Regular fliers will know that airlines can vary greatly, even when prices are similar. Small touches like a complimentary chocolate after take-off or larger differences like a smoother fleet of aeroplanes can really make a difference to the enjoyment of a flight. So which airlines should we be travelling with to ensure our holidays start the moment we take off? To answer that, every year Skytrax undertake a thorough survey to rank the very best airlines in the world.
Their awards have now become the industry standard, and 2018’s eagerly-awaited results have recently been released. As usual, their top 10 is dominated by Middle Eastern and Asian airlines that try and outdo each other when it comes to customer comfort and excellent service. Here, the Flexicover Team reveal who’s made the top five – and most importantly, why.
After missing out on the top spot for the last 10 years, Singapore Airlines have climbed back up to number one – and the better news for them is that they were also winners of best airline in Asia, best first class seat, and best first class, with private bedrooms on their A380s. The reason? They’ve recently made huge investments in their long and medium-haul fleet. The update seems to have paid off with the surveys of more than 20 million travellers judging them the best airline, thanks to smooth flying and comfortable seats, plus exceptional service from its friendly staff.
The Middle East’s favourite airline may have been dethroned this year, but it still treats every customer like royalty. The Doha-based airline prides itself on its high standards for every customer and is especially noted for its comfortable seats and great choice of films, music and games. It was also declared the Best Airline in the Middle East, World's Best Business Class and Best First Class Airline Lounge – thanks to touches at Doha’s Al Safwa Lounge like art on loan from the Museum of Islamic Art, spa treatments, a cinema and a family area. Fancy trying it out? They fly from Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, London Heathrow and London Gatwick.
All Nippon Airlines
It might not be a household name this side of the world, but All Nippon Airways is the largest international carrier in Japan and has one of the largest fleets of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which helps account for its strong position as the third best airline in the world. The updated planes give extra comfort to passengers, with useful touches like slide-forward reclining seats and USB outlets in every seat. Add on a world-class standard of cleanliness, service (they offer auto check-in, for example) and safety, and it’s no wonder it scored so highly. For those wondering about food options, they offer both a Japanese and English menu, so you won’t go hungry.
A common choice as a gold standard airline, Emirates is consistent in its high ratings, thanks to an exemplary service that starts at the uber-grand Dubai International Airport. The Middle Eastern airline has the world's largest fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos and Boeing 777 wide-body jets, which allows plenty of space and comfort - but it’s their ample choice of entertainment that really makes the hours fly by. They offer recently released movies alongside live television and sporting events, which proved very useful this summer. No wonder they’ve won Skytrax's award for Best In-Flight Entertainment for 14 years in a row.
Another not-so-well-known airline in the UK, we’ll be clamouring to get on EVA Air’s flights now they’ve snuck in as the world’s fifth best airline. The accolade comes just two years after they were upgraded from a four-star to a five-star airline, suggesting they’re really taking off now. Based in Taiwan, EVA (pronounced like it’s an acronym) are credited with developing the idea of premium economy and their care for customers continues with their onboard service and useful comforts. They’re also the world’s third safest airline after Qantas and Cathay Pacific, which says plenty about their exacting standards. To top off the impressive flying experience, their motif is Hello Kitty – how cute is that?
So wherever you plan on flying this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.