Qatar Airways Wins 2019 Airline Of The Year Award

Filed Under: Qatar

The Skytrax World Airline Awards were held in Paris today. While I place very little value on Skytrax ratings, these awards are given based on voting by the public, which I think is why they’re worth sharing.

Qatar Airways becomes Skytrax 2019 airline of the year 

Today Skytrax published their annual ratings, where airlines are awarded titles ranging from world’s best airline to world’s best cabin staff, to world’s best business class.

The most prestigious award is the world’s best airline award, and that’s going to Qatar Airways for 2019.

This is the fifth time that Qatar Airways is winning this award. For context on what other airlines won the awards over the years:

  • Qatar Airways won this award in 2017, 2015, 2012, and 2011
  • Singapore Airlines won this award in 2018
  • Emirates won this award in 2016 and 2013
  • Cathay Pacific won this award in 2014

You can find the full listing of 2019 awards on this page. In addition to winning the world’s best airline award, Qatar Airways also won the award for world’s best business class, world’s best business class seat, and best airline in the Middle East.

Qsuites, Qatar Airways’ incredible business class

Here are the winners of the top 10 spots for 2019:

  1. Qatar Airways
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. ANA All Nippon Airways
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. Emirates
  6. EVA Air
  7. Hainan Airlines
  8. Qantas Airways
  9. Lufthansa
  10. Thai Airways

Thai Airways also snagged a top 10 spot

Some other interesting winners:

  • All Nippon Airways won award for world’s best airport services
  • Air Transat won award for world’s best leisure airline
  • Norwegian won award for world’s best low cost long haul airline
  • Philippine Airlines won award for world’s most improved airline
  • Bangkok Airways won award for world’s best regional airline
  • Singapore Airlines won award for world’s best cabin staff
  • EVA Air won award for world’s cleanest airline
  • AirAsia won award for world’s best low cost carrier

Norwegian won the best long haul low cost airline award

How are Skytrax winners decided?

I disagree with a lot of the results, though I respect the methodology that Skytrax uses for determining the winners (unlike how they give airlines their star ratings). The winners are based solely on public voting, with over 21 million survey entries being counted. The voting took place between September 2018 and May 2019.

Airlines were allowed to promote voting, so I suspect there’s a high correlation between the airlines that tried to “get out the vote,” and those that actually won.

To account for the different sizes of airlines, they also take a weighted approach to the results:

Customers nominated their favourite airline or airline they considered to be best, and ranked their satisfaction (1 to 5 scale) for aspects of the travel experience (sample extracts below), across both the airport and onboard environments. Data weighting was applied to provide equity when evaluating airlines of different size. Any weighting uses passenger numbers for airlines featured in the Survey.

What do I make of the results?

At the end of the day this is a marketing opportunity for airlines, rather than an actual comparative analysis of which airline is the best in each category. People vote based on what they like, with no requirement to actually have experienced any number of products. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fine, ultimately this is a popularity contest, but I think it’s important to recognize it as such.

There’s a difference between someone saying “I liked Qatar Airways business class,” and saying “I’ve flown a bunch of business class products and think Qatar Airways Airlines has the best.” So perhaps more accurately these awards should be for the title of “the world’s favorite” rather than “the world’s best.”

On top of that, even if everyone had experienced every product, it’s still highly subjective. For example, you could have a very different experience depending on the crew you have, depending on whether you’re departing from the carrier’s hub or an outstation, depending on the time of day of the flight, etc.

That being said, I do think Qatar Airways is worthy of this award, and I find them to be one of the top airlines in the world. For that matter, I actually think all the awards Qatar Airways won this year are warranted.

I do think some of the other top 10 airlines don’t really deserve to be on the list. For example, I never get why ANA ranks third while JAL doesn’t even break the top 10 (I think JAL is better in both first and business). I also think Qantas doesn’t deserve the spot they have, though I know they’re very popular with Australians. Lastly, as much as I love Thai, I don’t think they deserve to be a top 10 airline.

But that’s just my subjective take…

What do you make of the 2019 Skytrax results?

  1. Maybe the ANA economy experience is better than JAL? I imagine there are way more economy voters than premium cabin ones. Personally, I don’t understand why EVA J doesn’t get more love, it’s easily a top 5 for me.

  2. Thai, Qantas, Hainan, and Lufthansa shouldn’t have been anywhere near the Top 10. Singapore has dethroned defending champion Garuda for world’s best cabin crew, I think (based on what I’ve heard anyway), morale is down because of the inconsistency of the Indonesian carrier. Oh well. Don’t forget to watch Josh Cahill’s video about him getting sued by Skytrax!

  3. @YGeorgeW I’ve flown ANA and JAL and JAL has the best economy experience out of any airline I’ve flown medium or longhaul.

  4. “these awards are given based on voting by the public, which I think is why they’re worth sharing.”

    Sock puppets and multiple can tip the scales of any public vote, no?

  5. Of course you didn’t protest Lufthansa’s top ten place, It’s a bit biased to say Qantas doesn’t deserve a spot in the top ten. And Lufthansa do but they don’t even have a business class with a 1-2–1 direct aisle access whereas Qantas do and QF have great crews and a decent soft product matching if not beating Lufthansa in all classes so if QF don’t deserve a top ten spot then Lufthansa don’t deserve a top 20 spot.

  6. @Lucky: It is very well known to readers of this site that American gives you more trouble than any other airline (that you fly regularly).

