Australia's frequent flyers rate the world's popular airlines
Australia's frequent flyers have voted on the best first-class, business-class, premium economy and economy experiences across up to 15 of the world's most popular airlines – with Emirates, Qantas and Singapore Airlines coming out winners. The results have come in just in time for the holidays – and while there's still time to get an upgrade.
The findings come from a poll of 1686 frequent flyers who are community members on Point Hacks, an independent platform for one of Australia's biggest pool of frequent flyers and rewards point enthusiasts. Based on the results, Point Hacks has delivered the ranking of the best airline seats and service, based on the proportion of votes the airlines received.
First class winners: Emirates wins the national and NSW vote, Singapore Airlines gets the Victorian vote
Emirates was rated the highest among all voters for first class seats and service, with 37 per cent of respondents ranking the airline number one out of 11 major airlines. Passengers flying on Emirates' A380 or Boeing 777 first class have the luxurious experience of their own private suite with privacy doors and a fully flat bed, a shower spa to refresh mid-flight, fine dining food served on fine bone china and the finest beverages; along with high-end technology for temperature controls, mood lighting, virtual windows and luxurious leather seats. In addition to the suite features and an onboard lounge, passengers also have airport lounge access and a chauffeur-drive service, available in more than 70 cities worldwide.
But while the largest proportion of NSW votes (32 per cent) went to Emirates, Singapore Airlines won the Victorian vote (30 per cent of voters rated the airline as having the best first class experience). Beyond this difference, both states agreed overall on the top five first class airline carriers for seats and service.
Nationally, ranking second for first class seats and service was Singapore Airlines (chosen by 29 per cent of respondents). Etihad was rated third (by 13 per cent of frequent flyers), Qatar Airways rated fourth (chosen by 10 per cent), and Qantas rated fifth, with 5 per cent of voters nominating it as the best first class flight. (See table below for full ranking).
Business class winner: Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines came out on top for the best business class seats and service across 14 of the world's major airlines (with 29 per cent of voters rating it the best). Passengers flying business class on Singapore Airlines are treated to world-class chef-prepared meals and a personalised Book the Cook meal option that allows them to reserve their main course for dinner before they fly, with lobster thermidor and rib-eye steak some of the covetable options. Leather seats in the cabin recline into spacious flat beds, and passengers have direct aisle access from every seat, through the 1-2-1 seat configuration.
In second place for the best business class seats and service was Emirates (chosen by 21 per cent of respondents), followed by Qatar Airways (chosen by 14 per cent), Qantas (chosen by 12 per cent), then Cathay Pacific and Etihad Airways in an equal fifth place (both chosen by 6 per cent of respondents).
Premium economy winner: Qantas
Our national carrier, Qantas, was ranked first for best premium economy seats and service – with 27 per cent of voters giving it the thumbs up over 15 airlines. Passengers flying Qantas premium economy have extra legroom and wider seats than economy, and a smaller cabin of 32-40 seats. Inflight dining is designed by renowned chef Neil Perry and passengers can be guided through the extensive selection of award-winning wines by Qantas' Sommeliers in the Sky cabin crew.
Airlines that also ranked in the top five premium economy seats and service include Singapore Airlines (chosen by 24 per cent of voters), Air New Zealand (chosen by 12 per cent), Virgin Australia (chosen by 9 per cent), and Cathay Pacific (by 8 per cent of voters).
Economy winner: Singapore Airlines
Taking out its second number-one ranking, Singapore Airlines took the highest proportion of votes (29 per cent) for best airline for economy seats and service. The airline's economy seats are ergonomically designed, and passengers have the largest range of meals, including options for children and specific dietary requirements. Singapore Airlines also offers a popular flight experience, with more than 1000 entertainment options on their touchscreen monitor.
Qantas came in second, taking in 17 per cent of votes, followed by Emirates (attracting 15 per cent of votes), Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways in an equal fourth place (each chosen by seven per cent of voters), then Air New Zealand ranking fifth (chosen by 6 per cent).
Daniel Sciberras, frequent flyer expert and spokesperson at Point Hacks, says: "Booking a flight has become more than choosing the cheapest-available ticket – with seat size, comfort, service, aircraft type and food major considerations for travellers. Our community of frequent flyers are some of the most travelled and experienced in the country. They've tried and tested the major airline carriers to give Aussies the best recommendations for travel, so they can make informed decisions, no matter what passenger class they're looking at."