With fees on the rise and service quality on the decline, flying commercial these days can be seriously unpleasant. Fortunately for fliers, some airlines still put customers first.
We found the world’s best airlines for flying economy class.
To create this list, we devised a ranking system based on the two most important factors for a pleasant trip: an enjoyable experience in the plane and timely departure and arrival.
We looked at dozens of major international airlines that fly long-haul routes, and evaluated the quality of the economy-class flying experience and the airline’s on-time performance.
To evaluate the in-flight experience, we looked to leading airline reviewer Skytrax. We considered several categories from Skytrax, including seat comfort, in-flight entertainment, cabin cleanliness and condition, quality of meals served, service efficiency, and cabin safety standards. Skytrax ranks each of these categories out of five stars. We ascribed 20 points for each star. So if an airline received five stars in a category, they would get 100 points for that category. We tallied the points for each category, and then averaged those points to come up with a final in-flight-experience score.
Flightstats.com provided the on-time performance figures (from April 1, 2014, to May 31, 2014) for each airline. Figures are for marketed, or codeshare, flights. For example, if American Airlines advertises a fare for a flight that is operated by Delta (carriers often make such marketing agreements), and the Delta flight is delayed, that delay is reflected in the on-time performance ratings for both airlines.
We then combined the two categories, but because we believe that the in-flight experience is one of the most important factors when flying, we weighted the Skytrax stats more heavily. We found the average score of the in-flight experience average (70%) and the on-time performance (30%) to come up with an overall score. Ratings are out of 100 points.
See the graph below for the full data.
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