Airline rankings abound -- there are lists for the safest airlines, the most luxurious airlines, and the world’s best airlines overall. But a new ranking from travel industry data site Skift.com aims to help the majority of fliers: It's a list of the best economy class experiences on long-distance flights.
Because let’s face it, most travelers can put up with a cramped space and less-than-ideal service for a short jaunt. But when you’re stuck on a plane for several hours or more and you’re flying with the masses, not the 1 percent, who cares which airline has the toniest offerings in first class? Enter Skift’s “Best Economy Long-Haul Experience List.”
After examining a variety of factors such as seat comfort, ease of booking online, quality of meals, and in-flight technology and entertainment, two carriers based in the Middle East tied for the top spot: Etihad and Qatar Airways. There was a three-way tie for second place, among Turkish Airlines, Emirates Airlines and All Nippon Airways. But Skift notes that the second-place winners were just one point short of the total score earned by Etihad and Qatar. Bottom line? Coach-class fliers will be happy with any of these top five airlines.
Unsurprisingly, no U.S.-based carriers earned accolades (other than in the regional North America’s Best category, which American Airlines won). Colombia's Avianca took the prize for Latin America’s Best, while Africa’s Best went to South African Airways. Top winners Etihad and Qatar naturally took the Middle East’s Best title, as did Turkish Airlines for Europe’s Best and All Nippon Airways for Asia’s Best.
To be considered for the rankings, airlines had to be ones readers “were most likely to have reason to fly, based on the larger numbers of daily departures and destinations each airline offered.” The result? Many smaller or regional airlines on the list didn’t make the cut. Long-haul flights were those that flew from the airline’s major hub to a major hub in Europe or the U.S.