Emirates tops 2016 Skytrax awards

Virgin America highest-ranked U.S. airline; most U.S. carriers show improvement

U.A.E.-based Emirates airline has received the honor of being named the World’s Best Airline in the 2016 Skytrax World Airline Awards announced July 12 at the Farnborough International Air Show outside London.

The honor is the fourth time Emirates has been named the World's Best in the Skytrax awards. The carrier won the top honor is 2013, 2002 and 2001 and has been among the top 10 year after year.

"Emirates has always put our customers at the heart of what we do, and we work hard to deliver the very best experience possible to our customers at every touchpoint, every day, all around the world," Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said following the announcement of the award.

World's Best Airlines
  1. Emirates
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. Singapore Airlines
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  6. Etihad Airways
  7. Turkish Airlines
  8. EVA Air
  9. Qantas Airways
  10. Lufthansa

Emirates Business Class seat with ICE controls
Emirates Business Class seat with ICE controls
Emirates also won Best Inflight Entertainment for its ICE entertainment system and ranked among the top airlines in the categories of Best First Class Airline, Best Business Class Airline, Best Economy Class Airline and Best Cabin Staff. It also won awards for its premium-class lounges.

The rankings, presented by Skytrax, are the result of voting by airline passengers from around the world who take part each year in what are described as "The Oscars of the aviation industry" and is the world’s largest airline passenger satisfaction survey.

“Skytrax World Airline Awards are coveted quality accolades for the world airline industry,” the organization said on its website. “The World Airline Awards are a global benchmark of airline excellence, and widely known as the Passengers Choice awards.”

The complete World's Best list ranks the world's top 100 airlines and is available here.

The highest-ranked U.S. airline on that list was Virgin America at No. 25, up one slot from the 2015 rankings. Two of the "big three" U.S. carriers also ranked higher in the 2016 awards. Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) showed the biggest improvement, rising to No, 35 from No. 45 last year while American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) rose to No. 77 from No. 79. Chicago-headquartered United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) dropped to No. 68 from No. 60 last year.

Seattle-based regional carrier Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK) rose five slots to No. 60 from was No. 65 last year while no-frills carrier Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) rose to No. 66 from No. 67 in the 2015 awards.

The survey also rates other aspects of air travel and grants global awards for Best Low-Cost Airlines, Best Airline Cabin Staff, Best Regional Airlines, Most Improved Airlines, Best Leisure Airlines, Best Airport Services, Best Airline Alliance, Best In-flight Entertainment, and Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness.

Best Low-Cost Airlines
  1. AirAsia
  2. Virgin America
  3. Norwegian
  4. easyJet
  5. Jetstar Airways
  6. AirAsiaX
  7. WestJet
  8. Indigo
  9. Jetstar Asia
  10. Azul Airlines
Best Airline Cabin Staff
  1. Garuda Indonesia
  2. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  3. Singapore Airlines
  4. Thai Airways
  5. EVA Air
  6. Qatar Airways
  7. Hainan Airlines
  8. Cathay Pacific
  9. Asiana
  10. Emirates
Best Regional Airlines
  1. Bangkok Airways
  2. Dragonair
  3. Hong Kong Airlines
  4. Aegean Airlines
  5. SilkAir
  6. Porter Airlines
  7. jetBlue Airways
  8. Alaska Airlines
  9. Copa Airlines
  10. American Eagle
Most Improved Airlines
  1. Air France
  2. Azerbaijan Airlines
  3. Delta Air Lines
  4. Aeroflot
  5. China Airlines
  6. Japan Airlines
  7. Norwegian
  8. Royal Air Maroc
  9. China Eastern
  10. Vietnam Airlines
Best Leisure Airlines
  1. Thompson Airways
  2. Air Transat
  3. SunExpress
  4. Thomas Cook Airlines
  5. Nordwind Airlines
  6. Sunwing Airlines
  7. TUIfly
  8. Arkefly
  9. TUIfly Nordic
  10. XL Airways France
Best Airport Services
  1. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  2. EVA Air
  3. Thai Airways
  4. Asiana Airlines
  5. Cathay Pacific
  6. Garuda Indonesia
  7. Singapore Airlines
  8. Japan Airlines
  9. Dragonair
  10. China Airlines
Best Airline Alliance
  1. Star Alliance
  2. oneworld Alliance
  3. SkyTeam Alliance
Best In-flight Entertainment
  1. Emirates
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. Qatar Airways
  4. Turkish Airlines
  5. Qantas
  6. Thai Airways
  7. Etihad Airways
  8. Lufthansa
  9. Cathay Pacific
  10. Delta Air Lines
Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness
  1. Cathay Pacific
  2. EVA Air
  3. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  4. Japan Airlines
  5. Hainan Airlines
  6. Korean Air
  7. Singapore Airlines
  8. Asiana Airlines
  9. Garuda Indonesia
  10. Qatar Airways
The survey also grants awards in different categories and subcategories.

SKYTRAX World Airline Awards logoThose categories include Best Airline by Region and Best Airline Staff by Region, which rank airlines and their staffs in 14 different regions of the world.

The category Best Airlines for First Class Travel rank the carriers overall as well as their first class lounges, seats, airline catering, lounge dining and first class amenities. Etihad was ranked Best First Class Airline overall, followed by Cathay Pacific, Air France, ANA and Singapore.

The top five airlines awarded Best Airlines in Business Class were Qatar, Singapore, Etihad, Emirates and Cathay Pacific.

The top five airlines given accolades for Best in Premium Economy were Air New Zealand, Qantas, Lufthansa, Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Finally, honors for airlines with the Best Economy class went to Asiana, Qatar, Singapore, Cathay Pacific and Emirates.

Full details are available on the Skytrax website.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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