Non-U.S. airlines, including one of my personal favorites, dominated the 2013 World Airline Awards, which were announced at the Paris Air Show June 18.
If you’re not familiar,
SKYTRAX’s World Airline Awards are based on the world’s largest annual
airline passenger satisfaction survey. Covering more than 200 airlines, the
survey polled travelers from more than 160 countries, measuring satisfaction
across more than 38 key performance metrics of airline front-line products and
service, including check-in, boarding, on-board seat comfort, cabin
cleanliness, food, beverages, in-flight entertainment and staff service.
The annual awards are the
culmination of the prior year’s surveys. You can view all the awards here.
The honor of being named
“World’s Best Airline” went to U.A.E.-based Emirates. Qatar Airways, Singapore
Airlines, ANA, and Asiana rounded out the top five in the “World’s Best”
In addition, Emirates was named
“Best Middle East Airline” and, for the ninth consecutive year, won “World’s
Best In-flight Entertainment.”
Best First Class Cabin
honors were accorded to Etihad Airways which, like Emirates, serves the United
Arab Emirates. ANA, Japan’s largest airline and a personal favorite of mine,
won second place, edging out Emirates (3rd), Singapore Airlines (4th),
and Lufthansa (5th) in the First Class cabin.
ANA also won two
SKYTRAX awards for “World’s Best Airport Services” and “Best
Cabin Cleanliness.” These accolades add to the prestigious five-star rating ANA
received from the organization in March.
Best Business Class
category winners were Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Singapore Airlines, Cathay
Pacific Airways, and Etihad. Having been completely captivated when I flew ANA’s Business Class aboard a 787 Dreamliner between Seattle and Tokyo, I have
a hard time envisioning how these other carriers can be any better. Maybe I’ll
have the opportunity to find out first-hand in the future.
SKYTRAX awards also cover
categories including best lounges, best catering, best signature dish, and best
airline by region.
Best First Class Lounge
winners, in order, were Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar, British Airways, and Etihad.
Best business class lounge winners were Qatar, Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic,
British, and Qantas.
Best First Class Meals
were served by Etihad, Lufthansa, ANA, Emirates, and Qantas, while only one of
the First Class winners also served the Best Business Class meals. Those
honors went to Turkish Airlines, Qatar, SWISS International, Qantas, and
Austrian Airlines, respectively. Again, having thoroughly enjoyed my Business
Class meal aboard the Dreamliner, I’m eager to see how these other carriers are
Gourmands who inhabit premium
economy will be interested in knowing that top honors for Best Economy Class
Meals went to Air New Zealand, Qantas, Turkish, Virgin Australia, and
British, while the Best Meals served in Standard Economy were put out by
Asiana, Turkish, Singapore, Qatar, and Oman Air.
Best Signature Dish was
awarded to three airlines. Malaysia Airlines won first place for its satay
service, while Asiana took second for its bibimbap, and Emirates third for its
Arabic mezze. I can’t think of a U.S. carrier that even has a “signature
dish,” and no, the bags of pretzels don’t count.
Interestingly, no U.S.-based
airline placed in the top 10 of any of the categories I’ve mentioned so far. In
fact, the first place a U.S. carrier shows up is in the “Best airlines by
region” category for North America. Even at that, the honor for Best North
American Carrier goes to Air Canada, followed by Virgin America, Delta (NYSE:DAL),
jetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU), and United (NYSE:UAL), meaning that, of the top five North American carriers, only
two were major U.S. carriers!
Best low-cost carriers in
North America encompassed carriers from all three major countries. The top five
were Virgin America, Canada-based WestJet, Southwest (which hasn’t really been
“low-cost” for quite some time, though it’s definitely “no-frills”; NYSE:LUV), Frontier,
and Mexican carrier Volaris.
Frontier Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings (NASDAQ:RJET).
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