Travellers looking for the world's best airlines won't have any luck in North America according to this year's Skytrax World Airline Awards, an annual ranking of all things aviation.
Skytrax, a travel consultancy that touts itself as the "world's largest review site", announced Emirates as the world's best airline on Monday during the Paris Air Show. Emirates dethroned two-time champion Qatar Airways, which fell to second place for the first time since 2011. The awards are widely regarded as a benchmark for excellence in the airline industry, according to Emirates' president Tim Clark.
Emirates also brought home awards for the best airline in the Middle East and for best in-flight entertainment. Rankings are determined by over 18.2 million passengers from across 150 countries and aren't a reflection of what SkyTrax thinks but more of a barometer of global travellers, said Edward Plaisted who heads the agency's awards.
The world's top 10 airlines. Story continues after the gallery.
"We know that some Award winning airlines are not the favorite of everyone, and we receive vocal feedback and complaints from a few users each year when results are published. However, we can do no more than remind them that award-winning airlines are decided by their fellow airline customers, and not by SkyTrax," Plaisted told USA Today.
Closer to home, Air Canada was the lone North American airline to crack the top 20 mark, dropping down one spot from 19 back in 2012. Virgin America was the next North American airline to make the list, falling to 29th from 26th last year. The results aren't surprising, given Middle-Eastern and Asian airlines' track record on SkyTrax's rankings and the general dissatisfaction Americans have with airlines.
On Monday, the American Customer Satisfaction Index revealed that airlines in the U.S. still had some room for improvement, scoring an average of 69 points out of a possible 100. Car makers and soft drink manufacturers scored 83 points by comparison.
“It is what it is, but you know a lot of it is in part because of a lack of competition and because it is a difficult industry to manage in,” Claes Fornell, ACSI’s founder and chairman and a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business told Bloomberg Businessweek.