Here’s a sorry bit of news. There are no U.S. carriers among the top 10 airlines named in the World Airline Awards. We couldn’t even pick up the prize for best airline in North America. (Damn you, Air Canada!)
Worldwide, it was a bit of an Asian sweep. Singapore Airlines took first place for the second year in a row, five of the top 10 airlines are Asian, and Korean Air took top honors for economy class cabins.
The awards are made by the air transport consulting firm Skytrax. They’re based on passenger questionnaires and interviews that evaluated dozens of factors, from cabin lighting to baggage handling.
Travel & Leisure magazine came up with results that are similar, though not identical, when it surveyed its subscribers. Singapore Airlines emerged on top, and six of its top 10 international airlines are Asian carriers. One U.S.-based carrier, the new all-business-class Maxjet, made the top 10.
T&L rated domestic airlines separately, and put Midwest Airlines at the top. Midwest also does well in Skytrax’s airline rankings (separate from the awards) as one of only three U.S. carriers to earn four stars. The other two are low-cost carriers Frontier and JetBlue.
Speaking of JetBlue, I should mention that it won best North American low-cost carrier in the Skytrax awards. (Take that, Canada! And Mexico!)
So where are the legacy American carriers, the so-called Big Six? Skunked times six.
I have an idea that might help, though. I noticed that two airlines that consistently score near the top of these surveys are Qatar Airways and Qantas. I’m wondering whether maybe people like airline names that have a "Q" without a "u."
Are you listening Qontinental?