My Top Five Airlines of 2014

I feel this post is almost a repeat of the last two years! Not much has changed for me at the top of the airline pecking order! I did fly fewer times and far fewer kilometres than other years. I did a lot more surface travel through Asia and can certainly give you the best and worst bus companies and rail operators!

I rate each flight I take for every factor from Booking to Check-in to deplaning. and keep a tally of my rating using  The scores averaged out give me the ranking of airlines.

I added four new airlines in 2014 bringing the total number I have ever flown to 91:

  1. Air KBZ of Burma/Myanmar which I rated 59%
  2. Bangkok Airways
  3. Finnair which I will review on Tuesday next but rated the carrier at 76%. I have now flown 11 of the 15 One World carriers.
  4. Germania- which I had never heard of before flying them

(NB I have still not flown Asiana or ANA who Skytrax consider amongst the best  airlines in the world).


1. Qatar Airlines  – 98%

a logo with purple text

Qatar: Founded 22 November 1993. Fleet:  151 Destinations: 145 Employees: 20,000.  Skytrax Rating: 5 star airline. Skytrax Passenger Rating: 87%



Photo 2014-01-06 17 14 16For the third year in a row, I place Qatar Airways in the top spot. As I have said previously, Qatar are consistently excellent.  My biggest concern I have raised about the carrier are their alleged poor labour practices.

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Yup its Qatar

Qatar 5 star: Hanoi to Bangkok

Qatar’s Staff Criticisms – 3 questions


2. Emirates – 94%

a red logo with white textUnited Arab Emirates: 25 October 1985. Fleet:  221 Destinations: 142 Employees: 50,000 (whole group).  Skytrax Rating: 4 star airline. Skytrax Passenger Rating: 70%


As one of the two flag carriers for the UAE, Emirates has been working hard to cement its position as a leading carrier for the region. I find Emirates a delight to fly. My heart genuinely lifts whenever I book and fly Emirates! The standouts are their staff, their lounges, entertainment system and food across all classes.

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3. Cathay Pacific – 92%

cathayHong Kong: 24 September, 1946. Fleet:  145 Destinations: 112 Employees: 29,800  Skytrax Rating: 5 star airline. Skytrax Passenger Rating: 78%

I first encountered Cathay Pacific in 1971 and have flown them as an adult since 1992. For many years, they were my favourite carrier. Last year, Cathay Pacific was awarded Skytrax‘s 2014 Airline of the Year for the fourth time. Despite this award, I find Qatar and Emirates are ahead of Cathay, overall.

I have huge trust in Cathay’s well trained pilots, high regard for their equally professional ground crew and cabin staff, enjoy their entertainment, love their food and miss the amazing Hong Kong lounge. Their logo change introduced last year seemed to work.


4. Air New Zealand  – 90%

a logo of air new zealandNew Zealand: 1930. Fleet:  135 Destinations: 104 Employees: 10, 450  Skytrax Rating: 4 star airline. Skytrax Passenger Rating: 70%



I find Air New Zealand a joy to fly. Their innovation has been tremendous (Skycouch, self service check in, Safety videos), their staff a delight, lounges excellent and food outstanding. I still get a kick out of being offered a boiled sweet before landing. This is what all airlines used to do! nominated Air New Zealand as its Airline of the Year for 2015 for the second time. In April 2015, they will celebrate 75 years of flying. That is pretty impressive!

I want to get on their 787 too!

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Trip Report: Perfection 777th flight on an NZ B777

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4. Virgin Australia -90%

a logo of virgin australiaAustralia: August, 2000. Fleet:  90 Destinations: 50 Employees: 7, 006  Skytrax Rating: 4 star airline. Skytrax Passenger Rating: 73%


My airline of choice if I was not locked into One World!


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In terms of low cost carriers in 2014 I liked:

1. JetBlue -91%

2. Bangkok Airways-81%

3. Scoot-80%

4. Southwest(US)-78%

5. Easyjet -70%


Who delighted you in 2015? Who did you hate flying with?



  1. Martin, I have been thinking about the Asian plane losses and have had a couple of thoughts on why possibly they go wrong – what do you think? (Obviously we don’t yet know what caused the problems; I’m just musing). It seems to me that these airlines have pilots who are perfectly competent, indeed probably quite skilled, when things are going well, but I wonder whether they spend the countless hours in flight simulators reacting to possible disaster scenarios which many experienced top airline pilots do. That must give them a better chance when such things occur in real life. Also I wonder whether the machismo which one sees in some men in some countries would incline them to not want to admit there’s a problem. This has been mentioned as a factor in occasional air crash investigations. This type of man would, by nature, be attracted to the glamorous image of a pilot’s life. What do you think?

  2. Btw, these thoughts actually started here in Malaysia, where I was reading that the number of people flying AirAsia had increased so much that they are having trouble finding enough pilots to fulfil the demand. That led to the thought that possibly training might be slightly curtailed to get them in the air??

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