Emirates Airline Boeing 777-200LR with GE-90 engines. Photo by Brandon Farris.

The 2013 World Airline Award winner was Emirates; who will it be this year? Photo: Brandon Farris

The 2014 World Airline Awards were held recently, in conjunction with the Farnborough Air Show, and the winners have been announced.  In a star-studded event held at the old Royal Aircraft Establishment’s Wind Tunnels, the winners were announced by Skytrax, who manages the awards. Some of the winners this year came as a bit of a surprise.

The World Airline Awards are an independent and totally non-biased process, with nearly 19 million people voting online (between August 2013 to May 2014) to decide who has the best services, cabins, cabin crews, and even lounges.  This is not just for your big name full-service airlines; even Low Cost Carriers have their own categories!  More than 105 different nationalities participated in this year’s survey and helped to define who was going to be named “World’s Best Airline”.

Qatar Airways Premium terminal at the Old Doha Airport helped seal their Best Business Class Lounge win - Photo: Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways’ Premium Terminal at the old Doha Airport helped seal their Best Business Class Lounge win – Photo: Qatar Airways

BONUS: Read our report on the Qatar Airways Premium Terminal

Looking at airline lounges to start, they broke it into two different categories – Business Class & First Class.  Qatar Airways took the Business Class award, and Air France won for First.  Turkish Airlines took 2nd place in Business class, while Lufthansa took the same position in the First Class.  Cathay Pacific rounded out the top three in both categories.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380. Photo by David Parker Brown.

Singapore Airlines takes the top spot for Best First Class – Photo: David Parker Brown | AirlineReporter

In Cabin Experience, Singapore Airlines almost took out a top five clean sweep in all three categories (First, Business, & Economy) but was pipped at 5th place in Economy by Cathay Pacific (who did manage to get a top five finish in each category).  Who took the top in each? Asiana took Economy, Qatar won for Business, and Singapore received the award for best First Class.

Best In-Flight Entertainment was awarded to Emirates for its fantastic ICE system (over 1,000 different channels on some aircraft) with Cathay Pacific and Singapore rounding out the top three.

Which airline has the best Cabin Crew?  Indonesian carrier & Skyteam member Garuda Indonesia took the top place followed up by Cathay & Singapore.

BONUS: Flying Qatar Airways Business Class

If you like technology and gadgets, you will love Emirates ice entertainment system. Each seat in first and business gets this large, removable remote.

If you like technology and gadgets, you will love Emirates ICE entertainment system.  It took first place.

The award for Best Airline in the World is broken into three categories:  World’s Best (aka full service), Low Cost Airlines, and Regional Airlines.

Bangkok Airways of Thailand took the top spot in Regional, with Dragonair receiving 2nd place.  US-based Jetblue took 7th and Alaska Airlines took 9th place.

In the Low Cost Carrier front, AirAsia and its medium/long-haul arm AirAsia X took first & second place, respectively (though we all know they are really the same thing, right?)

Now, it is time to talk about the big prize winners. Coming in at 3rd place in ’œWorld’s Best Airline’ was Singapore Airlines; 2nd place was awarded to Qatar Airways.  This year’s overall winner was Cathay Pacific – last year’s winner Emirates was pushed to 4th place.

Cathay Pacific took World's Best Airline for 2014 - Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter.com

Cathay Pacific took World’s Best Airline for 2014 – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter

BONUS: Flying Cathay Pacific First Class

These are just a tiny, tiny, sampling of all the different categories and award winners.  A number of our favorite carriers took awards in all different categories.  There are so many diverse categories covering food, cabins, seats, staff and more – the best place to see all the winners is through these breakdowns on the World Airline Awards website – there are just way too many for us to list!

With each year comes new changes to the airline industry and although these awards have been highly criticized in the past, they do hold some truth of how many flyers think.

CORRESPONDENT - SEATTLE, WA. Mal is an Australian native who has been a huge fan of airlines and aviation and currently works in airport-related operations. Email: malcolm@airlinereporter.com

Catching Up with the New Eastern Air Lines

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