Every year, airports and airlines are put to the test and passengers are asked to rate them according to their performance. Air travel is already miserable enough, but what companies make it actively worse? Which ones make your experience better? Which ones make you forget you're on a metal box in the sky and get you to actually enjoy the experience? Here are some of the best and worst airlines and airports in 2018, as voted and scored by passengers.
Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea
Among the best airports in the world we've got Seoul Incheon in South Korea. Miles ahead of the Worst list, this airport isn't only an uncomfortable purgatory travellers have to go through to get on their flight, but an actual enjoyable and impressive destination. You can find everything you want and more, including cultural centres and ice rinks.
It's set up as an international destination, showcasing a variety of cultures, activities, and amenities. Notably, this airport offers a lot of places to sleep or otherwise rest on your tiresome journey. There are specially designed rest areas, showers that are free to access, reclining chairs, and other impressive features. Everything is squeaky clean and even the staff are lovely.
Vancouver International Airport, Canada
As one would expect from Canada, Vancouver International Airport is among the best. The staff are polite and eager to help, as are their ambassadors. The environment is friendly and attractive, and it is beautifully decorated with local art, totem poles, carvings, etc. They've even got an aquarium!
Like with most airports, there is queuing involved, but this Vancouver location isn't crowded, the wait times are not horrendous, and they can even be relaxing, especially if you spend your time in one of the exquisite restaurants on-site. Who knew that spending time in an airport can be an enjoyable experience?
Munich International Airport, Germany
Another actually enjoyable airport experience is in Munich International Airport in Germany. As you would expect from Germans, the airport is praised for its remarkable efficiency - so efficient that your baggage will be waiting for you when you get off, instead of the other way around. Mind blowing stuff.
But it's not just its efficiency that wins it a spot among the best airports of 2018, but also its fun features, like Bavarian bits such as the Christkindl Market and a local brewery. There are also special sleep areas for passengers to rest, which is all you really want from an airport.
Luton Airport, London, UK
Luton Airport has recently been voted the worst airport in the UK, and it's no wonder. Despite ongoing and extensive renovations that have been going on at this airport, the experience continues to be not only underwhelming, but actively terrible. The airport layout is chaotic and hectic - partially owing to the very renovations that were meant to make it better - the queues are massive for everything from check-in to baggage drop-off to security, and there's nowhere to sit down to wait for your flight.
And if you thought you could maybe shop or enjoy a bite to eat to forget about these horrors, think again - the restaurants are few and far between, as are shops, and the prices are very high. All in all, it's good to avoid it if you can, at least until the renovations are over.
LaGuardia Airport, New York, USA
Like Luton, LaGuardia Airport been undergoing reconstruction and renovation in order to stop it from deteriorating further, but passengers are still reporting flooding from leaky ceilings. Like other airports on the Worst list, the lines are long, the crowds are large, there isn't enough seating, the staff isn't the most cheery, and the food and drink options are not great, either. You may even encounter homeless people seeking shelter at night.
Worst of all, perhaps, is the fact that LaGuardia reports the most flight delays out of all airports in the United States, so passengers are forced to wait. And wait. And wait. The final reconstruction efforts finish in 2021, so that may lead to some improvements.
Crete Heraklion International Airport, Greece
Greece doesn't do well where airports are concerned, and Crete Heraklion is the worst of 2018. Because of its size, passengers often queue outside instead of inside, because there simply isn't enough space. Long queues are a given in all of the worst airports on the list, and in addition to that and to a shortage of staff, Heraklion also suffers from air conditioning issues and unsanitary bathrooms.
For an airport, security isn't that great, either, and of course, there aren't enough places to sit down for everyone who has to wait - and there will be a lot of waiting to get your baggage, do your check-in, or drop off baggage. Restaurants aren't abundant, and for the price, you're really not getting much. Not the best in Greece, and not the best on the list.
Qatar Airways is the no. 1 airline in the world in 2018, according to scoring by passengers. Out of 100, this airline got an impressive 9.08, which makes it hard to beat by everyone else coming after it. If you're flying with this Middle Eastern airline, you can expect them to be punctual and offer impeccable service, which was reflected in the score they got for that - 10!
In fact, their service is so outstanding, that their business class rivals first class in the majority of its competitors airlines. It got 89 for time keeping, so you can be reasonably certain you won't experience massive delays when flying with Qatar Airways.
Germany is in the top again - but no one is surprised about that. Of course the people who have the best airports also have the best and most efficient airlines. However, this particular one has actually grown a lot since just last year, when it didn't make it among the best 10 airlines, so it's all the more impressive.
Lufthansa scored points for quality of service from passengers (9.5, so almost perfect), but where it fails slightly is with being on time, every time. It only got a 7.6 in that category, which is not terrible, actually, it just doesn't push it to first place.
Etihad Airways is not a newcomer on the Best list, having been present in previous years, as well, and it's not at all surprising. Having accumulated a 8.43 score from passengers, this airline scored high in every category, just not enough to get in first place. It's hard to compete with a business class that feels like first class, after all.
The airline that was voted the worst, across the board, is WOW Air, which now seems very ironically named. Its total score was only 5.04, which is a far cry from the 9 first place got. The reason why this airline is still popular is that it offers cheap flights between the United States and Iceland (and Europe, as a whole), so when in need, it comes in handy, especially with flash sales.
However, don't expect outstanding quality of service (scored at 6). On time performance was rated at 7.5, so not the worst, but not the best, either. You decide if it's worth the discomfort.
People don't generally have lofty expectations from low-cost airlines, and Easyjet is no exception. We all know that we sacrifice some aspects of comfort and convenience for a cheaper plane ticket and affordable travel, but even with all of these concessions made, Easyjet still made it on the list of the worst airlines in 2018. Why?
Because they don't do a very good job of being on time, apparently. 79% is not an excellent rating, but it's not nearly as bad as the score passengers gave them for claims processing - just 1.31 points! Actual quality of service was rated at an 8, though, so you take the good with the bad.
It's not surprising that all the ones on the Worst list are budget options, with Irish company Ryanair making the list. But it's not all bad - while it's not doing great in claim processing, its flights tend to be on-time (and were scored as such), so if you can overlook the not-stellar service, you'll get where you need to be, as expected.
There you have them! The best and worst of the crop, when it comes to air travel. Some airports and airlines will be so accommodating and make your experience so smooth, you won't even feel like you're travelling. Others will remind you of that familiar feeling of being in purgatory - which, let's face it, is what airports really are. Be sure to check out the list before booking your next flight!