How to Travel with the Best International Airlines

Book your next flight with a winning airline by checking the annual Skytrax Awards rankings?

Credit: Flickr/matt.hinta

Air Canada was named Best North American Airline for 2010 by Skytrax

Skytrax, the world’s largest independent travel research firm, presents its Skytrax Awards each year to the airlines and airports that receive the most positive reviews

The results are in for 2010, and surprise — two Canadian airlines got top honours.

The winners are determined through a worldwide survey, which this year included the most respondents in its history. An astonishing number — more than 17 million air travellers from over 100 different nationalities — were involved in the voting process for 2010.

The survey was conducted between July 2009 and April 2010 using more than 38 different aspects of passenger satisfaction to rank airline products and services. Passenger trip reports, airline flight reviews, lounge reviews and seat reviews were all included in the tallies for more than 620 airlines and 645 airports.

Canada’s Top Two Airlines

For 2010, a big honour was given to Canada’s top two airlines. Both Air Canada and WestJet were recipients of the Skytrax World Airline Awards, which are known and respected around the globe as the Passenger’s Choice Awards, so this is a major accomplishment for our homegrown airlines — and they were up against some stiff competition.

Air Canada took home the title “Best Airline, North America,” while WestJet was handed the “Airline Staff Service Excellence Award, North America.”

WestJet beat out Alaska Airlines, Virgin America, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines in its category.

Asian Airlines Dominate Top Five

Asian airlines dominated the top three spots, with New Zealand in the fifth spot, followed by Cathay Pacific in fourth place, Qatar Airways coming in third, Singapore Airlines in second place, while Korea’s Asiana Airlines was named Airline of the Year 2010

So if you’re deciding between airlines, Skytrax’s official website is a great resource. Not only is it where the independent surveys are conducted for ranking airlines and airports, but you can also browse more than two million reviews submitted by travellers, ranging from “Cabin Appearance” on the aircraft to “Staff Service” in the lounge.

Travel tools like currency converters, route finders and weather forecasting are also available on the site.

Aside from the Skytrax Awards results, you can see how airlines are ranked overall through the Skytrax star rating system. The best airlines in the world, like Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways, are ranked at five stars, while the worst, such as Air Koryo, are ranked at only one star.

Congratulations to all the winners this year — especially, of course, Air Canada and WestJet.

Top 10 International Airlines

Want to fly with a winner? Here are the top picks in the Skytrax Airline of the Year Awards for 2010:

  1. Asiana Airlines

  2. Singapore Airlines

  3. Qatar Airways

  4. Cathay Pacific

  5. Air New Zealand

  6. Etihad Airways

  7. Qantas Airways

  8. Emirates

  9. Thai Airways

  10. Malaysia Airlines

Originally published in TV Week. For daily updates, subscribe to the free TV Week e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the weekly magazine.