Travelling great distances by plane can be arduous, but some airlines are better than other for long-haul flights — that is, trips of at least six hours.
According to aviation consumer website AirlineRatings.com, some are certainly more pleasant than others for those long intercontinental journeys.
The Australian website named the best long-haul airline in various regions of the globe. Here they are:
Etihad Airways (Middle East/Africa)
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier is 11 years old, and yet it has managed to build a sterling reputation for world-class service and excellence. With fellow Gulf-based carriers like Emirates and Qatar both trying to become the best in the world, Etihad has its work cut out.
But the editorial team at AirlineRatings.com doesn’t seem worried:
“Etihad’s commitment to excellence appears to know no bounds. The airline’s new First Class and Business Class offerings are breathtaking and have set a new benchmark in luxury travel.”
And what a benchmark it is. The airline’s new first-class suites — called “The Residence” — have over 100 square feet of space and include a living room, bedroom, shower, and butler. Etihad’s long-haul fleet consists of new Airbus A330, A340, A380, and Boeing 777 wide-body airliners.
EVA Air (Asia/Pacific)
Taiwan’s EVA Air (pronounced /ee-vee-ay/) was founded in 1989 and is an offshoot of global container-shipping giant Evergreen Group. The Taipei-based carrier has grown immensely in the past two decades and now operates a large fleet of Airbus and Boeing wide-body jets. The airlines is credited with pioneering the “premium economy” cabin.
“EVA Air is the quiet achiever and trendsetter and was one of the first airlines to introduce premium economy class,” AirlineRatings.com said. “EVA Air has a perfect safety record and was one of the first airline’s to order the 777-300ER the backbone of international air fleets.”
The Airline’s most recent claim to fame is a fleet of Hello Kitty jets. The planes are not just painted with the cartoon feline’s likeness — they also feature Hello Kitty-themed food, interior decor, and crew uniforms.
LAN Chile (The Americas)
LAN Chile finished as the top long-haul carrier is all of the Americas. AirlineRatings.com selected the Santiago-based company ahead of larger and better publicized American and Canadian heavyweights like American, United, Delta, and Air Canada. According to the website’s editorial team, this should have come as a surprise.
“In South America and beyond the name Lan Chile is a byword for excellence in service and safety,” the editors said. “The airline has become a catalyst for huge growth in air travel in South America with a focus on safety and passenger service.”
As one half of the LATAM Airlines Group, LAN together with Brazil’s TAM Airlines along with their respective subsidiaries have joined to form one of the most powerful airline companies in the world. LAN Chile was also the one of the first airlines in the world the adopt the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Germany’s Lufthansa beat out European stalwarts such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Swiss International, and Air France. Although the company has been plagued by labour disputes, its sterling service and safety record are unblemished.
“For decades Lufthansa has been a pillar of dependability, safety, in-flight service and environmental leadership,” AirlineRatings.com said. “AirlineRatings’ editors were unanimous in their praise for Lufthansa’s leadership in the industry in aircraft selection, product innovation and dependability.”
Operating out of its mega-hub at Frankfurt Airport, Lufthansa’s long-haul duties are carried out by a fleet of Airbus A330, A340, and A380 aircraft along with Boeing 747s. In fact, it is the only airline to operate both the Boeing 747-8I Jumbo jet and the Airbus A380 super jumbo.
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