Top 10 airline brands for 2012

Skytrax, the UK based research company that specialises in research for commercial airlines, has just announced the winners of the world airline award for 2012.

Skytrax parent company, Inflight Research Services work has been used by the UK government to determine the UK government policies on air transport.

The Skytrax Awards are one of the benchmarking tools for the air industry. They measure passengers’ satisfaction levels by surveying passengers in all cabin classes.

The award is announced after a 10 month telephone survey with 18 million airline customers from 100 countries. That’s right, 18 million airline customers from 100 countries. This must be one of the largest surveys ever attempted.

That’s 1.8 million participants a month or based on a 20 day working month, its 90,000 calls per day which equates to, assuming an 8 hour day, 11,250 calls an hour! Many of which are international, in different languages and probably, if they use my carrier, many of the calls cut off half way through the conversation.

I’ve managed some large brand audits that required a lot of calls but not 18 million in 10 months! So Skytrax should be commended for managing such a logistical nightmare. But I digress.

As I mentioned, the survey takes 10 months and covers 200 airlines, both domestic and large international airlines. The survey measures standards across 38 key performance indicators of airline front line product and services.

The study focuses on customer satisfaction related to experiences right across all touch points including check-in, boarding, onboard seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, food, beverages, in-flight entertainment and staff service.

According to the World Airline Awards website, product and Service factors ranked by customers
in the survey included the following elements:

Standard of Airline web site
Online Booking service
Online check-in services
Airport Ticket Counters
Waiting times at Check-in
Quality of Check-in service
Self Check-in options
Boarding Procedures
Pre-boarding for families
Friendliness of Ground staff
Efficiency of Ground Staff
Transfer services
Arrival services
Baggage Delivery
Handling Delays

Cabin Seat comfort
Cabin Cleanliness
Toilet Cleanliness
Cabin Lighting / Ambience
Cabin Temperatures
Cabin Comfort amenities
Reading Materials
Airline magazine
Inflight Entertainment standards
Audio/Movie programming
Audio Video on demand (AVOD) options
Quality of Meals
Quantity of Food served
Meal Choices
Selection of Drinks/Pay bar formats

Assistance during Boarding
Friendliness of Staff
Service Attentiveness/Efficiency
Consistency of Service across different flights
Staff Language skills
Meal service efficiency
Availability thru Flight/Cabin presence
PA announcements
Assisting families with children
Problem solving Skills
General Staff Attitudes
Staff Grooming

This is an enourmously complex project and it doesn’t end there. Follow up research includes back up interviews and the data is weighted to ‘provide nomination equity when evaluating airlines of different size.’

Anyway after all that, here is the list of the top 10 airlines for 2012

The World’s Best Airlines 2012

1. Qatar Airways
2. Asiana Airlines
3. Singapore Airlines
4. Cathay Pacific Airways
5. ANA All Nippon Airways
6. Etihad Airways
7. Turkish Airlines
8. Emirates
9. Thai Airways
10. Malaysia Airlines

It is interesting to note that 6 of the top ten are Asian brands and the other 4 are Middle Eastern Brands.

Looking back over the last 10 years, the list has always been dominated by Asian and Middle Eastern brands. With the exception of 2006 When British Airways came first, no European Airline has ever appeared in the top 3.