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Asian and middle-eastern airlines have scooped the pool in the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards, with Qantas slipping down the ladder for the fourth year in a row.
That the Red Roo is still considered the world's eighth-best airline overall will no doubt be welcome news for Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and his team.
But the smiles will be twice as wide because Jetstar – which Joyce helmed from launch in 2003 and which he continues to hold up as an example of How Things Should Be when it comes to Qantas, especially in the international arena – was gonged as the best low-cost airline in the Australia-Pacific region.
(Admittedly there's not much competition, with the former Virgin Blue at second place and Tiger Airways running third.)
The surprise winner of the world's best airline award was Qatar Airways, which pipped a field of better-known brands including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Etihad and Emirates.
Skytrax is quick to defend this eyebrow-raising call, pointing out that the awards "are voted by over 18.8 million airline passengers from 100 different nationalities".
Cathay Pacific was voted as world’s best first class seat (shown above), followed by Etihad and Singapore Airlines.
The world’s best business class seats are found in an Oman Air plane, according to the Skytrax survey – and a glimpse at the photo above may help you guess why these outclassed the business-class benches of Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways.
Air New Zealand’s innovative Space Seat was recognised as the world’s best premium economy seat (above), ahead of Turkish Airlines and Qantas’ Marc Newson-Recarro A380 designs. (See Australian Business Traveller's full review of the seats.)
British Airways got the nod as world’s best business class airline lounge for its BA Galleries Lounge at Terminal 5, London Heathrow Airport, edging out the hip Clubhouse of Heathrow neighbour Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific’s luxe lounge The Wing at Hong Kong Airport.
Emirates took home a trophy for best inflight entertainment, with Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific also on the winner’s podium.
The world’s finest first class in-flight catering is served up by Etihad Airways, according to Skytrax, with Singapore Airlines in second place and Qantas in third.
The World’s Best Airlines (according to Skytrax)
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Asiana Airlines
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- Thai Airways International
- Etihad Airways
- Air New Zealand
- Qantas Airways
- Turkish Airlines