The results of the annual SKYTRAX World Airline Awards were announced yesterday in London, and Singapore Airlines was named the world’s best airline for 2018. The Southeast Asian carrier dethroned the 2017 winner, Qatar Airways, who took 2nd place this year.

Singapore Airlines was named the World's Best Airline of 2018.
Singapore Airlines was named the World’s Best Airline of 2018. | Photo courtesy Singapore Airlines.

The top 10 airlines for 2018 are:

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

In addition to the overall award for best airline, carriers were also recognized in a number of categories focused on elements of the passenger experience. Category winners included ANA All Nippon Airways (Cleanest Aircraft Cabins), Bangkok Airways (Best Regional Airline), China Southern (Most Improved Airline), Garuda Indonesia (Best Cabin Crew), Qatar Airways (Best Business Class) and Thai Airways (Best Economy Class).

No U.S. carriers cracked the top 35, but a few did make the top 100.

  1. Delta Air Lines
  2. Alaska Airlines
  3. jetBlue Airways
  4. Southwest Airlines
  5. American Airlines
  6. Hawaiian Airlines
  7. American Eagle
  8. United Airlines

Unfortunately, the primary element of the disabled passenger experience—accessibility—is not a factor in the SKYTRAX Awards. I have previously advocated for an accessibility component in these and other airline award programs, but I’m not confident that any such ranking would be fair or representative of the disabled air travel experience.

The closest thing we currently have to an airline award for accessibility is something I started in my Best & Worst of Accessible Travel in 2017 blog post. Limiting praise and condemnation to the airlines I flew in 2017, I named Qatar Airways the best and jetBlue Airways the worst. Make of that what you will.

What the SKYTRAX awards do shed light on are areas of the passenger experience that are important to us all, regardless of our physical abilities. Things like clean airplane cabins, comfortable seats and cabin crew who greet you with a smile, rather than a sneer. A select few airlines do these things exceptionally well and deserve recognition for their attention to detail.

I just hope that we can encourage all airlines to step up their game on services offered to travelers with disabilities!

Feature images courtesy Singapore Airlines and SKYTRAX.

Which airlines did you travel with in the past year?
Did any of them stand out as particularly good or bad?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

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