    Do you think Qatar gives you more pleasure than any other airline? A sincere, straight question.

    I, for one, certainly think it does. In which case it is a worthy recipient of the Best Airline award for a record time despite not having a widespread first class, which is not so important for it anyway.

  7. “EVA Air won award for world’s cleanest airline”
    They even clean their passengers big fat a**es

  8. Thai in the top ten tells you how useless these ‘awards’ are.

    In any sane world Air France would have been way ahead of Thai but they don’t get a mention.

  9. ANA’s catering definitely doesn’t deserve to be on top 10. Mediocre and cheap.
    Give me JAL any day.

  10. I,ve had more than 6 flights with Qatar airlines to the United states. What I don,t like about it is despite selecting my seat before flight on line or by agency they change the seat I’ve selected before boarding without any plausible reason and it’s not correct. Another point of concern is the food which is too spicy.

  11. I am glad, that JAL did not make the top ten. We just flew First Class from LHR-HND and received cold food, a dirty mattress pad with no cover and lousy service. When I asked for some caviar, they handed me a can of caviar and a spoon. They left the lights on for the entire night-flight, although everyone was sleeping. Worst FCL experience ever!

    Our flight back was with Qatar (SGN-DOH) on a LATAM A350, which was wonderful. We then continued DOH-TXL on Qsuites and the crew opened them up, so we had 4 seats with a double bed. Great planes, outstanding service. When you check in in Doha, the pick you up curbside, take care of your luggage and escort you to the counter. Well done, Qatar!

  12. If they can buy the World Cup from Michel Platini they can certainly buy 1st place on Skytrax

  13. I don’t really believe these awards, but the general public who may not have a keen interest in aviation etc. would take notice of this hype.
    Can I just say though. Haha to Etihad – oh how the might have fallen.
    “Choose Well” as is their slogan.
    Yes Etihad, people do “choose well” & it’s not you who they prefer to fly with anymore!

  14. Qantas gets let down by inconsistency. Get a good crew and your flight is a joy. Get a poor one and you will remember that flight for ever! (Had both 2 weeks ago in J; regrettably the awful one was a long-haul…)

  15. I agree with you, Ben. Qantas is solely listed because Australian vote for it because they don’t know anything else. And Australians are frequent travelers anyway, given their isolated location of their desert pile in the southern waters. Otherwise Qantas would come in like 25th or so.

    Also, been on Air China route from Frankfurt to Shanghai recently, with their new A350 with the kids in eco. Compared to Lufthansa with some flights on the old B747-400 … well, some direct comparisons on certain routes would definitely mix up the ranking. Ok, Air China is probably not Top 10, but comparing like this is Top 9 justified for LH? Probably also all Germans vote for LH as their national champion. Did LH ever show up in the list while Air Berlin was still around?

    Hainan – have those people ever checked-in direct or after an international flight lining up ages at Beijing Terminal 1 for a domestic flight. You start to hate those guys before you fly. Inflight service is ok, but that Terminal 1 in Beijing which they run on their own is a disgrace? Why those guys don’t move to the new Beijing Daxing Airport and offer a better ground service probably not many frequent China travelers will ever understand.

    Also on Cathay and Qatar I already had occurrences, where I wasn’t happy with them. In the end every traveler has its own preferences. In the end those lists have little value to me …

  16. Good grief, AirAsia (20) is rated higher than Virgin Atlantic (21), Turkish (27), Philippines (30), and Malaysia (36).

    It’s like if the current Phoenix Suns won the NBA Championship and beat Golden State (it should neither have happened nor made sense)…

  17. @Hadi: Spicy Food? You Don’t eat Chicken Curry or Biryani in the House? you Just want to complain about the Economy seats? I have flown them multiple times from LAX to Doha and Doha to KUL,etc,never had any issues in Business or economy.

  18. I have heard and read: airlines that use Skytrax consulting services are very likely to get rated higher. Once they stopped using the service, they get downgraded or win less rating. True or not, I don’t know.

  19. Are you sure Qatar airways never paid a large bribe than SQ for them to be named top……After the LH and TK incident I never trust skytrax

  20. i fly economy on many many global airlines and KAL is my clear winner for cabin crew (maybe Singapore, Qatar, Asiana come close) but to see it not even crack the top 10 lets me know Skytrax really is just a marketing stunt

  21. Frankly I don’t get the fuss about Q-suites. Sure the cabin is beautiful and the privacy is great. But the bed – it’s a complete deal breaker for me. For starters it’s quite narrow. Then the “box” that you sleep in extends nearly to your knees and the tray table then protrudes a further bit and lowers the height. I found it impossible to not hit my knees against everything when trying to turn, resulting in no sleep. I will be going out of may to avoid Qatar now…

    I also feel that the quality of food has been in steady decline for the past 2 years. The service is still great though.

  22. DITTO: If they can buy the World Cup from Michel Platini they can certainly buy 1st place on Skytrax

    Well known by leaders in the travel industry, this award is a joke and is paid for by the recipients year after year.

    Curious to know why Lucky does not publish his input.

  23. In the past year I’ve flown both NH and JL in Business Internationally—NH on a new 787 and JL on a considerably older 777. JL wins hands down both for Hard and Soft product.

  24. I should also add KE should be in the Top 10 as well, flew them Business Internationally and both the Hard and Soft product was impeccable, with outstanding food and drink served with extreme grace from a standout F/A.

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