I’ve spent a lot of time on these puppies over the years and have formed my own perspectives both good and bad. I want to share the kudos and their carrier names, but for complaints I’ll leave out the actual airline names. With respect to comparisons of various carriers we will focus on the positive as well.
You can usually find out in the airline magazine on the plane all the types of aircraft and their approximate ages. Keep in mind the airline industry is a very capital intensive business. Owning or leasing aircraft requires the airline to produce significant revenue in order to stay in business. I personally tend to stick with carriers that fly newer planes. Newer planes tend to ride better just like a new car does and the bathrooms work (see below).
Top 5 compliments:
- Best Airline – Singapore Airlines Airbus 380 service (London to Singapore in Business Class)
- Best Service – Air China (Tokyo to Beijing service) included quilted comforters in Business Class for a redeye.
- Best Consistency – Lufthansa is my 1st choice to Europe and India. All U.S. carriers should emulate the consistency.
- Best Non-Stop Long Flight – Washington D.C to South Africa on South African Airways Airbus service. 15 hour flight.
- Best Surprise Airline – Air New Zealand‘s Auckland to San Francisco service was awesome. Go Kiwi’s!
I also have to say that the United Airlines international service has gotten so much better since they upgraded some of their planes with new lie flat beds in Business and First Class. Planes are no different than hotels. Comfortable beds on long flights equal happy customers.
Now for the Top 5 complaints:
- Bathrooms must be clean and usable. An unused coffee filter pack is NOT an air freshener!!!
- Snoring passengers on International flights. Thankfully there are Bose headphones.
- U.S. security screening. Audit what Germany and China are doing much quicker.
- Talkers on red-eye flights. The lights are out for a reason… sleep or read and voice box must be off.
- Get a new airport in Bangalore, India. They heard me the new airport is great!
Finally for comparisons you certainly can’t go wrong with the carriers mentioned for compliments above. However it’s my opinion that International carriers based outside of the U.S. have an edge over U.S. carriers. It’s one reason why consolidation will continue in the U.S. airline industry. Other carriers that provide good solid service include: Dragon Air, Swissair, Virgin Atlantic, All Nippon Airways and Aeroflot. I was on a flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg and someone told me to make sure your flight is always on non-Russian manufactured planes. I asked why and he said that they sometimes break in the air! Not sure if he was trying to scare an American…
Flying the friendly skies…