Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top 10 Long-Haul Airlines of 2012, According To ‘Which?’ Magazine

This photo is a clue about the winner!
What is the magic formula for determining the world’s best airline? Ask a hundred people and you will get a hundred different answers!

However, the well-known consumer magazine “Which?” bases its annual airline survey on elements such as value for money, functionality, cabin environment and staff.

The survey, which is divided into long-haul and short-haul categories, asks people to rate airlines in each of these factors, in addition to scoring their overall satisfaction and whether they would recommend the airline to their friends. The results are always interesting and tend to divide the aviation industry – some agree, some disagree and some are happy to sit on the fence.

I’m sure the debate will continue with the results of the latest survey, which have just been published. For this post, I will focus on the long-haul results, with 8000 respondents giving their views on 23 different airlines that offer flights from the UK. Can you guess which airlines came out on top?

“Take a return long-haul flight and you’re likely to be spending at least £400 and 14 hours in the air. So finding a reliable, punctual airline that provides value for money, comfortable conditions and a good in-air service could make all the difference to your holiday,” the magazine tells its readers.

“The airline used by more members than any other was British Airways (BA), but it’s four other carriers flying to Asia and on to Australia and New Zealand that have won your greatest support once again. If the scenes in The Hobbit have left you itching to travel to New Zealand, that nation’s flag carrier, Air New Zealand, should serve you well. Alongside it, Singapore Airlines and Emirates are long-standing high scorers in Which? surveys, joined this year in the top ranks by Etihad Airways.”

So, drum roll please… here is the top 10 long-haul airlines of 2012, according to the survey:
  1. Air New Zealand (Overall Score: 86%)
  2. Etihad Airways (Overall Score: 84%)
  3. Singapore Airlines (Overall Score: 83%)
  4. Emirates (Overall Score: 81%)
  5. Qatar Airways (Overall Score: 75%)
  6. Thai Airways (Overall Score: 74%)
  7. Cathay Pacific (Overall Score: 74%)
  8. KLM (Overall Score: 73%)
  9. Malaysia Airlines (Overall Score: 71%)
  10. Qantas (Overall Score: 70%)
Considering the survey only focuses on airlines that serve the UK, it’s somewhat surprising that none of the country’s carriers were featured in the top 10! Virgin Atlantic ranked at number 11 with an overall score of 69%, while British Airways is placed at number 12 with an overall score of 65%.

The rest of the Top 20, in order, is: Jet Airways (64%), Air Canada (60%), South African Airways (60%), Air Transat (56%), Thomson Airways (55%), United (51%), Delta (47%) and Air France (44%). The remaining three positions are taken by US Airways (43%), Thomas Cook Airlines (43%) and American Airlines (42%).

“It’s worth choosing your airline carefully if you’re heading to the States – three of our five worst performers are US-based carriers. Typical complaints about American Airlines, for instance, were about the poor onboard service from staff, uncomfortable seats and a lack,” concluded +Which? Magazine.

Do you agree with the ranking? Feel free to post a comment. Also, you can click here for the relevant section on the Which? website for this survey, with loads of additional information. And thanks to the team for letting me post the results!

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  1. What about Royal Brunei Airlines

  2. Us airways is also a cool airlines in usa.

  3. Would be interesting to see the breakdown for different classes

  4. Have in recent times flown Singapore, Cathay & Emirates,from UK to Australia & return, all are deserving of their top 10 placings !
    As an economy class traveller I find no fault with these carriers .

  5. Singapore Airline is my favourite when travelling out East. When Emirates was voted best airline about five years ago, I changed allegiance and fly to Bangkok via Dubai. Dubai is a boring airport, much prefer Changi, airline seats (777) were the most uncomfortable I have ever travelled in. Cabin service was not as slick or as friendly as SIA.

  6. These polls are not always reliable, for one, Cathay Pacific is a 5 star airline, and should be in the top 3 Emirates are not really on par with the Asian carriers at all, especially with regards to service. The problem is those who vote, usually do it after one flight, and then they have nothing to compare to. Yes Emirates are the cheapest and will therefore have the most votes, if we use the same system for cars Rolls Royce and Bentley would be far below BMW and Mercedes, not that they are worse cars in any way, just because not a lot of people buy them. Being a frequent traveler I would rate Cathay, Qatar , Malaysia and Singapore, higher based on their superior product and service being a 5 star airline. Hong Kong and Singapore stand out with regards to stopovers and airports. I will prefer not to fly Emirates just because of the crap airport they have.

  7. You can get any award... you just have to pay for it.


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