of worst airports for holiday travel, followed by Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) and McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS).

Best airports for holiday travel: Long Beach Airport (LGB) is the best airport for holiday travel, followed by Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

For those who are heading toward sunny California, you’re in luck, Forbes’ analysts said. Six of the top 10 best airports for holiday travel are located in California, including Long Beach Airport (LGB), Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC), Sacramento International Airport (SMF), Oakland International Airport (OAK), Ontario International Airport (ONT) and Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR).

Worst airline for holiday travel: JetBlue Airways

Best airline for holiday travel: Alaska Airlines 

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