AIRLINENEWS

Skytrax Revealed The Best In The 2017 World Airlines Awards

Qatar Airways A380

Skytrax announced the SKYTRAX 2017 World Airlines Awards winner at the Paris Air Show with Qatar Airways taking home the grand prize.

 

Skytrax

Almost 20 million surveys were conducted between August 2016 and May 2017 to determine the awards this year. Of the 320 airlines eligible this year, here are the top 30 (complete list can be found here):

2017 Ranking 2016 Ranking Airline Name IATA Airline Code Type of Airline Cabins Offered Alliance Major Hub Airports Region
1 2 Qatar Airways QR Full Service First, Business, Economy oneworld DOH Middle East
2 3 Singapore Airlines SQ Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance SIN Asia / Pacific
3 5 ANA All Nippon Airways NH Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance NRT, HND Asia / Pacific
4 1 Emirates EK Full Service First, Business, Economy DXB Middle East
5 4 Cathay Pacific Airways CX Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy oneworld HKG Asia / Pacific
6 8 EVA Air BR Full Service Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance TPE Asia / Pacific
7 10 Lufthansa LH Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance MUC, FRA Europe
8 6 Etihad Airways EY Full Service Residence, First, Business, Economy AUH Middle East
9 12 Hainan Airlines HU Full Service Business, Economy SkyTeam HAK, PEK Asia / Pacific
10 11 Garuda Indonesia U3 Full Service First, Business, Economy SkyTeam CGK Asia / Pacific
11 13 Thai Airways TG Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance BKK Asia / Pacific
12 7 Turkish Airlines TK Full Service Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance IST Europe
13 18 Virgin Australia VA Hybrid Business, Premium Economy, Economy SYD, MEL, BNE Asia / Pacific
14 15 Swiss International Air Lines LX Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance GVA, ZRH Europe
15 9 Qantas Airways QF Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy oneworld SYD Asia / Pacific
16 21 Japan Airlines JL Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy oneworld NRT Asia / Pacific
17 19 Austrian OS Full Service Business, Economy Star Alliance VIE Europe
18 14 Air France AF Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy SkyTeam CDG Europe
19 17 Air New Zealand NZ Full Service Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance AKL Asia / Pacific
20 16 Asiana Airlines OZ Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance ICN Asia / Pacific
21 20 Bangkok Airways PG Full Service Business, Economy BKK, CNX, HKT Asia / Pacific
22 24 KLM KL Full Service Business, Premium Economy, Economy SkyTeam AMS Europe
23 32 China Southern CZ Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy SkyTeam CAN, PEK Asia / Pacific
24 29 Hong Kong Airlines HZ Low Cost Business, Economy HKG Asia / Pacific
25 27 Finnair AY Full Service Business, Premium Economy, Economy oneworld HEL Europe
26 23 AirAsia QZ Low Cost Premium Economy, Economy KUL, BKI, PEN Asia / Pacific
27 22 Cathay Dragon KA Full Service First, Business, Economy HKG Asia / Pacific
28 30 Norwegian DY Low Cost Premium Economy, Economy OSL, LGW Europe
29 31 Air Canada AC Full Service Business, Premium Economy, Economy Star Alliance YYZ, YUL, YVR Americas
30 40 Aeroflot SU Full Service First, Business, Premium Economy, Economy SkyTeam SVO Europe

 

With three airlines joining the 2017 list, three dropped off from the chart. They included Virgin Atlantic (VS)(No. 28 -> 33), British Airways (BA) (26 -> 40) and Virgin America (VX) (25 -> 43). Depending on when the surveys were conducted, British Airways’ big drop may have been contributed by the information technology problems it experienced in May 2017 (News).

