The World’s Best Airlines -My experience vs Skytrax

Source: airlinequality.comThe annual Skytrax awards reveal last year’s best airlines as voted by passengers. The 2016 results were announced at the Farnborough Airshow this week. (One day I will get to the show!). Looking at the results, their awards are closely aligned to what I have experienced – with some minor exceptions.

The Skytrax Top Ten does not dramatically change each year. It just seems to slightly rearrange! The same names have dominated the top 20 airlines continually. Of the Top ten ranked airlines, Skytrax nominated, I have flown eight. The 2016 winners are:

Skytrax list with my rankings for comparison

Skytrax list with my rankings for comparison

  1. Emirates (EK), United Arab Emirates jumped back up from the number five spot they held last year to number one. I cannot see any rhyme or reason for this jump. I observed no major changes in the Emirates product last year in Business or Economy. Did you observe any major changes? I still narrowly prefer Qatar over Emirates so would reverse the top two.I find it odd that on the Skytrax website, customers give Emirates an average rating of 6/10 compared to Qatar’s 8/10. Whats the go here?

    EMIRATES A380 - 25

    Emirates A380

  2. Qatar Airways (QR): are my favourite carrier. The allegations of poor treatment of staff in the desire to meet their consistently amazing high standards makes me nervous. Air travellers nominated Qatar Airways Business Class as the World’s Best. They also took top gong for their Business Class Airline Lounge. I fully concur.
  3. Singapore Airlines (SQ): Many People rave about Singapore so are incredulous that I only rate SQ  as my sixth favorite carrier. Solid product but I find their staff can be a little “wooden”. They were nominated by Skytrax as Asia’s best airline.

    0912 SQ A380 - 10

    Singapore A380

  4. Cathay Pacific, (CX): They occupied Skytrax’s third place last year and I personally would still put them as number three this year. Warm, helpful staff, great catering, amazing lounges and good food have helped me love this airline since 1971!
  5. ANA (NH): rose slightly from their seventh spot last year. I am determined to fly their 787 one day soon as I have never experienced this airline.
  6. Etihad Airways (EY) did not change their sixth place from last year. I am much less generous than many regarding Etihad, placing them 16 in my list of airlines. I find their product inconsistent, their regular lounges disappointing and staff less friendly and helpful than others. They were named as having the World’s Best First Class cabin, Best First Class seat and Best First Class catering in this year’s award which seems correct to me.
  7. Turkish Airlines slipped from their previous year position of fourth place to seventh. I give Turkish ninth place in my Top 10 listing! Turkish Airlines was chosen as “Europe’s Best Airline” for the sixth consecutive year.
  8. EVA Air, (BR): This is the other airline in the Skytrax Top 10  that I have yet to fly. I think it won’t be until 2017 that I will get the opportunity.
  9. Qantas Airways (QF) edged up slightly from their 2015 tenth spot for Skytrax. Qantas sits in my sixth spot equal with Singapore and Virgin Australia!

    07/05/2011 - 135

    Aboard a Qantas 747

  10. Lufthansa (LH), Germany for me sits at the fifth spot. Skytrax passengers, obviously rate them a little lower. Their Great food, friendly service, wonderful lounges and a great Business product have always impressed me.
    I 1110 LH fra -lhr - 33

    LH A380

    In my top ten I add:

  • Air New Zealand at Number four (pic below) whilst Skytrax customers rate them at 17th place. I do not understand why. Their economy class is very good and Business superb. Lounges are really good,  their service is consistently reliable and friendly, check in incredibly easy and efficient…and they have really cool safety videos!777 - 42
  • Virgin Australia is placed in my top ten at sixth place equal with Qantas and Singapore. A very solid Economy and excellent business product supported by friendly staff with good food and lounges. Their reliability sometimes concerns me. Skytrax has them at 18th.
  • Thai Airways rounds out my top ten at tenth place. Skytrax has them at 13th but rated them as the World’s Most Improved Airline. They moved up from 19th place. I have two Business Class flights booked with them over the next few months.

Bangkok Airways was named as the World’s Best Regional Airline for the second time. Rightly so!

Virgin America (good bye to this amazing airline next year) was recognised as the best airline in the USA with which I heartily agree. They were placed at spot 25, overall.

Delta was the highest rating of the big three US carriers at #35. This has been my experience over the last five years. United Airlines came in at 68 and American at 77 with which I also concur. I have American as the third worst airline that I have flown.

Amongst the other US carriers, JetBlue was at 53, Alaska at 60 and Southwest at 66. It always seems extraordinary to me that the country that gave birth to flight has no air carriers in the top 20.

British Airways was ranked at 26, overall. A drop from last year’s 20th position. In 2014 they were 17th. Strangely 2013 had them pegged at 27!

Air Canada sits at 32. For the third consecutive year, the wonderful Porter Airlines were chosen as North America’s Best Regional Airline.

Malaysia fell to 34th from 24th, the year before, largely as a result of restructuring, I suspect. They were at 18th place in 2014, 14th in 2013 and 10th in 2012. It is sad to see the continuing slide in what was a great airline.

Hainan Airlines secured the top award as the Best Airline in China. China Southern was rated 32nd, China Eastern 79th and Air China 87th.



South African Airways won Best Airline in Africa title for the 14th time with an overall number 41 position. Of concern is that they are another airline that has been sliding down the chart. In 2015, they came 34th. 2014 they were 21st and in 2013 they were 20th. The airline has been struggling with its management for some time, is facing on going losses, investigations into allegations of unfair cross subsidisation with its subsidiary Mango (which came 98th) and has an aging fleet. Ethiopian Airlines came in at 76 and Kenya at 85. One more African airline British Airways franchise kulula sits at number 93 an improvement on 99 the year before.

Star Alliance was named the World’s Best Airline Alliance. I am not sure why! I much prefer One World.

So how does your experience match up with mine, and with the millions of Skytrax passengers?

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