Qatar Airways was, yet again, the big winner at the 2021 Skytrax airline awards.
For better or worse, the Skytrax awards are seen as the benchmark in the industry. Whilst the Skytrax airline star ranking system has only a thin grasp on reality, the annual awards are voted on via the largest airline passenger satisfaction survey in the world.
The awards have been running since 1999. This covid edition covers passenger surveys from an extended period covering September 2019 to July 2021.
Qatar Airways won:
- Airline of the Year
- World’s Best Business Class
- World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge
- World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat
- World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering
- Best Airline in the Middle East
Most people would consider this a fair reflection of reality, with Airline of the Year a worthy award – this is the 6th time that it has won. Qatar Airways decided – with no real concern for financial viability – to continue serving as many countries as it could during the pandemic. At one stage it was the biggest international airline in the world.
Hamad International Airport in Doha was also awarded the title of World’s Best Airport in the Skytrax 2021 World Airport Awards.
British Airways was a winner too
British Airways, to its credit, also came away with a number of prizes. It won:
- Best Airline Staff in Europe
- Best Premium Economy Onboard Catering
- Best Airline in the United Kingdom
Virgin Atlantic picked up:
- World’s Best Premium Economy Class
Both failed to make the World’s Best Airline top 10, however, which runs, in descending order:
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- ANA All Nippon Airways
- Japan Airlines
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- EVA Air
- Qantas Airways
- Hainan Airlines
- Air France
British Airways was 11th, up from 19th (presumably due to a Club Suite bounce) whilst Virgin Atlantic fell from 21st to 24th. It isn’t clear how, if at all, these positions are weighted to reflect the quantity of votes cast vs average traveller rating.
oneworld won Best Airline Alliance.
Of the more questionable awards, Best Low-Cost Airline in Europe went to Vueling.
easyJet was a more deserving winner of Best Low-Cost Airline in the United Kingdom, although you can argue to what extent easyJet is low cost these days.
The full list of 2021 winners in the ‘World Airline Awards’ is here. As you will see, it is a bit like a children’s party with pretty much everyone walking away with something …..