Caviar in First class, seemingly endless seat-back touchscreen entertainment and route networks that can fly passengers to almost any destination around the world on just a single ticket, all for a cost that makes air travel cheaper than it has ever been.
Today could be seen as the true golden age of travel. The Compass Lexicon study shows that domestic air travel in the U.S. costs 40% less today than in 1990, despite rising fuel costs.
Many airline reviews point to the quality of airline seats, food and beverages and even onboard bars. However, I think that flight attendants remain the most important part of a flight experience, where cabin crew can either make or break a passengers experience.
Skytrax published their list of the world’s best airline cabin crew which measure everything from friendliness and enthusiasm to efficiency and attention.
Granted, being a flight attendant is not an easy job. Dealing with hundreds of passengers inside a confined space, where many human norms seem to dissipate along with the ground below can be challenging to say the least.
There are individual situations where the below ratings can vary widely and on any given day. It’s a part of life that people, including flight attendants, have good and bad days, however, the consistent brilliance of crew at the top of the list is tough to argue with.
The first thing many people will notice about the top-10 on the list is that every single airline, except for Qatar Airways, is Asian carriers. The flight attendants on many Asian carriers are certainly outstanding, however, it is a surprise to see Qatar further down the list, after also being rated the Number 1 Airline by Skytrax this year.
No U.S. carriers feature in the top 20, and although I strongly feel service has improved on American carriers over the last few years, there is still a way to go to compete with many of the Asian airlines.
Singapore Airlines at Number 1 is very difficult to argue with, as the Singapore flag carrier does offer consistently outstanding. Consistency is where many other airlines may squander their hopes. Lots of other carriers have split fleets, that passengers may seldom notice when flying, but with variations in training and crew schedules between internal fleets, such as that of British Airways, this can be reflected on different routes for the same airline.
Garuda Indonesia makes it to second on the list of the world’s best cabin crew but has recently faced controversy after banning inflight photos of the cabin. This was the airline’s response to receiving a poor review from an airline vlogger where business class menus were scribbled down in handwriting after the airline also ran out of wine in business class. After threatening to take legal action against the vlogger, Garuda has since backed down, but the situation could well make it difficult for the airline to retain a top spot next year, after management’s strategy, despite the actual cabin crew doing their best in a difficult situation.
The highest-rated European airline on the list is Austrian Airlines, shortly followed by British Airways and Lufthansa. Another lesser-known airline to make the list is Bangkok Airways who operate a relatively small fleet of just 40 aircraft across Thailand, but do deserve a spot in the top 20.
The Skytrax list features just one low-cost airline, Air Asia, who despite offering budget prices for travelers, has not cut the quality of high service offered. For such a well-known brand, Emirates only comes in at number 19 on the list, and similar to other airlines such as British Airways and Lufthansa, has a reputation amongst passenger reviews of offering a varied service and quality, depending on the route and given day, which is why the airline is likely not coming inside the top-10, for now.
Below is the full list of the top 20 airlines based on cabin crew:
- Singapore Airlines
- Garuda Indonesia
- ANA All Nippon Airlines
- Thai Airways
- EVA Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Hainan Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- China Airlines
- Philippine Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- British Airways
- Asiana Airlines
- Bangkok Airways
- Fiji Airways
I spend 360 days a year on the road traveling for work discovering new experiences at every turn, trying out the best and the worst airlines around the world. I set the Guinness World record for being the youngest person to travel to all 196 countries in the world by the age of 25, and you could perhaps say I caught the travel bug over that 6-year journey. I now take over 100 flights every year and I am still discovering many new places, both good and bad, whilst writing about my experiences along the way. In addition to rediscovering known destinations, I visit some of the World’s least frequented regions such as Yemen to highlight untold stories. Join me on an adventure from economy to first-class flights, the best and worst airports, and from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.