Not having flown with every single airline on earth I am not qualified to judge the “best airline” out there. I have, however, flown with a few and can definitely say which is my favourite. Below then, in no particular order, is my assessments of all the airlines I have flown with, based only on my experiences in cattle-class only (of course). No point talking about the food – I have never had an airline meal where I’ve thought, “Hmmm I’d like some more of that”.
Air New Zealand
A perfectly fine airline, without being at top of the pile in terms of service and onboard entertainment. Somewhere in the middle.
I have only flown with them is short flights out of Frankfurt to Italy. No onboard entertainment and service was okay. The food was proportionate to the length of the trip – just a sandwich and snacks. No gripes with them.
Like Lufthansa, they preformed reasonably well in my short flights with them around Italy. Nothing special, nothing particularly bad.
Beyond their unmatched safety record, there is little to recommend about the Australian national carrier. Service and onboard entertainment is at the minimum level for long haul flights and the stewardesses look like they should have been put to pasture years ago.
I have always tried to avoid American carriers based on horror stories I’ve heard. I was pleasantly surprised with Hawaiian Airlines. Like Air New Zealand, they were perfectly fine to fly with on my trip to Hawaii.
Almost everyone I know that I know who’s flown Jetstar ends their assessment with “never again”. My feeling is – you get what you pay for. It is a no-frills carrier and almost everything has to be paid for. Don’t do it unless it’s short and there is no other option.
I’ve only flown with Virgin on short flights inside Australia and I can say that they are my carrier of choice for short flights. The service was good and the seat pitch seemed a little more generous.
Another middle of the list airline. Perfectly acceptable level of service and entertainment and probably the best of the South American carriers.
I would rate them just slightly above average. The service is okay, as is the entertainment. Very much like Qantas, with marginally better hosties. The downside is having to transit through Heathrow, which puts them on the no-fly list for me.
Service was non-existent outside of meal times, even if you pressed the button. Abysmal. (see https://wanderlust63.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/a-flight-from-hades/)
Superb service, cabin and entertainment. Very good hosties. One of the best.
Also superb everything. Hot towels at the start and drinks on the hour for long haul flights.
this is Singapore Airlines’ budget airline and you wouldn’t know it. The planes may be smaller but almost everything is as good as what you would get on Singapore Airlines. Better than most long haul, non-budget carriers.
It’s been a very long time since I flew Garuda but I don’t remember anything wrong with the flight. Probably rate them in the middle somewhere.
When all is said and done it comes as no surprise (to me anyway) as to where my feelings lie in terms of which my favourite airlines is. For me, there is very little separating Emirates and Singapore Airlines. Both offer beautiful planes, very good flight crews, up to date entertainment and best practice when it comes to service. I would give it to Singapore Airlines, only because the stopover airport is Changi (easiest the best airport around), compared to Dubai Airport which was a crowded disappointment. If you remove the stopover aspect, I would actually pick Emirates, but we’re splitting hairs here. (Special mention to Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airlines, who I’ve never flown with but believe are also top notch carriers who rival my top 2).