TripAdvisor users rate Singapore Airlines best in world again; Cathay Pacific misses top 10

Hong Kong's flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways, has failed to make the world’s top 10 airlines list for the second consecutive year in an online poll organised by the world’s largest travel website.

In the TripAdvisor's Travellers’ Choice awards for Airlines, which identifies passengers’ favourite carriers around the globe, Singapore Airlines is once again the number one airline. It is the second consecutive year that Singapore Airlines has won the top honour. The company also won the title of the world's best economy-class airline.

“We are very pleased to be a back-to-back winner of the Best Airline in the World accolade in these prestigious awards,” says Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines. “We wish to thank our customers for their ongoing support, as well as our staff from all around the world who go the extra mile every day to deliver the best travel experience to our customers.”

Although Cathay Pacific missed out on a placing, the global top 10 is dominated by Asian airlines, with Taiwan's EVA Air, and Japan's JAL and ANA all featuring.

TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Top 10 Airlines in the World

1. Singapore Airlines

2. Qatar Airways

3. EVA Air

4. Emirates

5. Japan Airlines (JAL)

6. Southwest Airlines

7. Azul

8. Air New Zealand


10. ANA (All Nippon Airways)

The only substantial change compared to the Traveller’s Choice Awards 2018 is that ANA has replaced Korean Air, which dropped out of the global Top 10. Air New Zealand also tumbled to eighth place from second position in 2018, white Qatar Airlines did the opposite, rising to second place.

The Asia-specific awards for major airlines saw China represented by China Airlines and Hainan Airlines, with Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Thai Airways all ranked.

TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Major Airlines: Asia

1. Singapore Airlines

2. ANA (All Nippon Airways)

3. China Airlines

4. EVA Air

5. Garuda Indonesia

6. Hainan Airlines

7. Japan Airlines (JAL)

8. Korean Air

9. Thai Airways

Indonesia's IndiGo won “best low cost airline”, while India's Vistara won “best regional airline”, and there was vindication for Kazakhstan's Air Astana. It was named “least desired” carrier in a 2018 survey by Graphic Springs of passengers’ brand perception of the top airlines, but Air Astana came second in the TripAdvisor Best Regional Airline section, and also topped the rankings for “passenger comfort” in Asia.

TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Regional Airlines: Asia

1. Vistara

2. Air Astana

3. Bangkok Airways

4. Royal Brunei Airlines

5. THAI Smile Airways

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the TripAdvisor rankings is the airlines that are not included; an airline's brand and the reality of flying with it don't necessarily tally. For example, the two airlines with the most brand recognition worldwide, according to Graphic Springs – Lufthansa and British Airways – failed to make it into TripAdvisor's top ranks of global airlines. Similarly, the most desired airline brands are Etihad, Qatar Airways and Lufthansa, but of the three, only Qatar Airways made the ”'Top 10 Airlines” list in TripAdvisor’s rankings.

In separate “'Class of Service” awards, there were more surprises. Although Singapore Airlines grabbed the “best economy Asia” award, EVA Air had success in both “best premium economy” and “best business class”, and Japan Airlines won the title of “best first class Asia”. Last month, JAL was named by FlightStats as “best on-time Asia-Pacific airline” for its domestic and international flights operated in 2018.

TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Class of Service: Global

Best First Class: Emirates

Best Business Class: Qatar Airways

Best Premium Economy: Air New Zealand

Best Economy: Singapore Airlines

TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Class of Service: Asia

Best First Class Asia: Japan Airlines

Best Economy Asia: Singapore Airlines

Best Premium Economy: EVA Air

Best Regional Business Class: Garuda Indonesia

Best Business Class: EVA Air

“The airline industry continues to focus on improving the overall flying experience, and these award-winning carriers are at the forefront,” says Bryan Salzberg, president, TripAdvisor Flights, Cruise & Car, congratulating the 57 airlines that featured in the awards. “Airlines worldwide recognise this Travellers’ Choice award as a huge testament to consumer recognition.”

The Travellers’ Choice award winners were determined by an algorithm based on the quality and quantity of flier reviews and ratings for airlines on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period between January and December 2018. TripAdvisor claims it generated 730 million user reviews and opinions in 2018.

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