WORLD'S BEST AIRLINES
The results of the Telegraph Travel Awards 2014, one of the most comprehensive and reliable surveys of its kind, have now been announced and included in the awards are the world's best long-haul airlines and the best short haul operators. The best airlines as chosen by readers in the the world's biggest reader travel awards are for long haul - Winner: Singapore Airlines and Runners up Emirates & Virgin Atlantic
Singapore Airlines, which operates the hugely popular Airbus A380 superjumbo from Singapore’s Changi International airport (many people’s favourite hub) has been voted favourite long-haul airline by Telegraph readers for the third year in a row. Singapore Airlines was the first to fly the A380 and its onboard service is still best in class. The airline also stands out from the rest with an economy class that is as spacious as economy gets, and the benefit for frequent-flier economy passengers of their own lounge at Changi. Business class is also good, in fact is better than first class on many rival carriers. The seats are in a 1-2-1 configuration across the upper deck. No other airline offers such large seats and so much space. Finally first – or rather suite – class sets the standard for private cabins. Passengers lucky enough to be flying in one of these have a choice of either Krug or Dom Perignon to enjoy with their caviar.
Runner-up this year is Emirates, now the world’s largest long-haul airline by passenger kilometres flown, which operates out of the world’s busiest international hub, Dubai International. In spite of soaraway expansion, the UAE carrier has managed to keep its standards high and is now benefiting from a dedicated A380 concourse at Dubai’s Terminal 3.
The other runner-up, Virgin Atlantic, has hit turbulence during the recession, so it is a remarkable feat that it has made the top three. The reasons? Service, service, service. Three decades after Sir Richard Branson knocked the stuffing out of flying, his staff are still the best on the ground and in the air. The cabin crew not only go the extra (air) mile, they do it with great style and some very British humour. Virgin’s Clubhouses are better than the lounges offered by any other carrier – and now that the airline is getting its first Boeing 787 Dreamliners, you’d imagine that things can only get better.
The top 10 long-haul airlines in full are:-
1. Singapore Airlines
3. Virgin Atlantic
4. British Airways
5. Air New Zealand
7. Cathay Pacific
8. Qatar Airways
9. Thai Airways International
10. EVA Air
British Airways was the winner of the best short-haul airline with Runners up Swiss & Icelandair
Ryanair is currently trying to stealing a march on British Airways by adapting its famous sobriquet and describing itself as Europe’s Favourite Airline. But as far as Telegraph readers are concerned, it is traditional, not no-frills service, which counts, and Ryanair doesn’t even feature in the top three. Instead British Airways wins the Best Short-Haul Airline category for the fourth year in a row. No doubt customer perceptions are helped by the fact that it operates from some of the more attractive airport terminals - in particular Terminal Five at Heathrow, the North Terminal at Gatwick, and rapidly expanding London City Airport. But modern aircraft, a decent punctuality record, and friendly cabin crew are also plus points. Building on this success, BA has also been expanding its choice of short haul destinations aimed at leisure travellers. This December sees new winter sun and ski destinations including Fuerteventura, Friedrichshafen and Grenoble, while other routes launching in summer 2015 will include Cagliari in Sardinia, Heraklion in Crete, Rhodes in Greece and Bodrum and Dalaman in Turkey.
Second place Swiss, which has consistently been the bridesmaid to BA in recent surveys, also enjoys a head start when it comes to the airports it serves. Its two main hubs are Zurich and Geneva - among the best run airports in Europe. But perhaps it is the generous offering of free mini Swiss chocolate bars which are handed round before landing which has also swayed a few readers.
In third spot is Icelandair - a creditable performance for an airline serving a tiny population. It has however benefitted from a boom in travel to a destination which has become much more affordable for British travellers to visit since the financial crash of 2008/09 hit it so badly.
The top 10 short-haul airlines in full are:-
1. British Airways
5. Aurigny Air
8. Air Malta
10. Austrian Airlines