The world's best airline is ...

The world's best airline is ...

Skytrax World Airline Awards name the best airlines in the world, including best first class seats and cabin crew

Qatar Airways has been named the world's best airline at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards held during the Paris Air Show this year, with Singapore Airlines and Asiana Airlines in second and third.

The winners are voted for by more than 18.8 million airline passengers from 100 different nationalities over 10 months.

Cathay Pacific Airways and Thai Airways International came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand, Qantas Airways, Turkish Airlines and Emirates fill out the top 10 list.

Passengers also voted in 38 different categories of airline front-line services, from the best first-class cabins to the best economy-class meals.

Here’s a breakdown of the winners of this year’s Skytrax World Airline Awards.


World Airline Awards winners list

Skytrax Airline awardsWinner: Qatar Airways

The Doha-based airline flies to over 100 destinations around the world with a fleet of 96 aircraft. Qatar's fleet is one of the youngest in the world, with planes aged less than 4.1 years on average.

The airline purchased six more Boeing 777s at this year’s Paris Air Show.

The airline climbed two places from last year to reach the top in this year’s list.

Skytrax Airline awards2. Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines retains its second spot from last year. It flies to 62 destinations in 35 countries from its primary hub in Singapore. It is the first airline to operate the A380, the world’s largest jumbo jet.

The airline is famous for having gorgeous flight attendants, as documented here and here.

The airline also has a subsidiary airline, SilkAir, that serves short-haul routes within Asia. 

Singapore Airlines announced in May this year that it will launch a budget brand that will fly on medium- to long-haul destinations within one year.

Singapore Airlines launches low-cost carrier

Skytrax Airline awards3. Asiana Airlines

Asiana Airlines is one of South Korea's two major airlines, the other being Korean Air. It operates 14 domestic and 85 international routes. Its international hub is at Incheon International Airport.

Skytrax Airline awards4. Cathay Pacific Airways

The Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways includes flights to 114 destinations in 36 countries around the world. It operates a fleet of 100 passenger planes and retains the fourth position it won last year.

Skytrax Airline awards5. Thai Airways International

Thai Airways flies to 72 destinations worldwide using a fleet of 85 planes. Thai Airways flight attendants are required to change from their corporate purple suits into traditional Thai costume prior to passengers boarding.

Skytrax Airline awards6. Etihad Airways

7. Air New Zealand

8. Qantas Airways

9. Turkish Airlines

10. Emirates


Other winners

Best international airline in North America: Air Canada

A repeat win for Air Canada, coming top in 2010 too. The airline is the biggest in Canada serving 32 million passengers each year, with more than 170 destinations on five continents. 

Best domestic airline in North America: jetBlue Airways

jetBlue Airways is the inaugural winner of this new category for the awards. The low-cost airline has its main base in JFK Airport and serves 63 destinations in 21 states. 

Best airline in Europe: Turkish Airlines

Having come ninth in the grand prize category, Turkish Airlines takes top spot in Europe for its quality products and service concepts. It's the first time the airline enters the top 10 and it also won the Best Premium Economy Seat category. 

Best airline in Asia: Singapore Airlines

Second best in the world and best in Asia, Singapore Airlines can be pleased with its results, despite 2011 being the first time for four years the winner of this category did not also take the main title. 

Best airline first class: Etihad Airways

So luxurious, they are even planning to bring in on-board chefs to cook meals for their Diamond First class passengers. Runner ups are Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways.

Best airline economy class: Asiana Airlines

Asiana Airlines wins two awards, best economy-class airline and best cabin crew, a testament to its "high level of consistency" according to Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted. 

Best airline business class: Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines completes a hat-trick of awards, with its business class appealing to the premium passengers more than any other airline. 


Yet more winners

Best first class airline seat: Cathay Pacific Airways

Cathay Pacific first class seats quickly extend into full-length beds and passengers can request duvets, pillows and even "sleep suits."

Second place goes to Etihad Airways, who also won the best first class airline award this year, and Singapore Airlines round up the top three.

Best airline cabin staff: Asiana Airlines

Asian airlines dominate in this category, with Malaysia Airlines coming in second and Singapore Airlines clinching third place.

Best airline in-flight entertainment: Emirates

Emirates’ 'ice' Digital in-flight entertainment has over 600 channels of movies, TV shows, audio and games, and they even have widescreen sets for some flights.

Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways come in second and third in this category.

Best airline for economy-class meals: Thai Airways

Thai Airways take this title for their consistently high quality food in a category of seat that suggests you might get something worse than you do.  

World's best low-cost airline: AirAsia

AirAsia, owned by high-profile personality Tony Fernandes, has won this award for the third year running.

The airline plans to purchase 200 A320neos at this year's Paris Air Show, a record order.

JetStar Airways and Virgin America came in second and third in this category.

World's most improved airlines: China Southern Airlines

The Guangzhou-based airline is Asia's largest airline in terms of fleet size and passengers carried. They recently upgraded their front line product and services.


The runner-ups are Air China and Aeroflot Russian Airlines.