News in brief:
Lufthansa becomes Europe’s first ‘five star airline’
Airline rating group Skytrax, which claims to receive 20 million votes for its annual World Airline Awards, has awarded Lufthansa the accolade of ‘five star airline’.
Whether or not you take Skytrax rankings seriously, the airlines do – at least in their marketing. There is no doubt that Lufthansa will be making the most of its achievement as the first European airline to achieve a Skytrax five star ranking for ‘premium service and first rate comfort’.
To quote from the press release from Lufthansa:
The testers at Skytrax travel with the perspective of a passenger. For their ratings, they evaluate the service quality of the respective airline with comprehensive assessments on the ground and in the air in up to 800 categories. These include the service on board, seat comfort, catering, security measures, in-flight entertainment, duty-free offers and many other services.
For Skytrax, the consistency and constancy with which Lufthansa has forged ahead with the modernisation of its product was a key consideration in the decision to award the fifth star. For instance, the cabins in First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy have been comprehensively upgraded over the last few years. The airline has also expanded its restaurant service from First Class to Business Class, improving its personalized appeal to passengers in the process.
And it is also important to look ahead: to the new Business Class that will be rolling out in 2020 with the Boeing 777-9, and to a new and even better Premium Economy and Economy Class. Lufthansa also scored points with the new Lufthansa app and a wide variety of digital services on the ground and on board.
The fact that, until yesterday, nine airlines globally held ‘five star’ status and none of them were from Europe is not a great sign, however much we tend to knock US carriers for their race to the bottom. The truth is that Asian and Middle East carriers, at least in the Skytrax world of quality, dominate.
The other nine ‘five star’ carriers are ANA, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Hainan Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines.
Now JetSmarter moves to London City too
We wrote last week about how Surf Jet, the subscription-based private jet service which Anika reviewed here, has moved its base from Luton to London City.
By coincidence, or not, its competitor JetSmarter – which I reviewed here – is now doing the same thing.
From 1st January almost all JetSmarter flights will move to London City, operating out of the Jet Centre. The exceptions are New York, Moscow and one Geneva service per week, which will remain at Luton. Annual membership of $15,000 gives you unlimited access to all JetSmarter flights of under three hours at no additional charge.
Wizz Air buys Monarch’s Luton landing slots
Following the news that BA’s parent company IAG has snapped up Monarch’s Summer landing slots at London Gatwick, Hungarian low cost carrier Wizz Air has sealed a smaller deal to take the Luton slots. The deal also includes the use of various night stands.
Wizz will base an extra two aircraft at Luton next year, taking its fleet at the airport to seven, and add 70 new staff. It has not yet announced which routes it intends to add.