What’s the number one quality you look for in an airline? After a chaotic summer at Europe’s airports, punctuality is probably up there.
But there’s much more that goes into a good experience in the skies. Now with seven years at the top of the league table, Qatar Airlines appears to have the winning formula according to its passengers.
The Gulf state’s national carrier was voted the ‘World’s Best Airline’ at the 2022 World Airline Awards last Friday. Known as 'the Oscars of the aviation industry’, it is run by UK-based consultancy Skytrax, with all awards based on a global customer satisfaction survey.
“Qatar Airways was the largest airline to have flown consistently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with their network never falling below 30 destinations, and that determination has clearly been well recognised by customers with this award,” says Edward Plaisted of Skytrax.
The airline’s boss, Akbar Al Baker, gave the credit to its employees, whose “continued dedication and drive is to ensure our passengers have the best experience possible when they fly with Qatar Airways.”
Like any airline, Qatar doesn’t have a spotless reputation however. Its record on gender equality has frequently made headlines, especially concerning the carrier’s predominantly female crew.
Until recently, women could be fired if they became pregnant. In 2018, Al Baker suggested that a woman would not be able to do his long-held job as chief executive. And in 2020, several passengers were forced to undergo invasive gynaecological examinations at Doha Airport.
What is the best airline in Europe?
European airlines didn’t dominate in the global rankings with just a handful coming in the overall top 10.
Singapore Airlines came second in the World’s Top 20 Airlines - and also scooped the World’s Best Cabin Staff award.
UAE flag carrier Emirates landed third, followed by Japan’s ANA All Nippon Airways in fourth, and Australia’s Qantas Airways in fifth place. More than 350 airlines were included in the survey results.
The top-rated European carrier was Turkish Airlines with satisfied customers putting it in seventh position. This is despite the airline cancelling the most flights in at one point this summer, according to analysis by travel data firm Mabrian.
The national airline of Latvia also triumphed at the awards. AirBaltic won the Best Airline in Eastern Europe for the first time, as well as the Most Improved Airline in Europe and the Best Airline Staff in Eastern Europe.