U.S. Airlines Don’t Rate

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?


2 thoughts on “U.S. Airlines Don’t Rate

  1. Zack Rules

    Antigua and Barbuda
    The Bahamas
    Costa Rica
    Dominican Republic
    El Salvador
    Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)
    Saint Kitts and Nevis
    Saint Lucia
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
    Trinidad and Tobago
    One should also recognize that these countries also constitute North America. Few people tend to realize this.

  2. Jeanne Leblanc

    Hey Zack, (see comment below)
    I’ll grant that you are correct in the strictest geological interpretation of the earth’s land masses, one in which the isthmus of Panama is seen not as a separate region called Central America but as a physical extension of North America. Ditto with the Caribbean, which can geologically be lumped in with North America.
    But I don’t think most of us are talking in geological terms. Travelers, politicians, etc., are using terms like North America as geopolitical labels that are commonly understood to mean something else. To most of us, the divisions of Central America and the Caribbean are far more relevant than the strictest geographic interpretation and we consistently speak of them as separate from North America.
    Indeed, the awards I was writing about had a separate section for Central America. And the Caribbean is regarded, politically, as part of the Americas in general but not of North America in particular. Even Greenland is viewed, in a political sense, as an island/continent and not a player in the issues of North America.
    I can see how the political intepretation would be irritating to someone of a scientific disposition. But I can’t say that I’m likely to adopt the strict scientific view, which would certainly confuse me and my readers.


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