Competition in the skies is rife as ever, with a rise in budget carriers, not to mention an overhaul in legacy carriers offerings which make the lie-flat bed seem commonplace, taken over by private suites, showers and onboard spas.
Online a new breed of websites have surged in popularity to help travellers find the best bang for their buck. One such website, AirHelp Score has released its ranking of airlines for 2016.
AirHelp’s ranking takes into account a number of metrics in three key areas:
Quality and Service
This rating, from Skytraxresearch.com , factors in hundreds of metrics and details to give us a measure of an airline’s quality, both on the ground and in the air.
We pull each airline’s on-time departure statistics for the last three months to determine how likely they are to arrive on time.
This rating takes into account how efficiently and fairly a carrier handles delay compensation claims, including percentage of claims rejected, as well as turnaround times for processing and payouts.
So how did the world’s best airlines fare? Some big names like Qatar, Emirates, and British Airways appear in the rankings, however what’s more interesting is the one’s that didn’t, like Qantas or Virgin Australia. All the US carriers were notably absent too and only two British carriers were good enough, according to the rankings. Here’s the list as per the Independent.
14. British Airways — Britain had two airlines in the top 14 — more than any other country. London-based British Airways performed best in the claims processing category.
13. Emirates — Emirates is often considered the face of luxury long-haul air travel and that was reflected in its strong scoring for quality and service. However, its position was lowered by a weaker performance in the other categories.
12. Air France — The French carrier has had a fantastic year. In 2016, it won awards for Best First Class Airline Lounge Dining and Best First Class Comfort Amenities, but its lowest score was for the punctuality of its flights.
11. Lufthansa — With 268 aircraft in its fleet — excluding all subsidiaries — Lufthansa is Germany and Europe’s biggest airline, yet still manages to provide exceptional service. It operates services to 197 international destinations and also won Skytrax’s prize for Best Transatlantic Airline and Best Airline in Western Europe.
10. Finnair — Finnair is Finland’s flagship carrier and was founded in 1923, making it one of the oldest in the world. Finnair excelled when it came to the efficiency and punctuality of its fleet which, in 2015, transported over 10 million passengers.
9. Air Canada — Air Canada is the world’s tenth largest passenger airline by fleet size and also won Global Traveler magazine’s award for the best airline in North America for ten consecutive years.
8. Cathay Pacific Airways — The Hong Kong-based airline was given full points for its quality and service. Skytrax respondents also gave the airline high marks for seat comfort, service quality, and in-flight entertainment.
7. Air Baltic — Latvia’s flag carrier is a low-cost carrier that operates only within Europe. It had the lowest score for quality and service of all the carriers in the top 14, but scored remarkably well for its claims processing and the number of flights that arrive on time.
6. Virgin Atlantic Airways — Richard Branson’s transatlantic carrier scored pretty evenly across the board, putting it in a healthy sixth place. The British airline recently partnered with US airline Delta putting it in direct competition with the British Airways-American partnership.
5. KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines — Founded in 1919, The Netherlands’ flagship carrier is the oldest in the world and is still going strong. Its 156-plane fleet has one of the best safety records and is extremely punctual, with 88% of all flights arriving and departing on time.
4. Singapore Airlines — Singapore Airlines was one of the few to earn full marks for its quality and service, but its poor turnaround time in processing complaints and payouts means its overall standing was damaged.
3. Austrian Airlines — Austrian Airlines is a subsidiary of Lufthansa and has weathered labour disputes in the past few years to retain its position towards the top of AirHelp’s ranking. Its service is punctual, it offers first-rate service, and complaints and compensation are handled efficiently.
2. Air Dolomiti — Perhaps an surprising contender for second place, Air Dolomiti is one of Italy’s regional airlines but is controlled by Lufthansa. The company’s fleet is made up of just 10 planes but had the strongest ‘on-time performance’ score of any of the airlines in the top 14.
1. Qatar Airways — The best airline in the world according to AirHelp is the Doha-based Qatar Airways. It scored well across the board but earned top marks for its overall quality and service. The airline flies to over 125 destinations across the globe and is expanding to a further 50 new destinations.