While everyone has their preferences when it comes to air travel, it’s indisputable that some airlines are simply better quality, offer more amenities, and have friendlier crews than others. There are so many categories relating to airline excellence — it’s actually quite staggering — but Skytrax has compiled its annual rankings to help you determine which airlines you should probably be flying in the future. Whether it has the best cabin cleanliness, best economy service, or best airline spa facility, Skytrax has all the important areas covered. Here are some standouts from the 2018 World Airline Awards.
The most coveted award is, of course, World’s Best Airline. This year, the honor goes to Singapore Airlines, followed by Qatar Airways, ANA All Nippon Airways, Emirates, EVA Air, Cathay Pacific Airways, Lufthansa, Hainan Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, and Thai Airways. A trend immediately becomes obvious — there is a noticeable absence of European and North American airlines as the top 10 is dominated by services from the Middle East and Asia.
Perhaps of greatest interest to many fliers is the Best Low-Cost Airlines list. For the 10th year in a row, AirAsia has taken the top spot, with Norwegian, EasyJet, Jetstar Airways, and AirAsia X following closely behind. When it comes strictly to long-haul budget options, however, Norwegian takes the crown. It also won Best Low-Cost Airline in Europe.
Arguably as important as cost is the cleanliness of your flight experience. When it comes to sanitation, ANA All Nippon Airways won the top spot in the World’s Best Airline Cabin Cleanliness category. These rankings were determined by passenger reviews of the cleanliness of seat areas, tables, carpets, cabin panels, and washrooms. EVA Air, Asiana Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Japan Airlines also received recognition for their cleanliness, as well.
For many travelers, friendliness might be even more important than cleanliness. While all cabin crews are supposed to wear a sunny demeanor, there’s no doubt that some are in better spirits and offer more attentive service than others. In the Best Airline Cabin Crew category, Garuda Indonesia came in at number one, trailed closely by Singapore Airlines, ANA All Nippon Airways, Thai Airways, and EVA Air.
Most of us fly economy class, so we naturally wonder: what airline takes the best care of its economy passengers? Although Japan Airlines won Best Economy Class Airline Seats, the overall award went to Thai Airlines, which also took home the distinction of having the best economy-class catering. Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, and ANA All Nippon Airways also placed in the top five.
Just like in sports, the World Airline Awards recognizes those who have really upped their game. The criteria for World’s Most Improved Airline focus on the airline’s change in its global rating and performance improvements across different categories. This year, China Southern Airlines was named the world’s most improved airline, followed by Philippine Airlines, Fiji Airways, Ryanair, and Japan Airlines.