Air New Zealand Named World’s Airline of the Year
By Burt Carey
Few domestic air travelers would know what world travelers will tell you: Flying on overseas airlines is a far better experience than you’ll find in a typical flight anywhere in the United States.
So says AirlineRatings.com, the safety and product rating website that named Air New Zealand as its Airline of the Year for 2016. AirlineRatings.com, which celebrates and promotes excellence in the airline industry, presents its prestigious Airline Excellence Awards annually. Winners this year include: Qantas, Cathay Pacific Airways, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, Kulula.com, Lufthansa, Delta Air Lines, Norwegian, Scoot, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America.
“Air New Zealand is being honored for the third consecutive year for its continuous passenger innovations, environmental commitment, record-breaking financial performance, operational safety and motivation of its staff that have cemented the airline an industry trendsetter,” AirlineRatings.com reported on Dec. 1.
“Air New Zealand’s focus on its staff has resulted in outstanding performance right across the airline at every touch point,” said AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas. “The innovation at Air New Zealand continues to dazzle and the airline has rolled out some stunning new technology including innovative tracking of unaccompanied children and a wonderful App to get you a prefect cup of coffee before your flight.”
“Put simply Air New Zealand remains the industry leader and a textbook case of what an airline should be in today’s intensely competitive market.”
Air New Zealand was also awarded as the Best Premium Economy Class and Best Economy Class. Judges, made up of AirlineRatings.com’s editorial team, said Air New Zealand’s comprehensive long haul offering has two multi-award winning products in the Skycouch and Spaceseat for economy passengers.
The Best First Class Award went to Etihad Airways, based out of Abu Dhabi.
“Etihad’s commitment to excellence appears to know no bounds,” Thomas said. “The airline’s new First Class and Business Class offerings are quite stunning and have set the bar even higher in luxury travel. In what is an incredible achievement in just over 12 years Etihad Airways has stamped itself not only as a major force in the airline industry but a trendsetter.”
Guest editor Sam Chui experienced an Etihad first-class apartment in January: “I was among the first to board the upper deck of the A380. A Flight Attendant (FA) took me to my seat, 4A, and it is just WOW from there!
“The space was enormous and it has a unique layout in every apartment! Once on board we received a welcome drink and hot towel, welcome letter from the cabin manager and Arabic date. Arabic coffee was also available pre take off.
“Within each apartment is a stocked mini fridge, dressing mirror and the password to access the on board Wi-Fi for free. The on board chef, Chef Thomas, came around to take the food orders. Guests can dine at anytime and order anything they want during the flight. It is also not necessary to have course by course meals. I took a more traditional way of dining by having a 5 course meal an hour after takeoff. The set up was excellent, like a fine restaurant.”
Chui’s flight was rounded out with some play on the airline’s E-box entertainment system, followed by a 2-1/2-hour nap made possible by the flight attendant’s turn-down service. Upon waking, he had tea and cake just prior to landing in Abu Dhabi.
Singapore Airlines took the award for Best Business Class. Its futuristic design and spacious, 55-inch seat are accompanied by a host of amenities, including audio/video on demand and WIFI on its A380 and 777-300 aircraft.
The seats lie flat on the 777-300 and A380s as well as some of the airlines’ A330s and 777-200 aircrafts. Angled flat beds are available on others. Noise canceling headphones and an amenity kit are part of the package, along with restaurant-quality, multi-course meals served with wines and other spirits. Passengers can select from an even larger menu up to 24 hours before their flight at some cities.
Read more here about AirlineRatings.com’s awards and the stunning difference that offshore airlines offer passengers. It’ll make you want to take your next vacation or business trip overseas aboard airlines that place a premium on passenger comfort and safety.