Singapore Airlines named 'World's Best' in 2018 SKYTRAX Awards

Delta Air Lines highest-ranked U.S. airline for second year

Singapore Airlines has received the honor of being named the World’s Best Airline in the 2018 SKYTRAX World Airline Awards, bestowing upon it the title of "World's Best" after six years in the No. 2 and No. 3 positions.

The accolade of World's Best Airline marks only the second time in seven years that the World's Best Airline honor has not gone to one of the three Persian Gulf carriers. The airline also won honors as Best Airline in Asia and Best First Class Airline seat.

"I dedicate [the honors] to the 26,000 SIA Group employees who focus every day on delivering the world's best travel experience to our customers," Mr. Goh Choon Phong, SIA CEO, said at the awards ceremony at the 2018 Farnborough Air Show outside London. "The recognition will further motivate us to improve upon the three main pillars of our brand promise – product leadership, service excellence and network connectivity – to ensure we retain our competitive advantage, and continue to meet and exceed customer expectations.”

World's Best Airlines
  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  4. Emirates
  5. EVA Air
  6. Cathay Pacific
  7. Lufthansa
  8. Hainan Airlines
  9. Garuda Indonesia
  10. Thai Airways
More than 20 million airline passengers from around the world voted in the SKYTRAX awards, which are described as "The Oscars of the aviation industry" and constitutes 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." Customer representing more than 100 nationalities participated in the survey, which was conducted from August 2017 to May 2018.

A total of 335 airlines were featured in the survey. 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 Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL). Its No. 37 ranking this year marked declines from No. 32 in 2017 and No. 35 in 2016, but was still better than its No. 45 ranking in 2015.

It was followed closely by Seattle-headquartered Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK), which slipped to No. 38 from No. 36 in 2017. jetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) was the third ranked U.S. carrier, but it too dropped from its prior ranking. jetBlue was ranked No. 42 in 2018, down from No. 39 last year.

No-frills carrier Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) was voted fourth-best U.S. carrier at No. 57 in the World's Top 100 Airlines. It was also voted No. 9 among the World's Best Low-Cost Airlines.

Dallas-headquartered American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) showed modest improvement, rising to No. 71 from No. 74 in 2017 and No. 77 in 2016, while Hawaiian Airlines (NYSE:HA) rose nine points to No. 77 from No. 86 last year. American Eagle, last year's lowest-rated American carrier, rose to No. 79 from 2017's ranking at No. 87.

Chicago-headquartered United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) continued its slide and received the dubious distinction of becoming the lowest-ranked American carrier. The airline, which has seen its share of incidents and controversy, dropped to No. 88, a 10-point decline from No. 78 in 2017 and 20 points lower than its No. 68 ranking in 2016.

At No. 30 on the World's Top 100 Airlines, Air Canada was also named Best Airline in North America.

Emirates Business Class seat with ICE controls
Emirates Business Class seat with ICE controls

While Emirates held on to the No. 4 World's Best Airline slot for the second year, its ICE entertainment system continued to occupy top spot as Best Inflight Entertainment. ice stands for Information, Communication and Entertainment. Emirates also won the award for Best First Class Comfort Amenities.

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. Norwegian
  3. easyJet
  4. Jetstar Airways
  5. AirAsiaX
  6. WestJet
  7. IndiGo
  8. Southwest Airlines 
  9. Eurowings
  10. Scoot
Best Leisure Airlines
  1. Air Transat
  2. TUI Airways
  3. TUIfly
  4. Capital Airlines
  5. SunExpress
  6. Thomas Cook Airlines
  7. Condor Airlines
  8. Sunwing Airlines
  9. TUIfly Nordic
  10. Nordwind Airlines
Most Improved Airlines
  1. China Southern
  2. Philippine Airlines
  3. Fiji Airlines
  4. Ryanair
  5. Japan Airlines
  6. Air Mauritius
  7. Malaysia Airlines
  8. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  9. Aeroflot
  10. RwandAir
Best Airline Cabin Crew
  1. Garuda Indonesia
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  4. Thai Airways
  5. EVA Air
  6. Asiana Airlines
  7. Japan Airlines
  8. Cathay Pacific Airways
  9. Hainan Airlines
  10. Qatar Airways
Best Airport Services
  1. EVA Air
  2. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  3. Cathay Pacific
  4. Thai Airways
  5. Singapore Airlines
  6. China Airlines
  7. Japan Airlines
  8. Lufthansa
  9. Garuda Indonesia
  10. Austrian 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. Qantas Airways
  5. Turkish Airlines
  6. Delta Air Lines
  7. Virgin Atlantic
  8. Cathay Pacific
  9. Etihad Airways
  10. Lufthansa
Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness
  1. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  2. EVA Air
  3. Asiana Airlines
  4. Singapore Airlines
  5. Japan Airlines
  6. Cathay Pacific Airways
  7. Qatar Airways
  8. Swiss International Air Lines
  9. Hainan Airlines
  10. Lufthansa
Best Regional Airlines
  1. Bangkok Airways 
  2. Cathay Dragon 
  3. Alaska Airlines 
  4. Aegean Airlines 
  5. jetBlue Airways
  6. Azul Airlines
  7. SilkAir 
  8. Azerbaijan Airlines
  9. Porter Airlines 
  10. Copa Airlines
Most Improved Airlines
  1. Saudi Arabian Airlines
  2. Iberia
  3. Ryanair
  4. Ethiopian Airlines
  5. Philippine Airlines
  6. West Air
  7. Fiji Airways
  8. Lufthansa
  9. China Airlines
  10. Hong Kong Airlines 
The survey also grants awards in other categories and subcategories.

Those 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. Singapore Airlines was ranked Best First Class Airline overall, followed by Etihad, Air France Lufthansa and Emirates.

The top five airlines awarded Best Airlines in Business Class were Qatar, Singapore Airlines, ANA All Nippon Airways,  Emirates and Etihad Airways.

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

Finally, honors for airlines with the Best Economy class went to Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates and ANA All Nippon Airways .

Full details are available on the Skytrax website.

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