EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic slammed on handling of compensation claims

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Two of the UK's leading airlines have been ranked in the top three of a list of the world's worst carriers.

EasyJet was at number two and Virgin Atlantic at number three - both behind Portuguese carrier SATA - in the table compiled by AirHelp, a company that handles compensation claims for delayed flights.

More than 30 airlines were given scores based on their punctuality, the length of time it takes them to make a payout and the number of times legitimate claims are refused.

A statement on AirHelp's website reads: "Air travel is about more than just the price of a ticket. We compare each of the airlines, head to head, to tell you how they perform - from amenities and on-time departures, to how well they resolve flight delay compensation claims."

But easyJet defended its record on compensation payments.

A spokesman for the low-cost carrier said: "We do not recognise these findings.

"EasyJet has been commended by its regulator the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) for its handling of EU261 claims and we will always pay compensation when it is due."

The best performer was Qatar, followed by KLM, Air Baltic and Lufthansa.

:: AirHelp's top 10 worst performing airlines:

1. SATA

2. EasyJet

3. Virgin Atlantic

4. Swiss

5. TAP Portugal

6. Aer Lingus

7. Iberia

8. Alitalia

9. Icelandair

10. Norwegian Air Shuttle