Highlights

  • This is the second time Qatar Airways made number one in the past five years. The airline never left the top three during that time.
  • Aeroflot has made great strides over the past five years with the biggest leap into the top 30 (85 -> 51 -> 46 -> 40 > 30). The biggest ranking drop in the last five years from the top 30 is from Malaysian Airlines (14 -> 31).
  • Airline alliance members took 22 out of 30 placings with eleven Star Alliance airlines making the list
  • The surveys show that flyers prefer airlines that are consistent and don’t suffer many delays. Some airlines use a fuel card to ensure they know all their planes are well fueled and won’t have to make any detours or cause any delays.
  • Most of the airlines are from the Asia / Pacific region (17 out of 30 placings). Only one is from the Americas (Air Canada).
    B787 International Business Class
    On Board Air Canada’s Boeing 787 – International Business Class Source: Air Canada
  • Most of the airlines are classified as full service but Virgin Australia taking the highest place as a low cost carrier hybrid (i.e. low cost pricing model with some full service perks as add ons)
  • Premium Economy cabin is gaining grounds as 21 out of 30 airlines has it with Austrian soon to join the list (News)
    Boeing 777-200ER with Control Tower
    Austrian Boeing 777-200ER Source: Austrian

 

Methodology Used

Customers are asked to fill in surveys (using a 1 to 5 scale) at airports, on board (may be requested in a voluntary basis by an airline) or online. Scores are weighted based on size of the airline and include the following items.

GROUND / AIRPORT ONBOARD PRODUCT CABIN SERVICE
  • Airline website
  • Online booking
  • Online check-in
  • Baggage / carry-on policy
  • Airport ticketing
  • Check-in : waiting times
  • Check-in : service standards
  • Self Check-in
  • Pre-boarding procedures
  • Boarding efficiency
  • Airport staff: friendliness
  • Airport staff: efficiency
  • Airline Lounge : product facilities
  • Airline Lounge : staff efficiency
  • Airline Lounge : staff hospitality
  • Transfer services
  • Arrival services
  • Baggage Delivery
  • Seat comfort
  • Cabin cleanliness
  • Toilet cleanliness
  • Cabin lighting / ambience
  • Cabin temperatures
  • Cabin comfort & amenities
  • Reading materials
  • Airline magazine
  • IFE screen & interface
  • Choice of AV programming
  • On demand AV options
  • Cabin WiFi & connectivity
  • Quality of meals
  • Quantity of food
  • Selection of meals
  • Standard / choice of beverages
  • Selection of buy-onboard Food & Beverage
  • Prices of buy-onboard Food & Beverage
  • Boarding assistance
  • Service friendliness / hospitality
  • Service attentiveness / efficiency
  • Staff language skills
  • Meal service efficiency
  • Cabin presence thru flight
  • Cabin PA announcements
  • Cockpit PA information
  • Assisting families
  • Problem solving skills
  • Staff attitudes
  • Staff service consistency
  • Staff Grooming

 

How Can Airlines Use The Results?

Many airlines use the Skytrax survey as one of many tools to gauge their performance on the world’s stage. Good results are likely used in marketing campaigns to entice potential first time or repeated customers in flying with the airline. Larger full service airlines typically suffer from this type of survey because they may have regional and long haul components offering big differences in amenities and service. In this case, the person flying in a wide body international first class may have a vastly different opinion than someone on board a regional single class flight. It is better for the airline to set up the right expectation so that customers would have an enjoyable experience regardless of the flight.

Many of the items in the Skytrax methodology can be managed through technology. Delta Air Lines, for example, is introducing new biometrics trials with goals to speed up boarding at its Atlanta and New York JFK hubs (News). The use of communication technologies such as Apple Messages and Facebook Messenger (News) will change how customers would be engaged as a way to reduce travel anxiety. Mobile application design and deployment, which are not in Skytrax methodology, is playing a bigger role in how quickly and timely passengers are being serviced.

 

What Else Do Airlines Do To Obtain Feedback?

Some airlines take Skytrax ranking with a grain of salt as they believe the surveys does not provide consistent results, may be completed by untrained passengers who may be biased (based on culture practices or influenced by current news) or may not have enough experience to rank a product from 1 o 5 in comparison with others. Some airlines may deploy a secret shopping program to obtain more instant and quantifiable notes from trained personnel. Others include a feedback tool in the in flight entertainment to obtain feedback before the passenger arrives at the destination.

For more in depth analysis, airlines hire or conduct their own group discussions with frequent and casual flyers in major cities. This analysis can play an integral part for the airline to evaluate 1. current service levels and whether it is meeting internal metrics, 2. future product and service offering and 3. how change of service may affect the travel experience.

 

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